Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

Contents

  • 1 On literature
  • 2 On work as a gay writer
  • 3 On sex
  • 4 On incest in his family
  • 5 On American politics
  • 6 On his intimate relationships
  • 7 On Edmund White
  • 8 On Larry Kramer
  • 9 Source
 

Republican leaders in US want more tax relief in economic stimulus

Monday, January 26, 2009

As the newly inaugurated Barack Obama administration continues to push for a US$825 billion stimulus package to aid the struggling United States economy, some Republican legislators say they will not vote for such a plan without the inclusion of more tax cuts and less “unnecessary” spending.

Arizona Senator John McCain, Obama’s general election opponent and a leading voice within the Republican Party, says he would not vote for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan as it currently stands. Appearing on Fox News Sunday yesterday, McCain echoed his campaign platform in saying, “We need to make tax cuts permanent, and we need to make a commitment that there’ll be no new taxes.”

McCain and other Republicans say they are unhappy with the bill introduced in the House of Representatives, which combines roughly $550 billion in domestic spending with $275 billion in tax cuts. McCain believes not enough Republican proposals have been integrated into the plan, which he fears will result in the plan becoming “just another spending project” rather than a job creator.

“Republicans have not been brought in, to the degree that we should be in, to these negotiations and discussions. So far, as far as I can tell, no Republican proposal has been incorporated,” McCain said. “We’re losing sight of what the stimulus is all about, and that is job creation.”

The Arizona senator is known for his bipartisan efforts in Washington, D.C., but he defined his role in the new Senate as the “loyal opposition”, which does not mean “that I or my party will be a rubber stamp” for Obama, he said.

In his first weekly address since being sworn in, President Obama explained the stimulus plan in further detail, calling it a plan to “immediately jumpstart job creation as well as long-term economic growth.” He outlined several of the bill’s priorities, including the creation or salvation of up to four million jobs, as well as sweeping investments in health care, education, energy and infrastructure.

Among these investments are a new electricity grid with more than 3,000 miles of transmission lines, the weatherization of 2.5 million homes, health insurance protection for more than 8 million Americans, a renovation of over 10,000 schools, a project to repair thousands of miles of roadways, and an expansion of broadband Internet access.

Obama also laid out the rationale behind the stimulus, saying that “unprecedented action” is necessary in order to prevent further economic distress. “Our economy could fall $1 trillion short of its full capacity, which translates into more than $12,000 in lost income for a family of four,” Obama said. “In short, if we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse.”

The president addressed the skepticism surrounding the stimulus package, pledging to “root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending”, while holding the government accountable for its actions. “We won’t just throw money at our problems,” Obama said. “We’ll invest in what works.”

Still, Republicans such as House Minority Leader John Boehner are skeptical of the plan’s effectiveness in rebuilding the economy. “I think a lot of Republicans will vote no because it’s a lot of wasteful Washington spending”, he commented on Meet the Press, repeating McCain’s call for less federal spending and more tax cuts.

Examples of “wasteful” spending cited by Republicans include millions of coupons to aid in the digital television transition, $200 million for new sod on the National Mall, and $360 million to fight sexually transmitted diseases, which includes funding for contraceptives. House Republicans have claimed it will take 10 years before the economy feels the effect of a stimulus, and that the combined spending of the stimulus and the financial bailouts of last year will leave future generations with over $2 trillion of debt.

In response to the stimulus plan being pushed through Congress, Boehner and Republican Whip Eric Cantor presented Obama with an alternative stimulus plan on Friday, one that relies exclusively on income and business tax cuts. “Our plan offers fast-acting tax relief, not slow-moving and wasteful government spending,” Boehner said. The counterproposal includes an income tax reduction that would save families an estimated $3,200 a year.

Despite this opposition, the stimulus bill is expected to pass through Congress by mid-February, as the Republican minority does not have enough votes to stop its approval. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed a general support of the plan at a White House meeting with Obama and other congressional leaders. “I do think we’ll be able to meet the president’s deadline of getting the package to him by mid-February,” McConnell said. The bill is expected to go before Congress for a vote on Monday, February 2.

Obama’s top economic adviser Lawrence Summers defended the stimulus plan while on Meet the Press. He said the bill was intended to balance the long-term initiatives mentioned above with the tax cuts desired by Republicans. He also said Obama was committed to spending three quarters of the stimulus money within 18 months.

 

Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links
 

Volkswagen emissions scandal may affect thousands more cars

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Volkswagen emissions scandal continued yesterday with the company announcing 800,000 mainly diesel vehicles may also be affected by carbon dioxide emissions problems.

