Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Oki Dog: Fusion cuisine to da max

Robalini's Note: Though not as great as with pastrami, this Hawaiian version still is a pretty tasty treat...
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

The Oki Dog is celebrating its 15th anniversary as a vital culinary component of the Okinawan Festival.

The Oki Dog: Fusion cuisine to da max
By Betty Shimabukuro

The Oki Dog is apropos of nothing. A non sequitur. The sum of incongruent parts that add up to Okinawan audacity.

An Oki Dog begins with a hot dog (any type, but red is aesthetically best), a dollop of chili (must be from Zippy's, founded by the Okinawan Higa family), a few slices of shoyu pork (this is what truly makes it Okinawan), shredded lettuce (iceberg, for crunch), wrapped in a flour tortilla (for ease of transport).

And as if all that's not enough: "It would taste good with mayonnaise, but that spoils too quickly," says Isaac Hokama, one of those responsible for bringing the Oki Dog to Hawaii.

Consider it an example of four-part fusion: American/Mexican/Tex-Mexican/Okinawan. Or consider it inexplicable.

Whatever the case, the Oki Dog is back this weekend, for its 15th-annual appearance at the Okinawan Festival. It's a popular little doggie: Last year's festival grossed $13,500 in Oki Dog sales, which translates to roughly 3,375 sold at $4 each.

The Oki Dog actually has a noble punk-rock history that is totally non-Hawaiian. It was invented by an Okinawan native, Sakai "Jimmy" Sueyoshi, who imported himself to the United States and even did time in the Vietnam War.

Sometime in the 70s, Sueyoshi opened an Oki Dog stand on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood. His signature product was a burrito filled with a hot dog, chili and shredded pastrami. It made him rich.

"Since it was close to the Hollywood nightclubs and always open late, it developed quite a following among the punk-rock movement," writes a reviewer for, an online resource on hot dogs in Los Angeles. "Skinheads, longhairs and mohawks could be seen sitting side by side on the stools chowing down on greasy burritos at all hours of the day and night."

Eventually, complaints from neighbors about the unruly crowd forced Oki Dog out of its prime location and into new digs on Fairfax Avenue in North Hollywood.

Sueyoshi himself is somewhat elusive and did not return phone calls to the new Oki Dog location, but enough hearsay testimony exists to tell his story.

Hokama, one of the organizers of Honolulu's Okinawan Festival, met Sueyoshi at the original, rather run-down Oki Dog in 1989. "This guy was quite a character," Hokama recalls. "His customers were all guys with pink hair, blue hair ... He came out from the kitchen in a T-shirt, a real greasy-looking guy."

The first thing he said: "Let's get away from these (insert extremely derogatory phrase here). Really loud. That's how he treated his customers."

But Sueyoshi proved a good host, feeding the group well and telling them of his beginnings serving Oki Dogs, burgers and french fries made from fresh potatoes. "At that time he was open 24 hours. He used to sleep behind the restaurant."

Part of Hokama's group that day was Howard Higa, another Okinawan Fest stalwart who had some culinary training from Kapiolani Community College. Higa suggested making a Hawaii version of the Oki Dog for sale at the festival. Sueyoshi gave them verbal permission to use the name.

Higa recalls trying various tortilla-wrapped combinations, including chop steak and beef tomato. "You can wrap anything in there -- even spaghetti and meatballs." Imagine that.

But without a dog, how could it be an Oki Dog? So Higa settled on chili and Okinawan shoyu pork, a dish already being cooked for the festival.

"I thought we could use the kuzu," Higa says. Translation: the bits and pieces too small for the shoyu pork plates. "Instead of wasting it, we could use it in another product."

He added shredded cabbage -- "I thought Okinawans eat a lot of cabbage and we already had that at the festival, too."

Hokama suggested lettuce instead, because it was lighter and the dog was getting a bit hefty.

Higa tried his creation out on some teens in his extended family -- "that's the target market" -- and the response was good. His Oki Dog debuted at that year's festival.

Meanwhile, back in L.A., Troy Bigger answers the phone at the existing Oki Dog. Sueyoshi still owns the name, Bigger says, but is leasing the space to Bigger's bosses.

Today's Oki Dog is made with two all-beef hot dogs, all-beef pastrami and a slice of American cheese. ("The unlikely combination of flavors and textures was heavenly," writes

Bigger finds the idea of adding pork to the mix somewhat distasteful, but then, he's not Okinawan. "Pure white boy" is his self-description -- but he's been serving up Oki Dogs for 18 years.

He describes Oki Dog's customer base as ages 13 to 80, dining at lunch, dinner or as late as 4 a.m. Some come from counties outside Los Angeles with coolers to carry home stashes of Oki Dogs.

Bigger still eats them himself, although without the tortilla, in what he calls a "mini-Atkins" version.

"At least you gotta try it one time," he says by way of recommendation. "It won't kill you. It might clean out your system, but it won't kill you."
Oki Dog is located at 860 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles. Call (323) 655-4166.

Do-it-yourself Oki Dog
To make your own Oki Dog, you'll need a hot dog, flour tortilla, shredded lettuce and Zippy's chili. All of this comes store-bought, but you might want to make your own shoyu pork, the essential ingredient. Shoyu pork is cooked for the Okinawan Festival by various Oahu restaurants. This recipe comes from Hanagasa Inn.

Once you have your ingredients lined up, follow the wrapping instructions.

Shoyu Pork
3 pounds pork butt
>> Sauce:
1/2 cup awamori
1 cup sugar
1 cup shoyu (Kikkoman or Yamasa brands preferred)
1 clove garlic
Small piece ginger
Pre-boil pork butt in water 45 minutes. Drain and slice.

Return meat to pot. Combine sauce ingredients and pour over meat. Add water if necessary so meat is covered with liquid. Simmer 1 hour on low heat, until meat is very tender. Serves 12.

Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 240 calories, 6 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, greater than 1,200 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 24 g protein.

Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S.

an oki dog

Step 1: Place some chili and a hot dog on a flour tortilla.

Step 2: Fold a flap over the hot dog and add lettuce.

Step 3: Top with sliced or shredded shoyu pork.

Step 4: Fold in the sides to make a neat package.

Step 5: Roll up firmly and serve.

Oki Dog: The Weirdest Dogs In Town!

Saturday, July 24, 2004
Oki Dog: The Weirdest Dogs In Town!

860 N Fairfax Av, Hollywood

Standard Dog, Polish Sausage,
The specialty of the house... Oki Dog
Burrito, Chili, Pastrami, Fries, Grunge
Health Department Rating: A

Open late, Bizarre clientele, Hands down, the weirdest hot dog in LA

Occasionally, you run across a concept that is so alien... so removed from anything you've ever experienced before... that you just don't know what to think about it. Oki Dog is that sort of place. Using the standards we normally apply to rate hot dog stands, Oki wouldn't even register a single dewclaw of a dog on our Dog Rating scale. The dogmeat is chewy and bland, the chili is very cheap, and the atmosphere is akin to eating in a grimy gas station restroom in the middle of the Mohave Desert. This place is a "dive among dives"... But we have to admit, we kinda like the place. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We'll do our best to describe our experience...

It was a hot Sunday late afternoon. Jon the Food Slob stopped by Steve Doggie-Dogg's office and invited him out for a dog excursion. After consulting the internet, the yellow pages and the telephone, we determined that the only place open that we hadn't tried yet was Oki Dog in Hollywood. We had driven by the ramshackle orange hut on the way to Pinks a few weeks ago. It looked pretty dismal, surrounded by a bunch of overgrown potted plants and some battered lawn furniture. Loitering about were the requisite local "characters" who looked like they were right out of a David Lynch movie. We decided we'd better give it a try in the name of science... some other time. Well, this was the time.

Oki Dog used to be on Santa Monica Bl at Vista... right in the middle of "Boystown", where shirtless young gentlemen can be found on every corner "looking for rides". Since it was close to the Hollywood nightclubs and always open late, it developed quite a following among the punk rock movement. Skinheads, longhairs and mohawks could be seen sitting side by side on the stools chowing down on greasy burritos at all hours of the day and night. It was a real happening place back in the late 70s. We don't really know why, but it never occurred to us to stop in and try the place back then.

Well, the neighbors complained about the unruly mob that hung out there, so the City Council banished Oki Dog to a small hut off the strip on Fairfax. A more respectable chain restaurant with pre-fab food and lots of security guards took Oki's spot on Santa Monica and Vista. If Oki Dog could be said to be on the skids before, this development put it face down in the gutter. Today, many ex-Punks who went on to become accountants and lawyers have fond memories of late nights at Oki Dog. As they drive by their old hangout in their shiny new Beemers or Audi station wagons, they roll their windows up tight, lock the doors and shed a quiet tear for what used to be... But the amazing thing is, Oki Dog isn't just a memory. It still exists. The hut is just the same, albeit a bit more battered around the edges.The food hasn't changed... It was always battered around the edges. The battered people who eat there haven't changed much either. Oki Dog LIVES!

