24 August

MT duo & Robot Taiwan 2008: Vast opportunities for machinery industry

Friday, May 2, 2008

The 2008 Taipei CNC Machine Tools & Manufacturing Technology Show (MT duo) and Taiwan International Robot Exhibition (Robot Taiwan 2008) both began yesterday. These events are both taking place in the build up to Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS 2009) at TWTC Nangang, which is due to take place next year.

The 2008 MT duo and Robot Taiwan mainly focused on software designed for industry, rather than consumers. This is in contrast to the choice of software displayed in many Japanese Trade Shows, which often displays products designed for consumers.

Robotics is a major industry in Taiwan. As a result the organizer of the event decided to refine “Manufacturing Taipei” and split it into the “Robot & Industrial Automation” of Manufacturing Taipei and “Robot Taiwan”.

There was also a “Taiwan International Robotics Forum” and “Seminars on MT duo” at the event. Both were designed to attract executives from IT, manufacturing, and machinery industries to promote the worldwide use of robotics in industry.

24 August

Australia/2007

Contents

  • 1 January
  • 2 February
  • 3 March
  • 4 April
  • 5 May
  • 6 June
  • 7 July
  • 8 August
  • 9 September
  • 10 October
  • 11 November
  • 12 December

[edit]

18 August

E. coli outbreak kills 1, sickens nearly 100

Friday, September 15, 2006

An E. coli outbreak linked to fresh bagged spinach in at least 20 states, has killed 1 person, a 77 year old woman in Wisconsin and has made more than 95 sick, some severely and affecting people anywhere from 3 to 84 years old. Michigan, Oregon, New Mexico, New York, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Idaho, Connecticut, Kentucky and Utah all report human cases of the illness linked to the contaminated spinach. All individuals sickened by the outbreak have the same strain, E. coli O157:H7. Officials are currently investigating cases in Washington, Pennsylvania and California to determine if the new cases are linked to the current outbreak.

“Based on the current information, FDA advises that consumers not eat bagged fresh spinach at this time. Individuals who believe they may have experienced symptoms of illness after consuming bagged spinach are urged to contact their health care provider,” said a statement on the Food and Drug Administration‘s website.

Health officials report that the symptoms from eating any contaminated spinach are kidney failure or Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome [HUS] which can occur easily in children and elderly people, bloody diarrhea, mild fever and in some cases death. At least 14 of the infected have suffered kidney failure.

“Given the severity of this illness and the seriousness of the outbreak, FDA believes that a warning to consumers is needed. We are working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and state and local agencies to determine the cause and scope of the problem,” added the statement.

Consumers are urged to throw out any fresh spinach they may have as washing it does not help, but officials say that cooking the spinach could kill the bacteria though officials still urge consumers to throw out all spinach.

“We are telling everyone to get rid of fresh bagged spinach right now. Don’t assume anything is over,” said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. Wisconsin has seen the worst of the outbreak with one death reported and over 30 people infected.

“If you wash it, it is not going to get rid of it,” said the Center for Food Safety and Nutrition director, Robert Brackett.

Health officials also say that they do not know what caused the contamination and do not know where the spinach originated from. Officials believe that the contamination was not “deliberate.”

“It is too early to say where the spinach has come from. This is an active investigation and we will provide more information as it becomes available. We have no evidence that this was deliberate,” said a spokeswoman for the FDA, Laura Alvey.

A company which produces natural foods in California is suspected to be the source of the illness. Natural Selection Foods LLC. located in San Juan Bautista, California has recalled all of their spinach voluntarily, including any food items containing the vegetable. Some of those infected with the illness have reported eating spinach which came from the company, but officials say that the outbreak may not be entirely isolated to just Natural Selection and that the investigation into the origin of the outbreak is still ongoing.

“We have temporarily stopped shipping spinach products, and have taken spinach out of our salads that contain them. Everyone at Earthbound Farm is terribly upset about these illnesses and death and their potential relationship to a product that is ordinarily a very healthy food choice. We are committed to producing exceptionally fresh and healthy produce. Quality and food safety continue to be our top priorities,” said Natural Selections in a statement on its website. Natural Selections is operated by Earthbound Farm.

“It is possible that the recall and the information will extend beyond Natural Selection Foods and involve other brands and other companies, at other dates,” said chief medical officer with the FDA’s Center for Food Safety, Doctor David Acheson.

Natural Selection sells many different brand names of spinach including Dole, Trader Joe’s, Green Harvest, Ready Pac, Earthbound Farm, Rave Spinach and their own brand of spinach, Natural Selections.

