Thursday, November 18, 2010

Liverpool Crown Court jailed an ex-policeman who led a double life as a senior figure in a Preston, England drugs gang. Salim Razaq, described by his Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cooke of Lancashire Constabulary as “nothing short of a criminal in a police uniform”, received eleven-and-a-half years imprisonment on Tuesday after being caught during a ‘turf war’ with a rival gang.

The 33-year-old spoke to his brother over the phone while the latter was in jail on remand for kidnap and assault. Hafiz ‘The Enforcer’ ‘Big Haf’ Razaq was involved in hijacking Mohammed Begg’s BMW and abducting him. Begg, linked to the Fishwick gang, was tortured and beaten for three hours by Hafiz and other Deepdale gang members. Salim and Hafiz discussed money laundering and plans to intimidate witnesses in Hafiz’s trial. Other officers bugged the calls, their suspicions aroused when Salim improperly used the force computer system to check on family members and associates.

It cannot be exaggerated that the guns you knowingly had in your possession were three sub machine guns with many rounds of live ammunition

Lancashire Police’s Professional Standards Department then raided Salim’s home in Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, and found £72,000 in laundered cash hidden in the police sergeant’s bedroom. Three machine guns — two Uzis and a Sten — were concealed under the stairs. 228 bullets, a bullet-proof jacket, a balaclava, and a knuckle-duster were also confiscated.

Last month he entered guilty pleas to two counts of perverting the course of justice, three counts of possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, conspiracy to transfer criminal property, conspiracy to acquire or retain criminal property and misconduct in a public office. The conspiracies referred to money laundering; the misconduct was for abusing the police database.

Salim joined the police in 2001 and served as a traffic cop patrolling motorways, before his promotion to sergeant in January last year. He was dismissed in June when the force convened a Special Case Hearing to fast-track the process.

Salim and Hafiz’s mother Gulshan admitted perverting the course of justice; her role was to intimidate witnesses. Hafiz entered guilty pleas to money laundering and two counts of perverting the course of justice. Two more gang members — Jason Lawrenson and Daniel Cookson — admitted money laundering, and another man, Louis Bamber, admitted possession of a firearm.

Gulshan was given a 44-week sentence suspended for two years and Hafiz received three-and-a-half years, this in addition to a six-year sentence for the attack on Begg. It was this attack that initiated the war, with a Deepdale member being shot in the throat in retaliation.

In sentencing Salim Judge Henry Globe QC said “The offending took place over an extended period of time. It amounts to a breach of trust, a dereliction of duty and it amounts to extremely serious and persistent criminal offending whilst ostensibly, supposedly upholding criminal justice in your capacity as a serving police officer. Your actions have brought potential discredit to the police force. It would have made the tasks of other officers more difficult. In particular, I make reference to the gravity of your offending in relation to the firearms offences.

“It cannot be exaggerated that the guns you knowingly had in your possession were three sub machine guns with many rounds of live ammunition to be used with them. There was no conceivable, lawful or justifiable purpose that anyone could have had to have them in their possession.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=%27Criminal_in_a_police_uniform%27_given_eleven_years_jail_for_role_in_English_drugs_gang&oldid=1435853”

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Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Australia/2007&oldid=804655”

Dubai At A Quick Glance Before Your Arrival

by

Karin Altariq

BurjKhalifa is an architectural construction in the heart of the city of Dubai. It was constructed with an aim to make it the Tallest Skyscraper of the World. It is a 162 storied building. Due to its height, it attracts tourists from everywhere in the world. The idea of the design of this architectural monument has come from the Spider Lily or Hymenocallis, a native desert flower. It has two other names, Living Wonder and Vertical City. It was named after the President of UAE.

The view from a telescope

After climbing to the 124th floor, you will reach the Burj Khalifa observation deck. There are high-speed elevators avail to make your task of climbing easier. It is structured with glass from the ceiling to the floor so that you can get a panoramic view of the whole city of Dubai. There is another observation deck on the 148th floor, which has been recently opened for the tourists.

You can get to see the city through the lenses of a telescope. The glasses contain full HD camera features, high zooming ability and a large screen for monitoring. Different weather conditions at varying seasons give the viewers a unique picturesque. Remember to take your camera or you can ask for the professional photographers over there to do the favor for you.

What to see from the deck

You will be able to see Burj Lake covering over 30-acre of the area, and the beautiful Dubai fountain. It has an intake capacity of 35,000 people at a time. You can walk through the entire floor to get a full frame view of the whole city. Before entering the premises, get your admission tickets. You can buy them beforehand, to avoid standing in long queue. You can purchase a model of BurjKhalifa as a memoir.

The best part of the day to spend in Burj Khalifa is undoubted, the evening time. The sparkling lights of the city and a clear, starry night sky are the most unforgettable moments. One hour is quite sufficient for the Burj Khalifa observation deck, although you can spend unlimited time over there. But it is better to get down when you are finished with experiencing, and moves on to your next destination.

Although you are going through the details before reaching the spot, it is the best to carry a guide personnel to make you understand everything with a personal touch. Also, do visit this place even if you are on a short trip. Be sure to hire someone, who has prior experience of taking tourists to the streets of Dubai. It is safe and tension free to book your trip to a good agency, then you will not have to worry after coming down to the ground floor.