Well, we pulled up to the hut in Jon's Beemer, rolled the windows up, locked the doors and steeled ourselves for a visceral experience like we've never encountered before. "I don't know about this place..." Steve said, looking up at the sign which read "O I DOG". Maybe they aren't even in business any more." "The door's open and the lights are on." Jon said cheerfully, "Let's go do Oki!" We trudged into the hut and were greeted by a sight right out of a documentary on life in third world countries. Homemade plywood benches and tables painted in gaudy colors were littered around the joint. A battered old TV with the jittery picture of a soccer game babbled "Goal! Goal! Goal!" up in the corner. Weird decorations from holidays long past lingered in the eaves over our heads. A drunk hunched over the remains of an Oki Dog in the corner. Video games displayed scenes of urban horror, complete with wild car chases and shootouts between simulated policemen and virtual gang members. And in a tiny pickup window behind an iron fence stood Felix the Chef, waiting for us to place our order.

We looked at each other and shrugged. "What do we want?" Steve asked. "An Oki Dog, I guess..." Jon pushed his face up to the steel bars and asked Felix, "What the heck is an Oki Dog, anyway?" Chef Felix explained that it was two hot dogs in a burrito filled with chili and pastrami. "Pastrami?" "Yes, grilled pastrami." A look of fear flashed across Jon the Food Slob's face. He was having a Huell Howser flashback! "You can do it, big fella." Steve said supportingly. "I'll have one too." Just in case, Steve ordered a Polish Dog and a Standard Dog with Mustard, Onions and Cheese. Jon ordered a backup Standard Dog as well. We sat down with a couple of Diet Cokes to admire the atmosphere until our meal arrived. Before we knew it, Felix handed us two oversized Frisbees filled with food...

The Oki Dogs were so hot, they glowed, so we set them aside and focused on the Standard Dogs first. As Jon took his first bite, Chef Felix came out from his barbed wire enclave, stood on a table, and started banging on the side of the old TV to get the picture to come in clearer. No amount of fiddling with the coat hanger antenna would get a clearer view of the soccer game, so he sat down and watched it in all of its jittery glory. "What do you think of the dog, Jon?" Steve asked, afraid to commit to biting into his own until it was determined to be safe. "Mmmfff... Mmmmfff... CHEWY!" was the only response. So, Steve took the plunge. The dogmeat had no snap and was strangely leathery inside. It was much more tough than any other dog we've ever tasted. It wasn't particularly good, and even though the onions were freshly chopped and the bun nicely steamed, the dog was a bust. The Polish Dog was even worse, with unidentifiable bits of various animals strewn into a terrazzo-like matrix.

The Standard dogs were just about as bad as the slop we were served at Pinks, so we looked at the heaping mounds they call Oki Dogs with some degree of trepidation. "Who's gonna go first?" Jon said. Steve bravely picked up his overfilled tortilla sack and closed his eyes and bit in... There was a silent pause. Steve chewed a bit. He swallowed and took another bite... and another... "Hey, this isn't half bad! Wait a minute... It's great!" The tortilla had been rolled like a figure eight, with chili on one side and grilled Pastrami and two Hot Dogs on the other. By biting into one side or the other, you could control whether you got a mouthful of chili or a gobfull of meat. The Chili was cheap, with plenty of flour added as a thickener, but it tasted meaty and was nicely spiced. We aren't particularly fond of the typical California Dog Stand Chili we've encountered at most places, but Oki's Chili was definitely the best we've had in that style. The Pastrami was stringy and lean, grilled until it had a little crunch... almost like bacon. In the context of the burrito, the chewy Hot Dogs actually worked. The unlikely combination of flavors and textures was heavenly. Steve wolfed his Oki Dog down greedily and went back for a second. He asked Felix to add some raw chopped Onions and Tomatoes to the Chili side. Felix handled the request perfectly, and the second Oki Dog was even better than the first. At $2.50, the Oki Dog is the champion stomach filling bargain of all time, beating out Tommy's chili drenched cheeseburgers for sheer bulk on a budget.

We sat back and enjoyed the Oki Dog afterglow. Steve got a kick out of reading the way customers had altered the plastic letters making up the menu. Beverages listed included FRUIT PUNCHOODLEMAINE and OT OCOA. The "Students & Seniors Special" was unprintably obscene. (But if you squint at the picture of Steve, you can just barely read it...) Jon had an amazed expression on his face as he gazed lovingly at the meager surroundings. "You might think I'm plain daffy, but I think I might just like to come back to this place. It's growing on me." "I know what you mean." Steve agreed. There was something about this place that reeked of Los Angeles. The food was a halfbreed blend of Mexican and All-American, just like the city itself. It filled you up for just a few pesos. The place was ugly and brown, but it was home. There was a definite aesthetic here, and it worked.

The tough part was trying to assign a Dog Rating to this unique experience. As we've done in the past, we worked our way up the list... "Is it better than Pinks at One and a Half Dogs?" "Heck yeah!" How about Costco at Two?" "You betcha." "The Schnitz and Taste Chicago are next up the list at Two and a Half." "That's close, but I think I'd rather eat at Oki Dog than either of those places." "What about Rubin's Red Hot at Three Dogs?" "Nope... That's too far. Rubins beats Oki." So, we decided to award Oki Dog a respectable Two and a Half Dog rating! Who'd-a thunk it?!

Ode to the Oki Dog

In Profile: Oki-Dog
Written by Ryan on Tuesday July 05th 2005

Oki-Dog, now we sing thee merits. Day-glo orange shack! Shack with proud “C” rating on Fairfax! Former shack of the punkrockers in the 70s on Santa Monica Blvd!

Oki-Dog: Where menu letters are exchanged so you can buy either Hot Coffee or Hot Cock for .98 cents - your choice!

Oki-Dog: How is it made? Oki-Dog: Do we care!?

Ode to the Oki, Bukowski style……

i ate an ‘oki-dog’ yesterday…
tortilla that has been magically folded to have two compartments
each with a dog in it
one side filled then with chili
and cheese
the other filled to the juicing brim with pastrami
the resulting giant burrito is nearly unmanageable

i think it is trying to resolve itself inside me now

Oki Dog

Robalini's Note: The Konformist presents a special collection of articles on the most underrated Los Angeles contribution to cuisine, the Oki Dog. From 1995 to 1997 I worked across the street from the Fairfax shack, and learned to love their deliciously disgusting hybrid of food fusion...

Oki Dog

Immortalized by the Descendents, beloved by the Germs, the original Oki Dog, long since closed, was to the original ‘70s punk-rock scene in Los Angeles what the Brown Derby was to 1940s filmdom. The most famous creation here at the stand that remains is the eponymous dog, a couple of frankfurters wrapped in a tortilla with chili, pickles, mustard, a slice of fried pastrami and a torrent of goopy American cheese — a cross-cultural burrito that’s pretty hard to stomach unless you’ve got the tum of a 16-year-old, but strangely delicious nonetheless. Open daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. Cash only. Entrées $4-$5.50. American Cross-Culture. (Jonathan Gold)

Fast-Track Saints

Published on Monday, October 22, 2007 by
Mother Teresa, John Paul II, and the Fast-Track Saints
by Michael Parenti

During his 26-year papacy, John Paul II elevated 483 individuals to sainthood, more saints than all previous popes combined, it is reported. One personage he beatified but did not live long enough to canonize was Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun of Albanian origin who had been wined and dined by the world’s rich and famous while hailed as a champion of the poor. The darling of the corporate media and western officialdom, and an object of celebrity adoration, Teresa was for many years the most revered woman on earth, showered with kudos and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her “humanitarian work” and “spiritual inspiration.”

What usually went unreported were the vast sums she received from wealthy contributors, including a million dollars from convicted savings & loan swindler Charles Keating, on whose behalf she sent a personal plea for clemency to the presiding judge. She was asked by the prosecutor in that case to return Keating’s gift because it was money he had stolen. She never did. She also accepted substantial sums given by the brutal Duvalier dictatorship that regularly stole from the Haitian public treasury.

Mother Teresa’s “hospitals” for the indigent in India and elsewhere turned out to be hardly more than human warehouses in which seriously ill persons lay on mats, sometimes fifty to sixty in a room without benefit of adequate medical attention. Their ailments usually went undiagnosed. The food was nutritionally lacking and sanitary conditions were deplorable. There were few medical personnel on the premises, mostly untrained nuns and brothers.

When tending to her own ailments, however, Teresa checked into some of the costliest hospitals and recovery care units in the world for state-of-the-art treatment.

Teresa journeyed the globe to wage campaigns against divorce, abortion, and birth control. At her Nobel award ceremony, she announced that “the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.” And she once suggested that AIDS might be a just retribution for improper sexual conduct.

Teresa emitted a continual flow of promotional misinformation about herself. She claimed that her mission in Calcutta fed over a thousand people daily. On other occasions she jumped the number to 4000, 7000, and 9000. Actually her soup kitchens fed not more than 150 people (six days a week), and this included her retinue of nuns, novices, and brothers. She claimed that her school in the Calcutta slum contained five thousand children when it actually enrolled less than one hundred.

Teresa claimed to have 102 family assistance centers in Calcutta, but longtime Calcutta resident, Aroup Chatterjee, who did an extensive on-the-scene investigation of her mission, could not find a single such center.

As one of her devotees explained, “Mother Teresa is among those who least worry about statistics. She has repeatedly expressed that what matters is not how much work is accomplished but how much love is put into the work.” Was Teresa really unconcerned about statistics? Quite the contrary, her numerical inaccuracies went consistently and self-servingly in only one direction, greatly exaggerating her accomplishments.