Officials say that more cases are expected to be reported, but many individuals will recover from the illness within a week.

E. coli, on average, affects more than 75,000 people a year and can kill as many as 60.

18 August

Australia Votes 2007: Labor releases tax plan

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Election 2007

Labor has released its tax plan, following the announcement from the Liberal/National coalition that they would provide tax cuts costing AU$34 billion if re-elected. The government has placed pressure on Labor since their announcement on Monday, urging Mr Rudd to release the opposition’s tax plan.

Under Labor’s system, the government’s planned tax cuts for Australians earning more than $180,000 per year would be scrapped, saving $3 billion. The savings would be spent on health and education for working families.

Speaking in Canberra today, Mr Rudd announced that if elected he would spend $2.3 billion on tax rebates for parents with children in primary and secondary schools. The refunds would be available to those who are eligible for Family Tax Benefit A. Mr Rudd claims the plan would be available to around two million children.

A Rudd government would offer a 50 percent education rebate to parents, up to $750 per child for primary school aged children and up to $1500 for children in secondary school. The rebate could be used for a variety of purchases but not for school fees. Mr Rudd said the rebate would help to equip children for the digital age.

“If mum and dad are spending money on buying a laptop, spending money on buying a home computer, spending money on … purchasing internet connection, education software printers and books, those expenditures, (they) will be eligible to claim the 50 per cent education tax refund that we are putting forward,” Mr Rudd said.

“We need to equip our young people with the skills necessary to participate in the digital economy of the 21st century.”

Mr Rudd vigorously denied that he rushed the plan out after the government’s announcement. “We have been working on this education tax refund for the better part of four, five months,” Mr Rudd told reporters.

Labor would spend $400 million of the savings on Labor’s national health reform plan, while the remaining $200 million would go to the budget surplus.

Under the health reform plan, an elective surgery strategy would be implemented with the aim of reducing waiting times. Mr Rudd said the waiting times experienced by some Australians were unacceptable.

“We intend … to establish through the use of other funds as well a plan which would create a national elective-surgery strategy to reduce waiting times across the nation,” Mr Rudd said.

About 25,000 Australians are on waiting lists for elective surgery despite having passed the clinically acceptable waiting period, he said.

“That’s unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Rudd also said that Labor would embrace tax reform by flattening the number of tax rates from four to three, at 15, 30 and 40 percent by 2012-13. This contrasts to the government’s planned tax cuts bringing rates to 15, 30, 25 and 40 percent.

If Labor is elected, those paying the highest tax rate would pay around $10 a week more than they would under a Howard government. Mr Rudd said that he was not waging a class war and believed those paying the top tax rate wouldn’t mind investing in the country.

“If you’re on $180 grand and more, as people like myself are, I don’t think you really need it just now,” said Mr Rudd.

“What I say instead is that most people in that bracket wouldn’t mind an investment going into bridging the digital divide for the whole country.”

“If we were waging some sort of class warfare, we wouldn’t be in the business of outlining the long term goals that we’ve put forward – a flattening, prospectively, of the tax system down to three rates rather than four with a top marginal tax rate of 40.”

The government has criticised the plan, with Treasurer Peter Costello claiming that Mr Rudd copied “91.5 percent” of their tax policy. He accused the opposition of never having a tax plan.

“Mr Rudd talks about education – if he’d have brought his exam paper in after copying 91.5 per cent of the answers from the student sitting next to him, he would have got an F for fail.”

The Treasurer said that it would be unlikely that a Rudd government could deliver tax cuts as it could not manage the economy well enough to deliver them.

“Unless you can manage the Australian economy, these tax cuts will not be deliverable,” he said.

“Mr Rudd and Mr Swan do not understand the Australian economy. This is entirely clear from the fact they have spent four days copying 91.5 per cent of our tax plan.”

Mr Costello said that a Rudd government would have a dilemma if elected, in that he could not follow the coalition’s policies.

“He never had a tax policy,” Mr Costello said.

“He hadn’t done the work, five days after our tax policy, his great contribution to the tax debate in this country is to say ‘me too, but’.”

“The trouble with ‘me too, but’ is, it’s OK for Mr Rudd to say ‘me too, I’ll be like Howard and Costello and adopt their policies’, but if he gets in Howard and Costello won’t be there writing the policies.”

Mr Costello said that when Kevin Rudd runs out of ideas, the union movement would step in to provide guidance. “So who is going to say ‘me to, but’ to them? I think the union movement will be giving him a few ideas,” said Mr Costello.

