Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And, speaking of ugly cankers ...

[Media] Syndicated pipsqueak Ricky Lowry has another op-ed in the Trib: this time ruminating over Jeremiah Wright's baleful impact on the Obama campaign. (Lowry does care, you know. The dear boy only wants the Democrats to have the best candidate possible.)

What are Wright's terrible crimes against humanity? Far as I can tell, he preached that God doesn't like the way America has been treating blacks for the past couple centuries or so. He even went so far as to suggest that the United States hasn't always acted in the best interest of its black citizenry.

Now I suppose, if you were particularly clueless, you might try to argue the point. Yes, the U.S. has made some progress on the civil liberties front--due almost entirely to huge sacrifices made by black civil-rights workers, and no credit can go to the white politicians and conservative opinion writers who, by and large, have strenuously resisted every civil-rights push in history. In other words, Rich Lowry doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. (And no more do I, but I don't pretend to, either.)

The wingers don't seem to have thought out this Rev.-bashing strategy very carefully, however: The one good thing about the right-wing Rev. Wright drumbeat? Once the Democratic National Convention's over, John McCain's nutty buddy Rev. John Hagee--whose endorsement McCain actively courted--will be fair game.

Here's a little taste of that down-home Hagee wisdom McCain has come to rely on so much:
"The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West... a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ."
The thought of such a lunatic having the ear of a presidential candidate chills me to the bone more than anything Wright has said possibly could.

(Brandon Burt)

Masters of the Obvious

[Media] Today's best "no-shit" headline. (Holly Mullen)

Corroon vs. Calhoun

[Identity Crisis] If Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Coroon and perennial Saturday Night Live candidate Tim Calhoun have ever been seen in the same place together, I need to know about it. Seriously. Now. (For the full effect, play both vids simultaneously.)





(Bill Frost)

The Last Beer Part II

[Assault and Guzzling] I said it before. And I'll say it again.
(Holly Mullen)

Dear In The Venue

First off, thanks for consistently hosting such great bands. But really, the reason I'm writing is to offer up a suggestion: If you must book two shows in one night (with one band performing in "Club Sound" and the other on the "In the Venue" side), perhaps consider announcing ahead of time which band will be appearing in which "club." This way, when I list shows in the City Weekly, readers will know where to go! For example, on May 16, Atmosphere is apparently playing at In the Venue. That same evening, Tapes N Tapes and White Denim are also apparently playing at In the Venue. Now, I know the Minneapolis hip-hop artist is not performing with either of the indie rock groups. So I guess I'll just go ahead and make a random guess and put him in Club Sound? You see, very confusing. Anyway, here are some rad videos by all three acts:




Cheers,

Jamie Gadette

Superheroes Among Us

[Weekly Poll] Last week, we asked if you preferred SLC pizza over all others: The winner was a resounding "Yes!" for the locals, with New York/Chicago pies a distant second and frozen Red Baron coming in third. Hot Pockets, nowhere to be found ...

This week's City Weekly feature story chronicles the adventures of the Black Monday Society, a self-appointed group of "superheroes" who patrol the streets of Salt Lake City. Do you feel safer or just creeped out?

Take the new Weekly Poll here.

(Bill Frost)

It's Wednesday and It's Crap Outside


Fill your lungs with a different kind of pollution at The Urban Lounge! Tonight's wild and crazy musical guests include Salt Lake City's own Red Bennies and Laserfang, plus Monofog and Magic Cyclops. Did I mention it's Laserfang Shane Asbridge's birthday? Well, the day after. But who cares? He's a real nice fellow and a hell of a musician. He's the inspiration behind a Vile Blue Shades (not Vile Blue Shards, KCPW. Better change that PSA) ditty. Can you guess which one?

Celebrate good and bad times at Da Phat Squirrel Presents.


(Jamie Gadette)


Clark Waddoups a Non-Partisan Miracle!


News has hit that Bush has tapped SLC attorney Clark Waddoups for a federal judgeship. As reported in the trib this morning, Waddoups' colleagues see him as a uniquely unpolitical animal, where colleague Rob Clark said "he does not have a political orientation." AG Shurtleff weighs in to say that political labels don't apply to Waddoups.

Hmmm seems just a wee bit suspicious. The first red flag should smack you in the face when you start trying to add "Bush pick" with "nonpartisan." Which for me equals "yeah right."

Then you also have glowing recommendations of a man who has managed to somehow live in the twilight zone of political neutrality in his decades plus career as a trial attorney, a miracle if there ever was one. But its not until you actually look back on Waddoups' career that you might, like me, suddenly come down with a hacking *bullshit* cough.

Some recent cases for Waddoups:

2002--Waddoups successfully wins out against disability rights group seeking redress from the handicapped-unfriendly design the Boyer company made of the Gateway mall.

2006--Waddoups successfully gives legislators the power to peel back generous public employee benefits that used to allow employees to trade eight unused hours of sick leave for a month of post-retirement medical benefits.

2007--Waddoups disappoints school voucher clients when he fails to get the high court to put the kibosh on the public referendum initiative.

Of course if one of these (which is just a sampling) sticks out as a big thumbs up from the Bush camp, it would have to be the public benefits case, because it was here thatWaddoups and friends tried strong arming the Utah judiciary by insinuating that if the state went to trial that legislators might have to hold back state employee salaries by $20 million to save money for legal fees. Now that's the kind of "lets screw over separation of powers" game play the Bushites can truly sink their teeth into. (Eric S. Peterson)

Freud would have a heyday...

[Filed under "WTF?"]



Ohhh... where does one start? According to Reuters this morning, Florida lawmakers are convening to ban this man's nutz:





I can already hear the outcries of men's rights groups all across the nation. "Leave our Nutz alone!"



"Are you sick of looking at side steps and bug shields?
Want a REAL auto accessory?
Want a site that offers Hot Chicks, Bad-Ass Rides, Free stuff, and the funniest accessory in the industry?" (per Truck Nutz' site)



Yyyyyyeah.
I foresee a public cast- er, demonstration by local feminists in support of the Florida ban.


Girls! Start sharpening those vagina dentata!

