Friday, August 31, 2007

It's the End of the World as We Know It.............

Hundreds pose nude on Swiss glacier

BETTMERALP, Switzerland (AP) — Hundreds of naked people formed a "living sculpture" on Switzerland's Aletsch glacier Saturday, hoping to raise awareness about climate change.

The photo shoot by Spencer Tunick, the New York artist famous for his pictures of nude gatherings in public settings worldwide, was designed to draw attention to the effects of global warming on Switzerland's shrinking glaciers.

"The melting of the glaciers is an indisputable sign of global climate change," said the environmental group Greenpeace, which co-organized the event.

It said most Swiss glaciers will disappear by 2080 if global warming continues at its current pace.

The event, which followed Tunick's previous shoots in London, Mexico City and Amsterdam, was designed to minimize any impact on the environment, Greenpeace said.

Temperatures during the shoot hovered around 50 degrees.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Raise Your Spirit Higher....

Fool's Paradise

The Fool from "The Cynic's Tarot" by Kolyer

Tricycle's Daily Dharma: August 28, 2007

The Buddha always told his disciples not to waste their time and energy in metaphysical speculation. Whenever he was asked a metaphysical question, he remained silent. Instead, he directed his disciples toward practical efforts. Questioned one day about the problem of the infinity of the world, the Buddha said, "Whether the world is finite or infinite, limited or unlimited, the problem of your liberation remains the same." Another time he said, "Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take out the arrow immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first." Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Da Da Da Da .. Da Doo Doo Doo

Collage by Raoul Hausmann 1920

Hard To Tell If Wikipedia Entry On Dada Has Been Vandalized Or Not

From The Onion August 20, 2007 Issue 43•34

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND—The Wikipedia entry on Dada—the World War I–era "anti-art" movement characterized by random nonsense words, bizarre photocollage, and the repurposing of pre-existing material to strange and disturbing effect—may or may not have been severely vandalized, sources said Monday.

"This is either totally messed up or completely accurate," said Reed College art history major Ted Brendon. "There's a mustache drawn on the photo of Marcel Duchamp, the font size keeps changing, and halfway through, the type starts going in a circle. Also, the majority of the actual entry is made up of Krazy Kat cartoons with abstract poetry written in the dialogue balloons."

The fact that the web page continually reverts to a "normal" state, observers say, is either evidence that ongoing vandalization is being deleted through vigilant updating, or a deliberate statement on the impermanence of superficial petit-bourgeois culture in the age of modernity.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Karl Rove Summoned Back to Hell

By Robert Friedman from The Specious Report

Karl Rove, chief political strategist and aide to President Bush, has been summoned back to Hell and will be leaving his White House post at the end of August.

Explained White House spokesperson Tony Snow, "It goes without saying that Karl will be sorely missed around here. However, nobody at the White House is surprised by this turn of events. As Satan's minions, we're basically on 24-hour call. You never know when that beeper will go off. Still, our loss will be Hell's gain. If anyone belongs in Hell, it's my friend Karl."

Some current residents of Hell disagreed. "I'm not sure this is such a great idea," said one demon. "I put up with enough nonsense the last time Rove was in residence down here. He launched a smear campaign about me that I still haven't lived down. The bastard convinced everyone that I'm pure of heart and gentle of spirit, just like he did with Bush. You know - a compassionate conservative. Can you imagine? I was almost rendered to heaven, where I'm sure they would have used enhanced interrogation techniques to debrief and brainwash me. If you ask me, having Karl Rove in this neighborhood will lower the property values for everyone."

But Rove also has some strong advocates in Hell. Stated one anonymous denizen of the fiery depths, "Karl Rove was sent to earth to help start preemptive wars, shamelessly manipulate public opinion through fear and divisiveness, and create unfathomable pain all around. In other words, he's my kind of guy. I can't wait to meet him."

Former President Richard Nixon offered strong support for Rove. "I've been waiting for Karl to show up," said Nixon. "Frankly, I can use his help. I've run two failed campaigns and have yet to take over leadership of this place. With Karl running the dirty tricks department - a craft that he learned from my administration, by the way - we can't miss."