Over the many years that her mission was in Calcutta, there were about a dozen floods and numerous cholera epidemics in or near the city, with thousands perishing. Various relief agencies responded to each disaster, but Teresa and her crew were nowhere in sight, except briefly on one occasion.

When someone asked Teresa how people without money or power can make the world a better place, she replied, “They should smile more,” a response that charmed some listeners. During a press conference in Washington DC, when asked “Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?” she said “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”

But she herself lived lavishly well, enjoying luxurious accommodations in her travels abroad. It seems to have gone unnoticed that as a world celebrity she spent most of her time away from Calcutta, with protracted stays at opulent residences in Europe and the United States, jetting from Rome to London to New York in private planes.

Mother Teresa is a paramount example of the kind of acceptably conservative icon propagated by an elite-dominated culture, a “saint” who uttered not a critical word against social injustice, and maintained cozy relations with the rich, corrupt, and powerful.

She claimed to be above politics when in fact she was pronouncedly hostile toward any kind of progressive reform. Teresa was a friend of Ronald Reagan, and a close friend of rightwing British media tycoon Malcolm Muggerridge. She was an admiring guest of the Haitian dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and had the support and admiration of a number of Central and South American dictators.

Teresa was Pope John Paul II’s kind of saint. After her death in 1997, he waved the five-year waiting period usually observed before beginning the beatification process that leads to sainthood. In 2003, in record time Mother Teresa was beatified, the final step before canonization.

But in 2007 her canonization confronted a bump in the road, it having been disclosed that along with her various other contradictions Teresa was not a citadel of spiritual joy and unswerving faith. Her diaries, investigated by Catholic authorities in Calcutta, revealed that she had been racked with doubts: “I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist.” People think “my faith, my hope and my love are overflowing and that my intimacy with God and union with his will fill my heart. If only they knew,” she wrote, “Heaven means nothing.”

Through many tormented sleepless nights she shed thoughts like this: “I am told God loves me-and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.” Il Messeggero, Rome’s popular daily newspaper, commented: “The real Mother Teresa was one who for one year had visions and who for the next 50 had doubts—up until her death.”

Another example of fast-track sainthood, pushed by Pope John Paul II, occurred in 1992 when he swiftly beatified the reactionary Msgr. José María Escrivá de Balaguer, supporter of fascist regimes in Spain and elsewhere, and founder of Opus Dei, a powerful secretive ultra-conservative movement “feared by many as a sinister sect within the Catholic Church.” Escrivá’s beatification came only seventeen years after his death, a record run until Mother Teresa came along.

In accordance with his own political agenda, John Paul used a church institution, sainthood, to bestow special sanctity upon ultra-conservatives such as Escrivá and Teresa—and implicitly on all that they represented. Another of the ultra-conservatives whom John Paul made into a saint, bizarrely enough, was the last of the Hapsburg rulers of the Austro-Hungarian empire, Emperor Karl, who reigned during World War I.

John Paul also beatified Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, the leading Croatian cleric who welcomed the Nazi and fascist Ustashi takeover of Croatia during World War II. Stepinac sat in the Ustashi parliament, appeared at numerous public events with top ranking Nazis and Ustashi, and openly supported the Croatian fascist regime.

In John Paul’s celestial pantheon, reactionaries had a better chance at canonization than reformers. Consider his treatment of Archbishop Oscar Romero who spoke against the injustices and oppressions suffered by the impoverished populace of El Salvador and for this was assassinated by a right-wing death squad. John Paul never denounced the killing or its perpetrators, calling it only “tragic.” In fact, just weeks before Romero was murdered, high-ranking officials of the Arena party, the legal arm of the death squads, sent a well-received delegation to the Vatican to complain of Romero’s public statements on behalf of the poor.

Romero was thought by many poor Salvadorans to be something of a saint, but John Paul attempted to ban any discussion of his beatification for fifty years. Popular pressure from El Salvador caused the Vatican to cut the delay to twenty-five years. In either case, Romero was consigned to the slow track.

John Paul’s successor, Benedict XVI, waved the five-year waiting period in order to put John Paul II himself instantly on a super-fast track to canonization, running neck and neck with Teresa. As of 2005 there already were reports of possible miracles attributed to the recently departed Polish pontiff.

One such account was offered by Cardinal Francesco Marchisano. When lunching with John Paul, the cardinal indicated that because of an ailment he could not use his voice. The pope “caressed my throat, like a brother, like the father that he was. After that I did seven months of therapy, and I was able to speak again.” Marchisano thinks that the pontiff might have had a hand in his cure: “It could be,” he said. Un miracolo! Viva il papa!

Michael Parenti’s recent publications include: Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader (City Lights, 2007); Democracy for the Few, 8th ed. (Wadsworth, 2007); The Culture Struggle (Seven Stories, 2006). For further information visit his website:

Greg Bishop Lawyers Silence Konformist

Robalini's Note: After speaking to high-powered lawyers this week retained by Greg Bishop, alleged CIA disinformation agent, I regret to inform all Konformist readers that I am unfortunately unable to currently provide the evidence of his ties to the CIA until I retain counsel over the legal proceedings which are currently being launched against me. Hopefully, this matter will be taken care of soon. In the meantime, here is a piece from Adam Gorightly's wonderful blog on the story. Enjoy it before legal shenanigans force him to take it down as well...

Greg Bishop Outed on Untamed Dimensions
October 27, 2007

A truly great and courageous American citizen, Robert Sterling of “The Konformist”, appeared on my show today and revealed the shocking evidence he has uncovered which proves–beyond a shadow of a doubt–that Greg Bishop, author of “Project Beta”, is a CIA disinfomation agent. The interview can be listened to, in its entirety, at the following link:

I commend Mr Sterling for having the fortitude to step forward and blow the whistle on an individual I once considered a dear friend, but who it now has been revealed was pulling the wool over ALL of our eyes.

And although Mr Sterling is not one to toot is own horn, I want to publicly note that not only has he put his own life on the line by outing Bishop, but that he also oversees his own ministry, which helps wayward young women to get right with the lord, and set themselves upon the path of salvation. Below are just a few photos featuring Rev. Sterling with some of the women he has helped shepard back into good graces of our heavenly father.

Nobel Sees What Market-Fundamentalists Don’t

Published on Sunday, October 21, 2007 by the Sunday Gazette-Mail (Charleston, West Virginia)
Nobel Prize Sees What Market-Fundamentalists Don’t
by Rick Wilson

The reality-based community got a little boost recently with the announcement of the 2007 Nobel Prize in economics.

Three Americans, Eric Maskin, Roger Myerson and Leonid Hurwicz, shared the honor for their work in mechanism design theory, which studies under what conditions markets work well or don’t. Sneak preview: They do better with private than with public goods.

The very idea that markets are imperfect at some things may come as a shock - or even sacrilege -to true believers in the cult of the market god.

According to this cult, the market is like an all-wise and all-good but jealous god which becomes exceedingly wrathful when interfered with by things like coal mine or workplace safety laws, minimum wage protections, or taxes that pay for health, education or other services. Its ways are not our ways, nor are its thoughts our thoughts. And if it demands an occasional human sacrifice, we just have to deal with it.

In the real world, however, markets work better for some things than others. They are at their best when they distribute private goods in a situation which isn’t dominated by any one or few industries and where sellers and buyers have adequate information. They have problems in cases of monopolies or oligopolies, imperfectly informed consumers, or where exchanges create public costs and social problems.

As the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences put it, “Adam Smith’s classical metaphor of the invisible hand refers to how the market, under ideal conditions, ensures an efficient allocation of scarce resources. But in practice conditions are usually not ideal; for example, competition is not completely free, consumers are not perfectly informed and privately desirable production and consumption may generate social costs and benefits.”

Many transactions, according to the Academy, don’t take place in open markets but occur within firms, under special arrangements, or under the influence of political or other powerful interest groups. Think Halliburton or Blackwater.

Maskin, Hurwicz, and Myerson’s mechanism design theory studies what kinds of arrangements make for an optimal allocation of resources. Here’s the short version of a key finding: Markets work well with what economists call private goods, like refrigerators or cars, but not for public goods, such as a clean environment or public health.

According to Maskin in an article in, “There are some things we want that are never going to be attainable by markets,” he said in a telephone interview. “If we are going to get them at all we have to find alternative ways of delivering them. That’s where mechanism design comes in.”

A Reuters report on the prize noted, “Societies should not rely on market forces to protect the environment or provide quality health care for all citizens …”

In such cases, public investments and policies should promote and protect public goods.

None of this would have come as a surprise to Adam Smith, who wrote in 1776 that there was a need of government support for “public institutions and those public works, which, though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it therefore cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain.”

If some people want to worship the market god, that’s fine with me, as long as they don’t try to make it the state religion.

In reality, markets are goods, not gods. What we need to do is figure out how to let them do what they do well, while also protecting the very important things they don’t.

Wilson is director of the American Friends Service Committee WV Economic Justice Project and publishes The Goat Rope, a daily public affairs blog:

Philippine Ex-President Estrada Freed

Philippine Ex-President Estrada Freed

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Free for the first time in 6 1/2 years, ousted President Joseph Estrada thanked his successor for pardoning him and vowed Friday to stay out of "dirty politics" while dedicating the rest of his life to helping the poor.