(SLC Random)

Missed Opportunity


Remember James Anthony? He had a gallery/retail space on SLC's East Broadway strip. His merchandise included apparel with illustrations and engravings from the late 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. His clothes put a unique spin on local residents' wardrobes. Then someone had to ruin all the fun by infiltrating a private party where alcohol was allegedly served to a minor. Slapped with a fine, James Anthony's store shut down. He had every intention to remain in SLC, but when opportunity knocked he headed to another Eastern district--in New York City. Nearly a year later, Anthony is thriving. He even caught the attention of one of my favorite authors, Augusten Burroughs (You might have heard of a little memoir called Running With Scissors? Read the book; skip the movie):


"Do you know? I walked the streets of New York City for A WEEK looking for cool t-shirts and I saw only garbage -stuff I have seen over and over and over and over. BLECH. Until these James Anthony shirts appeared from the sky, a gift from Jesus’s pet Cow."


Good for Burroughs and Anthony, shitty for us. Why does this city continue to drive away adventurous artists and business owners?


While we mull over that question, let's all continue to support the remaining businesses along East Broadway and every promising burg in SLC. Been to Disorderly House lately? Frosty Darling? Let's hold onto the pulse that keeps us at least in spitting distance of cutting edge.


(Jamie Gadette)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lohra Miller Casted

[Leg Up] Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller is on crutches, and sporting a Pepto-Bismol pink cast on her right foot. She was just about to settle into her chair before the Salt Lake County Council earlier today and was finishing a chat with KSL-TV reporter Richard Piatt.

In a moment of perfect lawyer timing, Miller--failing to see a City Weekly staffer who had just walked into the room--explained her color choice for the cast thusly: "It's my little get-back at City Weekly." Then she chuckled.

The reference, for those playing along at home, would be to this City Weekly cover story, which was giddily headlined "Illegally Blond," and featured the above photo (apologies to Elle Woods and Reese Witherspoon).

To which we at CW must reply: "Yep, you sure got us Barrister Miller! And which of us is clunking around town in a plaster foot cast?" (Holly Mullen)

Another Nail in the Alco-Pop Coffin

[News] At a Detroit Tigers baseball game recently, a man (a university professor, no less) accidentally gave his thirsty 7-year-old son a "hard" lemonade from the concession stand. A security guard noticed it and, instead of just telling dad "hey, you probably don't want to give your kid that," called The Authorities. How very Utahn of him.

Forget State Liquor Stores--once the story hits locally, you won't be able to find this crap anywhere. Think of The Children! See what can happen?! (Bill Frost)

Get Off the Bus

[Bus Fare Hike] Enjoy your free ride on UTA’s new FrontRunner commuter train from Ogden to Salt Lake City? Great. Now get ready for a fare hike.

Three days after the inaugural run of the newest installment to its expanding rail system, UTA has begun advertising that it wants to add a new “fuel surcharge” to fares. Public hearings to take comment on the plan are scheduled May 13 at UTA offices on 3600 South. Written comments will be accepted until May 20.

UTA says the fare hikes are required due to increased diesel fuel prices.

Under UTA’s proposal, fare hikes would start July 1. Every three months, rates would be adjusted to match increased fuel prices. The rate plan would stay in effect until diesel dips below $3 a gallon.

For the just opened FrontRunner, the base fare is currently $2.50. The July fuel surcharge would add another 50 cents, for a $3 starting fee. TRAX and bus will cost $2. (Ted McDonough)

Same As It Ever Was?


This is cool: The Pickle Company will hold auditions this Saturday, May 3, for a chance to appear in the October theatrical performance of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, ostensibly in conjunction with the recent re-release of Brian Eno and David Bryne's groundbreaking 1981 collaborative LP. The somewhat controversial--though largely overlooked--album explored the concept of found art, global connections and the way in which influences play a role in creating new work. This is a perfect sounding board for TRASA Urban Arts Collective's artist-in-residence program to build on. Those interested in trying out, head to Rose Wagner Center, Studio B, 10:30 a.m., Saturday. Everyone else, clear a space on your calendar Oct. 22-26.


(Jamie Gadette)

Dead Zephyr: Week 233

(Bill Frost)

Last Splash


[Booze News] Sunday night marks the last time (for now) that Salt Lake City tipplers can legally obtain a full-strength Long Island Iced Tea--or at least the way they're used to having it. Utah's newly revised liquor laws take effect Monday, May 5. Yes, they take effect on Cinco de Mayo.

This could be a bummer--or not. While the new laws are, as usual, ultra confusing (especially to out-of-state visitors) the truth is the amount of alcohol allowed in each drink will shift from 2.75 ounces to 2.5 ounces. So if the bartender tinkers with each recipe, I suppose you can still have that cocktail in a new, slightly bastardized form.

I think we can all agree this is a headache. But we can also agree that locals will get around it, just like we cope with every other silly law enacted to make us drink less but which only drive us to drink more. Woot! So visit your local bar. I know Piper Down is at least one place throwing a last hoorah. Urban Lounge also has Time To Talk Twee Tunes, a mellow night of sounds perfect for drowning sorrows. (Jamie Gadette)

A lot on her plate ...

[Rachael Ray] Via the Slashfood blog (What's the most annoying Rachael Ray catchphrase? I'd say "yum-o," but only because now that she has a foundation called that, she uses it twice as often as any of her other annoying catchphrases):



It's 2 minutes 46 seconds of Rachael Ray saying, "Mmmm." (Brandon Burt)

SLCounty Domestic Partnership Bennies Dead, Again

[Domestic Partnerships] The Salt Lake County Council moments ago beat down a move to provide health insurance and other benefits for county employees in committed domestic partnerships.

Again.

The vote was 5-4, and strictly along party lines, on a substitute motion that pulled all teeth from Democratic Council Member Jenny Wilson's* original proposal. Republican Council Member Mark Crockett, who faces re-election in November, presented the new motion, which sets up a study to determine the cost of insuring other members of a household not traditionally covered under employee insurance plans, such as aging parents and adult disabled children.

Crockett added that if the study determines feasibility for additional benefit designees, the employee would have to pay the entire premium for the additional family member.

Whaa?

As Democrat Joe Hatch pointed out, that is no kind of a benefit to anyone outside the traditional circle of the insured. Because it places a huge burden on the employee to pay. And if it's out of reach economically for most workers, what kind of fool (my word, not Hatch's) would consider that a benefit?

