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jack johnson downtown minneapolis [23 Nov 2002|02:26am]
excellent show but probably not as much fun as chicago because i hadn't been there in a long time and the lengthy drive helped build up my anticipation. basically the same song set w/ maybe a couple of changes. i forgot to mention in my previous update that he also played a great ben harper cover. this man can basically play anything he wants to.
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road trip to jack johnson [21 Nov 2002|04:50pm]
back from chicago

concert was great. did cover of g-love 'stepping stone' which was choice. also covered part of both stir it up and trenchtown rock, bob marley. one dylan cover. and in the encore set, rocky raccoon.. beatles

played most tracks off brush fire fairytales and a couple from a new album he said he wrote.

show in mpls starts ~3 hours
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GOP, Democrats Locked In Race Toward Decline [13 Oct 2002|12:08am]
By David Von Drehle and Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, August 4, 2002; Page A01

ANOKA, Minn.

The lesson of Election 2000 -- a virtual tie in the House, Senate and presidential balloting -- seemed to be that there are two Americas, red and blue, Republican and Democrat, locked in vigorous combat, evenly matched.

That's not the whole picture, here in Minnesota or nationally. Minnesota is a state well known for its tradition of liberalism, but no one has won a Senate race here with more than 50.4 percent of the vote in 14 years. In 2000, the state unexpectedly became a presidential battleground.

The parity of the parties shows up here in Anoka County, a northern exurb of Minneapolis-St. Paul where statewide races are decided, as a shared weakness. Republicans and Democrats are locked not in a struggle for dominance, but in a race toward decline.

"Party allegiance is nothing with people my age. Party stuff is silly," says Dan Davila, 29, an easygoing college student. Like a lot of Minnesotans from around the Twin Cities, Davila comes from a long line of Democrats. But now he says with a shrug: "Who the hell cares who Grandma voted for?"

Davila is sitting behind a table at the Anoka County Fair. It is a summer evening; a light breeze stirs the aroma of grilled pork chops and live cows. Somewhere nearby, an Elvis impersonator is braying. On Davila's table are buttons and pamphlets extolling former representative Tim Penny for governor. Penny recently bolted from the Democratic Party to campaign as an independent -- a move that certainly hasn't hurt him, and in fact might account for his instant front-runner status.

No single factor or place can explain why America's political parties are so close to parity. In some places, one party or the other seems more dominant than ever. In the 1990s, California moved toward the Democrats, while in Texas, Republicans were sweeping the board. In 2000, these disparate pieces fell into place to produce an almost perfect tie nationally.

That election showed a nation divided male against female; urban against rural; gun owners against non-gun owners; regular churchgoers against irregular churchgoers. But Minnesota helps explain that a fifty-fifty America is not the result of party strength as much as party weakness. What has happened here is typical of what has occurred elsewhere across the country, just in more vivid hues.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats have a clear majority in Minnesota because neither party is successfully appealing to the majority -- a diagnosis that could apply to other states. Instead, strategists try to build winning coalitions from relatively narrow interest groups -- a few percent here and there. The parties draw their energy from the extreme wings, left and right.

Either they can't, or won't, make a bold new appeal to the Dan Davilas of the world.

The result, so far, is an ever-growing middle, untethered, restlessly seeking candidates with whom it can connect. In many states, the fastest-growing segment of the electorate is "independent" or "decline to state."

Here, as elsewhere, the deciding votes belong to cultural moderates, voters for whom personal appeal means everything; party label means nothing. In fact, in Minnesota, this group is large enough to choose None of the Above. If Penny is elected governor in November, he will be the second independent in a row elected to the state's highest office. Incumbent Jesse Ventura, who has opted out of this year's race, trounced the two traditional parties in 1998.

Anoka was not only at the heart of Ventura Country, it provides clues to the future of politics all across America.

A Changing State
For about 40 years, from the mid-1940s to the mid-1980s, Minnesota was the heartland of Democratic liberalism. In 1948, the young mayor of Minneapolis, Hubert H. Humphrey, electrified the Democratic convention with a speech on civil rights, and 20 years later Humphrey came within a few votes of winning the presidency.

A Minnesotan was on the Democratic presidential ticket in five of the six elections from 1964 to 1984 -- the year Humphrey's protege, Walter F. Mondale, ran against President Ronald Reagan. In the face of an epoch landslide, Minnesota was the only state Mondale carried (along with the District of Columbia).

So it was a bit of a surprise that Democrat Al Gore, in the 2000 election, carried Minnesota by a scant 60,000 votes out of more than 2 million cast. Gore's percentage of the overall electorate was actually smaller in Minnesota than it was nationwide.