11 August

Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

Contents

  • 1 India team
  • 2 Khairat
    • 2.1 The town school
  • 3 The workplace
  • 4 Marathi
  • 5 The teacher
  • 6 Older children, teenagers, and villagers
  • 7 The students
  • 8 Teacher session
  • 9 Parents’ meetings
  • 10 Grounding the server
  • 11 Every child at school
  • 12 Sources
  • 13 External links
11 August

Fußball-Bundesliga 2007–08: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich

Sunday, October 28, 2007

October 28, 200717:00 (UTC+1)
Borussia Dortmund 0–0 Bayern Munich Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund Attendance: 80,708 Referee: Markus Merk
Tinga 45’Valdez 61’Valdez 79’Federico 79’Blaszczykowski 83’Klimowicz 83’Klimowicz 90’+1′ Match Report 66′ Sosa 66′ Altintop 70′ Toni 70′ Podolski 88′ van Bommel 88′ Ottl 90’+1′ Schweinsteiger

Bayern Munich remained undefeated in all competitions after a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund. The draw leaves Bayern at the top of the table with 27 points. However, the lead is down to four points after Hamburg’s 1-0 win against Duisburg.

Franck Ribery didn’t pass a late fitness test and didn’t make the 18-man strong matchday squad. Luca Toni, Martin Demichelis an Jose Ernesto Sosa replaced Lukas Podolski, Philipp Lahm and Hamit Altintop. Jose Ernesto Sosa returned after being sidelined for almost two months after ankle surgery.

Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund exchanged plenty of chances and almost had a 50/50 possession between them.

Bayern Munich plays Borussia Mönchengladbach at home in the DFB Cup while Borussia Dortmund plays Eintracht Frankfurt in the same competition.

4 August

Airplane in Nigeria crashes during mock rescue exercise

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Nigerian airplane crashed in the city of Port Harcourt yesterday, resulting in several minor injuries.

The plane was supposed to be taking part in a mock rescue exercise, and was carrying 30 members from the National Emergency Management Agency and other emergency workers, when it slid off the runway and into some bushes after landing at Port Harcourt International Airport.

The rescue workers on the ground, intended to participate in the emergency drill, instead had to deal with a real emergency; however, only a few people on board the aircraft sustained minor wounds.

A spokeswoman for the police, Rita Inoma-Abbey, commented today that “[n]o life was lost, but the aircraft was severely damaged.”

4 August

Police describe bloody evidence in NY Sen. Monserrate assault trial

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A crime scene police detective and a forensic biologist testified on Tuesday about bloody evidence entered into the court record, in the ongoing criminal trial against New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate. Monserrate faces charges of felony assault in an alleged attack on his girlfriend Karla Giraldo.

The prosecution has asserted that when Monserrate discovered that his girlfriend had the business card of another man, he chose to strike out at her. Monserrate has entered a plea of not guilty to charges he sliced his girlfriend’s face with broken glass during a conflict at their apartment on December 19, 2008. The defense team denied that the injury to the woman by Monserrate was intentional, instead claiming that the incident was “an accident” and the result of Monserrate tripping while bringing Giraldo a glass of water.

An emergency physician that had treated Giraldo stated in court last Thursday that Monserrate’s girlfriend asserted to her that her injuries were not the result of an accident. Though the defense has argued that Giraldo, who is from Ecuador, may have been difficult to understand – the physician stated she conversed with Monserrate’s girlfriend in both Spanish and in English.

…it is nothing more than rank speculation.

The police detective that first inspected the crime scene testified Tuesday to the court about his recollection of discovering broken glass at the apartment, along with blood, towels covered in blood, and a ripped women’s t-shirt. Prosecutors entered into evidence a ripped sleeveless undershirt that police had found in the garbage outside Monserrate’s apartment on the night of the alleged attack. Bloody towels were was also found at the crime scene in the bathroom, and bloody smudges were discovered on a light switch in the bedroom.

According to forensic biologist Ewilina Badja, the majority of the blood found at the scene originated from one woman. Prosecutors assert that this woman is Giraldo, who was treated for injuries surrounding her left eye that took approximately 40 stitches to remedy. Badja identified blood on a male green shirt found in the bathroom sink as that of Monserrate.