Well, as you might guess, most of the discussion wallowed around in the "traditional family values" hemisphere. Republican Council Members Jeff Allen and David Wilde said they want to do all that they can to preserve, protect and encourage society to uphold the traditional family.

Wilson, sponsor of the original proposal hasn't wavered in her 2-year-long fight to just cut to the quick: whether you support health care benefits for domestic partners just like everyone else. Her Democratic colleagues, Randy Horiuchi, Jim Bradley and Hatch, all said they do, and clearly.

The rest of them spoke through mouthfuls of mush.

The question is whether the matter will be back.

*Full disclosure: Jenny Wilson is my stepdaughter. (Holly Mullen)

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Winds of Change ...

[Politics] Apparently, John Valentine is living in fear for his Utah Senate presidency.

The Trib's Robert Gehrke reports that, according to a member of the Utah Bar Commission, Valentine's response to one of Sen. Chris Buttars' inappropriate acts may have cost Valentine political points, leaving him on the verge of vulnerability.

(Since it may be difficult for readers to remember exactly which of Buttars' myriad slip-ups led to exactly which fucked-up state of affairs, we propose the Buttarsflap indexing system: "Buttarsflap 2008-1(b)" denotes the one where Buttars wrote an imperious letter to a judge for ruling against his developer buddy.)

Valentine punished Buttars for this lapse of decorum merely by removing Buttars as chairman of a Senate committee--which was not exactly draconian. Buttars was even allowed to remain on the committee. If this kind of self-regulation is what merits "a political hit" against Valentine in the Utah GOP, it's no wonder the party elite are so afraid to clean up fellow Republicans' ethical problems. The fact that it took place during the fallout from Buttarsflap 2008-2(a)--the black baby remark--should have no bearing on the matter.

But, there's always a bright side. If Valentine loses his post, Sen. Mike Waddoups might become Senate president.

In other words, a Republican from West Jordan might replace a Republican from Orem because of another Republican from West Jordan. And what a breath of fresh air that will be. (Brandon Burt)

Tickling the Economy


[Economy] The May stimulus checks are on their way the Bush admin is hopeful the $600 checks ($1200 for families with $300 per runt) will stimulate the economy out of it's doldrums and help shake off our country's pre-recession jitters.

But the verdict is still out on whether this check will do anything to steer the country away from its collision course with a recession, given the number of people who will use the money just to try and put a dent in their stack of bills.

That being said. retailers are going on the offensive, to get yo money before you can squirrel it away under your mattress. The Kroger co. for one, a national food retailer (Smith's, Fred Meyer etc...) is offering to let customers swap their stimulus checks for store cards that come with up to an additional $120 of store credit on them.

For all the Smith's outlets and Fred Meyers around, this will definitely be a big draw in Utah, but its not just the big boys on the national retail level who want you to spend some of that cash.

Clark Yospe VP of Marketing for RC Willey Furniture says they've got plans to advertise for that fatty stimulus check. "We are hoping to capture some of those dollars," Yospe says. "We're concerned some of you news folks have been printing surveys saying that people are just gonna spend the money on bills and their savings. Now that wouldn't exactly be a stimulus would it?"

Yospe wouldn't go into details about the furniture outlet's plan for attracting stimulus money for fear that competitors might steal their idea. Yospe did say however, that a direct mailing would be coming out soon to let consumers know why they should stimulate the economy at RC Willey's.

But whether it's groceries, furniture or whatever, it looks as though the economy may at least be in for a good tickle. (Eric S. Peterson)

Flying Whimsical Thingies

[Public Art] Allow me, just for a minute, to get all positive and upbeat about downtown.

Yesterday, we took in a matinee of Pygmalion's comedy, Sordid Lives,
at the Rose Wagner. While walking to the theater, we noticed the latest installment of "Flying Objects," the Salt Lake City Arts Council's public art project. There were four newly placed metal sculptures in the 300 South median, directly across from the Rose Wagner on the north; Squatter's Brew Pub on the south. (At right, "Untitled" by Fred Conlon, on 300 South between West Temple and 200 West.

"The 12-part public art project named “Flying Objects” in downtown Salt Lake City had a final “makeover” on Sunday morning," said Arts Council spokeswoman Nancy Boskoff in a press release. "The 12 sculptures, all created by Utah artists, are separated into three groups, each located near a cultural facility. With the rearrangement of the sculptures this weekend, the “Flying Objects” have arrived at their final destination and will remain in place for about a year, at which time a similar project with new sculptures will be unveiled."

The sculptures are whimsical. They caught our eye and best of all--made us feel a little more hopeful that downtown isn't headed for the extinction list like some sort of urban decaying dodo bird.

Maybe there's hope for life beyond The Gateway yet...(Holly Mullen)

High Defamation

[Local TV] Is it purely coincidence that, as soon as KUTV 2 rolls out its "true" high-definition broadcast, that "false HD" KSL drops this report about how HDTV isn't really all that?

"Some cable or satellite customers say they're a little disappointed with high definition programs," it leads off. "They say the picture quality isn't much better than normal programming."

In other words, even though KSL has been touting its own HD broadcasting for months, it's all now bullshit and every local channel just looks the same--no flipping! (Bill Frost)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Return of Friday Letters Round-Up

  • I just made up a joke! If "global warming" is such a serious problem, then why is it so cold ouside? Hahahaha! Get it?
  • I made up a joke, too! Get it?

Move Over, Lex de Azevedo!

[Imaginary Theater] Over at McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Ben Greenman's written the basis of a libretto for a show called Polygamy! The Musical. Oh, how I would love to see it produced! (Unlike many attempted parodies of the current Texas unpleasantness, it even seems to grasp the differences between LDS monogamy, FLDS polygamy and crazy-ass Warren Jeffs child rape.)

All it would take, really, would be a commitment from Utah's theater community to stage 10 percent fewer productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for one year, thus freeing up resources to workshop Polygamy!

Yes, it would be a sacrifice—but isn't it worth it to give new talent a break? (Brandon Burt)

That Kind Kabul Chronic

[War: What Is It Good For?] What the hell is happening over there in Afghanistan? Didn't PNAC tell us that Middle Eastern men are all bloodthirsty, puritanical fanatics? That's what I heard when they sent U.S. soldiers to wage a hellish war against, apparently, an entire subcontinent (and, oh, simultaneously against "drugs" and "terror.")