The company stated “the safety of the vehicles is in no way compromised”. They estimated potentially this could cost them €2bn on top of the €6.7bn set aside to pay for the cost of correcting 11 million cars affected when the scandal broke, in addition to fines by regulators.

the safety of the vehicles is in no way compromised

This follows Monday’s revelation that the emissions scandal has affected up to 10,000 vehicles sold in the USA by brands in the Volkswagen group, although the company refutes the allegation. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the regulatory body which has been investigating Volkswagen, claims the company fitted a number of recent Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen models with technology that initiates secret components during emission tests to ensure the results are favourable.

The scandal began with damaging revelations that the car manufacturer has been using illegal software to enable diesel cars to cheat on mandatory emissions tests. This lead to a public apology on September 20 by then-chief executive Martin Winterkorn and the promise of an outside inquiry. He then resigned on September 23, and was replaced by Matthias Müller. The new allegation about Porsche is of particular concern for Müller, because he had previously been in charge of Porsche.

The company is expected to foot the bill for the recall of close to 500,000 VW and Audi cars affected at the time. There is also the possibility of Volkswagen having to pay federal fines of up to US$18 billion dollars because the US Clean Air Act sets a maximum fine of US$37,500 for each vehicle that contravenes the requirements of the Act.

An investigation into alleged breaches of environmental law was originally initiated on the advice of the International Council on Clean Transportation, a European non-governmental organisation. The EPA requested tests be carried out by West Virginia University, where the secret software was discovered.

The software, known as a “defeat device”, enabled cars to identify when they were being tested and to switch on the emission control system. The devices may have been adding urea to the car exhaust because that would reduce the amount of nitrogen dioxide. The car would release a fraction of the nitrogen oxide compared to when they were being driven normally. Emissions of nitrogen oxide contribute to smog and are thought to have caused a rise in respiratory illnesses like asthma.

 

Hawaii’s K?lauea volcano releases ash plumes to 30,000 feet, prompting aviation alerts

Sunday, May 20, 2018

On Thursday morning, before dawn, Hawaii’s K?lauea shield volcano erupted again, sending up an ash plume to an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,100 meters). This follows an earlier eruption Tuesday afternoon, after which authorities issued an aviation alert and to extend an ash-fall advisory for residents. The current eruption event began May 3 and has caused thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

Robert Hughes, whose Aloha Junction Bed and Breakfast, is only 1.5 miles from the volcano’s crater described the day as otherwise “a nice rainy day” and reportedly some nearby residents slept through the 4:00AM local time eruption (1400 UTC).

Hawaii is one of the United States and an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. K?lauea is located on the island of Hawaii, generally called the “Big Island.” The 2018 eruptions at K?lauea first started on May 3. Since then, about 20 fissure vents have opened, cracking concrete and giving off steam, lava and toxic gases.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) issued a “notice for aviation” to alert pilots of dangerous conditions. “We’re observing more or less continuous emission of ash now with intermittent, more energetic ash bursts or plumes,” said Steve Brantley of the HVO. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also issued a “red alert” which means “major volcanic activity is imminent, underway or suspected with hazardous conditions both on the ground and in the air.”

The National Weather Service extended its advisory about ash-fall as winds spread the ash and cause elevated risk of respiratory problems for residents. By mid-morning on Thursday, the warning ran until midday (12:00 local, 2200 UTC).

Monday, authorities reported fissures throwing lava and boulders as far as 500 feet (about 150 meters). The volcanic eruption has destroyed dozens of buildings, and necessitated the evacuation of more than 2000 people.

The initial eruption was accompanied by a magnitude-6.9 earthquake and followed by many smaller quakes thereafter. Dozens of homes and other buildings, as well as roads, have been destroyed. However, the Hawaii Civil Defense Agency sought to calm public worries about a tsunami on Tuesday, stating: “according to the [HVO] there is no geologic evidence for an tsunami-generating earthquake at this time. Any such event is extremely unlikely.”

The lava released so far has been slow and relatively cool, left over from an earlier event in the 1950s, but there were concerns that fresh, fast-moving lava may be right behind. Although the current eruption event began May 3, technically the volcano hasn’t stopped erupting since 1983.

 

Attack on UN guesthouse by Taliban in Afghanistan kills nine

Friday, October 30, 2009

Militants in Afghanistan have killed at least six foreign United Nations workers; three Afghans, and a US citizen, during an attack on an international guest-house in the capital Kabul on Wednesday.

Local officials said three gunmen wearing suicide vests, disguised as police, stormed the compound around dawn that morning. They battled security forces for two hours before they either detonated their explosives or were shot dead. At least two Afghan security guards and a civilian died in the assault.

