Wikinews interviews Rocky De La Fuente, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Businessman Rocky De La Fuente took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

The 61-year-old De La Fuente resides in San Diego, California, grew up in Tijuana, and owns multiple businesses and properties throughout the world. Since getting his start in the automobile industry, De La Fuente has branched out into the banking and real estate markets. Despite not having held or sought political office previously, he has been involved in politics, serving as the first-ever Hispanic superdelegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.

De La Fuente entered the 2016 presidential race last October largely due to his dissatisfaction with Republican front-runner Donald Trump. He argues he is a more accomplished businessman than Trump, and attacks Trump as “a clown,” “a joke,” “dangerous,” and “in the same category as Hitler.” Nevertheless, De La Fuente’s business background begets comparisons with Trump. The Alaskan Midnight Sun blog described him as the Democrats’ “own Donald Trump.”

While receiving only minimal media coverage, he has campaigned actively, and according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing, loaned almost US$ 4 million of his own money to the campaign. He has qualified for 48 primary and caucus ballots, but has not yet obtained any delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Thus far, according to the count at The Green Papers, De La Fuente has received 35,406 votes, or 0.23% of the total votes cast. He leads among the many lesser-known candidates but trails both Senator Bernie Sanders who has received nearly 6.5 million votes and front-runner Hillary Clinton who has just shy of 9 million votes.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, De La Fuente discusses his personal background, his positions on political issues, his current campaign for president, and his political future.

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A Fence Company In St Paul Helps Property Owners Keep Animals Out Of Gardens

byAlma Abell

A Fence Company in St Paul can help property owners who need to secure their vegetable gardens against intruders. Those intruders aren’t of the human variety, but rather critters like squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons, and even deer. The neighbor’s dog might even have an ongoing craving for tomatoes. All these animals can be tenacious vegetable hounds, and only a fence will keep them out.

Even though St. Paul and the surrounding municipalities are urban, a wide variety of wildlife roams through the area and takes up residence there. The many lakes are appealing to these animals, and they can easily travel through green spaces and larger lots. Deer and other wild animals thrive in the kind of sprawling land and waterways that characterize the Twin Cities. Considering that many area residents even feed these critters intentionally, the problem has become remarkable.

People generally like to have gardens fenced with metal since that material holds up well against wildlife and pets and doesn’t create a visibly blocked-off portion of the property. A chain-link fence installed by a Fence Company in St Paul is a possibility, or a more decorative structure can be built. Chain-link fencing doesn’t have to look stark and cold, however. It’s available with coatings in various colors, and gardeners have the option of adding vines or shrubbery to brighten it up. Any garden-protecting fence in this region must be sturdy enough so deer or dogs won’t be able to knock it over. Deer, in particular, may be inclined to try this if they are hungry and having any trouble finding food. Fortunately for gardeners, that doesn’t tend to happen during the gardening season.

Fences, as installed by a contractor such as Dakota Unlimited, can even have a roof of the same material. Obviously, it’s essential not to block the sunshine, so a metal grid pattern is beneficial. This blocks animals that can jump from trees or easily climb a chain-link structure. It also keeps birds out. At the other end of the fence, the material can be installed far enough underground to prevent critters from tunneling underneath. Raccoons, possums, and chipmunks may be motivated to try this. Get a FREE Estimate today.

British teacher faces 40 lashes over teddy bear’s name

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A British teacher working in Sudan was arrested on Sunday after parents allegedly complained that she had insulted Islam by naming a teddy bear Muhammad. She faces a possible six months in prison, 40 lashes, or a fine.

Gillian Gibbons, 54, who had arrived at Khartoum’s Unity High School in August, polled the six and seven year old children in her class on what they should call the bear. Out of 8 names, including Abdullah and Hassan, the children overwhelmingly voted for Muhammad, by 20 votes to 3.

The bear was named back in September, as part of a teaching assignment. Each weekend a child would take it home, and write a diary of what they had done with the bear. These accounts were collected in a book with a picture of the teddy on the front, along with the message “My name is Muhammad”. The bear itself was not labeled or marked with the name.