"This is not your father's Oldsmobile," says political scientist Steven E. Schier of Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.

What changed? One way of putting it is that the state grew, but the parties didn't. Since 1980, Schier explains, the Twin City suburbs have doubled in size. The influx was mostly "high-education, high-income" and did not fit simply into the old coalition of what is known, in Minnesota, as the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, or DFL.

"Imagine a suburbanite," the professor offers over a cup of soup at the Ole House cafe, where the breakfast rolls are as rich as plutonium. "This person might be the child of DFLers from the 1930s and '40s. The parents see government as a safety net."

Schier continues: "This person, though, sees his or her family as almost a small business, involving logistics and investments and training and so forth. The government can help the business in some ways and hurt it in others." Thus, Schier says, "they are open to the right candidate from either party."

Standing on the midway of the Anoka fair as twilight settles is the embodiment of Schier's imagination. His name is Mitch Johnson. He is 32 and has a wife and two kids, ages 4 and 2. He owns a construction business but clearly he is not a desk-bound boss -- his wristwatch is speckled with paint. Johnson grew up among Democrats, but he says he is "a little more independent thinker myself." In 1998 he voted for Ventura, and in 2000 he voted for George W. Bush.

Party appeals move him not a bit, he says. He is interested in results. "I understand there are taxes that need to be paid, and I would be glad to pay them for a quality of life," Johnson says. His problem with the party politicians is that they don't deliver. His principal daily experience with the political system takes the form of a nightmarish commute on inadequate highways. "Politicians," he says, "are always letting you down."

Voters like Johnson have made Anoka County fertile ground for any candidate who is able to forge an image of independence, authenticity and common sense. In 1990, Anoka went for one of the most liberal politicians in America, sending Democrat Paul D. Wellstone to the Senate. Four years later, the county went just as heavily for a staunch conservative Senate candidate, Republican Rod Grams.

"There is an immense impatience in Minnesota with talking heads standing up and saying nothing," explains Myron Orfield, an expert on demographics and voting patterns. Instead, voters are looking for "someone real."

"Reality is an oasis in modern politics," Orfield says.

Wouldn't it make sense, Schier is asked, for the Democrats and the Republicans to try to broaden their parties, to find themes and issues that draw in a majority that transcends specific candidates?

He barks one of his frequent laughs. "The only thing standing in the way of Republican progress here is the Republican Party," Schier says. Ditto for the Democrats. "There is nothing in the activists of the DFL or the GOP that would change this process."

Party Switchers, Dropouts
Sheila Kiscaden is a state senator from Rochester, Minn., home of the famed Mayo Clinic. She considers herself a part of what she calls the "sensible center" -- in favor of abortion rights, willing to support government programs that enhance the quality of life, a friend to the environment, a patriot.

For 10 years in the legislature, Kiscaden was a Republican. But this year, with her district redrawn to include some rural precincts, the party decided she was "not conservative enough" -- especially on abortion. Instead, the Republican convention endorsed her primary challenger, in a move many observers refer to as "a purge." Now Kiscaden is running as an independent.

"Two-thirds of Minnesotans are in the center," Kiscaden explains. "As I go door to door, people are sick of the partisan wrangling. I feel the parties have gotten out of whack with the voters."

She's not the only one. Another GOP state senator, Martha Robertson, also left the party after losing its endorsement. Now Robertson is Tim Penny's running mate. Indeed, Minnesota politics is dense with party switchers and party dropouts. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Norm Coleman is a former Democrat. Democratic state auditor Judi Dutcher is a former Republican.

Politicians and analysts describe a cyclonic downward spiral that threatens to spin both the DFL and the Republicans farther and farther from the majority. The caucus system used by Minnesota parties to choose their candidates -- once a model of kaffee-klatsch democracy -- attracts fewer participants each year. As a result, direction of the parties has become more and more concentrated in the hands of True Believers. On the Republican side, power is held by Christian conservatives and anti-government ideologues; on the Democratic, the steering is mostly done by labor, environmentalists and aggrieved minorities.

When these factions then choose rigidly partisan candidates, they drive loosely aligned voters away from the parties. That, in turn, spells even less diversity in the caucuses, which produces even more orthodox candidates, leading to further disaffection in the middle -- and so on.

"Moderate Republicans now feel unwelcome at precinct caucuses," Kiscaden says. "I know people who used to be precinct chairmen who no longer attend. There are too few people participating and they all think alike, and they believe that people who disagree with them -- on anything -- must be the enemy."

The same problem has affected the DFL. Penny says that when he first ran for office, in 1976, more than 170 DFLers turned out for the Waseca County caucus. This year, at the same meeting, 17 people showed up.

