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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Education & Youth

"Intellectual Diversity" - The Trojan Horse of a Dark Design

In-depth critique of the specious arguments used by David Horowitz in his Orwellian campaign against authentic academic freedom in college classrooms across the nation.
Students for Academic Freedom, DAFKA. Students for Academic Freedom, DAFKA.Students for Academic Freedom, DAFKA.

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News :: Alternative Media : Arts & Culture

Benefit planned for unlicensed FM radio station

Benefit planned for unlicensed FM radio station

By David L. Beck

Mercury News

The day after the feds busted Free Radio Santa Cruz, a tiny, free-spirited and unlicensed FM station that was beaming stuff like ``Democracy Now'' from a house near downtown, legendary folk singer Utah Phillips was on the phone offering to play a benefit.

``I was assured the equipment base wasn't going to be a problem,'' Phillips said. ``What I was concerned about was fines.''

Phillips will play that benefit Friday night at Santa Cruz's Rio Theatre. He'll be joined by local musicians Keith Greeninger, the Devil Makes Three, Bob Brozman and Faith Petric, the 89-year-old doyenne of the San Francisco folk community.

There were no fines. But the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Marshals left the house on Laurel Street after their Sept. 29 raid with an estimated $5,000 to $10,000 worth of broadcasting equipment, and not all of it has been replaced.

Plus, said Free Radio programmer George Cadmon, ``We do have monthly costs. We have to pay for our Web stream, we have to pay for our DSL, we've got rent, power'' and other bills to pay, she said.

Free Radio can be heard www.freakradio.org. It can also be heard over the air on its old frequency, 101.1 FM, thanks to a group called Santa Cruz Radio Access Movement -- SCRAM -- which Cadmon said is picking up the legal Web cast. ``We don't have any association with those people,'' she said, ``but we are aware of it.''

John Sandich, whose Snazzy Productions is co-producing the event with Free Radio, called the station's programmers ``a really community-minded organization who want to bring some diversity to the airwaves, get a little further left than'' National Public Radio. Neither Snazzy nor the Rio is charging to put on the benefit, he said.

Phillips, 69, is best known for a tall tale about ``moose turd pie'' -- ``they'll put it on my gravestone,'' he said with a sigh. He said in a telephone interview Monday from his Grass Valley home that he grew up on radio, stringing an antenna from his home-made crystal set into an apple tree outside his bedroom in Dayton, Ohio, so he could listen to string band music out of Chicago, Shreveport and Richmond.

``See,'' he said, ``we elect congressmen and senators, who then appoint boards and commissions to lease off what we already own to private companies to sell it back to us. It's a dumb idea.''

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED

For information and tickets ($21), call (831) 479-9421 or see www.freakradio.org or www.riotheatre.com.

Contact David L. Beck at dbeck@mercurynews.com or at (831) 423-0960.

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News :: Environment & Food

PUC to hear Cal Am's rates bid

Posted on Sun, Dec. 05, 2004

PUC to hear Cal Am's rates bid

Groups opposing merger of Monterey, Felton proposal plan buyout

By VIRGINIA HENNESSEY

Herald Staff Writer

The California American Water Co.'s proposal to merge the rate structures of its Monterey and Felton districts will face the spotlight Monday during a public hearing before the California Public Utilities Commission.

James McVicar, the administrative law judge assigned to the case, will hear comments at 7 p.m. at the Monterey Conference Center. A second hearing will be held Tuesday in Felton.

Cal Am says that it can reduce rates in Felton by almost 50 percent by distributing costs over a greater base. The move would increase rates in the Monterey system by about 1.5 percent over the next 15 years on top of other larger rate increases.

Some of those proposed Peninsula rate increases are likely to be included in Cal Am's general rate case, a draft of which is to be filed with the commission on Monday, according to David Stephenson, manager of rate regulation for Cal Am.

The move to merge the two districts' rate structures comes as Felton residents and a group called Friends of Locally Owned Water (FLOW) are attempting to buy out Cal Am, largely because of huge rate increases the company imposed after acquiring the water system there two years ago.

A group of Peninsula residents has formed a local chapter of FLOW to examine the possibility of buying the Peninsula water system back from Cal Am.

Member Ron Weisman said Friday the group heard presentations recently from an attorney who helped the San Mateo County community of Montara repurchase its water system from Cal Am, and another who was experienced in developing joint-operating agreements for multi-agency water systems.

Felton FLOW and Santa Cruz County have filed formal protests of the proposed merger. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and the utility commission's Office of Rate Payer Advocates have also protested, based in part on the argument that the merger would leave Peninsula residents paying part of Felton's water rates.

The water district's protest also points out that Peninsula ratepayers already face some of the highest rates in California, rates that will increase dramatically with development of a desalination plant and repairs to San Clemente Dam.