On Sunday, November 25, as a group of angry men chanted threats, the police arrested Ms Gibbons at her lodgings in the School. The book has also been seized, and police want to question the bear’s 7 year old owner.

Since her arrest she has been moved from a local police station to Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department headquarters for interrogation. British consular officials were initially refused permission to see her, but were allowed to leave food and water. Colleagues from the school have however been able to visit, and consular access was eventually provided.

The British embassy in Khartoum has not been able to confirm whether the teacher has formally been charged.

Director Robert Boulos has closed the school until January for fear of reprisals. “This is a very sensitive issue,” he said.

He stressed that there was no deliberate insult: “This was a completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam.” Mr Boulos was also confident she would not face a jail sentence.

However, in an Arabic statement sent to More4 News last night, Unity High School announced that Mrs Gibbons’ employment with the school was being terminated with immediate effect:

“The administration of Unity High School would like to proffer an official apology to all students and their families and to all Muslims for what was an individual action, which does not represent the sentiments of the administration or the school.”

The Sudanese Media Centre, which is linked to the government, reports that that Ms Gibbons’ actions had “met with wide condemnation by guardians of the students”, but colleagues of Ms Gibbons claimed that no such complaints had been received by any of the children’s parents.

Sudan’s Justice Minister, Mohammed Ali Mardhi, ordered General Prosecutor Salaheddin Abu Zaid to take personal charge of the case.

If charged with insulting the Prophet Muhammad, regarded as blasphemy under Sudan’s Sharia law, Ms Gibbons faces 40 lashes or six month’s imprisonment – but the prosecutor has suggested that more serious charges could follow. He is continuing to question witnesses, and there are unconfirmed reports that blasphemy charges have already been brought, and that charges of sedition are being considered.

The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, expressed sorrow about what has happened to Ms Gibbons, and stated that contacts had been made with the Sudanese government and police to “clarify” the situation.

Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, called for the release of Ms Gibbons, stating: “I hope that the Foreign Office will do everything they can to calm the situation. I will be giving every assistance I can.”

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that Ms Gibbons should never have been arrested in the first place, and called on the Sudanese government to intervene in the case with a view to ensuring that she is released without delay.

In contrast to official statements within Sudan, the Sudanese Embassy in the UK has downplayed the whole affair, saying that the “minute” issue would soon be resolved.

Some commentators have suggested other contributing factors in this furore:

  • Britain’s criticism of the Sudanese government’s human rights record in Darfur may have angered the Sudanese authorities.
  • Teachers at the school have suggested that a colleague with a grudge against the school, rather than parents, might be the source for the complaints.
  • Bishop Ezekiel Kondo, chairman of the school council, suggested that the affair could be related to a tax dispute between the school and the Sudanese authorities.
  • Canadian radio commentators have suggested that the Jyllands-Posten Danish cartoon controversy in 2005 may have increased the Muslim sensitivity to this issue.
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UK’s BAA forced to sell three airports

Saturday, March 21, 2009

UK firm BAA Limited has been told by the Competition Commission that they must sell three of their airports within two years. Gatwick and Stansted airports, both serving London, England, and either Edinburgh International Airport or Glasgow International Airport in Scotland must be sold, in that order.

BAA, mostly owned by Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial, described the ruling as ‘flawed’. Despite challenging a preliminary ruling last year, BAA had also already begun the process to seek a buyer for Gatwick in 2008. Ferrovial, who will still have a London airport with Heathrow, has two months to appeal if they wish.

The two year deadline is an extension of the deadline given by the Commission in its previous ruling. Ferrovial, who bought BAA and their seven UK airports in 2006 for US$14 billion, complained that the ruling was impractical given the current recession.

Gatwick and Stansted must be sold to different buyers to ensure adequate competition between both airports and Heathrow. The decision has been praised by airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet.