The former action star's first hours of freedom played out live in national television like a scene from one of his old films, which won him legions of fans for his portrayals of underdog heroes.

Estrada's joyous release from house arrest was followed by a speech to thousands of cheering supporters in Manila's San Juan district, where he once served as mayor, then a bedside visit to his ailing 102-year-old mother and a dinner of his favorite foods. His wife said she was making rice cake and paella.

The question is: Will the man who won the biggest election landslide in Philippine history be able to avoid the temptation of being drafted back into politics by a disjointed opposition desperate for someone popular to rally around?

For a day at least, Estrada was happy to bask in adulation and follow the lead of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has shrugged off allegations of political opportunism and touted the pardon as a move toward reconciliation that was in the public's best interests.

"There is no substitute for freedom," the 70-year-old Estrada said before leaving his villa east of Manila, where he has spent most of his time in detention since his arrest three months after being forced out by the country's second "people power" revolt in January 2001.

Estrada was convicted last month on graft charges and given a life sentence. Arroyo pardoned him Thursday.

The pardon was greeted with a heavy dose of cynicism because of the timing — Arroyo is fighting a third impeachment attempt and calls for her resignation. State prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio said the pardon, especially so soon after the hard-fought conviction, amounted to a license to break the law.

Estrada, who has been one of Arroyo's chief critics over the past six years, sounded conciliatory for the first time since his ouster.

He thanked Arroyo, reiterated his wish to live the life of a "plain citizen" and, in a turnaround from previous attacks on the administration, urged his supporters to back Arroyo's programs to combat poverty and hunger.

"I am aware of the agonizing times and tough choices that Mrs. Arroyo has had to wade through before arriving at this executive decision," Estrada said.

Arroyo admitted that her decision was controversial, but said the pardon was aimed at ending "the single most significant cause of political noise and controversy" during her tumultuous time in office. She cited the pardons of former U.S. and South Korean presidents as precedents.

"In the end, we had to make a decision that was bound to please and displease, impress and confound, unite and divide," Arroyo said in a speech to businessmen.

Arroyo's spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, said the pardon restored Estrada's civil and political rights. However, a court ruling that confiscated Estrada's villa and more than $15.5 million in savings remained in effect.

More than 2,000 supporters, family and friends prepared a fiesta for Estrada's homecoming. Balloons and ribbons in orange — Estrada's campaign color — festooned the route of his lengthy motorcade, and he was mobbed as he got out of his vehicle.

While he admitted he made mistakes in office, Estrada denied corruption was among them. He claimed he twice turned down offers that he could avoid being charged if he left the country. Despite his conviction in court, he said he felt he had been acquitted by public opinion.

"I have no plan to rejoin dirty politics," he told the crowd chanting his name. "My remaining time will be offered in the service of our people."

Associated Press writers Oliver Teves, Teresa Cerojano, Jim Gomez and Hrvoje Hranjski contributed to this report.

FEMA Meets the Press. . . FEMA

FEMA Meets the Press, Which Happens to Be . . . FEMA
By Al Kamen
Friday, October 26, 2007; A19

FEMA has truly learned the lessons of Katrina. Even its handling of the media has improved dramatically. For example, as the California wildfires raged Tuesday, Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the deputy administrator, had a 1 p.m. news briefing.

Reporters were given only 15 minutes' notice of the briefing, making it unlikely many could show up at FEMA's Southwest D.C. offices.

They were given an 800 number to call in, though it was a "listen only" line, the notice said -- no questions. Parts of the briefing were carried live on Fox News (see the Fox News video of the news conference carried on the Think Progress Web site), MSNBC and other outlets.

Johnson stood behind a lectern and began with an overview before saying he would take a few questions. The first questions were about the "commodities" being shipped to Southern California and how officials are dealing with people who refuse to evacuate. He responded eloquently.

He was apparently quite familiar with the reporters -- in one case, he appears to say "Mike" and points to a reporter -- and was asked an oddly in-house question about "what it means to have an emergency declaration as opposed to a major disaster declaration" signed by the president. He once again explained smoothly.

FEMA press secretary Aaron Walker interrupted at one point to caution he'd allow just "two more questions." Later, he called for a "last question."

"Are you happy with FEMA's response so far?" a reporter asked. Another asked about "lessons learned from Katrina."

"I'm very happy with FEMA's response so far," Johnson said, hailing "a very smoothly, very efficiently performing team."

"And so I think what you're really seeing here is the benefit of experience, the benefit of good leadership and the benefit of good partnership," Johnson said, "none of which were present in Katrina." (Wasn't Michael Chertoff DHS chief then?) Very smooth, very professional. But something didn't seem right. The reporters were lobbing too many softballs. No one asked about trailers with formaldehyde for those made homeless by the fires. And the media seemed to be giving Johnson all day to wax on and on about FEMA's greatness.

Of course, that could be because the questions were asked by FEMA staffers playing reporters. We're told the questions were asked by Cindy Taylor, FEMA's deputy director of external affairs, and by "Mike" Widomski, the deputy director of public affairs. Director of External Affairs John "Pat" Philbin asked a question, and another came, we understand, from someone who sounds like press aide Ali Kirin.

Asked about this, Widomski said: "We had been getting mobbed with phone calls from reporters, and this was thrown together at the last minute."

But the staff did not make up the questions, he said, and Johnson did not know what was going to be asked. "We pulled questions from those we had been getting from reporters earlier in the day." Despite the very short notice, "we were expecting the press to come," he said, but they didn't. So the staff played reporters for what on TV looked just like the real thing.

"If the worst thing that happens to me in this disaster is that we had staff in the chairs to ask questions that reporters had been asking all day, Widomski said, "trust me, I'll be happy."

Heck of a job, Harvey.

Wilson released after two years behind bars

Wilson released after two years behind bars for teen sex conviction

Story Highlights
Genarlow Wilson leaves prison
Georgia high court in 4-3 ruling found sentence cruel and unusual punishment
Wilson's 10-year sentence already had been reduced by a lower court
Case compelled a change in Georgia law

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Genarlow Wilson was released from prison Friday, after spending more than two years behind bars for a teen sex conviction.

"At times I dealt with adversity ... my family and myself, we finally get to deal with happiness now," Wilson said, with his mother and sister at his side.

The Georgia Supreme Court earlier Friday ordered that he be released, ruling 4-3 that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment.

Wilson, 21, was convicted in 2005 of having oral sex with a consenting 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

Wilson said he first heard about the possibility he'd be freed Friday when someone told him word was out on the radio.

"I'd seen it coming, but I didn't exactly know when," he said. "I'd just stopped trying to figure the courts out and stopped trying to put a date on it."

Wilson said he was looking forward to spending time with his family and plans to enroll in college to study sociology.

"You will not be disappointed," he told his supporters. "I plan on succeeding in life."

Wilson also said he doesn't regret rejecting a plea offer that could have freed him from prison months ago -- but would have required him to register as a sex offender.

"I'm glad I stayed down for my cause," he said. "I accepted the situation that I got myself into, but I never accepted that label."

Wilson's attorney, B.J. Bernstein, said earlier Friday she was working to gain his quick release.

She said Wilson's mother, Juannessa Bennett, was "overjoyed" at the court's decision.

A spokesman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker said there will be no further appeals.

Friday's decision came after a protracted legal battle that has galvanized international attention and drawn the involvement of civil rights leaders. Partly as a result of Wilson's conviction, state legislators changed the law to make such consensual conduct between minors a misdemeanor, rather than a felony.

"The release of Genarlow Wilson by the Georgia Supreme Court is a significant victory in redressing the reckless and biased behavior of the criminal justice system that now operates in many states across the union," the Rev. Al Sharpton said.

"The bad news is that his young life was so unfairly interrupted with time that no state court can recover for him," Sharpton added. "This is why the Justice Department and federal government must review state courts that willfully and almost without pause violate the civil rights of people, particularly young black men around this country."

Wilson was an honor student, a football star and his high school's homecoming king before his conviction.

At the time of Wilson's conviction, Georgia law made the crime punishable by 10 years in prison. Changes in the law made such conduct "punishable by no more than a year in prison and no sex offender registration," the Georgia high court noted.

But those changes were not made retroactive, so they did not apply to Wilson.

The high court upheld the decision of a Monroe County judge. In a 48-page opinion, the court said the "severe" punishment Wilson received and his mandated sex offender registration make "no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment."

The case revolves around a 2003 New Year's Eve party outside Atlanta when Wilson engaged in the sex act with the girl.

Under the now-changed Georgia law, Wilson was convicted of felony aggravated child molestation. He was acquitted on a second charge of raping a 17-year-old girl -- who prosecutors maintained was too intoxicated at the party to consent.

The 10-year sentence was mandatory under the law.

In the decision, Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote that changes in the law "represent a seismic shift in the legislature's view of the gravity of oral sex between two willing teenage participants."

"Although society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity, we must acknowledge that Wilson's crime does not rise to the level of culpability of adults who prey on children," the court's majority found.

"For the law to punish Wilson as it would an adult, with the extraordinarily harsh punishment of 10 years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to his crime," the majority opinion concluded.