It was this phenomenon that gave Minnesota, from 1994 to 2000, perhaps the oddest pair of senators in the country -- the far-left Wellstone and the far-right Grams. The partisan gridlock produced by this system paved the way for Ventura's sweep to victory in 1998.

The two Republicans running statewide this year -- Tim Pawlenty for governor and Coleman for Senate -- are both boyish, bushy-haired, fast-talking fellows who know how to lay down a moderate rap.

"The parties remind me of Dr. Seuss," Coleman offers over breakfast one morning. "The North-Going Zax and the South-Going Zax." The two beasts butt heads one day on a vast open prairie, Coleman recalls, but rather than step to one side to make progress, "they don't move, they don't budge, and meanwhile the whole world goes on around them."

Both men had to pass certain litmus tests -- on abortion and taxes, for example -- to win their party's endorsement. And one reason Coleman is no longer a Democrat is that he could not pass that party's abortion litmus test. For the lesser-known Pawlenty, especially, his campaign's challenge will be to prove that he is not shackled to his party's interest groups.

The DFL nominee for governor, meanwhile, gives scarcely a nod to the idea of reaching out beyond his base. Instead, Roger Moe -- majority leader of the state Senate for an incredible 22 years -- describes a by-the-book campaign strategy based on accumulating slivers of the population.

In a three-way race with Pawlenty and Penny, Moe says, "it's going to take 34 or 35 points to win. It won't take 40 points. So you get ducks where the ducks are." Finding enough ducks will be a matter of "narrowcasting rather than broadcasting," targeting the "distinct, small groups" that Moe says constitute the base of the DFL.

Left out of that equation may be the folks strolling past the snow-cone stands and squirt-gun target ranges of the Anoka County Fair. "People here are independent thinkers," observes Bev Summerbell, a retired teacher smiling behind the counter of the fair's information booth. Anokans don't join parties because "they don't like to be told how to think."

She adds that a lot of people at the fair have been wearing Tim Penny buttons.

Evidence of a Trend
It's unusual, but not stunning, for a state to elect an independent governor. Ventura is one of two currently serving (the other is Angus King of Maine). It would be very unusual, however, for a state to elect two independents in a row. That would be hard to explain away as a matter of celebrity or hijinks or fluke. Penny, with the earnest demeanor of a Boy Scout in church, is no Ventura, says Schier: "You will never hear him compare himself to a D-cup bra."

Penny's strength in the governor's race instead flows from the failure of the parties, says Dean Barkley, a founder of the independent movement in Minnesota. "Our best friend is the refusal by both parties to change," he says. "They are content with low turnouts, provided their people are the ones that vote."

In fact, Penny would be the third governor in a row elected without a major party endorsement in Minnesota. (Republican Arne Carlson failed to win his party's endorsement in 1994.) They say three in a row makes a trend. And that trend, while highlighted in Minnesota, is visible nationwide. For the first time in more than 100 years, America has gone three consecutive presidential elections without anyone winning a majority of the popular vote.

Look at the crowds milling along the pathways of the Anoka County Fair -- the fleets of baby strollers, the grade-schoolers rushing ahead of their parents, the teenagers in their hip-hugging jeans, the grandparents happily shelling out for sodas and souvenirs. These families are deciding the elections in one of the most competitive states in a fifty-fifty America.

They hold the key to a majority. But the parties, it seems, aren't talking to them.
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edited profile [03 Aug 2002|03:47am]
yes i have finally gotten that far.
link is at

there shall be more activity here.. eventually
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bummer... [12 Jun 2002|04:21pm]
[ mood | disappointed ]

Raising the Grateful Dead a Dead Issue in Wisconsin

Wed Jun 12, 2:25 PM ET -- EAST TROY, Wis. (Reuters) - A reunion of the Grateful Dead described as the first formal concert by the group since leader Jerry Garcia's 1995 death has been vetoed by Wisconsin officials who feared they couldn't handle the quarter million fans the event might draw.

The Walworth County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at a Tuesday night meeting against allowing the concert which had been planned for Aug. 3-4 at Alpine Valley, a ski area and concert venue between Chicago and Milwaukee.

Some residents opposed to the event were still angry about the last Dead concert there 13 years ago, when the group and its thousands of followers played the southern Wisconsin site.

"I had to run outside to stop a guy from urinating in my yard," said one woman who declined to give her name. "Another day, someone was butt naked in the backyard taking a shower under my garden hose."

Law enforcement and other officials told the meeting that they were worried that 250,000 people might be drawn to the event.

"In a one mile square area that's a lot of people and there just isn't enough protection there -- fire, emergency, anything," said East Troy resident John Corrao after the vote.

Walworth County Sheriff David Graves said he and other area law enforcement officials were relieved at the board's decision.