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Bank of America declares 1.2 million account records “lost”

Monday, February 28, 2005

Charlotte, North Carolina — One of the biggest domestic banks in the United States, Bank of America, has admitted to losing computer tapes containing 1.2 million federal employee accounts, including the accounts of several U.S. senators, in a statement by the bank. According to the Pentagon, most of the accounts belong to staff and civilians in the Department of Defense. The bank said the tapes were lost in December 2004 as they were being transported to a data back-up centre by a commercial plane.

Currently, the U.S. Secret Service are looking in to the matter, a federal agency whose brief includes investigations of serious financial crime such as this. All parties concerned are worrying about possible identity theft as it contained valuable information such as bank account numbers, names and addresses.

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When To Get A Construction Permit In Hollywood, Fl

byAlma Abell

In the case of building, renovating or simply updating, it is better to be safe than sorry. Some homeowners take on the attitude that they can do whatever they want to with their property and if the city requires permits or inspections they can have them done if they are caught. Understanding that if you are indeed in violation of building on your property without the proper Construction Permit in Hollywood, FL you may be in deeper trouble than just paying a few fines.

In some cases, when a construction job has been completed without the proper documentation on file with the city or other governing boards, fines are the just the start of the homeowner’s problems. In some instances, if the permits were not obtained the site may be forced back to its original make-up before consideration of other jobs are taken. What’s worse, is that if there is a home loan on the property, the financial institution may find you in default of your mortgage.

Not to scare off a homeowner to maintaining or upgrading their home, but there are proper ways to getting a Construction Permit in Hollywood, FL so that everyone is protected. It does not take much to get a permit. There are a few steps and some costs involved but it is worth the planning to do it right the first time. If you wonder if your current job on the home requires a permit, it is better to ask. As a general rule any updating of the mechanical, building, electrical or construction of the home is being done a permit is required. What that means is that a simple job like window replacement requires a permit but painting or changing the wallpaper does not.

There is no need to worry in pulling a permit for your job site. If it is just a step that you are not comfortable with there are companies like Your Permit Solution that will handle the paperwork for you. Contractors, agents or homeowners are allowed to pull the permits as long as their is the appropriate documentation showing the job that is going to be done. Most permits can be applied for and received in one to two business days with obviously bigger, multi-permit jobs taking more time.

Sai Baba upsets Telangana activists

Sunday, February 18, 2007File:Sathyasaibaba.jpg

Indian spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba, 81, found himself embroiled in a political row after his recent remarks characterising the partition of the state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) as a “great sin”.

On a recent visit to Chennai he publicly spoke out against the proposed partition of India’s fourth largest state, calling such a move a “mahapapam” (great sin) and claimed that there was no demand from the people to bifurcate AP into Telangana and Andhra states.

The comments caused an outcry among pro-Telangana activists who angrily voiced their protests in street marches and attacks on the Sivam building, the Baba’s temple in Hyderabad, which was staffed by a few devotees. Shouting anti-Sai Baba slogans, the protestors pulled down a large picture of the holy man and trampled on it before taking it outside and setting it on fire. An effigy of the Baba was also reported to have been burnt, and twenty protestors were arrested following several police complaints.

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John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Vanderslice has recently learned to enjoy America again. The singer-songwriter, who National Public Radio called “one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today,” found it through an unlikely source: his French girlfriend. “For the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position…”

Since breaking off from San Francisco local legends, mk Ultra, Vanderslice has produced six critically-acclaimed albums. His most recent, Emerald City, was released July 24th. Titled after the nickname given to the American-occupied Green Zone in Baghdad, it chronicles a world on the verge of imminent collapse under the weight of its own paranoia and loneliness. David Shankbone recently went to the Bowery Ballroom and spoke with Vanderslice about music, photography, touring and what makes a depressed liberal angry.


DS: How is the tour going?

JV: Great! I was just on the Wiki page for Inland Empire, and there is a great synopsis on the film. What’s on there is the best thing I have read about that film. The tour has been great. The thing with touring: say you are on vacation…let’s say you are doing an intense vacation. I went to Thailand alone, and there’s a part of you that just wants to go home. I don’t know what it is. I like to be home, but on tour there is a free floating anxiety that says: Go Home. Go Home.