Apparently, our Afghani allies aren't bloodthirsty enough when it comes to fighting Taliban fuckheads. They're having the Summer of Love over there, to the supreme exasperation of this Coalition of the Willing member. (Brandon Burt)

House Party

Co-star of House Party, that is. Christopher "Kid" Reid will hit SLC on May 3 to perform stand-up comedy with Latin King of Comedy Joey Medina and Luenell. This is quite a treat for anyone nostalgic for the 90s. Spandex body suits anyone? Check these fresh dance moves:

And who could forget Reid's role in the film's spin-off cartoon series? Not this girl


(Jamie Gadette)

Was ToddlerSwipe.com Taken?

[Dumb Domains] Just received a press release about a new website that offers online deals for moms, set up by "local Internet marketing professionals." It's called ... BabySteals.com.

Now, I'm no Internet marketing professional, but doesn't this sound like a gathering site for baby-crazed kidnappers and/or black-market toddler peddlers? Just sayin' ... (Bill Frost)

Busy Birds

[Bird Love] The peregrine falcons are back and nesting happily in a box on the northeast corner of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on Main Street and South Temple.

State avian experts expect a hatch in
three to four weeks, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The female is sitting on four eggs.

Which prompted my morning coffee companion and partner in reading the daily papers to say:
"Well, [the falcons] live at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. They always have big families."

You can watch the birds do their brooding/birthing thing in real time by going
here.
(Holly Mullen)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Optimistic Fools


Everyone has a few guilty pleasures. One of mine happens to be trade shows. I love nothing more than milling about a vast exhibit hall, stuffing a canvas bag full of coupons, brochures, business cards and pens. It’s like Halloween for grown-ups—because in addition to useless paper products, there’s lots of candy dropped in your bag.

To that end, I slipped away from the office today to bob like a bubble in a stream around the aisles of the Salt Lake Chamber Business to Business Expo at the Salt Palace.

First of all, might I exclaim, what ever happened to the Salt Palace? I used to know my way around that joint but man, it’s become huuuugggge. The expansion we’ve heard about for the past few years is for real—you could practically run a marathon from one end to the other.

Secondly, might I ask, who wants to be found out for their guilty pleasures? At past B2B Expos, I could move around the room anonymously with a handwritten nametag, gather my info, enjoy some delicious food and drink and leave without incident.

However, this year, they got my number. Literally. The registration booth scanned my business card which fed information into a name-badge-printing machine. Presto-chango, I had a professional name badge.

But the chamber also has the goods on me, which they’ll probably sell to the 250 vendors who paid at least $875 per booth to attend. One business even scanned my business card before I dropped it into a bucket for a door prize.

Yes, I said door prize. Another guilty pleasure. Despite what I know about odds and my awareness of how businesses generate leads at trade shows, I still can’t resist trying for a free set of steak knives or an overnight hotel stay.

In the end, I guess that’s what trade shows are, an orgy of optimism. It’s the chutzpah of one business to rent a booth; staff it with shiny happy people; buy enough candy and banners to lure in a few of the 4,000 attendees; and brag about what it can sell you. And it’s the curious, open-to-possibilities mindset of attendees like me. I’m not really shopping for a new investment firm or a water-cooler service. But who knows, maybe someday I’ll will be.

In the meantime, I just hope I win that gift basket filled with Western Nut’s world-famous peanut brittle. (Jerre Wroble)

Wilco and ... Al Green Are Coming!!

Not together, but that would be cool. Red Butte Garden leaked its annual summer concert series schedule today. Here's a complete list of performers:

July 11
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

July 15
Jonny Lang, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band
(Dusty is also playing Urban Lounge May 5)

July 20
Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Gaudreau & Moondi Klein

July 22
Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi-Soul Stew Revival, Scrapomatic

July 30
Los Lonely Boys & Los Lobos

August 10
Alejandro Escovedo & Greg Brown

August 18
Wilco

August 19
A Prairie Home Companion: The Rhubarb Tour with Garrison Keillor

August 20
KT Tunstall

August 26
Bonnie Raitt, Richard Julian

September 3
Al Green

September 11
G. Love & Special Sauce, John Butler Trio

Here's Wilco doing one of my favorites:


(Jamie Gadette)

White Band is Coming


[Art] Nothing beats ugly spring weather better than checking out some fine artsy photos of much warmer climes. So if yer strolling downtown be sure to stop by Saans studio on 173 East Broadway, to check out White Band is Coming: Images of India.


Put on by local SLC photographer M Bryan Thompson (also the owner of Saans) the images are simple shots of the diverse community that make up the vast population of India. The free exhibit should be enough certainly to instill a little bit of that rambling spirit into anyone who checks it out, and if nothing else, cheer up a rainy afternoon. The exhibit will be running from now until May 13 so go check it out. (Eric S. Peterson)

Panchen Lama Candelight Vigil

Join the Utah Tibetan Community tomorrow evening to commemorate the 19th birthday of Panchem Lama, one of the world's youngest political prisoner. In case you've been asleep or just busy with your Wii and American Idol playoffs, the Chinese government has a pretty sketchy track record. It should come as no surprise then that Lama was kidnapped at age six and held in captivity by the Chinese government which admitted to doing so. Concerned Utah residents will gather to pray for Lama's safety and raise awareness of his disappearance:

Friday, April 25
City & County Building
451 S. State, SLC
7 p.m.
FreePanchenLama.org

(Jamie Gadette)

Confronting Cruelty

This weekend's Confronting Cruelty Conference didn't make it into the print edition of our paper, so here's hoping a few animal-loving locals out there will read this and attend the three-day event. Scheduled speakers include Brian Barnard, a Salt Lake City lawyer who fights for equal human and animal rights, Faith Ching (of Ching Animal Rescue), and former political prisoner/convicted "terrorist" Peter Young. This is a great opportunity for the public to learn how individuals can stop animal cruelty, from small steps like buying cruelty-free shampoo to bigger changes like adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet and perhaps protesting animal testing, etc.

(Jamie Gadette)

Saul Williams: Oh, That's Why I Love Music

I’ve always thought that if this writing gig didn’t work out, I could at least fall back on my drumming skills.

Last night, those aspirations were dashed across the floor of Kilby Court, along with the rest of my being. Poor Lance is probably still there cleaning up the pieces of me that were blown away by Saul Williams’ performance.

