According to Entertainment Tonight Online, Reuters/Variety has reported that filmmaker and amateur environomentalist and anthropologist Leni Riefenstahl (see article below) will be returning to the Sudan after 23 years.
Riefenstahl, who is 97 and a member of the German Greens, has stated that her trip has no political purpose, and that she merely desires to revist the Nuba people, about whom she has written extensively, stating that due to the unsettled conditions caused by the Sudanese civil war she no longer knows whether or not her friends among the tribe are alive or dead.
Riefenstahl's work has been instrumental in drawing world attention to the genocidal war which was waged against Sudanese Christians and Animists by extremist elements which were expelled from the government last week.
Oklahoma State Attorney General Drew Edmondson has overturned a decision by the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee which required school textbooks in the state to describe biological evolution as a "controversial" theory.
Edmonson ruled that the Textbook Committee exceeded its authority and also violated state laws by not permitting adequate public hearings on its decision to compel textbook publishers to include a disclaimer that the theory of evolution was "controversial."
The Japanese Science and Technology Ministry has finally revised its estimate of the number of people exposed to radiation in last September's nuclear accident from 70 to 439, finally counting plant workers, rescue personnel and local residents who had not been wearing radiation exposure monitors when the accident occured.
One person is already reported to have died from radiation poisoning as a result of the mini-disaster.
We here believe that the number of people exposed was likely much greater and that the number of premature deaths which will occur as a result of the radiation will be substantially higher than the Japanese government claims. But, then, we don't believe the Warren Commission Report, either. . . .
The Director's Guild of America announced in Hollywood on 31 January that it was bestowing it's "Lifetime Achievement Award," which for 53 years bore the name of pioneer filmmaker D. W. Griffith, upon Steven Spielberg.
In December the Director's Guild publicly disgraced the memory of Griffith by stripping his name from the award because his most famous motion picture, Birth of a Nation, the first American epic film, based upon a then-best-selling American novel, contains racist imagery. Griffith who pioneered many motion picture techniques in direction and cinematography, helped to break the stranglehold which studio owners held over film revenues by joining with stars Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford to found United Artists, which gave both actors and directors a share of the profits made by a film. Ironically, Griffith's second-most famous work is Intolerance, which, in parallel story-lines compares bigoted modern-day "do-gooders" to the Babylonian persecutors of the Jews.
If Spielberg accepts the dubious "honor" at the the Director's Guild Awards on March 11th, we will finally have to agree that he is as vain, greedy, and opportunistic as many environmentalists have insisted he is during his years-long battle to pave over the Ballona Creek Wetlands in Los Angeles for his personal profit by building a motion picture studio and commercial plaza there. Known throughout the world for funding Holocaust studies, in Los Angeles and Hollywood Spielberg is known primarily as a rapacious business shark, who spent years trying to get government permits to destroy a fragile natural eco-system at the very edge of the Los Angeles sprawl, pitting his personal wealth against local environmental groups and neighborhood associations.
Acceptance of the ex-Griffith award will merely confirm that he has no more respect for cinematic history and tradition than he does for the natural environment.
The news came to us as we were still rejoicing over the Sudanese government's shift to modernity, peace, and moderation (please see our main page) and expressing hope that the DGA would finally honour Leni Riefenstahl, whose decades of work for the environment and aid to indigenous peoples of the Sudan remains overshadowed by her direction of Triumph of the Will, about the Nazi Party's great rally in Nuremberg. At the time Riefenstahl made Triumph of the Will, the Nazi Party was presenting itself as a voice for peace in Europe and for economic reform in Germany, and Riefenstahl was honored internationally for the work until Hitler unleashed war upon Europe; Rifenstahl has steadfastly maintained that she was opposed to the Nazi military and racist agendas.
Since the end of the Second World War, Riefenstahl has worked tirelessly to uphold the ideals expressed in her epic documentary Olympia. Sub-titled "A Festival of Humanity," Olympia includes the famous footage of a disgusted Adolf Hitler watching African-American runner Jesse Owens win a gold medal at the Berlin Olympics; although often shown, the footage is rarely attributed to Riefenstahl, who celebrated all of the nations and races participating in the Olympiad and was not afraid to show Hitler's reaction to the victory of Owens over a field of European runners.