Joseph Tacopina, defense counsel for Monserrate, argued that the police detective’s testimony does not prove his client attacked Giraldo. NY1 reported that Tacopina stated: “There’s not a piece of evidence that supports there was a scuffle where someone tore someone’s clothing, so it is nothing more than rank speculation. It was not a blood drenched t-shirt. When it was torn who knows? I have in my closet right now torn T-shirts that I wear to bed every night.”

On cross-examination, Tacopina queried New York City Police Department crime scene analyst Detective David Hernandez regarding the blood discovered on the bedroom light switch. According to Hernandez, police did not evaluate the blood on the light switch; Hernandez also stated that the lights in the apartment were found turned on. Tacopina argued that this bolsters the story provided by defense – that his client stumbled in a dark room while attempted to bring water to his girlfriend, and placed his bloody hand on the light switch after accidentally breaking the drinking glass on Giraldo’s face.

Queens Supreme Court Justice William Erlbaum will judge the case without a jury, as Monserrate waived his right for a trial before his peers. The group National Organization for Women has requested that the judge rule Monserrate should be given “the maximum sentence allowable by law”. If convicted, Democrat Sen. Monserrate could serve seven years in prison and lose his New York State Senate seat.

Monserrate is a former city councilman. He became a member of the New York State Senate weeks after the alleged conflict with Giraldo, and was made chair of the committee overseeing consumer affairs. Along with Democrat Pedro Espada Jr., Monserrate started a shift in control of the Senate by aligning with the Republican Party.

4 August

Gallery seeks Control themed mail art for exhibit

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Canadian community art group Visual Arts Brampton is looking for entries for its international entry mail art exhibit “Control”.

The exhibit’s entry information discusses the theme of the show: “Are you a control-freak, or more happy-go-lucky? What do you think of corporations’ control on the media and governments? Is your life quickly spinning out of control? Always hitting Ctrl-Alt-Del?”

The exhibition dates have yet to be scheduled, but the show will run in early 2006 at either the Fridge Front Gallery or upcoming World Art Gallery in Shoppers World Brampton, a mall in suburban Toronto.

While it prefers 4 x 6 inch artworks, VAB asks that entries are no larger than 6 x 6 inches. VAB’s address is “Snail Mail Central / 1 Bartley Bull Parkway, Suite 10 / Brampton ON / L6W 3T7”. Entries must be received by January 31, 2006.

This show will help Visual Arts Brampton to continue to build up a reputation in the mail art world. The non-profit community art group is in the process of opening up the World Art Gallery, which will be the first permanent display space to solely exhibit mail art. Over the past few years, the club has organized three general no theme exhibits, and “SAT: An Exhibit of Chairs”, which is running currently.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

4 August

John Vanderslice plays New York City: Wikinews interview

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Vanderslice has recently learned to enjoy America again. The singer-songwriter, who National Public Radio called “one of the most imaginative, prolific and consistently rewarding artists making music today,” found it through an unlikely source: his French girlfriend. “For the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position…”

Since breaking off from San Francisco local legends, mk Ultra, Vanderslice has produced six critically-acclaimed albums. His most recent, Emerald City, was released July 24th. Titled after the nickname given to the American-occupied Green Zone in Baghdad, it chronicles a world on the verge of imminent collapse under the weight of its own paranoia and loneliness. David Shankbone recently went to the Bowery Ballroom and spoke with Vanderslice about music, photography, touring and what makes a depressed liberal angry.


DS: How is the tour going?

JV: Great! I was just on the Wiki page for Inland Empire, and there is a great synopsis on the film. What’s on there is the best thing I have read about that film. The tour has been great. The thing with touring: say you are on vacation…let’s say you are doing an intense vacation. I went to Thailand alone, and there’s a part of you that just wants to go home. I don’t know what it is. I like to be home, but on tour there is a free floating anxiety that says: Go Home. Go Home.

DS: Anywhere, or just outside of the country?

JV: Anywhere. I want to be home in San Francisco, and I really do love being on tour, but there is almost like a homing beacon inside of me that is beeping and it creates a certain amount of anxiety.

DS: I can relate: You and I have moved around a lot, and we have a lot in common. Pranks, for one. David Bowie is another.

JV: Yeah, I saw that you like David Bowie on your MySpace.

DS: When I was in college I listened to him nonstop. Do you have a favorite album of his?

JV: I loved all the things from early to late seventies. Hunky Dory to Low to “Heroes” to Lodger. Low changed my life. The second I got was Hunky Dory, and the third was Diamond Dogs, which is a very underrated album. Then I got Ziggy Stardust and I was like, wow, this is important…this means something. There was tons of music I discovered in the seventh and eighth grade that I discovered, but I don’t love, respect and relate to it as much as I do Bowie. Especially Low…I was just on a panel with Steve Albini about how it has had a lot of impact.