When contacted on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton expressed wistfulness about Rove's return to Hell. "It's a shame, really," she said. "Here I was, all ready to respond with a rapid, effective counterpunch whenever Karl attacked me. It would have helped me look tough and decisive. Now what do I do? It's not like I can prove what a strong leader I am by invading a country for no reason, the way that George Bush did."

Vice President Cheney was saddened by Rove's departure, but pleased by his destination. "Am I going to miss the guy? Sure. Of course. We worked hard together to ignore the Constitution and rule with an iron fist. Plus, we had a hell of a good time along the way lying to everyone about everything at every opportunity. But I'm proud of Karl for taking that big step into Hell. With any luck, I'll be meeting him there soon."

Some Republicans seemed pleased by Rove's departure. "Look," summed up one White House adviser, "Karl Rove was hurting the party by drawing too much attention to our heartless, amoral political philosophy. Of course we don’t care about anyone or anything but ourselves and our rich friends, but nobody is supposed to guess that's the case. Our goal is to pretend that we represent the interests of average Americans while robbing them blind. Unfortunately, Karl's attitude made it all way too clear. Now that he's out of the picture, maybe we can focus on our core values the way that we did in the past - quietly."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Will I Ever Learn To Buy?????

Chalk 4 Peace 2007 SEPT 15 - 23 "The Global Street Art Event"


Please copy this & forward this to your contacts
United Kingdom.. United States.. Egypt.. Austria.. Germany.. Canada..
Ecuador.. Puerto Rico.. France.. Chile.. Iran.. Iraq.. Mexico..
Spain.. Italy.. Cypress.. Israel.. Your Town.. -EVERYWHERE!
Mission Possible - "Our World Working For ALL of Us"

We CAN Make THE Difference!

THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 15th to 23rd Chalk4Peace!

You are invited to Take Action! - ("Scroll down for WHAT CAN YOU DO?")
To Participate in this GLOBAL outpouring of public art. Where we
makeour personal statements for peace on the pavements and sidewalks
of our cities all over our world.


All around the globe, together we are decorating, dedicating and
declaring, in deep sincerity our collective call for peace.

Chalk4Peace is about our empowerment. We The People, our global
culture, all people everywhere and our common desire to live in peace.

The Chalk4Peace project has already transformed the experience of
thousands of people attending demonstrations for peace all over the
world during the past 4 years. Chalk4Peace is both a tool and a
conduit for non violent public self expression,
and participation in the growing global movement for peace.

Chalk4Peace is an opportunity for all of us of all ages to make our
feelings known, especially the young, whose future is in dire
jeopardy as our global village falls faster and faster into the fear
breeding fear breeding fear spiral.

Our global culture is teetering on the edge of extinction.

No 1 person alone can turn this around, but together WE CAN!

"The Structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, one
party,or one nation. It must be a peace which rests on the
cooperative effort of the whole world"
... Eleanor Roosevelt

Our basic human instincts drive us to seek safety. This is what this
chaos is all about.Our essential human survival instincts are acting
out of context with the wider global cultural need resulting in
mistrust, fear and conflict.

Everywhere the media bombards us with WAR TALK, distractions and
negative belief patterns that encourage us to believe that the future
of our world is out of our hands entirely.

One place we still have communal access to, is OUR STREETS.

We can balance our GLOBAL CONVERSATION with collective self-
expression using OUR STREETS AS OUR MEDIA!

Chalk4Peace is one step, a catalyst that can transform our global
conversation as "we the people", en masse make our statement that is
our common aspiration for PEACE.


Carry some chalk with you, invite a friend with you, to chalk
inspirations on the pavement whenever and wherever you fancy.

Chalk is harmless, cheap and washes away within a few days.

Especially PARTICIPATE in the Sept 15th to 23rd

Make it happen in your Community!

(Scroll down for "WHAT CAN YOU DO?")

Lets us turn our grey streets into a living river of colour and
possibility - With poetry, hearts, peace symbols, empowering
statements, also expressions of our frustrations and despair.

All will be seen for several days by thousands of people, then as
they are washed away by the elements WE CAN CONTINUE to find fresh
places to Chalk4Peace.

We don't need to be an artist to Chalk4Peace. Every statement,
however small or large becomes part of the amazing tapestry that is
our global future.

This unique event conceivably, could be the largest of its kind in
modern history. It is a global effort that is happening.

