A Wild Man (Grows Up) – NY Times Article On Vice Founder

SHANE SMITH, a founder of Vice, the streetwise, testosterone-fueled culture and fashion magazine, still chugs canned American beer. He still listens to Bad Brains. And he still favors tattered Vans skateboard shoes and black T-shirts. That much is the same.

Shane Smith, one of the founders of Vice magazine, on the Rocks Off concert boat with members of the band The Black Lips.

It is everything else that has changed.

READ THE REST!

Allston Head Shops/Art Galleries Illegally/Un-Constitutionally Shut Down By Police

BOSTON GLOBE [JULY 5]
The police raid on his Green Side Up Gallery was one of three since April in Allston, where police have been cracking down on so-called head shops, stores that sell pipes and rolling papers that can be used to smoke marijuana.

The busts were well planned. Officers took photographs of the shops before making their arrests, and interviewed North End tobacconists to bolster their argument that the Allston shops were selling drug paraphernalia.

“We’re not looking to put anyone out of business [who is] running a legitimate business,’’ said Captain James Hussey, who runs the Brighton district. “These places were set up, it appears, just to sell drug paraphernalia.’’

Lawyers for those arrested say the shops were licensed by the city and state to sell the products, and police had no basis for shutting down the shops. But Hussey said two of the shops — neither of which belonged to Yaffe — did not have proper licenses displayed.
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Talk about liberty infringement! Cops love making assumptions about illegal activity without any regard to…wait for it…illegal activity. How about that? It’s like when an old geezer cop questioned my friend for using a hookah in a park. The officer made three assumptions that were pretty disturbing: (1) that the smoking device was a ‘bong’ (2) that my friend was smoking marijuana and (3) that hookahs or, in the officer’s slang ‘bongs’, are illegal to sell and to possess. As a commenter on the article wrote: “Welcome to the new police state people, they will be coming for you next!”

FREE MATTHEW YAFFE!

END THE DRUG WAR!

The following is an article by John Stossel recently featured in the Boston Herald.

“I’m confused. When I walk around busy midtown Manhattan, I often smell marijuana. Despite the crowds, some people smoke weed in public. Usually the police leave them alone, and yet other times they act like a military force engaged in urban combat. This February, cops stormed a Columbia, Mo., home, killed the family dog and terrorized a 7-year-old boy — for what? A tiny quantity of marijuana.

Two years ago, in Prince George’s County, Md., cops raided Cheye Calvo’s home — all because a box of marijuana was randomly shipped to his wife as part of a smuggling operation. Only later did the police learn that Calvo was innocent — and the mayor of that town.

“When this first happened, I assumed it was just a terrible, terrible mistake,” Calvo said. “But the more I looked into it, the more I realized (it was) business as usual that brought the police through our front door. This is just what they do. We just don’t hear about it. The only reason people heard about my story is that I happened to be a clean-cut white mayor.”

Radley Balko of Reason magazine says more than a hundred police SWAT raids are conducted every day. Does the use of illicit drugs really justify the militarization of the police, the violent disregard for our civil liberties and the overpopulation of our prisons? It seems hard to believe.

I understand that people on drugs can do terrible harm — wreck lives and hurt people. But that’s true for alcohol, too. But alcohol prohibition didn’t work. It created Al Capone and organized crime. Now drug prohibition funds nasty Mexican gangs and the Taliban. Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

Everything can be abused, but that doesn’t mean government can stop it, or should try to stop it. Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

Many people fear that if drugs were legal, there would be much more use and abuse. That’s possible, but there is little evidence to support that assumption. In the Netherlands, marijuana has been legal for years. Yet the Dutch are actually less likely to smoke than Americans. Thirty-eight percent of American adolescents have smoked pot, while only 20 percent of Dutch teens have.
One Dutch official told me that “we’ve succeeded in making pot boring.”

By contrast, what good has the drug war done? It’s been 40 years since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Since then, government has spent billions and officials keep announcing their “successes.” They are always holding press conferences showing off big drug busts. So it’s not like authorities aren’t trying.

We’ve locked up 2.3 million people, a higher percentage than any other country. That allows China to criticize America’s human-rights record because our prisons are “packed with inmates.”

Yet drugs are still everywhere. The war on drugs wrecks far more lives than drugs do!

Need more proof? Fox News runs stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs that smuggle drugs into Arizona. Few stop to think that legalization would end the violence. There are no Corona beer smugglers. Beer sellers don’t smuggle. They simply ship their product. Drug laws cause drug crime.

The drug trade moved to Mexico partly because our government funded narcotics police in Colombia and sprayed the growing fields with herbicides. We announced it was a success! We cut way back on the Colombian drug trade.

But so what? All we did was squeeze the balloon. The drug trade moved across the border to Peru, and now it’s moved to Mexico. So the new president of Mexico is squeezing the balloon. Now the trade and the violence are spilling over the border into the United States.

That’s what I call progress. It the kind of progress we don’t need.

Economist Ludwig von Mises wrote: “(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness … (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays … ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious … than that done by narcotic drugs.”

Right on, Ludwig!”- http://www.creators.com/opinion/john-stossel/end-the-drug-war.html

Naturally, because Stossel is writing for corporate thugs, his piece lacks the subversive quality of say a Kevin Booth flick. In other words, he doesn’t cite the Government as Vicious and Evil criminals, like they are. But, nonetheless, he makes some key, fundamental points here and the fact that this matter is being questioned in such Right Wing media as the Herald and Faux News, demonstrates that we are moving forward. Yippie!

The Problem With Music

Speaking of horrifying, disgusting behemoths, such as major labels, I thouhgt I’d post a link to Steve Albini’s harsh classic, “The Problem With Music.” I searched “Fuck Major Labels” on Google and this was the first thing to come up lol. I don’t agree with all of it, but he makes many good points and has the knowledge to back it up, plus it’s quite humorous in the Albini sense.

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

Classic Film Review: Shield Around the K

Full Title: The Shield Around the K
Director: Heather Rose Dominic
Year: 2000
Comments:

The title says it all. The metaphorical shield truly represented K’s mythical way of battling the corporate ogre in a unique and highly confrontational manner. For those sad souls out there that are unfamiliar with K, here’s a brief breakdown. K was and still is a defiantly and charismatically independent label; one of the greatest models for how an indepedent label can successfully operate. Calvin Johnson (K founder and Beat Happening frontman) challenged his audience and contemporaries by creating and documenting music that was unabashedly simple, coy, and as far away as possible from the mainstream. These kids challenged the mold of expecation of what a Punk band should look, sound, or act like. By making poppy, “twee,” love rock (as some call it), artists like Beat Happening distanced themselves from not only the corporate world, but also the oft-macho hardcore scene, which was dominating underground music at the time. All in all, this doc does a great job of articulating this important aspect of K Records as well as offering some great archive footage, interviews, and music videos and ultimately a detailed, informative backgound of said topic. One thing I (sorta) didn’t like was the fact that the film focused too much on Beat Happening; after all it was supposed to be about the K label and not about Beat Happening solely. Then again, they and their history are obviously vital to the K tale and since they are one of my all time favorite bands, I don’t mind seeing them on screen. Lastly, this doc features various key figures including, Ian Mackaye, Gerad Cosloy, Slim Moon, John Foster, amongst others. So, if you dig cutting edge (well, then cutting edge) Punk Rock or want to learn more about seminal, underground music then grab some black candy and check it out.

Grade
: B+