My musicianship-doubts began to form even before Williams took the stage. The three-piece backing band/programmers took the stage in full war-paint, head-feathered glory, led by New York producer/sequencer extraordinaire CX Kidtronik. From the moment the mohawk’d Kidtronik threw down, I knew I wanted to go home and trade in my drum set for an arsenal of drum machines, sequencers and synthesizers.

Following tribal-suit, Williams took the stage decked in full warlord attire. Proving himself equal parts eloquent and abrasive, he launched into an industrial/dance heavy set, littered with moments of thoughtful slam poetry. Even kids decked out in bondage gear couldn’t help dancing to the thick assault of NIN-influenced material off his newest album (apparently, they didn’t get the message that Trent wasn’t going to make an appearance, despite producing the album).

“I like small places like this,” said Williams of the tightly-packed Kilby. “It’s less of a show and more of a ritual.”

Every now and then, you go to a show that reminds you why you love music – listening to it, writing about it, playing it ­– and it all comes down to honesty. Sure, there was enough energy in the tiny space to power a city skyline, but Williams’ love for his audience was so thick it was tangible. From his heartfelt cries against racial injustice to letting the crowd embrace him, there was a real connection – something rare during most live performances. But at the same time, there was no air of pretentious self-righteousness (thanks partly to Kidtronik’s amazing dancing/shenanigans). And it rocked.

After the closer – the well-deserved hit “List of Demands”… try to listen to it without getting it stuck in your head – the encore consisted of an original from Kidtronik (which Williams introduced as “this song is… uh… absurd”). The DJ/producer threw on a skull mask and went wild on the crowd with an assaulting techno/hardcore song and even crowd surfed… at Kilby! Did I mention his album is titled Krack Attack?

The last song, a re-imagining of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” made the crowd a little more comfortable after Kidtronik’s spectacle, but I always thought covers were a big no-no at Kilby.

(Ryan Bradford. Photos courtesy of Dave Madden/Nonnon)

"無"

[Here and Now - UofU]






無... or "Mu" is difficult, if not impossible, to translate into English. It's part of an illogical Zen riddle, or koan and essentially means "non-" or "nothingness."

University of Utah student, Arwen Ek, whom you might remember being arrested for performing in the street a few years ago, certainly has a formidable challenge before her: To translate MU into an embodied response to the koan.

The preview performance she gave last night was magnificent. Incorporating video, music and three forms of Japanese theater - Noh, Kabuki and Butoh - Arwen underwent a horrific transformation, de-constructing and rebuilding the nature of woman, only to re-emerge as MU itself.

So, if you're seeking for something to add to your weekend of Japanese culture (you ARE going to the Japanese festival this Saturday, riiiight? *nudge nudge*), "MU" will certainly answer that riddle.


MU Performance artist Arwen Ek combines movement, music, theater, visual art and theoretical physics. Studio 115, U of U Performing Arts Building, 240 S. 1500 East, 581-7100, April 24-26, 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $9/person, $7 for UofU faculty, $5 for students (with ID).
*Not suitable for audiences under 14*

(SLC Random Team)

The Weekly Poll: Utah Pizza

[Survey Fun] Last week, we posted the first Weekly Poll on SLWeekly.com, asking if community radio listeners would be more inclined to stick with KRCL 90.9 FM as it tweaks its format, or make the Internet switch to new online offshoot UtahFM.org. KRCL narrowly won, while UtahFM came in second and the option of enjoying both brought up third. Only a couple of pollers preferred commercial radio, thankfully.

This week, the Weekly Poll is linked to Ted Scheffler's Dining column about fine Utah pizza: Can it be found locally, as the Tedster asserts, or is Zion pie a lost cause? And by Zion pie, we mean pizza, sickos.

Take the Weekly Poll here.

(Bill Frost)

Me and My Beau

[Headline-ese] For some reason, this Salt Lake Tribune headline seems a bit, uh, light.

An (alleged) sociopath who (allegedly) asphyxiated his former girlfriend and (allegedly) stuffed her body in a crate inside the trunk of her car and (allegedly) kidnapped a 60-year-old mentally impaired woman in the process gets off being called an "
ex-beau?"

Beau. I picture a guy in top hat, tails and spats. Someone who's all Fred Astaire, hoofing his way into Ginger Rogers' heart.
Or what my Grandma Rose would have called a dandy. (Holly Mullen)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Huntsman makes liars out of CW

City Weekly poked Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. in the eye this week for his inaction on a proposal to import Italian nuclear waste to Utah (See Hits & Misses). It turns out that as we went to press Junior was changing his mind.

EnergySolutions has asked to import 20,000 tons of dismantled Italian nuclear reactor parts, 1,600 tons of which are destined to be buried at EnergySolutions Tooele County landfill. Huntsman earlier took the position that, while he didn’t want the waste any more than the next guy, his hands were tied by an agreement he’d hammered out with ES last year.

That meant the waste was headed our way, since the federal government leaves decisions about radioactive waste up to states.

Today, Huntsman changed his mind, and asked a regional nuclear waste group—the Northwest Interstate Low-Level Waste Compact—to block the Italian imports. The compact regulates waste shipments inside the U.S.

The watchdog group HEAL Utah, longtime critic of EnergySolutions, praised Huntsman’s action in a press release:

"Governor Huntsman has pulled through for the people of Utah and lived up to his campaign pledge to prevent Utah from being the nation's—and now the world's—dumping ground," said Vanessa Pierce, Executive Director for the citizen advocacy group HEAL Utah. "Governor Huntsman's action today speaks volumes for his integrity, strength, and passion for protecting what we cherish about our state."

The group then goaded its favorite target:

"If EnergySolutions wants to pick a fight with our Governor, the people of Utah will be standing behind him every step of the way."

HEAL last week blasted the governor for not standing up to EnergySolutions.

Got to love politics. (Ted McDonough)

[Q] & A With Hippie Dad

[Kid Lit] Yes, OK, yes, sweetie. I hear what you're saying. But, relax, honey. It's just a plant!

[Q.]

A. Yes, I know what they told you in school.

[Q.]

A. No, I'm not saying you should ignore your teachers.

[Q.]

A. Well, because sometimes adults aren't always right, that's all. It's a crazy world out there, and ...

[Q.]