The dissent noted that the Georgia Legislature had made clear that the changes in the law were not to be applied retroactively.

Writing for the dissenting justices, Justice George Carley said, "The General Assembly made the express decision that he cannot benefit from the subsequent legislative determination to reduce the sentence for commission of that crime from felony to misdemeanor status."

The majority countered that it was not applying the 2006 amendment retroactively, but instead factoring that "into its determination that Wilson's punishment is cruel and unusual," the court said in a news release.

The court said this kind of decision is unusual: "The majority opinion points out that this court rarely overturns a sentence on cruel and unusual grounds. But twice before, it did so following a legislative change."

The Monroe County Superior Court judge also ruled that Wilson's punishment was cruel and unusual and voided it on constitutional grounds.

The judge reduced the sentence to one year and said Wilson should not be put on Georgia's sex offender registry, as the old law required.

Wilson's jubilant attorneys had hoped that ruling would free him from state prison. But shortly after it was handed down, Georgia's attorney general announced he would appeal that decision, a move that kept Wilson behind bars.

The Georgia high court said unanimously that the decision to deny Wilson bail was correct.

Wilson's plight drew pleas for his release, including from former President Carter, himself an ex-Georgia governor, and even some jurors who convicted him.

Legislation that would make the change in Georgia's child molestation law retroactive to free Wilson failed to win approval earlier this year.

CNN's Mary Lynn Ryan contributed to this report.

Probe Finds Taser Use on Student Was OK

Orwellian Double-Speak Quote of the Week:

"Our purpose is, and has always been, to ensure a civil and safe environment where the many types of campus activities and open discourse can occur."

Probe Finds Taser Use on Student Was OK

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — University of Florida police were justified in using a Taser against a student who refused to stop questioning Sen. John Kerry on campus last month, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.

Some had questioned the use of force in using the stun gun against Andrew Meyer, leading to the investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. A summary of the agency's report was released Wednesday.

"In short, the FDLE determined that our officers acted well within state guidelines," university President Bernie Machen said in a letter to students, faculty and staff members.

Two officers who were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation were reinstated Wednesday, Machen said.

Rob Griscti, Meyer's attorney, said he couldn't comment on the report with a criminal case still pending. He said he'd respond after examining the report.

Meyer, a journalism major, is known for posting practical jokes on his Web site, but Griscti said his client's questions for Kerry were serious.

"He raised questions about voter disenfranchisement and other matters about American voting rights, which cut to the heart of our Democracy," Griscti said in a written statement. "These questions deserve the media's attention and full public discourse."

The scuffle between Meyer and police started during the Sept. 17 speech by Kerry when Meyer refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up, police said. The videotaped altercation and Meyer's cries of "Don't Tase me bro!" were played frequently on the Internet.

The report says the officers' intent was to escort Meyer from the auditorium, but he broke away and refused to follow the officers' instructions.

"Officers decide not to escalate to hard empty hand strikes, kicks, knees or baton ... (it) would have looked like the officers were beating Meyer into submission," the report said.

The report, which has Meyer's name and that of other students blacked out, said the officers did what was necessary to control the student.

"Our purpose is, and has always been, to ensure a civil and safe environment where the many types of campus activities and open discourse can occur," said Police Chief Linda Stump.

Meyer has been charged by police for resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, but the State Attorney's Office has not yet decided whether to file formal charges.

Spencer Mann, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said the decision may be made some time next week.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ace Hoffman of SoCal Fires

October 25th, 2007

Dear Readers,

It's been four days since the fires started. Almost 750 square miles have burned this week in Southern California.

Almost all major roads are open today -- perhaps I should leave. But even in Phoenix, Arizona, nearly 400 miles away, the air quality is only "Moderate" right now.

The television news reporters can't remember what day it is any better than I can. And I learned something I didn't know about San Onofre Nuclear (Waste) Generating Station: It's already completely shut down for extended repairs.

My house is still closed up and the air cleaners are still running. The air is toxic throughout SoCal -- it's officially "unhealthy." There have been warnings on many different news stations to try to stay indoors.

The air in Los Angeles, 100 miles to the North, is even worse. Despite warnings, for the first time in four days I'm hearing, as I write this, children playing outside in the late afternoon sun. It must be so hard for them to have to stay in!

But the air is particularly toxic for children, because of the biological half-life of some of the chemicals everyone is breathing. HEPA filters remove approximately 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger -- but there are TRILLIONS of particles in each cubic liter of air space. Even though HEPA technology was specifically designed (in the 1950s) for removing radioactive particles from nuclear research labs, HEPA filters are only partially effective. Particles smaller than about 0.3 microns go right through. That's one reason why things like radioactive Argon, Krypton, and Xenon are so dangerous -- because these are in the environment as individual atoms -- not as a large particle of dust, or even as molecules. You can't filter them out. If an accident occurs at a nuclear power plant, face masks and HEPA house filters will be virtually useless.

We opened a window for a few minutes today. I was planning to bring in a new house-full of air by putting the air cleaner right up to the window and drawing all the air directly through the filter, but it smelled just terrible out there. I'll bet a lot of the people who are outside in this can't tell when the smoke is gone, because when it goes down by half, they already think it's practically gone. And I'm sure I'm the only one in my apartment complex, out of 40 apartments, who has blocked off the doors with wet towels.

My inside air is polluted, of course, with plastics, artificial fabrics, electronic equipment and dust. I make sure to turn off the computer when I'm not using it. I leave at least one television on. I put new filters in two of the air cleaners on Tuesday, and plan to replace all the filters again next week. Most of the filters have color codes to compare a dirty one to a clean one, but I can't trust the codes because they assume dust will be one color and size and mixture, and it tends to be much lighter in color (and, I suspect, smaller) here. That means the filters get clogged before they match the color chart. I wonder if the same thing is happening at San Onofre? They might be venting radioactive waste during these wildfires! Yes, even while closed for repairs. Some of their fuel is extremely "hot" and if a fuel-movement operation is done poorly, we could have a radiological catastrophe piled on top of our wildfire-smoke catastrophe. Plus, some of their filters might be clogged with soot and ash right now, and are being bypassed or are simply ineffective. They wouldn't necessarily know, they wouldn't necessarily care, and they certainly wouldn't tell us.

We haven't lost power, but power lines, and a helicopter that was inspecting power lines, have both gone down. Nobody was hurt when the chopper went down, so it presumably was able to autorotate after an engine failure. The downing of power lines is still considered the cause of the first fire (the Witch Fire). Power lines can be placed underground, but then they are more likely to break in earthquakes and harder to repair if they do. Shorter runs between towers are less likely to snap, so the more frequent the towers, the better their resistance to earthquakes OR high winds. The taller the towers, the better their fire resistance, if the base is protected by a proper firebreak.

Almost half of the nearly 80 people reported injured so far are firefighters. A couple was found burned in their home, and four people were found burned to death in a camp that houses immigrant workers. That brings the official death toll in SoCal directly caused by the wildfires to seven.

This WILL happen again. Arsonists have promised it. High-wire transmission cables running through dry scrub brush and chaparral that isn't going to get any water any time soon have promised it. Global Warming (known as "Global Climate Change" to those who think it's just a reversible trend) IS happening. The brush and chaparral will grow like crazy during the "good" years. After growing wildly during a wet year, then, during the dry years, it drys out. Then, after a few dry years, during a Santa Ana, the arsonists will come out, and the power lines will come down.

According to Fox News, the ongoing wildfires have already released 90,000,000 tons of greenhouse gases into the earth's atmosphere, equivalent, they say, to three months of emissions from California's vehicles. Satellite images show the smoke going more than 800 miles out to sea. Then the smoke will be blown back towards us over and over for days.

Because the smoke particles are so small, many of them will spread globally. The 1600 homes and 1000 other buildings destroyed were filled with plastics and heavy metals (computers, for example, use a lot of these) so the global assault is much more toxic than "just" firewood, although there is a lot of that, too, being deposited in the air.

The reason both reactors at San Onofre are down right now is that they are undergoing costly and long-term remodeling so they can operate for two more decades. The big repair operation has started, but most of the money has yet to be spent.


It could save trillions of dollars later. That's Trillions, with a T.

Shutting San Onofre will hardly cost California a thing. Since the project was a crime to begin with, the builders and operators should pay. The federal, state, and local officials who approved these things should be brought to trial for crimes against humanity -- like a Nuremberg Trial. How much did they know and how much did they just let slip by, without thinking?

The nuclear workers should be re-employed as renewable energy designers and builders, and they should NOT be allowed to make any more nuclear waste ever again.

Billions would be saved by an IMMEDIATE stoppage of all "repair" work at San Onofre. They call it "enhancements," "improvements," even "uprating" and "extending," but 99% of the work is the repair and replacement of worn-out parts. Tons -- literally TONS -- of pages of their manuals have to be replaced, each one by hand. (I wonder what the error rate is, and how long before the average missing or misplaced page is needed.) They are replacing steam generators, motors, pipes, pumps, valves, controls for valves, cables for the controls for the valves, holding tanks, surge protectors, and even a few light-switches.