We The People are spreading the word and making the effort to be a
part of this huge creative endeavour to bring Peace back into the

It is our goal for at least one million or more of us to participate
with this sidewalk/pavement chalk extravaganza, at thousands of
locations, in as many countries, cities and towns around the world as
is possible.

So WHAT CAN YOU DO to help make this happen?

1. NETWORK/POST this email to your friends, contacts and where ever
else seems appropriate

2. JOIN the Yahoo group

or send a blank email to:

To network with others around the world who will be Chalking4Peace.

to let us know what you are doing in your community, and please send
us pictures. Or to find out how you can participate in the project.

4. ARRANGE with you local businesses, libraries, churches, mosques,
synagogues, restaurants, supermarkets etc to chalk on the pavement
outside their premises on the 15th - 23rd of September and whenever

IDENTIFY public squares such as Trafalgar Square in London and invite
all your friends and your friends' friends to show up with a few
boxes of chalk, or even get some from your local quarry.

TAKE extra chalk with you to hand out to passers-by.

5. USE this Email as a press release for you local TV, Radio and
Newspapers. Let them know that Chalk4Peace is happening ASAP to get
the momentum going.

6. DOCUMENT YOUR Chalk4peace actions with photos and video. Send them
to your local media - copies for our website will be greatly
appreciated - send to:

7. ENGAGE co-creatively in local communal efforts, strengthen
working relationships and find what it takes to stand for peace and

8. Have lots of FUN and keep on Chalking4Peace after the September

"FUN The Final Frontier"

How did Chalk4Peace begin?
"Message in a bottle"

for Chalk4Peace locations in America

Its time for us to move beyond the "No to War" position and come
"Saying Yes2Peace"

"If we don't create our future, our past will create it for us"
Lets skip the war bit and just get to the peace

Greet someone new today,
look into their eyes, smile, say hello,
shake their hand ...

Brian :)

"There is nothing wrong with our world,
we are just having a weird conversation".

"Reclaim the conversation"

"Our New World Order IS Love!"

Dedicated to the child inside each one of us,
All the children and
All the children to come.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can Bush Play a Fiddle?

Painting by Roger Brown see his work at

U.S. Comptroller General Compares U.S. To End of Roman Empire

(from Democracy Now)

The Comptroller General of the U.S. government is warning there are striking similarities between the current situation in the United States and the end of the Roman empire. In a new report, David Walker said the U.S. is now facing many of the same factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government." Walker predicted the US is “on a path toward an explosion of debt”. As comptroller general Walker is in charge of the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, often described as the investigative arm of Congress.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Where Are The Democrats' Promises????

"Terror War" Terrorizes Spineless Democrats

by Black Agenda Report, Managing Editor Bruce Dixon

"Democrats are scrambling to re-brand the fictitious "global war on terror" as their own, and to outdo Republicans in threatening the peace abroad and scaring citizens at home."

When a cowardly congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 last fall, many were quick say that in the House of Representatives at least, Democrats never had any realistic hope of stopping it. This anti-constitutional atrocity rolled the cause of human rights back some 800 years, legalizing secret imprisonment, torture, and evidence obtained by torture. It made possible life imprisonment with neither accusation nor trial, and absolved from prosecution all the recently active kidnappers and torturers on US government payrolls and contracts along with those who gave them orders.

But last fall's good news, supposedly, was that the Republican congress was certain to be replaced in a matter of weeks by clear Democratic majorities in the House and Senate who'd stand up to the president, end the war, indict even impeach some of the malefactors, and begin to undo some of the damage inflicted by the most lawless presidential administration in the nation's history. It hasn't happened that way.

Instead, Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have ruled impeachment of Bush, Cheney or Gonzalez off the table. Congressional Democrats have increased the Pentagon's budget by $100 billion over Bush's request. They continued construction of an 80 acre embassy and the largest military bases in the world in Iraq. The end of 2007, a full year of Democratic control of the nation's purse will see more US forces and mercenaries in Iraq than at the beginning of the year. Only last week Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama declared himself ready to take up the "White Man's Burden" and invade Pakistan. Democrats are scrambling to re-brand the fictitious "global war on terror" as their own, and to outdo Republicans at threatening the peace abroad and scaring citizens at home.