Event organizer Clear Channel Entertainment of San Antonio, Texas, part of Clear Channel Communications, had presented elaborate plans for parking, security and medical support. A spokeswoman for Clear Channel said the company will decide within several days whether to appeal.

Chicago officials had previously vetoed a similar concert at Grant Park on the city's lakefront.

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[03 Jun 2002|10:12pm]
[ mood | satisfied ]


obviously not committing much time to this journal thing thus far. have been on the net for a few hours tonight which is the most I've been on in one session for past few weeks.

maybe i'll become more active here next fall. my monday evenings are pretty much free, but playing in an 8-ball league on tuesdays. Volleyball league on wednesdays. Thursdays is more volleyball at beach of friend's house just down the road. I often do some surfing on Fridays, but something usually comes up on both Saturday and Sunday and the net effect barely enough time for reading and very little if any time posting thoughts in journal.

some recent occurrences off the top of my head..
-got another speeding ticket. 48 in a 30mph zone. pissed. was late for work and they nabbed me about 3 blocks from my home. I should know better. time to start taking it easy. no tickets for 4 years than 2 within a month. sheesh
-bot some cloths from .. more free shipping and i like their stuff. got a couple nice shirts
-bot XM satellite radio for my vehicle yesterday. getting it installed on friday. can't wait.. i am so sick of local radio and constant lame commercials. I spend probably 2 hours a day in commute so it should be worth it. 250 bux for hardware.. install is free.. 10 bux a month thereafter for subscription. not bad
-hired a new broker. my original full service broker has quit her job and gone to work for someone else. Her son, who happens to be a friend of mine.. has taken her place. I got a letter recently indicating as such and so i called up Matt and asked about some details. He said he's got his series 7 completed and is fully licensed so I figured i'd give him a whirl. I need someone who is easily phone accessible if i am to continue to trade frequently while also at work in the field. Matt has options experience and so we're going to be doing a little of that. When we spoke on friday he was recommending XLNX which happened to lose 12% today. Dunno how much advice I'll be taking from him but he can surely place my orders. I asked him if he felt the 9/11 lows would hold and he said yes... so we differ in that regard. Maybe he can point out some decent puts but it seems he's got a bullish slant. We'll see.
-have watched 4 of my 5 new DVDs. favorite was phish. a lot of trey which is fine. basically shows how they're not a traditional band. a few funny parts that had me laughing out loud for a bit. plenty of good tunes as well. I need to watch again if i'm to give it a decent review. from what i saw it was interesting but it was also very late and i fell asleep while watching.
-got my work truck fixed and ran up a tab of $1033 bux in doing so. thankfully my boss is paying.. altho he wasn't happy to hear of the amount. had the exhaust fixed and new brakes all around plus rear rotors. shouldn't need any more work on it this year. I think he intends to replace it this winter. (???)

okay.. that's sufficient update for now. still need to edit profile

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Horoscope [12 May 2002|08:39pm]
[ mood | awestruck ]

I was recently asked to give a little info about myself so that someone could create a computerized horoscope for me. No harm in doing so, I concluded.. and so I gave her my date, location, and time of birth.

Surprisingly, the resulting horoscope is remarkable in its accuracy. It should be duly noted that in the past I have always been quite skeptical of anything relating to astrology. It just doesn't make sense to me. The way I figure it, most horoscopes are written vaguely enough such that anyone with a decent imagination can incorporate what is written into their own lives.

Be that as it may.. this one in particular is uncanny in its similarity to the way I view myself:


This report is a short edition of the astrOtext Portrait. It is meant as a sample and advertisement for the full version of the astrOtext Portrait which can be ordered from Astrodienst as a bound report of about 20 - 30 pages. In the short edition, only a few, but nevertheless important aspects of your natal chart are considered.

The Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Venus and Saturn placement are discussed. Quite likely, you will notice some contradictions in the analysis of your personality. This is partly because you are a complex entity, a composite of many diverse, sometimes conflicting, energies. At times these differing energies balance each other out; at other times they fight with each other, causing confusion or unrest in your life. In addition, while this report synthesizes some horoscope elements like Sun and Moon, or the Ascendant and its ruling planet, in most sections it describes each horoscope element separately, not taking into account the presence of other contradicting or supporting horoscope factors.

If you want a more synthesized report, which interprets your horoscope as a whole complex assembly of meaning, please choose the Psychological Horoscope Analysis (PHA) by Liz Greene. It is available at this site, and several other websites in the world, for a fee. What you are reading here is a basic astrological report with a very attractive price. Liz Greene's PHA, in comparison, is not for free, but it is the best astrological computerized report available on this planet.