Concluding session

After such a joyful memory, you will feel hungry. So go to the Armani hotels situated near the bottom part of the BurjKhalifa and then return to your hotel. What else can you long for?

For More Detail: http://www.altdubai.com/observation-deck-burj-khalifa.php

It’s always a dream to pay a visit once in life to Dubai which is one of the exciting tourist places. The beautiful sights of this ultimate tourist destination will encourage you to visit this city again and again. Karin Altariq is a good travel and tourist writer and with his writings, she tries to help the tourist for the best and suitable places to visit. Now she is focusing on Dubai and its fabulous beauty.

Article Source:

eArticlesOnline.com}

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Supporters of convicted Australian drug trafficker, Van Nguyen, gathered outside the State Library in Melbourne yesterday to display thousands of messages of opposition to his death sentence.

Callers to talkback radio in Melbourne were overwhelmingly against the death penalty of Nguyen, who immediately admitted his guilt and has cooperated with authorities since being caught smuggling heroin into Singapore. Many called for a boycott of Singaporean products.

25-year-old Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in 2002 for carrying heroin and sentenced to death in March. Nguyen claims he carried the 396 grams of heroin strapped to his body in an attempt to pay off his brother Khoa’s $30,000 legal debts.

The Singapore government have announced they will execute Nguyen at dawn on December 2nd. Singapore President S. R. Nathan rejected Nguyen’s clemency four weeks ago. The Melbourne salesman was sentenced to death under Singapore law which determines a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of possessing 15 grams of heroin or more.

Nguyen’s mother was informed on Thursday by registered mail from the Singapore prisons service of the execution date. The letter stated that she should start making funeral arrangements. She will get to see her son in the three days leading up to the execution.

Despite repeated pleas for clemency from many thousands of supporters; religious groups; human rights organisations; the Pope; and the Australian Government – including Prime Minister, John Howard – Singapore officials have said Nguyen’s execution is irreversible.

Mr Howard had argued that Nguyen should be spared, citing mitigating circumstances in his case which pointed to the fact that he was not a serial drug trafficker but had merely been trying to pay off his brother’s debts.

The Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, says the Singaporean Government has shown no compassion whatsoever in its treatment of Van Nguyen and his family.

“What’s happening is brutal, is inappropriate. I, and the Victorian Government, vehemently oppose the death penalty in any circumstances”, he told ABC Radio. “This is a young kid who has assisted the police all the way… In any other country, he would get a discount in relation to the penalty. But because there is a mandatory death penalty for drug offences in Singapore, this young man may well be executed. It is just grossly inappropriate.”

“Singapore maintains that capital punishment is a criminal justice issue; it is the sovereign right of every country to decide whether or not to include capital punishment within its criminal justice system,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Singapore argues that there was no international consensus that capital punishment should be abolished. At the most recent meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights, 66 countries dissociated themselves from a resolution calling for the abolition of capital punishment.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong affirmed Singapore’s position by saying that it has to “stand firm on drugs to protect its citizens from the scourge and to ensure the country does not become a conduit for the trafficking of illicit drugs.”

In reply to a letter appealing for clemency from his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said: “Mr Nguyen imported almost 400gm of pure heroin which would have supplied more than 26,000 doses to drug addicts.”

No one will be permitted to see Nguyen on the morning of his execution. His body will be released to his mother.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Australian_man_to_be_executed_in_Singapore&oldid=3125348”

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.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_Rocky_De_La_Fuente,_U.S._Democratic_Party_presidential_candidate&oldid=4585942”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The United States’s largest car manufacturer General Motors today named Mary Barra as its new chief executive.

Barra, 51, will be the first woman to lead a firm in the American auto industry. She has been with General Motors for 33 years, and is currently the global head of product development.

She said in a statement: “With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM. I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

She replaces Daniel Akerson, who was appointed by the government as both chief executive and chairman in 2009 during the company’s bankruptcy. Akerson plans to stand down on January 15 following his wife’s advanced cancer diagnosis.

In a message to employees, he said: “I will leave with great satisfaction in what we have accomplished, great optimism over what is ahead and great pride that we are restoring General Motors as America’s standard bearer in the global auto industry.”

Akerson will also relinquish his chairman role, to be replaced by current director Theodore Solso. The company also announced head of finance Daniel Ammann as its new president.

The appointment comes just days after the US government sold the last of its shares in the company, losing around $9 billion on its initial bailout in 2008 that saw 61% of the firm coming under public ownership.

General Motors recovered from their bankruptcy a year after the appointment of Akerson, and re-entered the stock market in November 2010. It remains the largest car manufacturer in the United States, posting sales figures of $152 billion in 2012. It currently produces fifteen brands of vehicle in 37 countries.

Barra holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, and was recently listed by Forbes as the 35th most powerful woman in the world.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Mary_Barra_appointed_as_General_Motors_chief&oldid=3292459”

You can set the supplies for the pet food from the perfect warehouse. These are places that have the understanding about how hectic and a beautiful time pet feeding is. That said, you can get the opportunity to energise the dog by giving nutritional foods while also improving the psychological behaviour of the pet. You can give the food plenty of ingredients with the right amount of nutritional benefits for showing love for your faithful companion. You can get plenty of ingredients in the form of the food from the pet food stores.