DS: You said seventh and eighth grade. Were you always listening to people like Bowie or bands like the Velvets, or did you have an Eddie Murphy My Girl Wants to Party All the Time phase?

JV: The thing for me that was the uncool music, I had an older brother who was really into prog music, so it was like Gentle Giant and Yes and King Crimson and Genesis. All the new Genesis that was happening at the time was mind-blowing. Phil Collins‘s solo record…we had every single solo record, like the Mike Rutherford solo record.

DS: Do you shun that music now or is it still a part of you?

JV: Oh no, I appreciate all music. I’m an anti-snob. Last night when I was going to sleep I was watching Ocean’s Thirteen on my computer. It’s not like I always need to watch some super-fragmented, fucked-up art movie like Inland Empire. It’s part of how I relate to the audience. We end every night by going out into the audience and playing acoustically, directly, right in front of the audience, six inches away—that is part of my philosophy.

DS: Do you think New York or San Francisco suffers from artistic elitism more?

JV: I think because of the Internet that there is less and less elitism; everyone is into some little superstar on YouTube and everyone can now appreciate now Justin Timberlake. There is no need for factions. There is too much information, and I think the idea has broken down that some people…I mean, when was the last time you met someone who was into ska, or into punk, and they dressed the part? I don’t meet those people anymore.

DS: Everything is fusion now, like cuisine. It’s hard to find a purely French or purely Vietnamese restaurant.

JV: Exactly! When I was in high school there were factions. I remember the guys who listened to Black Flag. They looked the part! Like they were in theater.

DS: You still find some emos.

JV: Yes, I believe it. But even emo kids, compared to their older brethren, are so open-minded. I opened up for Sunny Day Real Estate and Pedro the Lion, and I did not find their fans to be the cliquish people that I feared, because I was never playing or marketed in the emo genre. I would say it’s because of the Internet.

DS: You could clearly create music that is more mainstream pop and be successful with it, but you choose a lot of very personal and political themes for your music. Are you ever tempted to put out a studio album geared toward the charts just to make some cash?

JV: I would say no. I’m definitely a capitalist, I was an econ major and I have no problem with making money, but I made a pact with myself very early on that I was only going to release music that was true to the voices and harmonic things I heard inside of me—that were honestly inside me—and I have never broken that pact. We just pulled two new songs from Emerald City because I didn’t feel they were exactly what I wanted to have on a record. Maybe I’m too stubborn or not capable of it, but I don’t think…part of the equation for me: this is a low stakes game, making indie music. Relative to the world, with the people I grew up with and where they are now and how much money they make. The money in indie music is a low stakes game from a financial perspective. So the one thing you can have as an indie artist is credibility, and when you burn your credibility, you are done, man. You can not recover from that. These years I have been true to myself, that’s all I have.

DS: Do you think Spoon burned their indie credibility for allowing their music to be used in commercials and by making more studio-oriented albums? They are one of my favorite bands, but they have come a long way from A Series of Sneaks and Girls Can Tell.

JV: They have, but no, I don’t think they’ve lost their credibility at all. I know those guys so well, and Brit and Jim are doing exactly the music they want to do. Brit owns his own studio, and they completely control their means of production, and they are very insulated by being on Merge, and I think their new album—and I bought Telephono when it came out—is as good as anything they have done.

DS: Do you think letting your music be used on commercials does not bring the credibility problem it once did? That used to be the line of demarcation–the whole Sting thing–that if you did commercials you sold out.

JV: Five years ago I would have said that it would have bothered me. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The thing is that bands have shrinking options for revenue streams, and sync deals and licensing, it’s like, man, you better be open to that idea. I remember when Spike Lee said, ‘Yeah, I did these Nike commercials, but it allowed me to do these other films that I wanted to make,’ and in some ways there is an article that Of Montreal and Spoon and other bands that have done sync deals have actually insulated themselves further from the difficulties of being a successful independent band, because they have had some income come in that have allowed them to stay put on labels where they are not being pushed around by anyone.
The ultimate problem—sort of like the only philosophical problem is suicide—the only philosophical problem is whether to be assigned to a major label because you are then going to have so much editorial input that it is probably going to really hurt what you are doing.

DS: Do you believe the only philosophical question is whether to commit suicide?