As you read your short report, or any other astrological report, keep in mind that the energies interpreted here are your birth potentials. However, you may or may not choose to actualize these energies in the manner described. Your age, sex, socio-economic situation, education, environment, level of development, and many other factors contribute to the ways in which you express your natal energies. Remember, the planets do not compel you to do or be anything. They influence you, but you still have the free will to determine your own life.

Sun in Scorpio, Moon in Pisces

This astrological combination yields a somewhat inconstant and restless nature. Because of its passive and susceptible aspects there are indications of frustrated ambition and ungratified desire. However, under benign conditions, you are affectionate and sympathetic. You are not very strong-willed, which proves unfortunate, because your internal feelings are deep and ever-active. Much of your potential is never realized, and there is more promise than fulfillment. In love you are yielding and sympathetic. A strong marriage partner would balance the fluidity and indecisiveness of your character. The key to a more harmonious self lies in exerting the self-control of your individuality, under the influence of the Sun sign, Scorpio. You will find comfort and respite in mysticism, often in religion.

Ascendant in Aquarius, Uranus in the Eighth House

At the time of your birth the zodiacal sign of Aquarius was ascending in the horizon. Its ruler Uranus is located in the eighth house.

You were born with a natural disposition to be humane, sympathetic, original and refined in your dealings with others. Among your features is the ability to understand human nature in a sympathetic manner. Unfortunately, you do not always act upon your intuitions and may become rationalistic at times when swift and prompt determination is required.

The common Aquarian is good and kindly, but usually led astray by eccentric and bizarre companions.

Your tastes are refined and your discrimination keen. You have a natural inclination toward the esoteric and mystical side of life and you could develop some clairvoyant abilities. Basically you are a lover of freedom; in the realization of this desire you may go to abnormal extremes.

Although changeable in appearance, your life is guided by very definite and fixed principles, one of which is a constant demand for personal freedom. In love you are a strange character. You can easily be emotionally attracted to one person and yet unpredictably terminate relationships.

As an inventor you have no rival; your problem is that sometimes you lack the practical ability to implement your creations. Professionally you will be successful in any of the following fields of activity: modern science, electrical work, photography, archaeology, astrology, radio etc.

Physically, Uranus, as the ruler of your life in this house, gives a liability to uncommon nervous ailments.

You are going to undergo much anxiety and worry from business dealings in which your marital partner is involved or which may arise due to some estate or inheritance left to you. It is very possible that sudden financial gains will be obtained through your marital partner. Psychologically, your ruler in the eighth house must give you, at some point in life, an interest in the esoteric and mystical.

Moon in the First House

The Moon is in the first house. This position indicates that you are strongly influenced by your feelings and moods.

Your awareness of yourself is influenced by your momentary feelings, and this perception is subject to rapid changes of mood and emotion. In time, you will learn to understand why you react as you do to various situations, and then you can begin to change your response patterns and take more control of your life.

Others sense your lack of emotional self-sufficiency and tend to get involved in your personal affairs, even if you try to prevent it. You express your sensitivity through an emotional need to nurture and be nurtured by others. While you would like to have guidance and supervision concerning your goals and objectives, it would be better to achieve your aims independently so that you will not feel obligated to others.

The advantage of this position lies in your ability to sense other people's needs and desires.

In fact, you have a calming effect on people who are under stress, and this makes you ideally suited for working with the public.

Saturn in the Seventh House

Saturn, the kronos of the greek world, was found in seventh house at the time of birth. In your dealings with others, you are going to present a very cautious personality and you will work slowly towards the achievement of security. The environment will be a very restricting factor in your life; the same limitations that hinder your relationships with others will emerge in a narrowness of reception to your ideas and emotions. This indicates that the key to more spiritual and material development lies in your response to the several tests destined for you which consist of patiently enduring difficulties through human relationships.

You should remember that Saturn does not lend a propensity to be demonstrative in an emotional sense. It does, in those individuals with whom you will start a lifelong relationship, give a sense of duty and stability of emotions. Yet you are going to experience some sorrow throughout your married life. This is mostly going to consist of the several limitations that this state is imposing upon your personal freedom.

The key to a better integration of your existence lies in the ability to view these obstacles and binds with philosophical resignation.

Saturn Opposition Ascendant

Saturn opposition the Ascendant shows that you are defensive in your associations.

You tend to be so preoccupied with your own affairs that you cannot be too concerned with anyone else's. But at the same time you accuse people of being indifferent to you. The truth is, you are so reserved about projecting yourself into their lives that you give the impression you think yourself better than they are. So they keep their distance and are not likely to warm up to you. Although you have a mind of your own, you are never sure you can exploit your ideas and get a favorable response, which you desperately need.