Last week both houses of Congress, including dozens of Democrats approved legislation granting the feds the absolute power to intercept phone, fax and email traffic of anyone, anywhere in the world without the bother of explanations to any judge or competent authority whatsoever. House Democratic leaders denounced it, but didn't stop it. Senate Democratic leaders, including presidential candidates Clinton, Obama, Dodd and Biden if they mentioned it at all, decried the bill. But true to form, none stepped forward to lead a filibuster that might have stopped it.

With Congressional poll numbers nearly as low and the president's the gap between Democratic office holders and Democratic voters has never been wider. At the same time, corporate donations to Democratic candidates are higher than ever. These are two sides of the same coin. The Democratic establishment's uncritical embrace of the so-called "global war on terror" is exposing for all to see the widening fissure between the two Democratic parties --- the Democratic party of voters who are called out once every year or two, and the permanent Democratic party of consultants, pundits, lobbyists and wealthy campaign contributors. It is this gap between the expectations of voting Democrats and the will of donors and leading Democrats that prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Harry Reid to avoid last weekend's Yearly Kos, where they would have faced pointed questions on impeachment, war and peace, or domestic policy from an ordinarily tame crowd of Democratic bloggers, consultants, campaign staffers and wannabees. Pelosi and Reid know who their real base is.

Bush and Cheney have already declared that their "global war on terror" will be the foundation of America's domestic and foreign policy for the next twenty or thirty years. By following their lead, Democrats have doomed themselves to a cycle in which they will no longer compete with Republicans to offer a better vision of life for Americans and the rest of the planet, and have made the Republican politics of fear their own. Subsequent campaigns, including the 2008 presidential well underway will be contests to see who can scare us the most. And worse news still --- they're pretty good at it. Four out of seven Democratic presidential candidates declared their immediate readiness to undertake immediate US military action in Sudan, completely bypassing the African Union force option to which all the regional parties have agreed.

As former Alaska senator Mike Gravel remarked in more than one of this year's presidential forums, "...all these guys up here scare me...." He should know. Gravel is a man well acquainted with scary times, scary politicians and exposing the lies they tell the public. As a US Senator back in 1968 Gravel risked his own safety and his political career by revealing to the the massive decade-long campaigns of lies to the American public that made possible the secret bombings of Laos and Cambodia and the war in Vietnam, which killed two to three million Vietnamese alone.

"You won't get change from any of these guys up here" said Gravel in Chicago last week. "For that you need a movement. You'll have to get together and make some of your own policy, your own laws. Change doesn't come from elections and political parties and politicians. It comes from movements"

We at BAR think this is uncommonly good advice coming from a presidential candidate. Our African American politicians are fond of describing themselves as sons, daughters and heirs of the Freedom Movement. It's time we began to untangle that mess, to consciously separate those claims from reality, and see whose followers, whose heirs they really are.

Bruce Dixon can be reached at

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Give Peace a Chance

Band tries to heal Kashmir wounds with rock music

By Sheikh Mushtaq
Sun Aug 12, 4:03 AM ET

The sound of a new rock band is soothing Kashmir which has been blighted by years of violence and a ban on entertainment by separatist Muslim guerrillas.

In a region where the boom of guns and bombs has drowned out all sounds for almost 20 years, a cacophony of melodies from guitar, drums and electric keyboards is now sweeping Kashmir's war-weary youngsters with a message of love and peace.

"Immersion," a five-member rock band that also includes a woman, says the purpose of its music is to try to erase the scars and trauma of young Kashmiris.

"They have suffered a lot and they are hungry for entertainment," Amit Wanchoo, the band's 28-year-old lyricist, told Reuters. "We are trying to heal their wounds."

Every word of pain and suffering Wanchoo pens is dipped in the blood of his own family -- his grandfather, a prominent social worker, was shot dead by separatist militants in 1992.

The revolt has killed tens of thousands of people since 1989 and rape and torture have become a way of life.

Any distraction from the violence was blocked by a separatist ban on cinema, music and concerts in a region with great natural beauty that once provided romantic settings for Bollywood films.

But with time, the militants' hold over daily life has lifted, a single cinema has reopened, traditional theatre and music are being revived and alcohol is available in a few shops.

"There was no source of entertainment, so we decided to form a music group which will entertain youth who grew up with violence," said keyboard player Bilal Matta.

The band, which began performing last year, says initially it faced threats, but accompanying a fall in violence now more people attend their shows.