JV: Absolutely. I think the rest is internal chatter and if I logged and tried to counter the internal chatter I have inside my own brain there is no way I could match that.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and their music?

JV: The thing for me is they are profound iconic figures for me, and I don’t even know their music. I don’t know Winehouse or Doherty’s music, I just know that they are acting a very crucial, mythic part in our culture, and they might be doing it unknowingly.

DS: Glorification of drugs? The rock lifestyle?

JV: More like an out-of-control Id, completely unregulated personal relationships to the world in general. It’s not just drugs, it’s everything. It’s arguing and scratching people’s faces and driving on the wrong side of the road. Those are just the infractions that land them in jail. I think it might be unknowing, but in some ways they are beautiful figures for going that far off the deep end.

DS: As tragic figures?

JV: Yeah, as totally tragic figures. I appreciate that. I take no pleasure in saying that, but I also believe they are important. The figures that go outside—let’s say GG Allin or Penderetsky in the world of classical music—people who are so far outside of the normal boundaries of behavior and communication, it in some way enlarges the size of your landscape, and it’s beautiful. I know it sounds weird to say that, but it is.

DS: They are examples, as well. I recently covered for Wikinews the Iranian President speaking at Columbia and a student named Matt Glick told me that he supported the Iranian President speaking so that he could protest him, that if we don’t give a platform and voice for people, how can we say that they are wrong? I think it’s almost the same thing; they are beautiful as examples of how living a certain way can destroy you, and to look at them and say, “Don’t be that.”

JV: Absolutely, and let me tell you where I’m coming from. I don’t do drugs, I drink maybe three or four times a year. I don’t have any problematic relationship to drugs because there has been a history around me, like probably any musician or creative person, of just blinding array of drug abuse and problems. For me, I am a little bit of a control freak and I don’t have those issues. I just shut those doors. But I also understand and I am very sympathetic to someone who does not shut that door, but goes into that room and stays.

DS: Is it a problem for you to work with people who are using drugs?

JV: I would never work with them. It is a very selfish decision to make and usually those people are total energy vampires and they will take everything they can get from you. Again, this is all in theory…I love that stuff in theory. If Amy Winehouse was my girlfriend, I would probably not be very happy.

DS: Your latest CD is Emerald City and that is an allusion to the compound that we created in Baghdad. How has the current political client affected you in terms of your music?

JV: In some ways, both Pixel Revolt and Emerald City were born out of a recharged and re-energized position of my being….I was so beaten down after the 2000 election and after 9/11 and then the invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan; I was so depleted as a person after all that stuff happened, that I had to write my way out of it. I really had to write political songs because for me it is a way of making sense and processing what is going on. The question I’m asked all the time is do I think is a responsibility of people to write politically and I always say, My God, no. if you’re Morrissey, then you write Morrissey stuff. If you are Dan Bejar and Destroyer, then you are Dan Bejar and you are a fucking genius. Write about whatever it is you want to write about. But to get out of that hole I had to write about that.

DS: There are two times I felt deeply connected to New York City, and that was 9/11 and the re-election of George Bush. The depression of the city was palpable during both. I was in law school during the Iraq War, and then when Hurricane Katrina hit, we watched our countrymen debate the logic of rebuilding one of our most culturally significant cities, as we were funding almost without question the destruction of another country to then rebuild it, which seems less and less likely. Do you find it is difficult to enjoy living in America when you see all of these sorts of things going on, and the sort of arguments we have amongst ourselves as a people?

JV: I would say yes, absolutely, but one thing changed that was very strange: I fell in love with a French girl and the genesis of Emerald City was going through this visa process to get her into the country, which was through the State Department. In the middle of process we had her visa reviewed and everything shifted over to Homeland Security. All of my complicated feelings about this country became even more dour and complicated, because here was Homeland Security mailing me letters and all involved in my love life, and they were grilling my girlfriend in Paris and they were grilling me, and we couldn’t travel because she had a pending visa. In some strange ways the thing that changed everything was that we finally got the visa accepted and she came here. Now she is a Parisian girl, and it goes without saying that she despises America, and she would never have considered moving to America. So she moves here and is asking me almost breathlessly, How can you allow this to happen

DS: –you, John Vanderslice, how can you allow this—

JV: –Me! Yes! So for the first time in my life I wouldn’t say I was defending the country but I was in this very strange position of saying, Listen, not that many people vote and the churches run fucking everything here, man. It’s like if you take out the evangelical Christian you have basically a progressive western European country. That’s all there is to it. But these people don’t vote, poor people don’t vote, there’s a complicated equation of extreme corruption and voter fraud here, and I found myself trying to rattle of all the reasons to her why I am personally not responsible, and it put me in a very interesting position. And then Sarkozy got elected in France and I watched her go through the same horrific thing that we’ve gone through here, and Sarkozy is a nut, man. This guy is a nut.