Because you are more competent than most of your competitors, you will never take on a task you can not handle. Until you try, of course, you will not know this. You secretly fear responsibility, but you are more than able to perform your duties and fulfill your obligations, both to yourself and to others.

Venus in the Eighth House

Venus, the planet of love, was found in your eighth house at the time of birth. This is a favorable position regarding the possibilities of financial gain through businesses owned by your marital partner or by associates.

Psychologically, you are going to find many harmonious conditions in your sexual relationships.

If your inner growth is such that your vital energies are oriented toward spiritual rather than material pleasures, then you will arrive at gratification and happiness through inquiry into the mysteries of life and death.

You should have some excellent opportunities for progress in your financial and social condition during your middle age or when you finally stabilize your life through marriage.

Sun in the Ninth House

The Sun, the giver of light and energy throughout the solar system, was found in the ninth house at the time of birth. This is an indication that your real self possesses an attraction to higher levels of thought. Additionally, this indicates that the most important realizations may come through the process of pure reasoning.

You will tend to grow through the workings of your higher mind where you may find, after much striving, the creative principle and the power of self-expression.

You possess a rather austere mind which is fearless, self-confident and keenly analytical.

Regarding life events, you will be inclined to obtain success in subjects connected with law, religion, and possibly foreign lands.

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[09 May 2002|08:51pm]

Summer Concert Bust Season Gets Early Start in Alabama
- Rockers Can Take Steps to Protect Themselves, Say Advocates

A three-day concert [in late April] by the Athens, GA-based band Widespread Panic, popular among college students, saw 200 fans arrested on drug charges by law enforcement authorities at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham, AL. One woman died after apparently taking ecstasy, according to Pelham police; another "spreadhead," as the band's fans sometimes refer to themselves, committed suicide at a nearby motel. But the deaths were not the cause of the arrests, which were part of an operation planned in advance before the shows.

The arrests in Alabama are a harbinger of increased police drug enforcement activity at rock concert, raves and other music venues as the summer concert season looms, but concertgoers need not remain defenseless before the narcs. They can instead educate themselves about how to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and then do so, said Steven Silverman of the newly-formed organization Flex Your Rights ( Other activists have suggested proactive responses as well.

At Oak Mountain, the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Pelham Police Department carefully crafted "Operation Don't Panic" to target drug use and underage drinking at the concert. According to the Birmingham News, the operation "involved thousands of dollars, hundreds of worker hours and dozens of uniformed and plainclothes officers. It was one of the biggest ABC operations in recent memory," the newspaper noted.

Teams of undercover agents prowled the parking lots and concert grounds before and during the shows, attempting to purchase drugs from unwary vendors and to arrest distracted users. According to press accounts, the line-up of the arrested was a veritable cross-section of young, white America: a prison guard, a high school student, a criminal justice major, a Department of Energy employee, a construction worker, an itinerant vendor. Police reported seizing marijuana, cocaine, Oxycontin, nitrous oxide and ecstasy, among other proscribed substances.

"What they did to me was totally uncool," said Jason Bartlett, 30, a spreadhead and self-described ski bum from Colorado, who was arrested Friday and spent 20 hours in jail before a friend posted bail for his misdemeanor marijuana arrest. "We don't want to lose our scene. We are trying not to lose our vibe, but we are definitely scared."

Widespread Panic, a band that has taken up the mantle left first by the Grateful Dead and then by Phish as the band to follow across the country, was an obvious target -- or more precisely, its fans were. Widespread Panic shows saw 40 arrested at Valdosta State University in Georgia last October, 45 arrested in Charleston, SC, last November, and 53 arrested at Mississippi State University in April 2001.

But they aren't the only ones. With a bill in Congress targeting music event promoters for drug activity at their events (, the war on rave culture is already well underway, and with summer blockbuster tours such as Ozzfest and the Vans Warped Tour preparing to hit the road, rock and rave fans will be in the law enforcement crosshairs.

Many of them can avoid being arrested if they learn how to properly exercise their constitutional rights against unlawful searches and seizures, said Flex Your Rights' Silverman. "These folks need to understand that police officers see rock concerts as a target-rich environment," he told DRCNet. "People need to be in a self-preservation mode considering the zero-tolerance atmosphere in which we live," he said.

"Avoiding arrest on a drug charge is harm reduction," said Silverman. "We believe that the worst danger, especially with marijuana, is that of being arrested. If we can reduce the likelihood of people being arrested, we are doing harm reduction, from the perspective of both the individual and society at large," he explained.

"Do not do anything illegal in public," advised Silverman, who recently began taking his Flex Your Rights presentation before college student audiences. "Don't have contraband in plain view. If you are doing something illegal -- which we don't condone -- do it in the privacy of your own home."