A. No, of course not, honey. Why would your mother and I rob a liquor store?

[Q.]

A. Of course we're not going to OD. That's silly.

[Q.]

A. When your mother and I ... ? Well, maybe just a little when we bought that green carpeting. I know the pattern gives you bad dreams ...

[Q.]

A. Now, pumpkin, put down the phone. I'm serious, put it down now. There's no need to call the police ... honey? Darlin'?

Jessica Ann Bradley, you put that phone down this second!

(Brandon Burt)

Say It Ain't So: LOLCats Sell Out!

[Net Culture] OK, so I'm a bit behind the curve on this one. People have been blogging about it for a month.

It's a contest. The winning photo/caption pair will appear on Jones Soda labels. Which will make them famous because, until now you could only see LOLCats in about 10 jillion places on the Internet.

Now, whenever you want to see an LOLCat, all you have to do is go to the grocery store, search around the refrigerated aisle, ask a clerk, find out the store doesn't carry off-brand soda, go to another store, and then stare at the refrigeration case for as long as you like! It's a new level of convenience!

By this we can hope that the three people in the United States who are still unfamiliar with LOLCats will now have the opportunity to enjoy them.

OK, if I sound bitter, it's because I like LOLCats. I know they can't last forever. But ... please, Jones Soda? Can't you find some other anti-hip trend to cash in on?

Sooner or later, I suppose every creative meme gets crushed out by some corporate leech or other. Why, why must corporations "brand" themselves by sucking our very dreams out of our heads!?! Our souls are lost so that bottles of carbonated sugar water can cultivate the illusion of having personalities. (Brandon Burt)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

KSL...Huh?

[TV and Nasty Stuff] OK. We're sitting here watching TV. Tonight, in prime time (7:30 to 9), KSL is running Saturday Night Live: A Tribute to Chris Farley.

So far, we've laughed at the late Farley and Adam Sandler in one of the classic send-up commercials, advertising "Schmitt's Gay Beer," with hot gay guys romping in a swimming pool with Sandler and Farley. And now, there's a great skit with the ample Farley and a young Patrick Swayze, doing a bump and grind audition to become Chippendales Dancers. Oh, and now Farley, David Spade and Sandler are dressed in '50s-era drag and sharing french fries in a malt shop.

Yeah, we saw it all years ago. It holds up nicely.

And still, KSL won't show Saturday Night Live in its current incarnation. For that, you have to (for years now) go to the CW, on Saturdays at 10:30 p.m.

Because, as KSL maintains, it's all about holding the line on morality for its viewing audience.

BTW, KSL--did we mention Farley died of a drug overdose? (Holly Mullen)

Beat the Blues

[NBA Playoffs] The Utah Jazz play Thursday night at home against Houston in game three of their playoff series.

Will point guard/god Deron Williams get past his poor, bruised butt and play at 100 percent? Pity those poor Rockets if he does--he played hurt the first two games, after all. Can Kyle Korver sink another of those buzzer-beater 3-pointers? Will Andre Kirilenko stay happy?

These are the important questions. But something else I've gotta ask: Can someone in the Larry Miller organization please, please do something about those awful powder-blue t-shirts Jazz fans found on their seats in the Energy Solutions Arena last year and wore during the series against Golden State? Blecch! Pale blue is just that: Pale. Awful on TV. It has no hope of standing out on camera, and face it--the pasty Nordic types that make up 80 percent of the Jazz fan base look even more washed out when wearing it.

Hey look. The Utah Jazz is already fighting for cred among NBA writers and broadcasters, who rarely mention even one of the players in any title-chasing context. They'd rather salivate over Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Chris Paul. Except for Charles Barkley. Now that man knows the Jazz has mettle.

To recap: If we could simply lose the powder blue, all would be right in the playoff world. Don't you think? (Holly Mullen)

No (Pre) Show

[Music] How is it that Jucifer, one of my favorite bands/forces of nature, is playing in Salt Lake City tomorrow night and I'm just hearing about it today? Way to promo, Broken Todd's and/or Relapse Records.

The two-piece Athens band (Amber & Edgar Livengood--the Satanic flipside to Jack & Meg White) have released a new album, L'Autrichienne, which we also didn't receive; let's just say it's great. But, even if you do have a copy, live Jucifer is unrecognizable from recorded Jucifer, anyway: Onstage, it's all about volume, volume, volume! Amps to the ceiling, all cranked to 11, feel the thud. It's a show where earplugs and a helmet are recommended.

Jucifer plays the Broken Record Bar & Grill (1051 S. 300 West) Wednesday April 23, guessing 'round 11 p.m. Even if you don't go, you'll probably be able to hear it from wherever you are. Here's a video taste; imagine it 86 times louder:




(Bill Frost)

No Show

[Music] So apparently Yeasayer didn't play as scheduled last night at In the Venue. According to one anonymous user, club officials failed to inform the public ahead of time that the band would not be appearing. This is all news to me. Does anyone know why the group didn't show? Anyone care to share their experience at the club? (Jamie Gadette)

Dead Zephyr: Week 232

Oooh, So Salacious

[Media] Oh, how I love to see the words "salacious," "Mayor Ralph Becker" and City Weekly all together in one letter to the editor.

And a tip of the
Salt Blog hat to Salt Lake City letter writer Meredith Shaw, who clearly has adopted the Utah art form of passive-aggressive communication. Is she handing our paper a compliment? A criticism? Both at once? Who knows. The nature of too much discourse in Utah is that you never quite know where a person is coming from.

Oh well. Any pub is good pub.

Anyway, here at our little paper we'll continue to keep an eye on the Becker administration. We figure the new mayor, with nearly four months of work under his belt has long passed the obligatory Honeymoon Period. If press scrutiny of elected officials counts as "even salacious," we're
guilty as charged.

BTW, no one does salacious better than competing New York tabloids the Daily News and New York Post, top right. Now those are headlines! (Holly Mullen)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Passion of the McCain

[Video Game Arts]The University of Utah this Wednesday April 23 from 3:30-5:00 in the OSH Read auditorium will be holding its second annual machinema festival. What is machinema you ask? Well the U's press release says it's "machine cinema" where designers use video game style animations to create movies. Think of Grand Theft Auto style movie clips (except for that 'hot coffee' one, yer not gonna see that at this festival).

