March 29th, 2007

Chris Keeley

White House subpoena evaders put national security at risk (and waive exec privilege)

White House subpoena evaders put national security at risk (and waive exec privilege)

White House staffers have been using their own, non-governmental email (from off-the-shelf email providers) as a means of evading subpoenas. That means that critical, secret emails are being kept off the critical, secure servers that the US taxpayers bought, and are instead being managed on Crazy Ed's Discount House of Email and Subpoena Evasion.

It also means that there's no executive privilege for these emails.

A reader who has a security role at a federal agency writes, "On the issue of using outside/unofficial e-mail address from official sites, the CIO at [redacted] has expressly forbade the practice for security reasons as it is all too easy to put sensitive information in an e-mail. ... Needless to say, hearing that the WH does not mandate that practice and lets [Rove] do 95% of his e-mailing from a blackberry, presumably with access to an unofficial address, is quite shocking. Still find it absolutely amazing that his clearance has not been revoked."
Link (Thanks, Bill!)

posted by Cory Doctorow

Chris Keeley

Japanese punk rock fishing lures

Japanese punk rock fishing lures

200703281434 Coop says: I never cease to be amazed at the ways that the Japanese recombine and reconfigure completely foreign elements in ways that are alien to western sensibilites, yet still manage to create new hybrids that are completely droolworthy in their coolness. Example? Limited-edition, handcrafted punk rock fishing lures. My brain hurts. Link
Chris Keeley

The blooming of the cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. has come to symbo

The blooming of the cherry trees around the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation's capital city. Hundreds of thousands of city residents and visitors from across the nation and around the world come here to witness the spectacle, hoping that the trees will be at the peak of bloom for the Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.'s rite of spring. 

http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cms/index.php?id=404

The famous trees, a gift from Japan in 1912, signal the coming of Spring with an explosion of life and color surrounding the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin in a sea of pink and white. Exactly when the buds will open is not an easy question to answer, but the National Park Service Regional Horticulturalist Robert DeFeo has been fairly accurate in his forecasts over the past several years. Once the buds begin to expand in late February, they can be monitored and the days counted before they can be expected to bloom. The forecast is based upon the weather forecast, and close inspection to determine the stage of bud development.

For the latest update of the peak bloom as well as related cherry blossoms information, please visit the National Park Service website.

Check out our Maps of the Cherry Trees here.

Check out Park Ranger Tour and Program information here.

2007 Peak Bloom Forecast: April 3-5

2007 Blooming Period Forecast: April 1-12

The blooming of the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. has come to symbolize the natural beauty of our nation's capital city. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the nation and around the world come to the Nations Capital to witness the spectacle, hoping that the trees will be at the peak of bloom for the Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.'s rite of spring.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is one of hundreds of events which occur within National Mall & Memorial Parks each year. Play a part in how you and future generations will experience and enjoy America's Treasures. Visit the National Mall Plan website today.

The 2007 National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 31-April 15. The festival's National Cherry Blossom Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 14, on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets NW.

The famous trees, a gift from Japan in 1912, signal the coming of Spring with an explosion of life and color surrounding the Jefferson Memorial on the Tidal Basin in a sea of pale pink and white. Exactly when the buds will open is not an easy question to answer, but the National Park Service Regional Horticulturalist Robert DeFeo has been fairly accurate in his forecasts over the past several years.

Once the buds begin to expand in late February or early March, they can be monitored and the days counted before they can be expected to bloom. The forecast is based upon the weather forecast, and close inspection of the trees themselves to determine the stage of bud development.

The history of the cherry trees dates to 1912 when the original trees were planted by First Lady Mrs. William Howard Taft and the Vicountess Chinda of Japan.

Today more than 3,700 cherry trees of several varieties grow around the Tidal Basin, at East Potomac Park, and on the Washington Monument Grounds. Most trees are the Yoshino variety, Japan's favorite cultivated cherry tree that was developed about 1870 and presented as a gift in 1912. They encircle the Tidal Basin and can also be seen in abundance on the Monument grounds.

Since the National Park Service has been keeping records of the blooming dates, the earliest blooming date as been March 15, 1990, and the latest date was marked on April 18, 1958. The average blooming date--that time when the blooms are considered to reach their peak--is April 5 for the Yoshino and April 22 for the double flowering Kwansan trees, mostly seen in East Potomac Park.