But Silverman acknowledged that many people will possess and consume illicit drugs at concert events. In that case, Silverman said, if they encounter police, three rules should guide their conduct. "First, concertgoers do not have to talk to a police officer. If there is a problem, the question you always want to ask is, 'Officer, am I free to go? Or simply say 'I'm leaving' and then leave. If the officer prevents you from leaving, ask, 'Am I under arrest or being detained?' If not, you are free to leave. Do so. Immediately. And don't go back. Be courteous and non-confrontational, always call them sir or ma'am," he counseled. "We are not against the police, but we are trying to prevent police misconduct." That misconduct occurs any time police officers attempt to persuade or intimidate citizens into forfeiting their rights, Silverman said.

"Second -- and this is our single most important bit of advice -- never, ever consent to a warrantless search. Let me repeat: Never, ever consent to a warrantless search," Silverman emphasized. "If the police officer is asking your permission to search you, your car, or your property, that should be an alarm. He is telling you he does not have probable cause to search. He is saying, 'I can only search with your consent.' Do not consent. You have nothing to lose by not consenting and everything to lose if you do. Once you have consented to a search, you have waived your Fourth Amendment right to be free of unwarranted searches and seizures."

"Third," Silverman enumerated, "if you are arrested, keep your mouth shut. Don't think you can persuade the officer to let you go out of the kindness of his heart. Most likely, the officer will use anything you say to build a case against you. You have the right not to talk to the police without an attorney present -- flex that right," said Silverman.

Drug-using concertgoers need to pay attention to their surroundings, said Silverman. "You should plan for these places to be swarming with police and undercover officers," he said. "Watch out for them. And never give even a small amount of contraband to someone you don't know at a show," he said. "Your potential possession charge just turned into a possible felony distribution arrest."

Avoiding arrest is one thing. Helping others avoid arrest can also be done, often merely by alerting inattentive crowd members to the presence of police. The Birmingham News reported that at various points during police operations at Oak Mountain, operations were disrupted when undercover agents were loudly outed by cries of "narc" or "six-up" [an apparently distorted reference to "Hawaii Five-Oh"]. Spontaneous actions by the crowd at the 4th of July smoke-in in Washington, DC, last summer served a similar purpose. At that event, sharp-eyed and militant crowd members fanned out ahead of approaching police warning unwary tokers of the danger while other crowd members surrounded and loudly berated the woebegone -- and now quite ineffective -- narcs. The police gave up their forays into the crowd, instead limiting themselves to the event's fringes in hopes of picking off a young victim.
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PACKAGE [09 May 2002|08:29pm]
[ mood | mellow ]

My package arrived yesterday from containing the following five DVDs:

-Phish, Bitersweet Motel.. documentary w/ 3 or 4 full songs and clips from another dozen more, interviews w/ the band, footage from Europe tour, etc. Much anticipation for my viewership of this film. Should be excellent.

-String Cheese Incident; Evolution.. same type of deal, documentary.. follows the band behind the scenes throughout 2000-2001 New Year's Eve concert and celebration. I am not familiar w/ this band but have been told that I'd enjoy them.

-Wide Spread Panic; Live at Oak Mountain Ampitheater.. complete concert footage from August 12th 2000. I've got this one playing in the background right now. Supposed to be excellent. I'm liking it so far. Also relatively new to this band. documentary of an internet venture that went from boom to bust. Has great reviews. I haven't seen it before. As an internet enthusiast and a stock trader, I've followed this cycle closely for the past 4 years. Looking forward to watching this.

-Requiem For A Dream.. This one has been recommended to me as well. Have heard it's pretty good. May have been up for best picture, I can't remember. I pretty much bought this one because it was on sale for 12 bucks and put me over the 100 dollar threshold for free shipping

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BAT = .057 [06 May 2002|07:07pm]
[ mood | content ]

Almost went to Vegas this past weekend. A few friends including my elder brother were going but they already had plane tickets. I went home on Thursday night to see how much a next day flight would cost. wanted like $450 so I said screw it. I figured my seasonal job was going to be starting up on Monday anyway so maybe it wasn't a good idea.

As it turns out I got a call from my boss Friday afternoon, and sure enough he informed me that we'd be getting back to work again after the weekend. I needed to get my tools and have a tire fixed prior to starting back up again, so I hopped in my truck and headed north to Maple Grove.

When I got to my boss' house a few of my co-workers were standing around a case of beer and so I helped myself to a few. After about an hour of gathering tools and general chit-chat, we decided to stop off at the bar where I would challenge my boss to a few games of 8-ball. He has his own table at his house and thinks he's king-shit so I thought I'd show him a thing or two. We hadn't played before and so I was somewhat nervous.