DS: Anywhere, or just outside of the country?

JV: Anywhere. I want to be home in San Francisco, and I really do love being on tour, but there is almost like a homing beacon inside of me that is beeping and it creates a certain amount of anxiety.

DS: I can relate: You and I have moved around a lot, and we have a lot in common. Pranks, for one. David Bowie is another.

JV: Yeah, I saw that you like David Bowie on your MySpace.

DS: When I was in college I listened to him nonstop. Do you have a favorite album of his?

JV: I loved all the things from early to late seventies. Hunky Dory to Low to “Heroes” to Lodger. Low changed my life. The second I got was Hunky Dory, and the third was Diamond Dogs, which is a very underrated album. Then I got Ziggy Stardust and I was like, wow, this is important…this means something. There was tons of music I discovered in the seventh and eighth grade that I discovered, but I don’t love, respect and relate to it as much as I do Bowie. Especially Low…I was just on a panel with Steve Albini about how it has had a lot of impact.

DS: You said seventh and eighth grade. Were you always listening to people like Bowie or bands like the Velvets, or did you have an Eddie Murphy My Girl Wants to Party All the Time phase?

JV: The thing for me that was the uncool music, I had an older brother who was really into prog music, so it was like Gentle Giant and Yes and King Crimson and Genesis. All the new Genesis that was happening at the time was mind-blowing. Phil Collins‘s solo record…we had every single solo record, like the Mike Rutherford solo record.

DS: Do you shun that music now or is it still a part of you?

JV: Oh no, I appreciate all music. I’m an anti-snob. Last night when I was going to sleep I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen on my computer. It’s not like I always need to watch some super-fragmented, fucked-up art movie like Inland Empire. It’s part of how I relate to the audience. We end every night by going out into the audience and playing acoustically, directly, right in front of the audience, six inches away—that is part of my philosophy.

DS: Do you think New York or San Francisco suffers from artistic elitism more?

JV: I think because of the Internet that there is less and less elitism; everyone is into some little superstar on YouTube and everyone can now appreciate now Justin Timberlake. There is no need for factions. There is too much information, and I think the idea has broken down that some people…I mean, when was the last time you met someone who was into ska, or into punk, and they dressed the part? I don’t meet those people anymore.

DS: Everything is fusion now, like cuisine. It’s hard to find a purely French or purely Vietnamese restaurant.

JV: Exactly! When I was in high school there were factions. I remember the guys who listened to Black Flag. They looked the part! Like they were in theater.

DS: You still find some emos.

JV: Yes, I believe it. But even emo kids, compared to their older brethren, are so open-minded. I opened up for Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion, and I did not find their fans to be the cliquish people that I feared, because I was never playing or marketed in the emo genre. I would say it’s because of the Internet.

DS: You could clearly create music that is more mainstream pop and be successful with it, but you choose a lot of very personal and political themes for your music. Are you ever tempted to put out a studio album geared toward the charts just to make some cash?

JV: I would say no. I’m definitely a capitalist, I was an econ major and I have no problem with making money, but I made a pact with myself very early on that I was only going to release music that was true to the voices and harmonic things I heard inside of me—that were honestly inside me—and I have never broken that pact. We just pulled two new songs from Emerald City because I didn’t feel they were exactly what I wanted to have on a record. Maybe I’m too stubborn or not capable of it, but I don’t think…part of the equation for me: this is a low stakes game, making indie music. Relative to the world, with the people I grew up with and where they are now and how much money they make. The money in indie music is a low stakes game from a financial perspective. So the one thing you can have as an indie artist is credibility, and when you burn your credibility, you are done, man. You can not recover from that. These years I have been true to myself, that’s all I have.

DS: Do you think Spoon burned their indie credibility for allowing their music to be used in commercials and by making more studio-oriented albums? They are one of my favorite bands, but they have come a long way from A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell.