I received an email from Australia regarding yesterday's newsletter. One of my subscribers there found the essay on a local (Australia) news media web site. I also heard from India, asking if we had a word like "Genpatsu-Shinsai" (the Japanese word which describes a meltdown during an earthquake) for a meltdown during ANY ongoing disaster: Wildfires like today, tsunamis, earthquakes, asteroids from space, terrorism, human stupidity, human error, poor design, poor construction -- whatever.

Yes, we have such a word. It's: "INEVITABLE." A meltdown is INEVITABLE if we keep running along the edge of disaster. It will happen, one way or another, sooner or later.

If we keep San Onofre open, a meltdown becomes inevitable over time. If we close San Onofre, a catastrophic accident is STILL possible, but MUCH less likely.

The cut in the number of employees would guarantee that fewer NUT-CASES will find their way into the plant. The employees would have vastly less ACCESS to "things which can cause the plant to fail" such as Control Rooms or red-hot reactors with half a million gallons of water racing through their primary and secondary coolant loops each minute, and 20 billion gallons per day going through the open-loop tertiary system. A failure at ANY of these phases can quickly lead to a nuclear disaster -- without time to evacuate. By shutting the plant down, the three main coolant loops, and thousands of other "choke-points," will be rendered irrelevant, and even when there is an accident, it is more likely to develop slowly so, people have time to escape.

San Onofre's owners have committed fraud for year after year. Yesterday they got the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to claim that San Onofre was safe during the Horno fire -- which continues to burn, but fortunately, winds have tended to be light and AWAY from the plant. As of a few hours ago, the Horno fire was about 40% "contained" and had burned 17,000 acres, and according to the Reuters article shown below was always "miles" from the nuclear reactor facility. They include administrative buildings on the East side of I-5 in the report shown below, to make it sound like the reactor has a lot of developed land between it and the flaming embers. But those embers can get picked up tornado-fashion and then be deposited in a "rain of fire" (the phrase was used by a witness to a sudden flair-up recently) on San Onofre. Thousands of clumps of red-hot embers could engulf the reactor grounds IN SECONDS, and the reactor ONLY has the STANDARD fire crew on-hand -- everyone else is "on call" but the plant would need WALL TO WALL FIRE TRUCKS to protect against a fire-storm's assault. And don't forget that fire trucks catch fire sometimes, too, and if one is burning, the one next to it can catch fire too, especially when the fuel tanks explode.

So really, despite any claim to the contrary by Mr. Dricks (who is a paid proponent of nuclear power, not a fire expert), San Onofre was -- and still is -- in grave danger.


We don't need it. We're not even using it in our hour of need -- because just when it's supposedly needed -- during some other disaster -- they had yet another "planned" shutdown! This fire season was as predictable as dirt.

Dictator Bush came to San Diego for a photo-op today. The press announces that absolutely no fire aircraft will by rerouted or inconvenienced by the visit. But it turns out not to be true. One intrepid reporter points out that fire crews had to drag "a thousand feet of hose" straight up the side of a rugged mountain (which means: No escape if the winds suddenly change) specifically because water drop helicopters could not encroach on the President's personal air space (aka "exclusion zone").

When the dictator's 747 took off, it raised a huge cloud of toxic particulate matter. The stuff we're all supposed to mist down and scrape up.

Next week, a hundred thousand yard workers will raise an even bigger cloud with leaf-blowers, brooms, etc., despite repeated admonitions not to disrupt the dust that way.

One wonders how many Curies of radioactive particles San Onofre has deposited on the hills of San Diego during the 35 years it's been operating -- millions and millions.

What was not deposited in people's lungs the first time it drifted away from the plant has been given a second chance to get into our bodies.

Like the debris from a nuclear power plant, debris from nuclear bombs can ALSO get through ANY filter -- such as the bombs King George is threatening Iran with (and Iran is frantically trying to build, so they can threaten us back). Dust from Depleted Uranium weapons gets past HEPA filters too, and even though the particles are "heavy metals" they are light enough to get lofted miles into the air, and then be transported all over the planet.

Because uranium, plutonium, thorium, and most other radioactive elements are extremely reactive (corrosive), radioactive particles contribute to global warming in numerous ways, in addition to the fossil fuels used in the "nuclear fuel cycle" to fabricate parts, extract the uranium, transport materials, and so on.

It's time for a change. Our lives are at stake.


Ace Hoffman
Breathing particulate matter in:
Carlsbad, CA
Dricks' tricks won't fix SONGS' wrongs:
SUBJECT: California nuclear reactors not in fire danger:
Wed Oct 24, 2007 7:19pm EDT
By Bernie Woodall

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Southern California wildfires moved closer on Wednesday to two nuclear reactors at the giant San Onofre electrical plant in San Diego County, but were not seen threatening operations, officials said.

"The fire does not pose a threat to the plant itself," said Gil Alexander, spokesman for Southern California Edison. Separately, officials from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission confirmed Alexander's assessment.

The fires raging in northern San Diego County on a U.S. Marine base were about a mile from the inland edge of the San Onofre complex but were still several miles from the reactors.

But even if flames approach the reactors, there is little danger a blaze will reach them because they are surrounded by acres of concrete, officials said.

"There might be a little brush but there is not much fuel for a fire," said NRC spokesman Victor Dricks. "There aren't many trees in the area."

SCE's San Onofre fire department, as well as the fire department from the Camp Pendleton Marine base, "conducted a controlled burn Wednesday to reduce fuel on the inland side of Interstate 5, should the fire reach that point. It is still a mile or more on the other side of a hill," said Alexander.

The San Onofre nuclear reactors are situated between Interstate 5 and the Pacific Ocean.

Wildfires have burned more than 1,000 homes in San Diego County, prompting the largest evacuations in state history and causing damages that are expected to surpass $1 billion.

Neither San Onofre reactor is currently operating due to maintenance work that began before the fires sparked on Sunday. Maintenance continued Wednesday and would not change the plant's schedule for returning to production, Alexander said.


The fire is less a threat to the plant than it is to massive power transmission lines that run to and from it, said the NRC's Dricks.

Nuclear power plants need electricity from outside to run essential safety systems and operate huge pumps that move hundreds of thousands of gallons of water used to cool the reactor even when its not operating, said Dricks.

If power lines to San Onofre cease operation -- an event that was not expected on Wednesday -- backup generators are on site that can run the cooling water pumps.

Transmission lines to San Diego Gas & Electric's service area, which lies mainly to the south of the plant, were out of service Wednesday. Lines to the north and into SCE service area are working and not in danger from fires, Alexander said.

The two reactors at San Onofre can generate about 2,250 megawatts of power, enough to serve about 1.4 million homes.

San Diego Gas & Electric, which owns 20 percent of San Onofre and therefore owns 20 percent of the power generated there, had not returned phone calls Wednesday to determine whether the lines from San Onofre to its service area to the south of the plant were working.

SDG&E is owned by San Diego-based Sempra Energy. Southern California Edison is owned by Edison International, based in Rosemead in suburban Los Angeles.

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

Contact information for "Ace""
** Russell "Ace" Hoffman, Owner & Chief Programmer
** P.O. Box 1936, Carlsbad CA 92018-1936
** (800) 551-2726 (U.S. & Canada)
** (760) 720-7261 (elsewhere)

Gay wizards, hobbits and angels: a celebration

Gay wizards, hobbits and angels: a celebration
Philip Hensher
October 23, 2007

Headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay all along, says Rowling

Jane Austen amused herself by telling favoured correspondents about the ultimate fate of her characters, and other things she hadn't managed to put in her novels (Mary Bennett had to settle for a curate in the end). JK Rowling, perhaps rather demob-happy after finishing her Harry Potter series, dropped a bombshell on an American audience last week. Albus Dumbledore, her kindly headmaster, was gay all along.

This had the air of a terrific public tease, but it looked, as jaws hit the floor, as if she was entirely serious. He had, she continued airily, never quite got over a youthful passion for a dark wizard called Grindelwald.

Quite how this will play with Rowling's readership in middle America remains to be seen. There was never going to be much mileage in their previous favoured objection - to books that celebrated magic and the occult without ever mentioning Christianity. The idea that, all along, they were talking about a boarding school presided over by a gay man might prove much more alarming. This is not some obscure Danish book called Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin, but one where millions of children feel thoroughly at home.

And yet it shouldn't be as surprising as all that. Rowling has been conspicuously liberal in other ways - Hogwarts, for instance, is a pointedly multi-cultural place, with Harry's Asian girlfriend Cho and other students called Patel. The villains of the piece have a decidedly rightwing slant, obsessed with racial purity and with keeping out "mudbloods", or wizards of muggle (non-wizard) parentage.

Other children's writers have started to include gay characters, much more explicitly than Rowling did. There are a pair of angels in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials who are clearly as gay a couple as angels are ever going to be. But is it even a new tendency, or is it just making clear what was always there in a subliminal way? Bilbo Baggins, with his domestic fussiness, his favourite nephew Frodo and constant bitching about his cousin Lobelia seems a strong candidate.

Rowling makes a good point. There have always been gay teachers and headmasters of great distinction and eminence, such as the founder of Stowe, JF Roxburghe. She has chosen a good moment to mention this detail, when the books have all been read and enjoyed. Reactionaries can easily argue against gay teachers in the abstract. But the kids won't listen. They know that Dumbledore, at least, is all right.