Last month, hundreds of Kashmiri youths swayed to the band's music. One of the songs said: "We pray to God for a soothing rain of happiness."

Overall violence has ebbed in Kashmir since India and Pakistan, which claim the region in full and rule in parts, began a peace process in 2004, officials say.

However, people are still killed in daily firefights and occasional attacks by suspected militants.

Encouraged by the response, the multi-lingual band -- which performs in English, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi -- hopes to turn professional soon. The band members now hold shows in between doing odd jobs.

"They can mesmerize everyone, the whole audience listens to their music with rapt attention," Mohammad Saqlain, an "Immersion" fan, said.

The band, its members mostly dressed in jeans, T-shirts and overcoats, performs for NGOs, government agencies and charities. Only recently they began paid shows.

"We have also organized concerts to entertain and help orphans, the poor and the ailing," said Mahmmeet Syed, the band's only female singer.

Saying that they are "aiming very high," King Paul, the lead guitarist, strings his instrument before strumming to his favorite song -- "Will change the picture of the world, we the youngsters of Kashmir."

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited.

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thank You For A Real Good Time

For the unrepentant patriarch of LSD, long, strange trip winds back to Bay Area

Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic
Thursday, July 12, 2007

The small, barefoot man in black T-shirt and blue jeans barely rates a second glance from the other Starbucks patrons in downtown San Rafael, although he is one of the men who virtually made the '60s. Because Augustus Owsley Stanley III has spent his life avoiding photographs, few people would know what he looks like.

The name Owsley became a noun that appears in the Oxford dictionary as English street slang for good acid. It is the most famous brand name in LSD history. Probably the first private individual to manufacture the psychedelic, "Owsley" is a folk hero of the counterculture, celebrated in songs by the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan.

For more than 20 years, Stanley -- at 72, still known as the Bear -- has been living with his wife, Sheila, off the grid, in the outback of Queensland, Australia, where he makes small gold and enamel sculptures and keeps in touch with the world through the Internet.

As a planned two-week visit to the Bay Area stretched to three, four and then five weeks, Bear agreed to give The Chronicle an interview because a friend asked him. He has rarely consented to speak to the press about his life, his work or his unconventional thinking on matters such as the coming ice age or his all-meat diet.

Sporting a buccaneer's earring he got when he was in jail and a hearing aid on the same ear, he keeps a salty goatee, and the sides of his face look boiled clean from seven weeks of maximum radiation treatment for throat cancer. Having lost one of his vocal cords, he speaks only in a whispered croak these days. At one point, he was reduced to injecting his puree of steak and espresso directly into his stomach.

"I never set out to change the world," he rasps in recalling his early manufacture of LSD. "I only set out to make sure I was taking something (that) I knew what it was. And it's hard to make a little. And my friends all wanted to know what they were taking, too. Of course, my friends expanded very rapidly."

By conservative estimates, Bear Research Group made more than 1.25 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967, essentially seeding the entire modern psychedelic movement.

Less well known are Bear's contributions to rock concert sound. As the original sound mixer for the Grateful Dead, he was responsible for fundamental advances in audio technology, things as basic now as monitor speakers that allow vocalists to hear themselves onstage.

Says the Dead's Bob Weir: "He's good for a different point of view at about any given time. He's brilliant. He knows everything."

Bear, whose grandfather was a Kentucky governor and U.S. senator, grew up in Los Angeles and Arlington, Va. He was thrown out of military school in the eighth grade for being drunk and dropped out of school altogether at 18. He managed to get accepted to the University of Virginia, where he spent a year studying engineering. By 1956, he was in the Air Force, specializing in electronics and radar.

Later, Bear studied ballet, acting and Russian, worked in jet propulsion labs as well as radio and television, and then entered UC Berkeley in 1963, but lasted less than a year.

Then he discovered acid.

He found the recipe for making LSD in the Journal of Organic Chemistry at the UC Berkeley library. Soon after, Bear began to cook acid.

The Berkeley police raided his first lab in 1966 and confiscated a substance that they claimed was methedrine. When it turned out to be something else -- probably a component of LSD -- Bear not only walked free but successfully sued the cops for the return of his lab equipment.