JV: They have, but no, I don’t think they’ve lost their credibility at all. I know those guys so well, and Brit and Jim are doing exactly the music they want to do. Brit owns his own studio, and they completely control their means of production, and they are very insulated by being on Merge, and I think their new album—and I bought Telephono when it came out—is as good as anything they have done.

DS: Do you think letting your music be used on commercials does not bring the credibility problem it once did? That used to be the line of demarcation–the whole Sting thing–that if you did commercials you sold out.

JV: Five years ago I would have said that it would have bothered me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The thing is that bands have shrinking options for revenue streams, and sync deals and licensing, it’s like, man, you better be open to that idea. I remember when Spike Lee said, ‘Yeah, I did these Nike commercials, but it allowed me to do these other films that I wanted to make,’ and in some ways there is an article that Of Montreal and Spoon and other bands that have done sync deals have actually insulated themselves further from the difficulties of being a successful independent band, because they have had some income come in that have allowed them to stay put on labels where they are not being pushed around by anyone.
The ultimate problem—sort of like the only philosophical problem is suicide—the only philosophical problem is whether to be assigned to a major label because you are then going to have so much editorial input that it is probably going to really hurt what you are doing.

DS: Do you believe the only philosophical question is whether to commit suicide?

JV: Absolutely. I think the rest is internal chatter and if I logged and tried to counter the internal chatter I have inside my own brain there is no way I could match that.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and their music?

JV: The thing for me is they are profound iconic figures for me, and I don’t even know their music. I don’t know Winehouse or Doherty’s music, I just know that they are acting a very crucial, mythic part in our culture, and they might be doing it unknowingly.

DS: Glorification of drugs? The rock lifestyle?

JV: More like an out-of-control Id, completely unregulated personal relationships to the world in general. It’s not just drugs, it’s everything. It’s arguing and scratching people’s faces and driving on the wrong side of the road. Those are just the infractions that land them in jail. I think it might be unknowing, but in some ways they are beautiful figures for going that far off the deep end.

DS: As tragic figures?

JV: Yeah, as totally tragic figures. I appreciate that. I take no pleasure in saying that, but I also believe they are important. The figures that go outside—let’s say GG Allin or Penderetsky in the world of classical music—people who are so far outside of the normal boundaries of behavior and communication, it in some way enlarges the size of your landscape, and it’s beautiful. I know it sounds weird to say that, but it is.

DS: They are examples, as well. I recently covered for Wikinews the Iranian President speaking at Columbia and a student named Matt Glick told me that he supported the Iranian President speaking so that he could protest him, that if we don’t give a platform and voice for people, how can we say that they are wrong? I think it’s almost the same thing; they are beautiful as examples of how living a certain way can destroy you, and to look at them and say, “Don’t be that.”

JV: Absolutely, and let me tell you where I’m coming from. I don’t do drugs, I drink maybe three or four times a year. I don’t have any problematic relationship to drugs because there has been a history around me, like probably any musician or creative person, of just blinding array of drug abuse and problems. For me, I am a little bit of a control freak and I don’t have those issues. I just shut those doors. But I also understand and I am very sympathetic to someone who does not shut that door, but goes into that room and stays.

DS: Is it a problem for you to work with people who are using drugs?

JV: I would never work with them. It is a very selfish decision to make and usually those people are total energy vampires and they will take everything they can get from you. Again, this is all in theory…I love that stuff in theory. If Amy Winehouse was my girlfriend, I would probably not be very happy.

DS: Your latest CD is Emerald City and that is an allusion to the compound that we created in Baghdad. How has the current political client affected you in terms of your music?

JV: In some ways, both Pixel Revolt and Emerald City were born out of a recharged and re-energized position of my being….I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan; I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it. I really had to write political songs because for me it is a way of making sense and processing what is going on. The question I’m asked all the time is do I think is a responsibility of people to write politically and I always say, My God, no. if you’re Morrissey, then you write Morrissey stuff. If you are Dan Bejar and Destroyer, then you are Dan Bejar and you are a fucking genius. Write about whatever it is you want to write about. But to get out of that hole I had to write about that.