For questions on volunteering with the National Park Service during the festival contact the National Mall & Memorial Parks Volunteer Coordinator. Also volunteer projects for the cherry blossoms can be accessed at Volunteer.gov (click on DC link).

http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/cms/index.php?id=404

Click here for Media contact information.

Chris Keeley

Having a Great Detox

Having a Great Detox 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/29/fashion/29rehab.html?_r=1&8dpc&oref=slogin

 


IN the weeks before Tara Conner handed over her crown as Miss USA, she talked to television reporters about her stay at a treatment center for drug addiction and alcoholism. At the insistence of Donald Trump, an owner of the beauty competition, Ms. Conner had sought treatment at the Caron center in Wernersville, Pa., a former resort hotel set on a pastoral 110 acres.

She emerged earlier this month the picture of vibrant health and cheer, describing the experience as “amazing, absolutely amazing, a lot of fun.”

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Chris Keeley

Larry Kramer on the 20th Anniversary of ACT UP, the Government's Failure to Prevent the AIDS Crisis

Larry Kramer on the 20th Anniversary of ACT UP, the Government's Failure to Prevent the AIDS Crisis and the State of Gay Activism Today

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/29/1352252

This month, ACT UP - the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power - is marking its 20th anniversary. We spend the hour with ACT UP co-founder, Larry Kramer. A legendary - and controversial - figure in the gay rights movement, Kramer wrote some of the first articles warning about the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. He has also written many plays including "The Normal Heart" and "The Destiny of Me." Kramer was diagnosed with HIV in the mid-1980s. He nearly died in 2001 from Hepatitis B in the liver. He is now over 70 years old. He joins us today in our firehouse studio for the hour. [includes rush transcript - partial]

Twenty years ago this week, 250 AIDS activists traveled to Wall Street to protest the high price of antiviral drugs and the Reagan's administrations failure to address the AIDS crisis. The date was March 24, 1987.

Activists lay down in the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, blocking traffic. Some held cardboard tombstones. Seventeen of them were arrested.

It was the first of many actions led by a newly formed group called AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power - or ACT UP. The group's motto was Silence Equals Death. ACT UP would go on to invade the offices of drug companies and scientific labs, storm Saint Patrick's cathedral in New York, cover the home of Jesse Helms in a giant condom and conduct die-ins at the FDA.

In October 1992, members of ACT UP headed to Washington where the AIDS quilt was on display. They decided to throw the ashes of loved ones who had died of AIDS onto the grass of the White House. The event was captured in the documentary The Ashes Action.

 

  • The Ashes Action - excerpt of documentary.

     

This month ACT UP is marking its 20th anniversary. Today hundreds of members of ACT Up are heading back to Wall Street. This time to demand a single-payer health care system and drug price controls.

Among the protesters will be the activist and writer Larry Kramer. In 1983 he helped found the Gay Men's Health Crisis, the country's first AIDS organization. Four years later he helped form ACT UP.

He is a legendary - and controversial - figure in the gay rights movement. In the early 1980s Larry Kramer wrote some of the first articles warning about the AIDS epidemic. One article was titled "1,112 and Counting." At the time there were just over one thousand known cases of AIDS. He wrote, "Unless we fight for our lives we shall die... every gay man who is unable to come forward now and fight to save his own life is truly helping to kill the rest of us." He has also written many plays including "The Normal Heart" and "The Destiny of Me."

Larry was diagnosed with HIV in the mid-1980s. He nearly died in 2001 from Hepatitis B in the liver. He is now over 70 years old. Larry Kramer joins us today in our firehouse studio for the hour.

 

  • Larry Kramer, longtime AIDS activist, author and playwright. He helped found both the Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT UP. He has written many plays and books. His most recent book is titled "The Tragedy of Today's Gays."

AMY GOODMAN: Twenty years ago this week, 250 AIDS activists

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Chris Keeley

San Francisco Bans Plastic Checkout Bags

San Francisco Bans Plastic Checkout Bags
In environmental news, San Francisco has become the first major American city to issue a ban on plastic checkout bags. The ban will take effect for six months at large supermarkets and a year at large pharmacy chains. Stores will be allowed to use compostable bags made of corn starch or of recyclable paper.