By the time he made a special batch called Monterey Purple for the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival -- Owsley Purple was the secret smile on Jimi Hendrix's face that night -- "Owsley" was an underground legend.

In December 1967, agents arrested him at his secret lab in Orinda. The "LSD Millionaire" headline in The Chronicle prompted the Dead to write the song "Alice D. Millionaire." In 1970, after a pot bust in Oakland, a judge revoked Bear's bail, and he served two years at Terminal Island near the Los Angeles Harbor.

"If you make some, you've got to move some to get some money to make it," he says now. "But then you had to give a lot away to keep the street price down. So anyway, I'm sort of embedded in this thing that I'm tangled up in. ... Just as soon as it became illegal, I wanted out. Then, of course, I felt an obligation."

Bear, chemist to Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, was involved with the Dead almost from the band's beginnings at Kesey's notorious Acid Tests. Bear was the Dead's first patron and, briefly, their manager. He bought the band sound equipment and began to use the Dead as a laboratory for audio research.

"We'd never thought about high-quality PAs," says the Dead's Weir. "There was no such thing until Bear started making one."

Bear made the first public address system specifically dedicated to music in 1966. If he was the first concert sound engineer in rock music to take his job seriously, his habit of making tape recordings of the shows he mixed also gave the Dead an unprecedented archive of live recordings dating back to the band's first days. Many of Bear's tapes have been turned into albums.

Bear has always lived in a quite particular world. "He can be very anal retentive, on a certain level, on a genius level," says Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane. "I've seen him send his eggs back three times at Howard Johnson's."

His all-meat diet is a well-known example. When he was younger, Bear read about the Eskimos eating only fish and meat and became convinced that humans are meant to be exclusively carnivorous. The members of the Grateful Dead remember living with Bear for several months in 1966 in Los Angeles, where the refrigerator contained only bottles of milk and a slab of steak, meat they fried and ate straight out of the pan. His heart attack several years ago had nothing to do with his strict regimen, according to Bear, but more likely the result of some poisonous broccoli his mother made him eat as a youth.

As a sound mixer, Bear holds equally strict viewpoints, insisting that the most effective rock concert systems should have only a single source of sound, his argument quickly veering into the realm of psycho-acoustics.

"The PA can only be in one spot," he says. "All the sounds have to come from a single place because the human brain is carrying around the most sophisticated sound processing of any computer or living creature. It equals the bats that fly by echo. It equals the dolphins. It equals the owls that hunt at night without any daylight at all. It is a superb system for locating and separating one sound from everything else."

Bear left Northern California in the early '80s, convinced that a natural disaster was imminent. He predicted at the time that global warming would lead to a six-week-long ultra-cyclone that could cover the Northern Hemisphere with a new ice age. Determining that the tropical northern side of Australia would be the most likely region to survive, Bear made a beeline for Queensland and says he felt at home the moment he set foot on the new continent.

"I might be right about the ice age thing," he allows. "I might be wrong."

Old friends express shock that Bear would ever even admit to that possibility, but, if not exactly mellowed in his old age, he has found room to accommodate other points of view.

"He's come a long way," says Wavy Gravy, who visited Bear in Australia this year. "He used to be real snappy and grumpy. Now he can be actually sweet."

His four children are grown. He has five grandchildren, and his oldest son, Pete, in Florida, just became a grandfather, making Bear a great-grandfather for the first time. His other son, Starfinder, a veterinarian, hosted a party for him last month at his Oakland home attended by the old Dead crowd, a tortoise and a caged iguana. He has two daughters, Nina and Redbird, and maintains his own Web site ( where he sells his sculpture and posts various diatribes and essays.

He keeps up with the music scene -- he singles out Wolfmother and the Arctic Monkeys as new bands he likes. "Any time the music on the radio starts to sound like rubbish, it's time to take some LSD," he says.

Owsley Stanley (he legally dropped the "Augustus" 40 years ago) has also not joined the ranks of the penitent psychedelicists who look on their experiences as youthful indiscretions.

"I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for," he says. "What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different."

At the hilltop San Anselmo home where Bear had been house-sitting, pretty much all available space was taken over with his belongings. He squatted over the piles, trying to figure out what to ship and what to take with him. Two days before his flight, it looks like he'll need every minute.