According to Reuters, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York issued a temporary injunction late Thursday forbidding three Web sites from carrying the DeCSS program that may allow users to bypass the encryption scheme used on DVDs to prevent them from being copied, permitting them to be screened on a computer instead of a DVD player.
The order, opposed by civil rights groups and Internet freedom advocates, orders Shawn Reimerdes, operator of dvd-copy.com, Eric Corley, also known as "Emmanuel Goldstein," who operates 2600.org, and Roman Kazan, whose company hosts krackdown.com to temporarily remove the program, which was written by a teenaged Norwegian programmer, pending a further hearing.
Several Hollywood motion picture production companies argued that the program violates the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forbids distribution of products designed to bypass copyright protection schemes.
So far the ominous injunction applies only to the three respondents and is not binding upon judges in any other U.S. District Courts, except insofar as it applies to the three men and their sites.
Attorneys opposing the motion said that the ruling mis-applied the provisions of the Act by blocking the cross-platform transfer of data through the use of the Linux program.
The American state of Mississippi, where dragging African-Americans to their death behind automobiles has replaced lynching as the State's leading form of recreation for White trash, is now looking at a bill which would make human biology a felony.
Republican Party state senator Tom King has introduced a bill which would expand the definition of nudity in Mississippi to include "the showing of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state," under penalty of a fine of US $2000 and up to one year in prison. Having an erection while fully clothed would thus constitute "nudity" in Mississippi if the law passes and is signed by the State's Governor.
Mississippi's residents, who have, in the past, displayed an inordinate obsession with clothing designer Calvin Klein's use of teenaged boys and girls in underwear advertising, obviously feel that their prison population, already among the highest per capita in the world, needs to be supplemented by an influx of teenaged boys who haven't yet developed the biological capacity to fully control their bodily functions. Or the law may be intended to keep former Presidential candidate turned Viagra spokesman Bob Dole for running for office in the State.
Given the well-known genetic tendency of the male organs of some persons of African ancestry to appear larger in a non-tumescent state than those of other races, we wonder how Senator King proposes to distinguish the turgid from the naturally well-endowed, given that the law applies to clothed males, or if he simply intends to protect the genteel flowers of White Southern Womanhood from being offended by "nudity" by simply having everyone with a larger willie than his own arrested and imprisoned.
We suggest that that the legislators of Mississippi spend less time worrying about the degree of turgidness of phalli in their State and more time dealing with the State's illiteracy rate, which is among the highest of the United States.
Former U.S. Congressman Ron Dellums and several other African-American political and religious leaders have severely criticized the South African government for authorizing more than six billion (milliard) US dollars worth of military submarines at a time when South Africa, and all of southern Africa, is being ravaged by AIDS. HIV infection is so wide-spread in Africa that its principal mode of transmission is heterosexual sex, which is not its usual course in the developed nations; the endemic nature of the disease in Africa has allowed for frequent male-female heterosexual transmission. In South Africa itself the forcible rape of women is so common that women are at particularly high risk of infection.
The American activists had expressed the hope to television journalist Charlie Rose that Mandela would use his recent appearance before the United Nations to highlight the AIDS pandemic in South Africa. Instead, Mandela called for United Nations action on the civil war in Burundi.
AIDS is not the only major epidemic disease flaring up in Africa. Despite the high publicity given to hemmoraghic fevers such as Ebola, 1999 saw a bubonic plague outbreak in Malawi and its first appearance among humans in Namibia in five years, and cholera outbreaks in Congo, Mozambique, Zambia, and for the first time, in the Malagasy Republic.
The disease outbreaks of Africa are not, as the world-wide spread of AIDS has shown, an exclusively African problem. Also in 1999, an outbreak of the infectious encephalitis, West Nile Fever, occured in New York City, causing seven deaths. According to the World Health Organization, the disease spreads from birds to humans, with mosquitoes as vectors. Birds infected with West Nile Fever have been found in the American states of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey.
O Muse With the Jaundiced Eye, take me home!