DS: But he doesn’t compare to George Bush or Dick Cheney. He’s almost a liberal by American standards.

JV: No, because their President doesn’t have much power. It’s interesting because he is a WAPO right-wing and he was very close to Le Pen and he was a card-carrying straight-up Nazi. I view Sarkozy as somewhat of a far-right candidate, especially in the context of French politics. He is dismantling everything. It’s all changing. The school system, the remnants of the socialized medical care system. The thing is he doesn’t have the foreign policy power that Bush does. Bush and Cheney have unprecedented amounts of power, and black budgets…I mean, come on, we’re spending half a trillion dollars in Iraq, and that’s just the money accounted for.

DS: What’s the reaction to you and your music when you play off the coasts?

JV: I would say good…

DS: Have you ever been Dixiechicked?

JV: No! I want to be! I would love to be, because then that means I’m really part of some fiery debate, but I would say there’s a lot of depressed in every single town. You can say Salt Lake City, you can look at what we consider to be conservative cities, and when you play those towns, man, the kids that come out are more or less on the same page and politically active because they are fish out of water.

DS: Depression breeds apathy, and your music seems geared toward anger, trying to wake people from their apathy. Your music is not maudlin and sad, but seems to be an attempt to awaken a spirit, with a self-reflective bent.

JV: That’s the trick. I would say that honestly, when Katrina happened, I thought, “okay, this is a trick to make people so crazy and so angry that they can’t even think. If you were in a community and basically were in a more or less quasi-police state surveillance society with no accountability, where we are pouring untold billions into our infrastructure to protect outside threats against via terrorism, or whatever, and then a natural disaster happens and there is no response. There is an empty response. There is all these ships off the shore that were just out there, just waiting, and nobody came. Michael Brown. It is one of the most insane things I have ever seen in my life.

DS: Is there a feeling in San Francisco that if an earthquake struck, you all would be on your own?

JV: Yes, of course. Part of what happened in New Orleans is that it was a Catholic city, it was a city of sin, it was a black city. And San Francisco? Bush wouldn’t even visit California in the beginning because his numbers were so low. Before Schwarzenegger definitely. I’m totally afraid of the earthquake, and I think everyone is out there. America is in the worst of both worlds: a laissez-fare economy and then the Grover Norquist anti-tax, starve the government until it turns into nothing more than a Argentinian-style government where there are these super rich invisible elite who own everything and there’s no distribution of wealth and nothing that resembles the New Deal, twentieth century embracing of human rights and equality, war against poverty, all of these things. They are trying to kill all that stuff. So, in some ways, it is the worst of both worlds because they are pushing us towards that, and on the same side they have put in a Supreme Court that is so right wing and so fanatically opposed to upholding civil rights, whether it be for foreign fighters…I mean, we are going to see movement with abortion, Miranda rights and stuff that is going to come up on the Court. We’ve tortured so many people who have had no intelligence value that you have to start to look at torture as a symbolic and almost ritualized behavior; you have this…

DS: Organ failure. That’s our baseline…

JV: Yeah, and you have to wonder about how we were torturing people to do nothing more than to send the darkest signal to the world to say, Listen, we are so fucking weird that if you cross the line with us, we are going to be at war with your religion, with your government, and we are going to destroy you.

DS: I interviewed Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for President, and he feels we should use as a deterrent against Islam the bombing of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

JV: You would radicalize the very few people who have not been radicalized, yet, by our actions and beliefs. We know what we’ve done out there, and we are going to paying for this for a long time. When Hezbollah was bombing Israel in that border excursion last year, the Hezbollah fighters were writing the names of battles they fought with the Jews in the Seventh Century on their helmets. This shit is never forgotten.

DS: You read a lot of the stuff that is written about you on blogs and on the Internet. Do you ever respond?