This time, he was extending his stay to catch his old friends Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady of Hot Tuna play at the Fillmore. But when he left for the airport the next day, he got as far as Sausalito before he discovered that he had left the briefcase with the tickets back in San Anselmo, and the trip home was postponed for another week.

"I even said, 'I wonder what I'm leaving behind this time?' before I left," he says, somewhat sadly.

E-mail Joel Selvin at

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Greener Burning Man ??????

Our Future Now

Almost nothing produces more landfill fodder, waste and general pollution than a fully-loaded concert or arts festival. From his vantage point on stages across America, fiddler Michael Kang of The String Cheese Incident has witnessed this large-scale consumption and waste all too often. So this summer Kang and two friends, co-artists David Fulton and Matt Atwood, launched Our Future Now, a non-profit designed to counter the impact delivered when revelers gather by the thousands.

“The potential of these concerts is to reach 10,000 to 90,000 people at once,” said Kang, who’s spending his summer interweaving the values of Our Future Now into String Cheese’s tour schedule. With cooperating festival producers, Our Future Now will actively promote carpooling and bicycling to events to reduce carbon emissions, help erect “recycled art” projects and compelling renewable energy demonstrations, install solar- and wind-powered generators, purchase compostable cups for drinks, and serve food made from organic and local ingredients.

“We want to bring this message to people in a way that makes them feel good and want to be a part of it,” Kang explained. “The waste generated by most festivals is astonishing, and I honestly believe that once most people make the connection between the trash and the problems it creates, they’ll want to help correct it.” So far, Our Future Now has leant a shade of green to mass gatherings like Lollapalooza and the Virgin Festival in Baltimore; this month it will participate in greening Burning Man.

Instead of the heap of trash most tours behind, Our Future Now seeks to leave a greater legacy in the communities it touches. “The goal is to instill our message in millions of people who will take it home and put it to daily use,” said Fulton. “This needs to go way beyond the festivals.”

Learn more or contribute to the cause through — Alastair Bland

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I Had to Go to New Zealand Media to Discover This....

Video, Report Details Evangelism at Highest Levels of US Military
from Scoop Independant New

By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t

Video Report at

A report released publicly on Thursday by the Defense Department's (DOD) inspector general has found high-ranking Army and Air Force personnel violated long-standing military regulations when they participated in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization while in uniform and on active duty.

The report recommended Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, Army Brig. Gen. Bob Caslen, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton, and a colonel and lieutenant colonel whose names were redacted in the inspector general's report, "improperly endorsed and participated with a non-Federal entity while in uniform" and the men should be disciplined for misconduct. Caslen was formerly the deputy director for political-military affairs for the war on terrorism, directorate for strategic plans and policy, joint staff. He now oversees the cadets at the Military Academy at West Point. Caslen told DOD investigators he agreed to appear in the video upon learning other senior Pentagon officials had been interviewed for the promotional video.

The inspector general's report recommended the "Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Army take appropriate corrective action with respect to the military officers concerned."

The officers did not return phone calls or emails to respond to the report's findings.

The 47-page report was also highly critical of Pentagon Chaplain Col. Ralph G. Benson, whom the inspector general's report accused of knowingly misleading the DOD when he requested permission from DOD officials to film a video inside the Pentagon claiming he was interested in gathering information about the Pentagon's "own ministry." In fact, the report says, Benson was determined to use the video to "attract new supporters" to the Christian Embassy, an evangelical organization that evangelizes members of the military and politicians in Washington, DC via daily Bible studies and outreach events. The group holds prayer breakfasts on Wednesdays in the Pentagons executive dining room, according to the organization's web site. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, founded the Christian Embassy 30 years ago.

Over the past few years, the military has set its sights on prosecuting Iraq war veterans who have completed active duty, soured on the war and participated in antiwar protests while wearing their uniforms. Recently, the US Marine Corps prosecuted Cpl. Adam Kokesh and Marine Sgt. Liam Madden, both of whom were photographed marching in an antiwar protest while wearing their uniforms in what the Marine Corps says was a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Military prosecutors vigorously sought to have both men dishonorably discharged. However, it appears unlikely the military will apply the same standard to the Air Force and Army officers who the inspector general said violated the same code of conduct Kokesh and Madden were found to have broken, according to the disciplinary recommendations of the report.