I guess I shouldn't have been. When we first showed up at the bar and started playing I joked that maybe we should play for a raise. His sarcastic reply was that okay.. we can play for a raise but if you lose then you can expect a demotion. I laughed and finished racking the balls. The first game went well. I beat him handedly. The second game had much the same outcome. I think he beat me the third, but on the fourth and fifth games... I cleaned up.

By now I had about 6 beers in me... and of course the guys I was with insisted on my having more. I knew I had a long drive ahead of me and that I like to speed when the traffic is light.. so although it was tempting, I refrained from drinking any more.

Thank goodness. I was just getting to the end of the freeway on my way home when I spotted the wretched cherries behind me. Didn't see the cop at all before hand. First thing he says to me once I've pulled over and he's approached my window is: "Can you explain to me why you're driving so fast?" To which I replied: "Not justifiably." He chuckled a bit, said he clocked me at 78 mph, and asked for my driver's license and proof-of-insurance.

Apparently it took me awhile to get pulled over and so he asked me if I had been drinking because supposedly that can be a tell-tale sign of someone who's tipsy . At first I said no.. but once he started to administer the field sobriety test I figured I had better fess up. "Yeah, I've had a few," I told the officer.

First test was to keep my head still while following his pen with just my eyes. Flawless. Second was to walk 9 paces forward with heel to toe.. do an about-face.. and walk back 9 paces heel to toe. Once again, no problems. Third and final test was to hold my right foot off the ground 12 inches and count 1, one-thousand.. 2, one-thousand.. and so on until he told me to stop. There I was on the side of the freeway standing on one leg counting all the way to ~25.. but without any stumbling. The cop concluded that I wasn't drunk.

That's not enough though, they have to give you a breathalyzer as well. I was noticeably nervous and told him I would probably get into the .05 region. He said, "naw, you're fine. You're probably more like .02" And so I blew into the darn contraption and as it turns out my blood/alcohol test came in at .057.

What a relief. DWIs are the worst. I'm glad to have avoided one. The cop wrote me a ticket for speeding and no proof-of-insurance and then said that the citation will be in the mail. I have insurance but didn't have the updated paperwork and so now I guess I have to go down to the courthouse in Edina to have the situation resolved. Oh well.. I can handle that.

I was pretty upset once I left the scene. On the one hand I was smart enough to avoid having too much to drink.. but on the other hand I was stupid enough to be traveling so damn fast. It had been over four years since my last moving violation. I didn't used to drive so fast, but now that I'm driving a company truck I've developed a lead foot. I suppose it's back to granny style driving for the foreseeable future. That's okay, I'm good at being slow

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general guidelines [05 May 2002|08:44am]
[ mood | productive ]

As with any new project, I think it's necessary to try and define the purpose of my recently created journal. While that purpose may not be entirely known, or may morph in some fashion as time goes by, some general guidelines may prove helpful in getting things underway.

First off, although this will invariably be a part of my journal, I do not intend for it to simply be a day-to-day recount of what's going on in my life. I want more depth; more substance. I want to talk about things that are greater in scope. My primary reason for starting this is because I needed an appropriate forum with which to convey my opinions on several matters, and prior to my signing up with, I had not found such a place. My thinking is such that years from now, it will be enlightening for me to be able to look back upon my attitude and feelings about the world in which we live. Also so that certain memorable events remain that way, or else they could be lost in the shuffle of everyday life.

I have not maintained a journal before, online or otherwise. It seems to me that it might be rather therapeutic. But in order for that to occur, I think there needs to be a distinct point of adherence: I shall do my best to not concern myself with my audience. That is to say, I should write with the idea that the subject-matter is for my eyes only... for the preservation of my thought processes... and to let the chips fall where they may with respect to what readers of my journal (however plentiful they may or may not be) conclude about me, or my opinions on various topics. In other words, I will try to avoid writing in a critical, persuasive manner.. and instead try to be an 'observationalist.'

Lastly, I'm going to go through the trouble of keeping my journal somewhat formal. The hours I've spent in real-time chat are beginning to cause some nasty habits. Lack of punctuation, errant spelling, sentence fragments, improper capitalization, word omittance, and run-ons are but a few of the afflictions I suffer from. While it may take a bit more time per entry, I think it would do me some good to at least put forth a minor effort in trying to correct this by maintaining a certain err of formality here at livejournal

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opening statements [04 May 2002|06:00am]
[ mood | tired ]

Beautiful sunrise this morning after an eventful night.
I shall get some rest and begin typing out some thoughts later this weekend.

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