Author Archive | ulysseslazarus

Schwarzenegger Decriminalizes Pot in California


Nicholas Pell writes in the

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Friday morning that decriminalizes possession of marijuana in the state.

Those caught with less than an ounce of marijuana will still receive a maximum penalty of $100. However, Senate Bill 1449 reduces the legal categorization of marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction. This means that those caught will not have to appear in court, pay court fees or receive a criminal record.

Schwarzenegger opposes Proposition 19, a pending referendum that will provide a legal framework for the sale, cultivation and taxation of marijuana. However, despite this opposition, Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law. In a letter to the California Senate, Schwarzenegger stated that “less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name. The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney.” He further stated that “In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.”

California director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Dale Gieringer lauded the governor’s decision…

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Unsung Heroes of Hardcore: Life’s Blood

From Nick Pell at Red Star Times:

Since it dovetails nicely with the book I am working on and I like writing about it, I have decided to start a new regular feature [at the Red Star Times] called “Unsung Heroes of Hardcore.” It’s similar to Soundtrack of My Life, but will focus specifically on relative unknowns of hardcore. I say relative unknowns because if you’re into hardcore you’ve probably heard of a lot of this stuff. I’m trying to keep it on the obscure end of things. Today’s Unsung Heroes of Hardcore are a lesser known band from the late-80s NYHC scene called Life’s Blood.

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RIP: Party Down

From Nick Pell at Red Star Times:

Every once in a while a show comes along that reminds you that television isn’t a total wasteland. While science fiction had a good run with Battlestar Galactica, the main arena for quality television over the last ten years have been comedy. Whether it’s broadcast hits like Arrested Development, premium cable gems like Curb Your Enthusiasm or international favorites such as Peep Show, television comedy has come a long way from the days of the formulaic, multi-camera canned laughter disasters that once dominated the airwaves. Indeed, it is the recent crop of what The Onion called “single-camera, awkward pause” comedies that have made television worth watching again. More than just entertainment, these shows speak to the art of comedy writing.

Many shows recognized as classics now were canceled before their time…

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The Crime of the Century: A Review of “Plunder”

"Plunder" Filmmaker Danny Schechter

"Plunder" Filmmaker Danny Schechter

From Nick Pell at Red Star Times:

In a just world Michael Moore’s Capitalism would have been released on DVD for a niche crowd of professional weirdos and malcontents while Plunder would have made millions and garnered Academy Awards. Unlike the former which relied on the pulling of emotional heartstrings, sucking up to Barack Obama and Mr. Moore’s usual shenanigans, Plunder: The Crime of Our Time revolves around hard analysis. Plunder provides a detailed summary of the Rube Goldberg machine that collapsed the American economy.

Indeed, the investors who robbed America blind are only one part of the equation. They received a great deal of assistance from the regulatory agency tasked with defending Americans from just such a swindle. Plunder falls short on exploring just how such malfeasance at the highest levels of power is allowed to happen, though it does an admirable job of laying bare the function of such agencies.… Read the rest

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Two Minutes Hate: Working Class Politics, History, Culture

International Socialist Organization Ashley Smith ISO

The ISO Dutifully Joins "The Left" in Reformist Protest Politics

Nick Pell at the Red Star Times:

Just wanted to do a quick roundup before the weekend comes. Things have been hectic around RST central as I gear up to move and begin work on my book. Still, there’s a few things I just have to make time for.

There’s the small matter of the continuing oil spill uncontrolled hemorrhage, for which no one has, nor will they ever be, arrested and tried for crimes against humanity.

The unions continue their attacks on workers while the Chinese working class continues to prove that it is at the vanguard of struggle against the fake left, capitalism and imperialism. And Red Star Times’s favorite fake left sect the International Socialist Organization gears up for their annual love-in with the Democratic Party, its radical hangers-on and vaguely left-of-center celebrities, ironically named “Socialism 2010.”

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A Review of ‘Hidden Wisdom’

From Nick Pell at Red Star Times.

When I first got a package from Disinfo in the mail I was excited. What would be inside? I had spoken to someone over there about reviewing a book. Excitement then turned to dismay. Oh great, a book about the occult.

However, I am glad to say that my prejudice against the book was totally unfounded. Hidden Wisdom: Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition was not only a good read, but it was an informative, balanced account of European spirituality, going far beyond the bounds of “occultism.” The book is, however, marred by a number of limitations stemming from the author’s failure to fully embrace a materialist view of reality.

Tim Wallace-Murphy begins at the furthest reaches of human civilization, back in a time that few even know about. Early on in the book, he establishes that he is no New Age quack.… Read the rest

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The Coming Working Class Revolt

From Nick Pell at Red Star TimesGM Auto Workers.

Hard to believe, but it’s been a year since the Obama Administration forced General Motors into bankruptcy. This has resulted in a curious phenomenon: the first generation of auto assembly workers in almost a hundred years who cannot afford to buy the cars they manufacture.

Given the context both nationally (the Massey mine collapse and the uncontrolled hemorrhaging that resulted from the BP / Deepwater Horizon disaster) and internationally (Greece seems always on the verge of explosion and the Chinese working class are waking from their 20-year post-Tienanmen slumber) the situation at GM points towards a very exciting and potentially explosive phenomenon.

Full Article at Red Star Times
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Boston Hardcore Revisited, Part I: Boston Crew

From Nick Pell at Red Star Times.

I don’t think a city ever needed a hardcore scene more than Boston. Beantown is a cold city, both the temperature and the population. Whether you’re a Beacon Hill patrician or a Charlestown townie a basic attitude of “fuck you” underlies each and every human interaction. Add to that an influx of obnoxious art school and college kids and you’ve got a recipe for extreme alienation for anyone with a brain and an independent streak.

It’s hard for me to imagine what Boston was like before hardcore dropped. Legend has it that the city was full of, in the eloquent words of Al Barille, “new wave faggots and new romantic bullshit.” I’d like to say that I can’t imagine BU students going to Landsdowne on a Friday night in pirate shirts and Adam Ant-style warpaint, but sadly I can picture such a thing all too easily.… Read the rest

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Portland Police Provocation at Anarchist Coffee Shop

From Nick Pell at Red Star Times.Red And Black Cafe

For those who have far better things to worry about, a recap: Recently, at a worker-owned Portland anarchist cafe, Red And Black, a police officer was asked to leave by a co-owner. A local blogger was outraged (enough so to revisit the subject), the insipid Portland hipster yuppie press picks it up and the national media has a field day yukking it up over the bizarre notion that some people don’t think cops are acceptable in polite company.

Meanwhile, no one (except Infoshop News in their roundabout, “let’s pretend we’re trying to be objective to avoid the political fight” identity politics-laden “anarchist” sort of way) asks the crucial question: Why is a police officer going into an anarchist cafe in the first place?

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Two Minutes Hate: Spill, Baby, Spill

Nick Pell at Red Star Times writes:

How many of you have woken up over the last couple weeks and almost immediately thought: damn, the world is in the toilet? Me too. The last month or so has been perhaps one of the most horrible times I have ever experienced, with the beginning of the Iraq War being one of the few things that even comes close.

Whether or not it’s a Chinese curse, the adage about living in “interesting times” becomes more and more apt with each passing week. Despite how awful things are, there seems to be a lingering scent of resistance in the air. I concede that this could entirely be wish-fulfillment and solipsism on my part, but it seems as if things could explode at any second.

Explosions in and of themselves go nowhere, however. A political analysis and direction is necessary to make an explosion travel in the right direction.… Read the rest

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