Rowling Outs Dumbledore

Rowling Outs Dumbledore, and Fans Can’t Get Enough
Article Date: 10/24/2007
By Ross von Metzke

You’ve probably already heard the one about Albus Dumbledore being a friend of Dorothy—the Associated Press, The New York Times… even CNN featured the headline on its tickertape, right behind an update of the California fires.

So why is an innocent announcement by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling that her 150 some odd year-old wizard is gay such a headline grabber? At the same talk, Rowling revealed that Harry Potter grows up to be an auror with the Ministry of Magic, what conflicted Aunt Petunia says to Harry after their final meeting, what becomes of Hermione. But Rowling’s off-handed revelation that Dumbledore is gay during a Q&A at Carnegie Hall was the only announcement met with near-unanimous applause.

Rowling dropped her bombshell when a fan asked if Potter’s powerful mentor, long a proponent of the power of true love, had ever indeed been in love himself. The author’s response? "My truthful answer to you—I always thought of Dumbledore as gay," going on to detail an intense affection Albus had as a young man for talented wand-wielder Gellert Grindelwald. She said Albus’ affection blinded him to Grindelwald’s faults, as it does for so many mere muggles, leaving him shattered when Grindewald turned out to be evil.

She went on to say that at a script read for the sixth book, she had the screenwriter ax a line which referred to Dumbledore’s intense affection for a young woman. Rowling said she slipped the screenwriter a note reading, “Dumbledore’s gay”.

And yet, for all the intense devotion and connection fans have for Rowling’s characters, the author fielded hardly a peep of complaint. In fact, fans cheered the announcement, one 9-year-old fan saying it explained the sister-like feeling she’d always confused for love that Dumbledore directed at professor Minerva McGonagall.

The question is, why? Is it a sign that younger generations are growing up in a world where an announcement like that is no longer seen as a shock? Possible, though the current administration would have you believe otherwise. Is it that hundreds of fans everywhere had already picked up on Rowling’s numerous clues that Dumbledore might just play for our team (comments of Dumbledore and Grindewald taking to each other at once, trading letters and, in one description, Dumbledore responding with near euphoria to a visit from the wand-wielder)?

Or is it simply a testament to Rowling’s works? In Rowling’s world, issues of bigotry, discrimination and intolerance are commonly discussed. Her stories are filled with a veritable painter’s palate of races and cultures. Discussion of degrees of beauty and class distinction fuel her narrative—Rowling has always been very forthright about the discrimination of the wizard world by Muggles, a subject civil rights activists have used to illustrate their own struggles.

In truth, had a member of Rowling’s world not been gay, it would have been a gross omission.

It’s just goes to show how much power Rowling’s truths hold that audiences would respond with such overwhelming support. Lance Bass coming out on the cover of People Magazine and Neil Patrick Harris declaring that he’s a proud, openly gay man while starring on a hit sitcom opened the world’s eyes to the fact that the gays are indeed among them, but Rowling is to the literary world what Oprah Winfrey is to television. Fans of Rowling’s Potter listen to every word she says… she’s the expert on all things Potter, after all, and to fans, what she says goes. If she insists Dumbledore’s being gay and the heartache that came from that were an essential part of his being the right mentor for Potter, well—you’d better believe fans are listening and, more importantly, accepting.

"I know that it was a positive thing that I said it, for at least one person, because one man 'came out' at Carnegie Hall," Rowling told a news conference Tuesday at the International Festival of Authors, according to the Canadian Press. "I'm not kidding."

In fact, Rowling said she knew Dumbledore was gay even before the first book was published, something that, she says, fueled his relationships with several characters throughout the series. The reason she held on to the information for so long, she says, is because his rather tragic infatuation with Grindewald was a key element in ending the book, and “why would I put the key part of my ending of my story in book one"?

Rowling said she answered a direct question with a direct answer, telling the Associated Press she found it "freeing" to out Dumbledore because she often "felt like a salmon swimming upstream" while writing the books.

The gay media found it freeing as well. No sooner did Rowling’s announcement hit the press than gay media watchdog GLAAD issued a statement. In it, GLAAD President Neil Giuliano said, "It's wonderful that J.K. Rowling would help open readers eyes to the life and truth of such a beloved character. Rowling's decision to allow readers to see Dumbledore for all of who he is—and her determination to preserve the authenticity of his character in the films—will enrich the power of these stories for generations to come."

As to the legions of fans and bloggers who have been questioning Dumbledore’s sexuality since book one, Rowling laughs, according to E! Online, saying, “just imagine the fan fiction now”.

Seven clues that 'Potter's' Dumbledore was gay,1,4293482.story?coll=la-headlines-entnews&track=crosspromo

Seven clues that 'Potter's' Dumbledore was gay
"Albus Dumbledore" is an anagram of "Male bods rule, bud!"
By Deborah Netburn
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 23, 2007

The Potter-verse was thrown for a loop when author J.K. Rowling announced she had always imagined one of the main characters in the "Harry Potter" series -- Albus Dumbledore -- to be gay.

Even the most diligent "Harry Potter" scholars found themselves caught unaware. But could anyone have seen this coming? Did Rowling leave any clues in the book?

To find out we called Andrew Slack, head of the Harry Potter Alliance, an organization that uses online organizing to mobilize more than 100,000 Harry Potter fans around social justice issues, drawing on parallels from the book. Slack is incredibly fluent in "Potter" textual analysis, and we knew that if anyone could predict Rowling's curveball, it would be him.

Speaking from his home in Boston, Slack said he hadn't guessed that Dumbledore was gay, but in hindsight, he was able to point to specific character traits of the Hogwarts headmaster that might have indicated his sexual orientation.

Below he tells us seven textual clues that Dumbledore was gay.

1. His pet. "Fawkes, the many-colored phoenix, is 'flaming.'"

2. His name. "While the anagram to 'Tom Marvolo Riddle' is 'I am Lord Voldemort,' as my good friend pointed out, 'Albus Dumbledore' becomes 'Male bods rule, bud!'"

3. His fashion sense. "Whether it's his 'purple cloak and high-heeled boots,' a 'flamboyantly cut suit of plum velvet,' a flowered bonnet at Christmas or his fascination with knitting patterns, Dumbledore defies the fashion standards of normative masculinity and, of course, this gives him a flair like no other. It's no wonder that even the uppity portrait of former headmaster Phineas Nigellus announced, 'You cannot deny he's got style.'"

4. His sensitivity. "Leaders like Cornelius Fudge, Rufus Scrimgeour and Dolores Umbridge (yes, even a woman) who are limited by the standards of normative masculinity could not fully embrace where Voldemort was weakest: in his capacity to love. Dumbledore understood that it's tougher to be vulnerable, to express one's feelings, and that one's undying love for friends and for life itself is a more powerful weapon than fear. Even his most selfish moments in pursuing the Deathly Hallows were motivated either by his feelings for Grindelwald or his wish to apologize to his late sister."

5. His openness. "After she outed Dumbledore, Rowling said that she viewed the whole series as a prolonged treatise on tolerance. Dumbledore is the personification of this. Like the LGBT community that has time and again used its own oppression to fight for the equality of others, Dumbledore was a champion for the rights of werewolves, giants, house elves, muggle-borns, centaurs, merpeople -- even alternative marriage. When it came time to decide whether the marriage between Lupin the werewolf and Tonks the full-blooded witch could be considered natural, Professor Minerva McGonagall said, 'Dumbledore would have been happier than anybody to think that there was a little more love in the world.'"

6. His historical parallel. "If Dumbledore were like any one in history, it would have to be Leonardo DaVinci. They both were considered eccentric geniuses ('He's a genius! Best wizard in the world! But he is a bit mad, yes'); both added a great deal to our body of knowledge (after all, Dumbledore did discover the 12 uses of dragon's blood!); both were solitary, both were considered warm, loving and incredibly calm; both dwelt in mysterious mystical realms; both spent a lot of time with their journals (Leonardo wrote his backwards while Dumbledore was constantly diving into his pensieve); both even had long hair! And, of course, a popular thought among many scholars is that the maestro Leonardo was gay."

7. The fact that so few of us realized he was gay. "No matter how many 'clues' I can put down that Dumbledore was gay, no matter how many millions of people have read these books again and again, Rowling surprised even the most die-hard fans with the announcement that Dumbledore was gay. And in the end, the fact that we never would have guessed is what makes Dumbledore being gay so real. So many times I have encountered friends who are gay that I never would have predicted. It has shown me that one's sexual orientation is not some obvious 'lifestyle choice,' it's a precious facet of our multi-faceted personalities. And in the end whatever the differences between our personalities are, it is time that our world heeds Dumbledore's advice: 'Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.' Today as I write this, I believe that it's time for our aims to be loyal to what the greatest wizard in the world would have wanted them to be: love."

Harry Potter and the Xanadu-loving Wizard

Harry Potter and the Xanadu-loving Wizard
Rowling outs Dumbledore.
by Phil Pirrello
October 22, 2007 - Not many Potter fans saw this coming, but that didn't stop author J.K. Rowling from outing Professor Albus Dumbledore over the weekend.

According to POPWATCH blog, while attending an event at New York City's Carnegie Hall, a child in the audience asked Rowling a question about Dumbledore's love life. "I always saw Dumbledore as gay," Rowling revealed. She later elaborated: "Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald.... Don't forget, falling in love can blind us. [He] was very drawn to this brilliant person. This was Dumbledore's tragedy."