If you go • What: California Public Utilities Commission's public hearing on California American Water Co.'s proposal to merge the rate structures of its Monterey and Felton districts. • When: 7 p.m. Monday. A second hearing will be held Tuesday in Felton. • Where: Monterey Convention Center, Ferrante Room

Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 646-4355 or vhennessey@montereyherald.com

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Commentary :: Government & Elections

Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election: A Reader by Michael Keefer

Michael Keefer writes:

This Reading List, a substantially expanded version of previous lists published on 11 and 15 November, has been prepared with the aim of making a wide range of readings on the subject of the integrity—or the lack of integrity—of the recent U.S. presidential election readily available. It is being published as a companion-piece to my article "The Stolen U.S. Presidential Election: A Comparative Analysis."


I have sought to facilitate analytical use of the materials in this revised and expanded list by dividing them into five subject-sections:



1. The Openness of New Voting Technologies to Fraud;


2. Allegations and Evidence of Fraud in Recent U.S. Elections;


3. Advance Warnings of Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election;


4. Allegations and Evidence of Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election: The Developing Controversy.


5. Appendix: Selected Articles on the 2004 Presidential Recall Referendum in Venezuela and the 2004 Presidential Election (Second Round) in Ukraine.




Section 1 includes writings by computer scientists who have specialized in issues of electronic security, by statisticians who have studied questions of the detection of electoral fraud, and by journalists and activists who have assembled and critically analyzed the opinions of experts.


Section 2 provides some historical context for the present situation by offering a selection of writings in which the evidence of electoral fraud in recent U.S. elections is documented and analyzed.


Section 3 shows how insistently computer scientists, investigative journalists and activists warned during the past two years about the dangers to democracy posed by electronic voting machines which remove the possibility of electoral recounts and audits—and how, despite their warnings, the U.S. entered the 2004 presidential elections equipped with voting-machine systems most of which were demonstrably open both to back-door manipulation and to hacking at the voting tabulator level.


Section 4 lists a wide variety of different texts. These include, most obviously, reports and analyses focusing on specific aspects of the voting and its aftermath, and studies that allege (and in my opinion cumulatively demonstrate) the theft of the presidential election by the Bush-Cheney Republicans and their corporate allies. But I have made a point also of listing writings by scholars who find no compelling grounds for suspecting large-scale or systematic electoral fraud. (See, with respect to the Florida vote tallies, Mebane [8 and 12 Nov. 2004], Sekhon [14 Nov. 2004], Wand, and Strashny—and, on the other side of the debate, Dodge, Dopp, Liddle, Mitteldorf, and Hout.) I have also listed articles by journalists, often writing in mainstream outlets, who have dismissed allegations of electoral fraud as the result of over-hasty or ill-informed analysis, as an expression of conspiracy-theory paranoia, or as mere sour grapes. (See, for example, Corn, A. Freeman, Klein, Manjoo, Morano, Reid, Roig-Franzia & Keating, and Zeller. Critics of the mainstream media coverage include Friedberg, R. Parry [13 Nov. 2004], S. Parry [12 Nov. 2004], Smith and Wade.)


Section 5 seeks to facilitate comparisons between the U.S. election and recent presidential elections in Venezuela and Ukraine in which, as in the U.S., divergences between exit poll results and official vote tallies prompted charges of election-rigging


The issues are complex, at some points hotly disputed, and in urgent need of further inquiry and analysis. I would maintain, nonetheless, that the evidence points with cumulative force to the conclusion that the official vote tallies in the U.S. presidential election of November 2, 2004 (listed by The New York Times at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/elections2004/2004President.html ), were produced by a massive and sustained project of electoral fraud.


 


Michael Keefer is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Guelph, and a past president of the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. His publications include Lunar Perspectives: Field Notes from the Culture Wars (Toronto: House of Anansi Press).

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

Robert Wagner, 58, died of exposure during cold spell

NOTE TO READER: As you read this sensitive and caring article from the Sunday Sentinel, remember that the Sentinel barely reported the 37 homeless deaths a year ago (our count was 43). Nor is there any mention of whether Wagner had a blanket at the time he died. Use of such a blanket is illegal under MC 6.36.010 section B. The article does not mention whether Wagner had availed himself of the emergency shelter services of the ISSP program. The ISSP does not accept inebriated individuals. The city's Homeless Issues Task Force of 2001 issued a recommendation calling for a "wet" shelter where those currently suffering from substance addiction can find shelter. That recommendation, along with 26 others, was dumped by the Santa Cruz City Council. The council currently refuses to place reform of the Sleeping Ban and Blanket Ban on the city council agenda despite major lobbying by advocacy groups to do so. --- Becky Johnson

------

Robert Wagner, 58, died of exposure during cold spell
By TOM RAGAN
Sentinel staff writer

Robert Raymond Wagner, a father of three, a Vietnam veteran and a homeless artist who sold seashells on the streets of Santa Cruz, has died.