But the showcase will be showing a lot of cool video game style short movies at the festival and for free, the press release has a list of various U machinema movies here. And below is my favorite, "The Passion of the McCain" a poignant look at some behind the scenes love on the campaign trail that truly crosses the divide. (Eric S. Peterson)

Gull Trouble

[Theater Review] I had high hopes for Pinnacle Acting Company’s production of Chekhov's The Seagull. It is a great script, and I have been impressed by PAC’s work in the past (though I was unable to express my opinion to the public at the time, due to a confluence of human error and technical trouble).

The previous PAC production I saw (Someone Who'll Watch Over Me) did an excellent job of turning the constraints inherent in a fledgling company--mostly low budget and limited space--into advantages, as the bare stage and intimate environment served to highlight the tremendous talent of the three actors on stage. It was a remarkable piece of work, and it has bothered me ever since that I was unable to say so.

With their current production, however, they have neglected their strengths. It suffers from over-reach. By making do with cheesy sets and some sub-par performers, PAC does a disservice to the work.

Not that it was all bad, mind you. Some key players--notably Alexandra Harbold as Arkandina and Jared Larkin as her tortured artist son, Treplyev--were strong throughout. Others, like Morgan Long as Nina and Rob Luckau as Trigorin, did well in key scenes, but were otherwise unfocussed.

Yet I still look forward to another small piece from PAC’s core group. If the company can get on its feet with a few productions of more limited scale, I have no doubt that it’ll be up to bigger challenges soon enough. (Rob Tennant)

R U Bitter?

[Definitive Diatribe] In today's best daily newspaper commentary, syndicated columnist Robyn Blumner nails it. (Holly Mullen)

Short Skirts & Hot Wheels

[Roller Derby] The Salt City Derby Girls kicked off their 2008 roller derby season Saturday at the Utah Olympic Oval in front of 800-900 fans, clearly divided into red (for the Leave It To Cleavers) and green (for the 2007 SCDG champion Bomber Babes) factions. The Cleavers fans brought weaponry, while there was a lone cowbell on the Bombers' side--not exactly a fair matchup.

Went the other way on the track, however: The Bomber Babes dominated the bout for both 30-minute periods, led by in the superhuman jamming/scoring of NOS; the Leave It To Cleavers, skating with at least half new members (aka "fresh meat"), kept up best they could and got in some of the most brutal defensive hits (via blocker Miss Disco Bliss).

Final score: Bombers 144, Cleavers 89. Next bout: Saturday May 24 (Sisters of No Mercy vs. Death Dealers; tickets available through SLCDerby.com and SmithsTix.com. Please to enjoy these bout pix by Mark Alston:




(Bill Frost)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Torching it (Part II)


[Counter Protests] So somebody with a good eye spotted that the Global Human Rights Torch Relay will be this Sunday April 20, not that Saturday as I mentioned in the other blog. However Saturday will not be without its demonstrations.

In fact this Saturday April 20 at Library Square from 10 am to 2 pm, there will be a a Pro-Chinese Olympics demonstration from 10. The group will rally together with a number of Chinese student associations from the BYU, the U and others as well as numerous other Chinese Community organizations. These groups want to counter what they see as distorted accounts of China's reactions to the protests in Tibet.

The press release contends:

"We believe that the general public deserves to know the truth in its undistorted form. We respect the rights of peaceful expression of different views, but we condemn the plotted disruptions of the World Olympics and public orders.

We believe that the World Olympics belongs to the people of the entire world. It is an event where people of different nations, different ethnics, different religious backgrounds, and different societal systems meet in peace. It is an event where peace, mutual understanding, mutual respect, and friendship are fostered."

So if anyone is interested in getting thoroughly schooled in regards to the Olympics controversy you can attend both events which are located at nearly the same locations and in one weekend become more educated, and more globally active right here in the old SLC. (Eric S. Peterson)

Make Air Not War

The 2008 US Air Guitar Championships will make an appearance in Utah this summer! For those of you that think this is just a trend, the event has been going strong since 2003! Last year marked its strongest turnout, with 14 cities playing host to the dramatic onstage antics of air guitar heroes. No instruments will be harmed (or involved) in the performance scheduled to hit Avalon on June 20. Here's a taste of what's to come:

(Jamie Gadette)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Senatorial Scene

[Hatchography] Sen. Orrin Hatch is so excited about John McCain's presidential bid, he was moved to compose a love song titled "Together Forever." (Apparently, Chris Matthews was quite enamored with it; The Trib broke the story late Thursday evening.)

I especially like the "destiny / history / majesty / all to see" rhymes. Very masculine.

While it's unclear in what sense Hatch "wrote" the song (dual credit goes to Philip Springer, who is most known for having cashed countless royalty checks over the past 50 years for the vaguely dirty Christmas favorite "Santa Baby"), the lyrics seem to have the soaring grandeur that Hatch is known for. How many states can boast such a multitalented statesman?

A McCain spokesman was suitably wowed: "We'll see Barack Obama's Bruce Springsteen endorsement and raise them an Orrin Hatch." Yeah, take that, Springsteen!

Something about the title, though ... wasn't it ... oh, yeah! Orrin, you got Rick-Rolled! (Brandon Burt)

Torching It!


[Protests] A peaceful march and human rights rally going on this weekend may be Utahns best chance to vent some frustration at the upcoming Beijing Olympics. With more and more news of egregious human rights violations stacking up against this summer's host of the 2008 Olympics, from arming genocidal rebels in Darfur to the iron-handed crackdown in Tibet, this weekend you can share outrage with community activists throwing their voice into a very loud chorus of people fed up with the actions of the Chinese government.

The Global Human Rights Torch relay event will start with a peaceful march this Sunday April 20 at 10:00 am at Washington Square (right by the county building at 451 South State). The march will be followed by guest speakers including Tswan Renzing, President of the Utah Tibetan Association, as well as a former falun gong prisoner of conscience and our own beloved activist, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson.

China may be the other side of the world as far as most Utahns might think but if you show up to the event Saturday some people will tell you why some things, even oceans away, can still hit pretty close to home. (Eric S. Peterson)

Those Other Polygamists

[Plyg-busters] The pro-Christian-polygamy folks over at TruthBearer.org are quick to point out that they have nothing, nothing to do with the FLDS plygs in El Dorado.