A Taliban spokesman later took credit for the attack, calling it a “first step” to disrupt the planned November 7 presidential run-off election. The group called for a boycott of the polls, and threatened violence against anyone who would vote.

Militants also fired rockets at a luxury hotel and the presidential palace in the capital on Wednesday, but without causing casualties.

Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the UN, confirmed that six staff for the UN were among the dead. “This has clearly been a very serious incident for us. We’ve not had an incident like this in the past,” he said.

The UN chief in Afghanistan condemned the attack and said it would not deter the organization from continuing its work. “This attack will not, I repeat, will not deter the UN from continuing its work to […] build a better future for the Afghan people,” said Kai Eide.

The US embassy released a statement saying that attacking civilian workers will not lessen US support for the Afghan people and their election process.

The assault came a day after a series of bomb blasts in southern Afghanistan killed eight Americans, making October the deadliest month for US troops in the ongoing eight year war.

 

Remains of a child discovered in Jersey care home

Monday, February 25, 2008

Parts of a body belonging to a child have been discovered at the Haut de la Garenne in Saint Martin, Jersey, a United Kingdom Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France.

The Victorian building, which was originally built as a children’s care home and is now a youth hostel, has been under investigation recently as part of an inquiry into child abuse which occurred during the 1960s. The investigation has now been refocused with the aim to excavate further the grounds of the building, under the command of a specialist team from the UK who will use ground scanners and sniffer dogs to detect any other possible remains.

The body is believed to date from the early 1980s though further information about the identity of the child has not yet been released. The remains were found buried underneath a concrete floor inside the building. Today, the Guardian newspaper revealed that there are fears of a possible six further bodies buried on the site.

“There could be six, but it could be higher than that,” according to lead investigator Lenny Harper, who further said, “Allegations range from physical assaults right through to rape. It is difficult to envisage more horrific crimes than some of those that are alleged to have been carried out here.”

A helpline set up to find more information about alleged child abuse at the Haut de la Garenne and Jersey Sea Scouts has garnered a total of 140 contacts, made up of those claiming to be witnesses or victims to the crimes. The information gathered from the telephone inquiry triggered the search of the grounds.

 

Wikinews interviews John Wolfe, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama

Sunday, May 20, 2012

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate John Wolfe, Jr. of Tennessee took some time to answer a few questions from Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn.

Wolfe, an attorney based out of Chattanooga, announced his intentions last year to challenge President Barack Obama in the Democratic Party presidential primaries. So far, he has appeared on the primary ballots in New Hampshire, Missouri, and Louisiana. In Louisiana, he had his strongest showing, winning 12 percent overall with over 15 percent in some congressional districts, qualifying him for Democratic National Convention delegates. However, because certain paperwork had not been filed, the party stripped Wolfe of the delegates. Wolfe says he will sue the party to receive them.

Wolfe will compete for additional delegates at the May 22 Arkansas primary and the May 29 Texas primary. He is the only challenger to Obama in Arkansas, where a May 10 Hendrix College poll of Democrats shows him with 38 percent support, just short of the 45 percent for Obama. Such an outing would top the margin of Texas prison inmate Keith Russell Judd, who finished 18 percent behind Obama with 41 percent in the West Virginia Democratic primary; the strongest showing yet against the incumbent president. Despite these prospects, the Democratic Party of Arkansas has already announced that if Wolfe wins any delegates in their primary, again, due to paperwork, the delegates will not be awarded. Wolfe will appear on the Texas ballot alongside Obama, activist Bob Ely, and historian Darcy Richardson, who ended his campaign last month.

Wolfe has previously run for U.S. Congress as the Democratic Party’s nominee. On his campaign website, he cites the influence “of the Pentagon, Wall Street, and corporations” on the Obama administration as a reason for his challenge, believing these negatively affect “loyal Americans, taxpayers and small businesses.” Wolfe calls for the usage of anti-trust laws to break up large banks, higher taxes on Wall Street, the creation of an “alternative federal reserve” to assist community banks, and the implementation of a single-payer health care system.

With Wikinews, Wolfe discusses his campaign, the presidency of Barack Obama, corporations, energy, the federal budget, immigration, and the nuclear situation in Iran among other issues.