The assortment of the food types

You will be getting the range of the meals that turn out to be the best one. Even if you want the platters with the no grain formula, from the top-notch brands. The excellent food supplies for the different kinds of the pet turns out to be the best in terms of the essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, everything in the optimal level. The perfect supplements that will be working for giving them a solid body and good mental stability, you can get the availability of the same. Different species has different need of the nutrients. Hence the store will provide you with required food.

The meals from pet food stores are also available for your cats. You can get plenty of pet food that will be giving that taste and nutrition at the same time. . You can get the secure shopping option with the store as well. Even if you’re looking for the handpicked meals from pet food stores that will be perfect enough for the canine or feline companion, you can pick the meals with the proper nutrition. A huge lot of the foods for fish, Mouse, reptiles, dogs or anything else that turns out to be the best will be in stock.

Get the right foods from pet food storesthat are loaded with protein supplements in the right way. So be ready to give the perfect way of functioning life. Food like meat, proteins, and sustenance is always there at your fingertips. The best part is that these food are labelled with no GMO, no additive and the no false flavour kind of the food. Each of these is available in the ideal eating regimen.

When you provide the pets with the foods these foods, it will be making sure of giving the 100% nutritional benefits. It’s a well-known fact that pets always require the right amount of protein in Daily Meal. That said, you should always give the right amount of nutrients, minerals and cancer prevention agents.

Healthy foods from the perfect store

The best part is that you can give the assortment of the taste with the wholesome advantages to make sure that the dishes are packed with flavour. Even if you want the high protein choice that will be taking care of the animal in the perfect way, you can get the availability of similar options. Extraordinary nutritional fact foods are also best enough for keeping away the chances of dehydration, hypersensitivity and any other such stomach issues. These meals give a significant amount of improvement in the pet for meeting the individual requirements.

The food types from pet food stores are good enough in terms of correct value of nutrients. You can offer the foods to the goat, sheep, fish and the poultry. The nourishment is fit because the foods are packed with mineral nutrients. With such beautiful platters, you can care for the well-being and the prosperity of your pets at your home.

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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Friday, March 25, 2005A lawyer who is expected to become the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) said in a comment to Associated Press (AP) that arming teachers with firearms is a solution to be considered in preventing school shootings by students. Sarah S. Froman, an alumni of Harvard Law School and a practicing lawyer, implied that allowing teachers to carry weapons is one of the many options that should be examined.

Guns and other weapons are commonly banned on school campuses in the United States, but the high-profile incidents of students defying the bans and bringing firearms to classes could place the school at a disadvantage if the student were to fire the weapon. In the case of the recent student shooting at a Native American reservation in Minnessota the school had metal detectors and had an on-duty security guard. The guard was unarmed, however, and was gunned down by the student.

Froman told the AP that if it is the responsibility of teachers to protect students from harm, then the society must find a way to let teachers do that. She also said that gun control laws or bans cannot prevent a malicious individual from acting out, and provided an example of a 1997 shooting incident where an armed teacher was able to help police apprehend the student.

Froman is currently the NRA’s first vice president, and is expected to be elected to the post of president in the organization’s elections next month. The current president of the 4-million member organization is actor and activist Charlton Heston.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

British drivers have been urged not to panic buy fuel because of the 4-day walkout by delivery drivers working for companies delivering to Shell petrol stations. The 600 workers have walked out over pay disagreements, wanting an increase to their current pay of £36,500, however their union Unite turned down a last-minute offer of £41,500.

Hoyer UK, which employs tanker drivers for Shell, said, “We extended our offer to the very limits that our business could sustain.” However Unite said in a press release that, “this dispute could have been resolved if Shell had advanced a fraction of the billions of pounds in profit they make every month”, continuing to say, “one of the world’s richest companies is prepared to play Pontius Pilate and see the British public inconvenienced rather than settle this dispute for a sum smaller than the chairman’s pay increase last year”

Shell admitted that the walkout could leave some of its 1,000 forecourts without fuel, but the UK Petrol Industry Association, which represent oil refiners, said that forecourts would have around 4 days of supply, maintaining usual stocking levels. Shell also commented that the strike impact would be “significant”, as the company runs around 1 in 10 of all petrol stations in the UK.

British Business Secretary, John Hutton, said that “the strike, which will have a disproportionate effect on people in Britain, cannot be justified,” and urged both sides to resume negotiations in order to settle the dispute. “We have been working closely with industry to put in place detailed contingency plans to reduce as far as possible the disruption for the driving public,” he added. Unite’s press release also confirms that “provision has been made for fire, police and the emergency services.”

Tanker drivers on strike have set up picket lines at many of Shell’s UK refineries, including those in Stanlow, Avonmouth, Plymouth, Pembroke, Cardiff, Kingsbury, Basildon, Grangemouth, Aberdeen, Inverness, Jarrow and Luton Airport.

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