How does Dumbledore's exit from the closet impact the feature films? According to Rowling, while attending a recent meeting for the sixth film in the Potter franchise, she noticed a line in the script which featured the wizard "waxing poetic" about a girl. Seeing that, Rowling passed a note to director David Yates to "correct the situation".

In related news: Following Dumbledore's coming out, He-Man's Orko is rumored to make his announcement later this week.

No Interest In Wizard Sleeves

No Interest In Wizard Sleeves
J.K. Rowling Explains Why Uncle Dumbledore Never Got Married

Just in case you forgot to check The Leaky Cauldron over the weekend, J.K. Rowling dropped a bomb before a crowd of young Potterites who had won an audience with the Harry Potter author at Carnegie Hall on Friday. was there:

Responding to a question from a child about Dumbledore's love life, Rowling hesitated and then revealed, "I always saw Dumbledore as gay." Filling in a few more details, she said, "Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald.... Don't forget, falling in love can blind us."

"[He] was very drawn to this brilliant person. This was Dumbledore's tragedy." She added that in a recent meeting about the sixth movie, she spied a line in the script where Dumbledore waxed poetic about a girl, so she was forced to scribble director David Yates a note to correct the situation.

Funny--we had always pegged perennial bachelor-bear Hagrid, forever doting over his pedigreed lapdragons, to be the secret Nimbus 2000-polisher of the Potter universe. Still, the official outing of not just any character, but the most wizened and respected of them all, is sure to be lauded by the open-minded fans of the series--particularly the ardent gay ones, themselves learning to manage their good-taste-having and disco-loving magical abilities in a drab, breeder-muggle world.

J.K. Rowling outs Dumbledore!

J.K. Rowling outs Dumbledore!
Oct 20, 2007, 10:20 AM by Tina Jordan

Categories: Books, Harry Potter

First things first: At last night's talk at New York City's Carnegie Hall — an event for thousands of young Harry Potter fans and their parents — J.K. Rowling outed the kindly headmaster.

Responding to a question from a child about Dumbledore's love life, Rowling hesitated and then revealed, "I always saw Dumbledore as gay." Filling in a few more details, she said, "Dumbledore fell in love with Grindelwald.... Don't forget, falling in love can blind us. [He] was very drawn to this brilliant person. This was Dumbledore's tragedy." She added that in a recent meeting about the sixth movie, she spied a line in the script where Dumbledore waxed poetic about a girl, so she was forced to scribble director David Yates a note to correct the situation.

So how did all those lucky kids get to sit in the baronial gilt and red velvet splendor of Carnegie Hall? First they won a sweepstakes event created by Rowling's publisher, Scholastic, and then they flew to New York from all over the country. As I waited in line in the unseasonal muggy New York heat to enter the famous concert hall, I chatted up the father and daughter in front of me. They'd just flown in from Nashville (what's more, their plane had been delayed, so they'd arrived at the concert hall with mere minutes to spare). As I canvassed more families, I found they'd come from all over the country — from as far away as Arizona, Washington, Minnesota, and Texas (it was rumored some came from Hawaii, but I didn't verify that).

When the line, snaking around the block, began moving at 6:30, it moved fast. By 7:00 everyone was seated, the red-jacketed ushers were shushing and closing the box doors, and the event host, MSNBC news anchor Keith Olbermann, took the stage. But not center stage, which was dominated by an enormous, velvet-upholstered, carved wooden chair — a throne, really — planted on a Persian carpet. Gesturing to it, Olbermann joked, "That's not sufficient for someone who'll be signing that many copies" — a reference to the fact that, after the reading, Rowling would be signing a copy of Hallows for every single sweepstakes winner.

The crowd was polite to Olbermann, but when a smiling Rowling finally strode on stage, perfectly blonded and coiffed, fingernails shellacked to a brilliant red, stilettos clicking, they went absolutely mad, screaming, jumping to their feet, even crying. Gently, in true mom fashion, she shushed them, and began to read from the seventh book. She's a brilliant reader, funny and quick, doing all the voices with comic perfection — Ron was abashed and sullen; Hermione, squeaky with rage; Harry, exhausted with the effort to appease the two. (She even made herself giggle in places as she read.) When she finished the crowd rose to its feet again, even as she tried, in vain, to get them sit. "Don't make me cry!" she kept saying. Finally everyone did sit, and the question-and-answer session could begin. The lucky questioners had mostly been chosen in advance (though a few were plucked at random); at least one little girl — 8 years old — could barely reach the microphone.

Neville's love life? "He marries Hannah Abbott!" she announced as the crowd squealed its appreciation. (What's more, Hannah becomes proprietress of The Leaky Cauldron, so Neville becomes cool to his students.)

Why is it Molly Weasley who kills Bellatrix? One, "Molly is a very good witch," even though most people don't realize it. And two, "Bellatrix is as obsessed with Voldemort as Molly is consumed with maternal love." What was it like to finish book seven? "It felt like a bereavement." Were there intentional similarities between Voldemort and Hitler? Yes, there were. The books, she said, were "a plea for an end to hatred, to bigotry" as well as a lesson for kids "to question authority.... You should not assume the establishment tells you the truth." Did Hagrid ever find love? Alas, no (though that had something more to do with the rarity of giantesses than any personality defect on Hagrid's part). To one boy, who revealed his dad had read the series, but not his mom, she said, "If I've got time to write 'em, she's got time to read 'em!" As the crowd roared with laughter, she added, "Is your mom here? Who did you come with?" (Dad, not Mom.)

By 8:20 it was over — the talking part, anyway. Rowling, flexing her hands, announced she had to limber up in order to sign all the books, which were stacked in enormous piles next to the stage. Was she really going to do scrawl her distinctive signature that many times? Yes, she was — and the kids, who were now going to be within touching distance of her, became downright emotional.

As for me, a member of the press, I was shunted back out into the hot October night, where it had started to rain. "That was great!" shouted a reporter next to me. Yes, it was. Like those kids, I'll remember it for the rest of my life.

On the train ride home, as I mulled over the evening, I kept trying to figure out which my favorite book of the series was. Four? Seven? Five? I've got a great argument for each of those. But I just couldn't make up my mind. All of you out there — can any of you say what your favorite is?

Glenn Beck Flashback

Glenn Beck Flashback:

Glenn Beck called hurricane survivors in New Orleans "scumbags," said he "hates" 9-11 families


Nationally syndicated Clear Channel radio host Glenn Beck referred to survivors of Hurricane Katrina who remained in New Orleans as "scumbags." Also, after acknowledging that nobody "in their right mind is going to say this out loud," Beck attacked victims of the disaster in general and the families of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying: "I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims."

From the September 9 broadcast of The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: Let me be real honest with you. I don't think anybody on talk radio -- I don't think anybody in their right mind is going to say this out loud -- but I wonder if I'm the only one that feels this way. Yesterday, when I saw the ATM cards being handed out, the $2,000 ATM cards, and they were being handed out at the Astrodome. And they actually had to close the Astrodome and seal it off for a while because there was a near-riot trying to get to these ATM cards. My first thought was, it's not like they're going to run out of the $2,000 ATM cards. You can wait! You know, stand in line. Maybe it's because I'm the kind of guy, when I go to a buffet, I either have to be first in line, or I'm the very last. Because I know there's going to be extra food, and I just won't stand in the line. I'll wait until all the suckers go get their food, and then I'll go get mine. Or if I'm really hungry, I hate to admit this -- and really, I don't even have to be really hungry. If I'm really being a pig, I will kind of, like, hang out around the buffet table before the line is -- you know, chat with people right around the table: "Oh, they just opened the line! Let's go!" And then you're first in line.

When you are rioting for these tickets, or these ATM cards, the second thing that came to mind was -- and this is horrible to say, and I wonder if I'm alone in this -- you know it took me about a year to start hating the 9-11 victims' families? Took me about a year. And I had such compassion for them, and I really wanted to help them, and I was behind, you know, "Let's give them money, let's get this started." All of this stuff. And I really didn't -- of the 3,000 victims' families, I don't hate all of them. Probably about 10 of them. And when I see a 9-11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, "Oh shut up!" I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining. And we did our best for them. And, again, it's only about 10.

But the second thought I had when I saw these people and they had to shut down the Astrodome and lock it down, I thought: I didn't think I could hate victims faster than the 9-11 victims. These guys -- you know it's really sad. We're not hearing anything about Mississippi. We're not hearing anything about Alabama. We're hearing about the victims in New Orleans. This is a 90,000-square-mile disaster site, New Orleans is 181 square miles. A hundred and -- 0.2 percent of the disaster area is New Orleans! And that's all we're hearing about, are the people in New Orleans. Those are the only ones we're seeing on television are the scumbags -- and again, it's not all the people in New Orleans. Most of the people in New Orleans got out! It's just a small percentage of those who were left in New Orleans, or who decided to stay in New Orleans, and they're getting all the attention. It's exactly like the 9-11 victims' families. There's about 10 of them that are spoiling it for everybody.

Beck's program is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks (owned by radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications) on more than 160 radio stations across the country to an estimated weekly audience of 3 million listeners.

— S.S.M.

Posted to the web on Friday September 9, 2005