Contents

  • 1 Campaign
  • 2 Challenging the incumbent
  • 3 Policy
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources
 

Dealing With Stress

byalex

Honolulu HI is known for its relaxing climate and beautiful beaches. People travel from all over the world to visit the island and it is widely regarded as a treasured vacation spot. Others are lucky enough to live in Honolulu HI. But not everyone in Honolulu HI is automatically wandering around in a cloud of peaceful, happy bliss. Relaxation is sometimes impossibly hard to get. Cars break down. Bills need to be paid. Life is constantly getting in the way of the ability to take a minute to de-stress. Even the people of Honolulu HI, who live in one of the most relaxing vacation spots in the world, can have trouble getting some peace and relaxation. Relaxation has a whole host of benefits, first and foremost being its effect on stress.

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Stress has a negative impact on the immune system; in short, someone who is stressed has an easier time getting sick and will not be able to fight off diseases. People suffering from excessive amounts of stress may find that they are coming down with colds more often than normal. Stress also attacks the ability to think clearly. While a small amount of manageable stress can be a healthy motivator, excessive stress can leave people distracted and unable to think clearly. This of course, has a negative impact on work and school performance. The reasons why stress is unhealthy are well known, but getting rid of stress is easier said than done. One surprisingly effective way to get rid of stress is massages.

Thai massage is one of the ways that people in Honolulu HI can relax. Thai massage uses techniques developed in Thailand to promote health and relaxation. Thai stretching and Thai yoga are two forms of Thai massage. Stress and a busy lifestyle can leave people with aches and pains that, while minor, can grow distracting and more painful with time. Thai massage uses rhythmic pressure and stretching to relieve these aches and leave people feeling rested and relaxed. The use of heated stones may be paired with a Thai massage to warm and relax joints and rejuvenate the body’s energy.

Even the residents of an incredibly beautiful place like Honolulu HI need help relaxing. Getting rid of stress is not just a matter of personal comfort, but an issue of preserving health and performance at school and work. Getting a Thai massage is one option to relieve aches and pains and alleviate stress caused by a busy lifestyle. Too many people ignore stress instead of treating it as a real problem.

If you are interested in getting a massage in Honolulu HI, you .

 

An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer

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.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

As families fled their homes in the early morning hours on Thursday October 26, there was no warning. The Esperanza Fire southeast of Los Angeles and West of Palm Springs, California, had ballooned under the influence of Santa Ana winds to more than 19,000 acres as of the morning of October 27. No time to get the animals, no time for crates or even a leash. Sadly, owners left behind not only their horses, lamas, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, but also their dogs and cats.

Many of the families who did manage to evacuate their pets found themselves in the parking lot at the Fellowship in the Pass Church Red Cross Shelter where a MuttShack Animal Rescue team caught up with them.

Pam Anderson, Director of the emergency Red Cross shelter said that many people with animals had come and left.

The air was thick with smoke, and ash was raining down on the parking lot where dog owners, not able to take their dogs into the shelter were camping out in pup tents andin their cars.

Those who could afford it checked themselves into pet friendly hotels in nearby towns.

Some were prepared. Jane Garner, a small dog breeder was able to get all her animals out, and had set up her puppy runs alongside her RV in the parking lot. Others were not doing too well, having left home without as much as a leash.

The same scenario played out at the Red Cross shelter at Hemet High School. Animals were being boarded in vans, trailers and cars and small travel crates.

When MuttShack Animal Rescue arrived, a small fracas had sent several dogs off in different directions, running out of the school parking lot down busy streets necessitating an instant rescue response.

The Incident Command for the Esperanza Animals, Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto welcomed MuttShack‘s offer to help at the shelters.

Ramona Humane Society had recently published a notice in their Newsletter about the newly passed “PETS Act”and warned owners not wait until a major disaster such as an earthquake or fireto prepare. “Be proactive to ensure that your pet will be taken care of.”

MuttShack and PetSmart Charities set up ad hoc facilities for the animals at both shelters.

The Red Cross shelter, run by Madison Burtchaell of the Orange County Red Cross was very accommodating about allowing a small emergency pet shelter adjacent to the School.

Barbara A. Fought of PetSmart Charities, an organization that works with animal welfare organizations and provide assistance in disasters, provided crates and emergency supplies.

MuttShack and Red Cross volunteers, Martin St. John, Tom Hamilton, and Steve Meissner helped assemble the crates to secure a safe environment for evacuated pets.

It was a great relief for evacuees who had camped out in the parking lot to finally leave their vehicles and relax at the shelter, setting up their cots to grab some sorely needed rest.

Firefighters and residents reported loss of wildlife and animals. The Esperanza fire burned 34 homes, consumed 40,000 acres and cost five Firefighters their lives before it was contained four days later on October 30. Firefighting operations cost nearly $10 million.

MuttShack Animal Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization active in disasters and dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of lost or discarded dogs, cats and other animals.