JV: No, and I would say that I read stuff that tends to be . I’ve done interviews that have been solely about film and photography. For some reason hearing myself talk about music, and maybe because I have been talking about it for so long, it’s snoozeville. Most interviews I do are very regimented and they tend to follow a certain line. I understand. If I was them, it’s a 200 word piece and I may have never played that town, in Des Moines or something. But, in general, it’s like…my band mates ask why don’t I read the weeklies when I’m in town, and Google my name. It would be really like looking yourself in the mirror. When you look at yourself in the mirror you are just error-correcting. There must be some sort of hall of mirrors thing that happens when you are completely involved in the Internet conversation about your music, and in some ways I think that I’m very innocently making music, because I don’t make music in any way that has to do with the response to that music. I don’t believe that the response to the music has anything to do with it. This is something I got from John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, I think the perception of the artwork, in some ways, has nothing to do with the artwork, and I think that is a beautiful, glorious and flattering thing to say to the perceiver, the viewer of that artwork. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Paul Klee‘s drawings, lithographs, watercolors and paintings and when I read his diaries I’m not sure how much of a correlation there is between what his color schemes are denoting and what he is saying and what I am getting out of it. I’m not sure that it matters. Inland Empire is a great example. Lynch basically says, I don’t want to talk about it because I’m going to close doors for the viewer. It’s up to you. It’s not that it’s a riddle or a puzzle. You know how much of your own experience you are putting into the digestion of your own art. That’s not to say that that guy arranges notes in an interesting way, and sings in an interesting way and arranges words in an interesting way, but often, if someone says they really like my music, what I want to say is, That’s cool you focused your attention on that thing, but it does not make me go home and say, Wow, you’re great. My ego is not involved in it.

DS: Often people assume an artist makes an achievement, say wins a Tony or a Grammy or even a Cable Ace Award and people think the artist must feel this lasting sense of accomplishment, but it doesn’t typically happen that way, does it? Often there is some time of elation and satisfaction, but almost immediately the artist is being asked, “Okay, what’s the next thing? What’s next?” and there is an internal pressure to move beyond that achievement and not focus on it.

JV: Oh yeah, exactly. There’s a moment of relief when a mastered record gets back, and then I swear to you that ten minutes after that point I feel there are bigger fish to fry. I grew up listening to classical music, and there is something inside of me that says, Okay, I’ve made six records. Whoop-dee-doo. I grew up listening to Gustav Mahler, and I will never, ever approach what he did.

DS: Do you try?

JV: I love Mahler, but no, his music is too expansive and intellectual, and it’s realized harmonically and compositionally in a way that is five languages beyond me. And that’s okay. I’m very happy to do what I do. How can anyone be so jazzed about making a record when you are up against, shit, five thousand records a week—

DS: —but a lot of it’s crap—

JV: —a lot of it’s crap, but a lot of it is really, really good and doesn’t get the attention it deserves. A lot of it is very good. I’m shocked at some of the stuff I hear. I listen to a lot of music and I am mailed a lot of CDs, and I’m on the web all the time.

DS: I’ve done a lot of photography for Wikipedia and the genesis of it was an attempt to pin down reality, to try to understand a world that I felt had fallen out of my grasp of understanding, because I felt I had no sense of what this world was about anymore. For that, my work is very encyclopedic, and it fit well with Wikipedia. What was the reason you began investing time and effort into photography?

JV: It came from trying to making sense of touring. Touring is incredibly fast and there is so much compressed imagery that comes to you, whether it is the window in the van, or like now, when we are whisking through the Northeast in seven days. Let me tell you, I see a lot of really close people in those seven days. We move a lot, and there is a lot of input coming in. The shows are tremendous and, it is emotionally so overwhelming that you can not log it. You can not keep a file of it. It’s almost like if I take photos while I am doing this, it slows it down or stops it momentarily and orders it. It has made touring less of a blur; concretizes these times. I go back and develop the film, and when I look at the tour I remember things in a very different way. It coalesces. Let’s say I take on fucking photo in Athens, Georgia. That’s really intense. And I tend to take a photo of someone I like, or photos of people I really admire and like.

DS: What bands are working with your studio, Tiny Telephone?

JV: Death Cab for Cutie is going to come back and track their next record there. Right now there is a band called Hello Central that is in there, and they are really good. They’re from L.A. Maids of State was just in there and w:Deerhoof was just in there. Book of Knotts is coming in soon. That will be cool because I think they are going to have Beck sing on a tune. That will be really cool. There’s this band called Jordan from Paris that is starting this week.

DS: Do they approach you, or do you approach them?

JV I would say they approach me. It’s generally word of mouth. We never advertise and it’s very cheap, below market. It’s analog. There’s this self-fulfilling thing that when you’re booked, you stay booked. More bands come in, and they know about it and they keep the business going that way. But it’s totally word of mouth.


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