He was 58, a victim of last week’s cold weather and perhaps too much alcohol. His body was found on a park bench outside Santa Cruz City Hall on Nov. 28.

The good news, if there’s any in Wagner’s death, said his younger brother James, is that Wagner spent Thanksgiving weekend with his daughter, Tammy Marie, 31, before returning to the streets again, something he chose to do.

"He had turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie, and she spotted him 20 bucks," said James Wagner, 52, in a telephone interview from San Jose, where he’s a police officer. "He bought the Sunday newspaper, drank a bottle of brandy, laid down on the bench, and that was the last we heard of him."

Temperatures that night dipped below freezing. The cold weather, combined with excessive alcohol, led to the death, said Wagner, who cited a report from the Santa Cruz County Coroner’s office.

Born in Chicago and reared in Niles, Ill., a middle-class suburb, Wagner was married twice, had three children, and lived in San Jose, Hollister and Los Gatos for about two decades.

It wasn’t until his second divorce seven years ago that he took to the streets of Santa Cruz, his brother said.

Most fascinating, perhaps, about his brother was his uncanny ability to sketch caricatures from memory, creating virtual carbon copies of his subjects in a matter of seconds.

"He had more talent in his little finger than I had in my whole body, but he could never get anything going," his brother said. "He was into the drinking pretty heavy, and everybody tried to help him, but it never worked out."

Wagner was also afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder from serving in Vietnam for three years, his brother said.

Though he attended a Catholic high school in his Illinois hometown, he never graduated. Instead, he opted to fight for his country in the U.S. Navy, joining up for six years as a reservist and serving three of them on active duty.

Wagner was a technician aboard the USS Kittyhawk from 1969 to 1971. Though he was never a fighter pilot, he had friends who were; and when they never returned from bombing missions, it had a profound affect on his psyche, his brother said.

"I think it tore him up, seeing his friends leave on airplanes and never come back," his brother said. "I mean, these were guys he used to play poker with and eat and drink and dine with, and I think that’s when it all started to fall apart."

But there was a time when his brother was "a real gentleman, a guy who’d make women look twice, a real high roller who thought he was James Bond," he said.

"You never would have believed that he had cashmere coats, three-piece suits and Florsheim shoes before he went off to Vietnam," he added. "I’d like to think of him that way and remember him like instead of how he actually died."

He is survived by children Tammie Marie Wagner of Santa Cruz, Pamela Golnick of Carpentersville, Ill., and Robert Wagner Jr. of Oregon; brothers James Wagner of San Jose and Richard Wagner of Washington state; twin sisters Denise Parks of San Jose and Debra Woodward of Rocklin, and sister Cheryl Venturella of Missouri; and two great grandchildren.

Services will be private.

Contributions are preferred in Robert Wagner’s name to the Vietnam War Memorial, 900 Ohio Dr., S.W., Washington, D.C., 20024.

Contact Tom Ragan at tragan@santacruzsentinel.com.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights : Government & Elections

SANTA CRUZ: Federal court OKs suit over Nazi salute

SANTA CRUZ
Federal court OKs suit over Nazi salute

Bob Egelko

Saturday, December 4, 2004

A homeless-rights advocate who was expelled from a Santa Cruz City Council meeting and arrested after giving a mock Nazi salute to the mayor can proceed with a free-speech suit against the city, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

Robert Norse gave his brief, wordless gesture after Mayor Christopher Krohn cut off another speaker during a March 2002 meeting and announced that the public comment period was over. When Norse refused to leave, he was taken away by a police officer and jailed for 5 1/2 hours. He was released without being charged.

His suit against the city, council members and the police officer was dismissed in June 2002 by U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte, who cited the city's policy of expelling anyone who disrupts a council meeting. Whyte said a Nazi salute is inherently disruptive.

But the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled 2-1 that the suit shouldn't be dismissed without more evidence on whether Norse's conduct actually disrupted the council by preventing it from doing its business efficiently.

In dissent, Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain said Norse's action interrupted the meeting, prompted the mayor to call a recess when Norse refused to leave, and was clearly disruptive.

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News :: Peace & War

The US Casualty Rate in Iraq: 9%

The US casualty rate in Iraq is about 9%.

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Announcement :: Globalization & Capitalism

Five-Years After the "Battle of Seattle," Preeminent Global Scholars Present Real Alternatives to Economic Globalization and Declare A Better World is Possible!

San Francisco - November 2004 marks the five-year anniversary of the emergence of the unprecedented coalition of civil society movements that took to the streets in Seattle to oppose policies of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The "Battle of Seattle" sent the WTO into a retreat from which, many argue, it has yet to recover.

To mark this historic anniversary, the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) announces the release of the second edition of Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World is Possible.

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