DS: There are two times I felt deeply connected to New York City, and that was 9/11 and the re-election of George Bush. The depression of the city was palpable during both. I was in law school during the Iraq War, and then when Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched our countrymen debate the logic of rebuilding one of our most culturally significant cities, as we were funding almost without question the destruction of another country to then rebuild it, which seems less and less likely. Do you find it is difficult to enjoy living in America when you see all of these sorts of things going on, and the sort of arguments we have amongst ourselves as a people?

JV: I would say yes, absolutely, but one thing changed that was very strange: I fell in love with a French girl and the genesis of Emerald City was going through this visa process to get her into the country, which was through the State Department. In the middle of process we had her visa reviewed and everything shifted over to Homeland Security. All of my complicated feelings about this country became even more dour and complicated, because here was Homeland Security mailing me letters and all involved in my love life, and they were grilling my girlfriend in Paris and they were grilling me, and we couldn’t travel because she had a pending visa. In some strange ways the thing that changed everything was that we finally got the visa accepted and she came here. Now she is a Parisian girl, and it goes without saying that she despises America, and she would never have considered moving to America. So she moves here and is asking me almost breathlessly, How can you allow this to happen

DS: –you, John Vanderslice, how can you allow this—

JV: –Me! Yes! So for the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position of saying, Listen, not that many people vote and the churches run fucking everything here, man. It’s like if you take out the evangelical Christian you have basically a progressive western European country. That’s all there is to it. But these people don’t vote, poor people don’t vote, there’s a complicated equation of extreme corruption and voter fraud here, and I found myself trying to rattle of all the reasons to her why I am personally not responsible, and it put me in a very interesting position. And then Sarkozy got elected in France and I watched her go through the same horrific thing that we’ve gone through here, and Sarkozy is a nut, man. This guy is a nut.

DS: But he doesn’t compare to George Bush or Dick Cheney. He’s almost a liberal by American standards.

JV: No, because their President doesn’t have much power. It’s interesting because he is a WAPO right-wing and he was very close to Le Pen and he was a card-carrying straight-up Nazi. I view Sarkozy as somewhat of a far-right candidate, especially in the context of French politics. He is dismantling everything. It’s all changing. The school system, the remnants of the socialized medical care system. The thing is he doesn’t have the foreign policy power that Bush does. Bush and Cheney have unprecedented amounts of power, and black budgets…I mean, come on, we’re spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, and that’s just the money accounted for.

DS: What’s the reaction to you and your music when you play off the coasts?

JV: I would say good…

DS: Have you ever been Dixiechicked?

JV: No! I want to be! I would love to be, because then that means I’m really part of some fiery debate, but I would say there’s a lot of depressed in every single town. You can say Salt Lake City, you can look at what we consider to be conservative cities, and when you play those towns, man, the kids that come out are more or less on the same page and politically active because they are fish out of water.

DS: Depression breeds apathy, and your music seems geared toward anger, trying to wake people from their apathy. Your music is not maudlin and sad, but seems to be an attempt to awaken a spirit, with a self-reflective bent.

JV: That’s the trick. I would say that honestly, when Katrina happened, I thought, “okay, this is a trick to make people so crazy and so angry that they can’t even think. If you were in a community and basically were in a more or less quasi-police state surveillance society with no accountability, where we are pouring untold billions into our infrastructure to protect outside threats against via terrorism, or whatever, and then a natural disaster happens and there is no response. There is an empty response. There is all these ships off the shore that were just out there, just waiting, and nobody came. Michael Brown. It is one of the most insane things I have ever seen in my life.

DS: Is there a feeling in San Francisco that if an earthquake struck, you all would be on your own?