The Army generals who appeared in the video appeared to be speaking on behalf of the military, but they did not obtain prior permission to appear in the video. They defended their actions, according to the inspector general's report, saying the "Christian Embassy had become a 'quasi-Federal entity', since the DOD had endorsed the organization to General Officers for over 25 years."

"The non-DoD speakers on the video included six Congressmen, two ambassadors, two ambassadors' wives, as well as the Under Secretary of benefits for Veterans' Affairs and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who acknowledged "Christian Embassy's" international and federal-governmental evangelical Christian training," the report added, although the identity of those individuals are unknown at this time.

The report also concluded a film crew was not escorted or monitored during production of the video inside the Pentagon, and the Pentagon chaplain's office gave at least 34 "religiously affiliated volunteers" unrestricted access to the Pentagon that allowed the individuals to move freely throughout the facility. The so-called "contractor badges" were unauthorized, the report says.

In response, the inspector general urged the administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Army and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency "initiate inquiries into the manner and appropriateness of issuance of contractor badges to volunteer personnel."

The inspector general launched an investigation last year after receiving a letter from Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit government watchdog group that aims to enforce the separation of church and state within the US military. Weinstein's group discovered the video on the Christian Embassy web site. Weinstein drafted a letter to the inspector general alleging misconduct by the officers, citing the military's strict policy that prohibits military personnel from appearing in uniform and participating in "speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies or any public demonstration ... which may imply Service sanction of the cause for which the demonstration or activity is conducted."

Weinstein said the military brass who participated in the video "were clearly identified by their positions within the Defense Department, however, the video did not include any disclaimers indicating that the views expressed were not those of the Defense of Department."

The former White House attorney under Ronald Reagan, and the author of the book "With God On Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military", said he is still "dissecting" the inspector general's report, but "clearly this is a gigantic victory for our foundation."

"The report confirms the total destruction of the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating supernatural and natural, metaphysical and physical, spiritual and temporal, church and state at the highest levels of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind; our honorable and noble United States military," Weinstein said in an interview. "The embarrassingly pedestrian excuses feebly offered by senior US Army and US Air Force generals and other senior officers are pathetic and not worthy of those that might have been offered by a first-grader. The fact that these senior Pentagon officials control our country's nuclear arsenal should shake the very foundation of the American public's trust in our country's current leadership."

Weinstein said perhaps the most egregious aspect of the inspector general's report is the findings that non-military personnel were given "badges" to roam freely throughout the Pentagon calling it a "shocking national security breach of the highest order." He called for Congressional oversight hearings into the matter.

"The rise of evangelical Christianity inside the military went on steroids after 9/11 under this administration and this White House," Weinstein said in an interview. "This administration has turned the entire Department of Defense into its own personal faith-based initiative. "

In the video, which is posted on, Major General Catton talks about how his faith in God and the Christian Embassy helped him land a powerful position as a "director on the joint staff."

"As I meet the people that come into my directorate I tell them right up front who Jack Catton is, and I start with the fact that I'm an old-fashioned American, and my first priority is my faith in God, then my family and then country," Catton says. "I share my faith because it describes who I am."

Army Secretary Pete Geren, the former acting secretary of the Air Force who oversaw the Air Force's response in 2005 to claims evangelical Christians were pressuring cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, also appeared in the video praising the Christian Embassy.

The Christian Embassy "has been a rock that I can rely on, been an organization that helped me in my walk with Christ, and I'm just thankful for the service they give," Geren says.

The inspector general investigated Geren's participation in the video, but determined he did not act improperly. Geren testified he was unaware the video would be used for fundraising purposes or to attract new members. He was identified in the video as "Honorable Pete Geren Presidential Appointee."

The report said Geren, who was also a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, has had a long-standing relationship with the Christian Embassy organization.

"According to his testimony, Mr. Geren first became involved with Christian Embassy while he was a member of the US Congress, attending Bible study and fellowship activities arranged by Christian Embassy on Capitol Hill," the inspector general's report states. "He said that he continued his relationship with Christian Embassy when he began work for DOD in the Pentagon, attending the Senior Executive Fellowship and Bible Study."

Robert Varney, executive director of the Christian Embassy, testified the video was used to raise money for his organization.

Jason Leopold is senior editor and reporter for Truthout. He received a Project Censored award in 2007 for his story on Halliburton's work in Iran.