Mostly the TruthBearers object to the fact that the FLDS are kinda Mormony, whereas the TruthBearers advocate nothin' but that old-time Bible-based Christian polygyny. So much more sensible.

You'd think there'd be a hint of solidarity among religious polygamists. Mark Henkel, who is TruthBearer.org, takes an identity-politics approach to polygamy, saying that it will be the next big civil-rights battle. So you'd think he'd understand at least the political utility of coalition-building.

(Yes, many cringe at the alphabet soup of the "LGBTMNOPQ* community" but there is a reason all the Ls and the Bs and the Gs and the Qs and the Ts, etc., have decided to band together rather than trying to go it alone. It's because they share a common goal of achieving equal protection under the law, which is a political goal requiring expediency.)

But, no, as always with wacky Christians, their beliefs get in the way of their brains. It's typical for fundie Christians to denigrate Mormons (and Mormon-esque folks like the FLDS) for believing weird things.

Because, you know, that story about a god-man born to a virgin, who walked on water and got murdered but was raised from the dead before he flew up into the sky? And it's literally true? Soooo much more believable that that craaaazy tale about the American kid who met God in the forest.

Keep making those microdistinctions, TruthBearer.org--then keep wondering why Americans can't seem to get the message that there might, just possibly, be a religious basis for polygamy. (Brandon Burt)

Sticks, Bricks, Stones

[Best Reader Comment] The Deseret News' coverage of the first couple to sign up for Salt Lake City's mutual commitment registry elicited the predictable wave of wacky and rabid anti-gay responses.

My own favorite, from
Lost in DC:

12:40 p.m. Apr. 17, 2008
The slope is getting more slippery. A torn tent provides shelter, a sturdy brick home provides shelter. Which provides better shelter? Call any combination a you want a "marriage", the traditional one man, one woman marriage is still and will always be the best, just as a sturdy brick house provides better shelter than a torn tent.

Myself, I prefer stucco. With a nice wrap-around porch. (Holly Mullen)





World Ends; Collapse of Marriage Imminent


[The Gays]
Well, Brandie Balken and Lisa LeDuc have gone and done it. They're hitched now--at least as hitched as it is possible for same-sex couples to get in Salt Lake City.

The two became the first couple to sign up for Salt Lake City's "I Can't Believe It's Not a Domestic Partner Registry" registry, thus dooming us all to hellfire and incurring the inevitable wrath of idiots, mostly from out of town, who think it's their business to meddle in Balken-LeDuc family matters.

In all seriousness, though, it couldn't happen to a nicer couple. Brandie Balken is one of my favorite people in Salt Lake City; she's talented, friendly and just lovely on so many levels. (Mwa, Brandie!) Plus, she has cool initials.

So, congratulations to Brandie and Lisa, and as for the homophobic idiots--in your face, homophobic idiots! (Brandon Burt)

The Slow Death of Prog

[Music] The reason people hate 24-minute prog rock masterpieces isn't just because people suck, have no attention span, and deserve lives filled with empty, meaningless, brain-dead pop noise.

No. The reason people hate 24-minute prog-rock masterpieces is because of Science.

In a recent Morning News piece, Joshua Allen reveals scientists have discovered the perfect length for a pop song. It's two minutes, 42 seconds.

A difference of even one or two seconds may turn your perfectly catchy "Lovely Rita" (2:42) into a drag-ass "With a Little Help From My Friends" (2:44) or a hurried and underdeveloped "Good Morning Good Morning" (2:41).

Don't let this happen to your song! It's verse, verse, bridge, verse and fade out. None of this fancy leitmotif bullshit; no subtle shading or complex development and variation of thematic materials. Your listeners are busy people on the go, and if you can't give them their payoff in less than three minutes, they will go ... to some other band's CD release party. (Brandon Burt)

Popegasm 2008

[News] Of all the news (over)coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the US of A, only The Daily Show's is really necessary; allow us to simplify your media life with the clip below. Also, note President Dubya's eloquent assessment of Benedict's "awesome" speech and rejoice in Utah's continued approval of the Commander in Chief:



(Bill Frost)

OMG! U Can B in HSM3!


It's the Utah-filmed phenomenon that keeps on giving--and now it's giving to a local school. Rowland Hall-St. Mark's, partnering with the SLC Film Center, will be auctioning off eight opportunities to appear as an extra in the soon-to-be-shot High School Musical 3: Senior Year, in addition to other personalized and autographed gear related to the film. The link goes live tomorrow (April 18) from the Rowland Hall-St. Mark's Website, with the auction running through Friday, April 25. Funds raised will support both the school and the SLC Film Center, and you might get to snuggle up to Zac, Vanessa or Corbin. Or see them from a distance at the craft services table, same diff. (Scott Renshaw)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bioterrorists Beware!


54-year-old Tom Tholen will be facing federal charges April 29 for "misprision of felony" which means he failed to report a crime. The crime is related to the activities of the wanna-be bio- terrorist Roger Bergendorff. A man who last February had been playing around with creating the toxic substance ricin and accidentally exposed himself to the chemical and wound up hospitalized in a comatose state for four weeks.

The bare facts of the story gave everybody goosebumps and warranted the mobilization of countless federal agents from Homeland Security to the FBI to scour the mans Vegas strip hotel as well as the site of his Riverton storage unit, looked after by his cousin Tholen.

In the end what was discovered is that this miscreant turned out to be an out of work, formerly alcoholic graphic design artist. His apartment at the time was only shared by a few cats (who may soon be charged with conspiracy).

Although Tholen alerted authorities to the whole incident when he reported vials of what may have been ricin to the motel clerk, Tholen has apparently not cooperated enough and is now going to trial because of it.

Undoubtedly the Bergendorff character was unstable and even possibly dangerous (if even only to himself) but the fact that his cousin Tholen is being brought up on charges of failing to report his cousin's "suspicious" activities years ago, smacks of a costly multi-departmental, multi-agency investigation clamoring to harvest some fruits from a very costly investigation.

Nothing wrong with being prepared for bio-terrorism, of course, but overemphasizing the spectre of the fear-inspiring bug--whether it's ricin, anthrax or whatever doesn't serve our country's interest. It's easy to forget that our worst terrorist attack was not committed by chemicals, or even bombs, so much as it was simply men with fake IDs and box cutters. (Eric S. Peterson)