JV: Yes, of course. Part of what happened in New Orleans is that it was a Catholic city, it was a city of sin, it was a black city. And San Francisco? Bush wouldn’t even visit California in the beginning because his numbers were so low. Before Schwarzenegger definitely. I’m totally afraid of the earthquake, and I think everyone is out there. America is in the worst of both worlds: a laissez-fare economy and then the Grover Norquist anti-tax, starve the government until it turns into nothing more than a Argentinian-style government where there are these super rich invisible elite who own everything and there’s no distribution of wealth and nothing that resembles the New Deal, twentieth century embracing of human rights and equality, war against poverty, all of these things. They are trying to kill all that stuff. So, in some ways, it is the worst of both worlds because they are pushing us towards that, and on the same side they have put in a Supreme Court that is so right wing and so fanatically opposed to upholding civil rights, whether it be for foreign fighters…I mean, we are going to see movement with abortion, Miranda rights and stuff that is going to come up on the Court. We’ve tortured so many people who have had no intelligence value that you have to start to look at torture as a symbolic and almost ritualized behavior; you have this…

DS: Organ failure. That’s our baseline…

JV: Yeah, and you have to wonder about how we were torturing people to do nothing more than to send the darkest signal to the world to say, Listen, we are so fucking weird that if you cross the line with us, we are going to be at war with your religion, with your government, and we are going to destroy you.

DS: I interviewed Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for President, and he feels we should use as a deterrent against Islam the bombing of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

JV: You would radicalize the very few people who have not been radicalized, yet, by our actions and beliefs. We know what we’ve done out there, and we are going to paying for this for a long time. When Hezbollah was bombing Israel in that border excursion last year, the Hezbollah fighters were writing the names of battles they fought with the Jews in the Seventh Century on their helmets. This shit is never forgotten.

DS: You read a lot of the stuff that is written about you on blogs and on the Internet. Do you ever respond?

JV: No, and I would say that I read stuff that tends to be . I’ve done interviews that have been solely about film and photography. For some reason hearing myself talk about music, and maybe because I have been talking about it for so long, it’s snoozeville. Most interviews I do are very regimented and they tend to follow a certain line. I understand. If I was them, it’s a 200 word piece and I may have never played that town, in Des Moines or something. But, in general, it’s like…my band mates ask why don’t I read the weeklies when I’m in town, and Google my name. It would be really like looking yourself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you are just error-correcting. There must be some sort of hall of mirrors thing that happens when you are completely involved in the Internet conversation about your music, and in some ways I think that I’m very innocently making music, because I don’t make music in any way that has to do with the response to that music. I don’t believe that the response to the music has anything to do with it. This is something I got from John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, I think the perception of the artwork, in some ways, has nothing to do with the artwork, and I think that is a beautiful, glorious and flattering thing to say to the perceiver, the viewer of that artwork. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul Klee‘s drawings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings and when I read his diaries I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is between what his color schemes are denoting and what he is saying and what I am getting out of it. I’m not sure that it matters. Inland Empire is a great example. Lynch basically says, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m going to close doors for the viewer. It’s up to you. It’s not that it’s a riddle or a puzzle. You know how much of your own experience you are putting into the digestion of your own art. That’s not to say that that guy arranges notes in an interesting way, and sings in an interesting way and arranges words in an interesting way, but often, if someone says they really like my music, what I want to say is, That’s cool you focused your attention on that thing, but it does not make me go home and say, Wow, you’re great. My ego is not involved in it.

DS: Often people assume an artist makes an achievement, say wins a Tony or a Grammy or even a Cable Ace Award and people think the artist must feel this lasting sense of accomplishment, but it doesn’t typically happen that way, does it? Often there is some time of elation and satisfaction, but almost immediately the artist is being asked, “Okay, what’s the next thing? What’s next?” and there is an internal pressure to move beyond that achievement and not focus on it.

JV: Oh yeah, exactly. There’s a moment of relief when a mastered record gets back, and then I swear to you that ten minutes after that point I feel there are bigger fish to fry. I grew up listening to classical music, and there is something inside of me that says, Okay, I’ve made six records. Whoop-dee-doo. I grew up listening to Gustav Mahler, and I will never, ever approach what he did.

DS: Do you try?

JV: I love Mahler, but no, his music is too expansive and intellectual, and it’s realized harmonically and compositionally in a way that is five languages beyond me. And that’s okay. I’m very happy to do what I do. How can anyone be so jazzed about making a record when you are up against, shit, five thousand records a week—

DS: —but a lot of it’s crap—

JV: —a lot of it’s crap, but a lot of it is really, really good and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A lot of it is very good. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I hear. I listen to a lot of music and I am mailed a lot of CDs, and I’m on the web all the time.

DS: I’ve done a lot of photography for Wikipedia and the genesis of it was an attempt to pin down reality, to try to understand a world that I felt had fallen out of my grasp of understanding, because I felt I had no sense of what this world was about anymore. For that, my work is very encyclopedic, and it fit well with Wikipedia. What was the reason you began investing time and effort into photography?

JV: It came from trying to making sense of touring. Touring is incredibly fast and there is so much compressed imagery that comes to you, whether it is the window in the van, or like now, when we are whisking through the Northeast in seven days. Let me tell you, I see a lot of really close people in those seven days. We move a lot, and there is a lot of input coming in. The shows are tremendous and, it is emotionally so overwhelming that you can not log it. You can not keep a file of it. It’s almost like if I take photos while I am doing this, it slows it down or stops it momentarily and orders it. It has made touring less of a blur; concretizes these times. I go back and develop the film, and when I look at the tour I remember things in a very different way. It coalesces. Let’s say I take on fucking photo in Athens, Georgia. That’s really intense. And I tend to take a photo of someone I like, or photos of people I really admire and like.

DS: What bands are working with your studio, Tiny Telephone?

JV: Death Cab for Cutie is going to come back and track their next record there. Right now there is a band called Hello Central that is in there, and they are really good. They’re from L.A. Maids of State was just in there and w:Deerhoof was just in there. Book of Knotts is coming in soon. That will be cool because I think they are going to have Beck sing on a tune. That will be really cool. There’s this band called Jordan from Paris that is starting this week.

DS: Do they approach you, or do you approach them?

JV I would say they approach me. It’s generally word of mouth. We never advertise and it’s very cheap, below market. It’s analog. There’s this self-fulfilling thing that when you’re booked, you stay booked. More bands come in, and they know about it and they keep the business going that way. But it’s totally word of mouth.

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Police in Britain uncover suspected terrorist plot

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Metropolitan Police’s anti-terrorist branch and security service in London have claimed that a terrorist plot to detonate bombs on nine planes travelling mid-air from the United Kingdom to the United States has been thwarted.

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Keep Your Pet Healthy Using Roswell Animal Hospitals

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For most people their pet is considered to be another member of the family which means that they are concerned when that pet gets sick or injured. During times of crisis it is often difficult to decide where to turn when an animal gets sick or hurt, but you often don’t have much time to decide. For instance when your pet is injured in an auto-mobile accident the sooner you get treatment for them the better their odds for survival. In these times of need your best choice is Roswell Animal Hospitals. Animal hospitals are a combination of veterinary office and animal hospice. Many are twenty four hour services so you have ready access to any necessary care.

When it comes to animal health most folks don’t really know what to do. This situation grows worse as people move away from rural living and lose touch with animal care capabilities. You can avoid a lot of problems if you treat your pet just like a loved one and take them to the doctor for regular check-ups and routine treatments. This is especially true with furry animals such as ferrets, dogs and cats who can get fleas and other parasites. There are often indications of problems to watch for. For example, when a cat has ear mites they may claw or scratch at them incessantly, sometimes to the point of bleeding. This is an obvious indication that they need help.

Some of the best reasons to bring your pets to Roswell Animal Hospitals are surgeries. The most common surgery for an animal is spaying or neutering. These procedures are often very important for health concerns and to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Cats and dogs are often having litters unexpectedly, but repeated pregnancies can be detrimental to the health of your pet. Bearing children is hard on the female and nursing them to weaning takes a lot of effort. Then comes the real problem, you have to find a home for the new babies. Other surgeries will depend on the animal itself and the circumstances. Veterinarians are beginning to realize that some animals can handle surgeries much better than originally believed and some are willing to put forth the effort to keep your animal alive as long as possible. Click Here for more information.

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