Tuesday, January 12, 2010

'A forged will sends Jack Kerouac scholars, fans, collectors, literary executors, and lawyers on the warpath'

From And The Beat Goes On by Stephen Maughan, Fine Books Magazine

When Jack Kerouac wrote his will shortly before his death in 1969, he was broke. Forty years later, a ferocious battle rages over his multi-million dollar literary estate. Kerouac, at odds with his third wife, Stella Sampas, had left everything to his mother, Gabrielle Kerouac. But when Gabrielle Kerouac passed away in 1973, her will indicated that the entire estate would go to Sampas, news that had shocked Kerouac's remaining blood relatives—his daughter, Jan, and his nephew, Paul Blake Jr. When Sampas died in 1990, her siblings inherited the Kerouac literary estate, with the youngest brother, John Sampas, acting as executor. It was a stunning series of events for Kerouac scholars and fans, but the real surprise was yet to come. Last July, a judge in Tampa, Florida ruled that Gabrielle Kerouac's 1973 will was a forgery.

Gerald Nicosia, author of the acclaimed Kerouac biography, Memory Babe, first suspected foul play in 1994, when Jan Kerouac saw a copy of the will for the first time and noticed that her grandmother's name was misspelled.

[ ... ]

For Paul Blake Jr., now 61, who rarely speaks publicly, the court decision must offer some consolation. He has long claimed that his uncle Jack posted him a letter the day before he died in which the famous author wrote, “I've turned over my entire estate to Memere (Mummy), and if she dies before me, it is then turned to you, and if I die thereafter, it all goes to you.” Kerouac's letter said he wished to leave it “to someone directly connected with the last remaining drop of my direct blood line … and not to leave a dingblasted fucking thing to my wife's one hundred Greek relatives … Just telling you the facts of how it is.” The letter, dated October 20, 1969, and addressed to “My little Paul,” also declares that Kerouac was intending to divorce his wife (indeed, he had already begun divorce proceedings) and concludes, “I want you to know that if you're a crazy nut you can do anything you want with my property if I kick the bucket because we're of the same blood.”

Blake, who was desperate for money, sold that letter to art dealer Alan Horowitz in order to make ends meet. Horowitz then sold the letter to the New York Public Library, where it remains to this day in the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature. The Sampas family insisted the letter itself was a forgery, and Gabrielle's will remained unchallenged for more than two decades. In 1994, after Jan Kerouac first noticed the misspelling on Gabrielle's will, she then took a trip to Florida to interview the surviving witness to the will and filed a lawsuit. Blake was missing at that time and so could not join her. Before the case made it to court, Jan died from kidney failure in 1996.

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Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons'

Dolphins have been declared the world's second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as “non-human persons”.

Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans and that they are brighter than chimpanzees. These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence.

The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing. Some 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises die in this way each year.

[ ... ]

Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, who has written a series of academic studies suggesting dolphins should have rights, will speak at the same conference.

“The scientific research . . . suggests that dolphins are 'non-human persons' who qualify for moral standing as individuals,” he said.

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Kiwis promote love over war...

...with clever hot chile ads



Amazing speech by war veteran



Our real enemies are not those living in a distant land whose names or policies we don't understand; The real enemy is a system that wages war when it's profitable, the CEOs who lay us off our jobs when it's profitable, the Insurance Companies who deny us Health care when it's profitable, the Banks who take away our homes when it's profitable. Our enemies are not several hundred thousands away. They are right here in front of us
- Mike Prysner

Anti-war demonstrators storm Pentagon

Child killings haunt foreign forces as protests erupt across Afghanistan



According to a recent report by the Afghanistan Rights Monitor, an average of three children are killed per day by the Afghanistan war--more than 1,050 in the last year alone. Reported execution-style killings of children in Ghazi Khan in late December have haunted foreign forces as other child-death incidents triggered accusations against coalition troops. Child deaths sparked mass outcry across Afghanistan, with protests erupting in Kabul, Jalalabad and Mehtar Lam.

National Priorities Project tallies cost of war through September 30, 2010

Congress has appropriated an additional $136.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the 2010 fiscal year. National Priorities Project estimates that for this fiscal year, $64.5 billion is directed to Iraq and $72.3 billion to Afghanistan. Bills that included war-related funding were the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act (H.R. 2892) passed on October 28, 2009; the Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288) passed on December 16, 2009; and the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 3326) passed on December 19, 2009.

These new appropriations bring total war-related spending for Iraq to $747.3 billion and for Afghanistan to $299 billion, with total war costs of $1.05 trillion1. National Priorities Project (NPP) updated its Cost of War counters to reflect the new totals and to show the local costs of these wars to states and many cities. NPP's trade-off tool allows you to explore what services could be obtained for your community with the same amount of money that Congress has appropriated for war spending.

These current year appropriations do not include funds to support the “surge” of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan proposed by the Obama administration on December 1, 2009. Conservative estimates suggest that it will cost approximately $30 billion to fund this surge. Supplemental appropriations for this funding are expected later this year.

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Study: GM corn bad for internal organs

de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726. Available from http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

Abstract

We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world. NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides. Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups. This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties. We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group). Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs. Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

Keywords: GMO, toxicity, GM corn, rat, NK 603, MON 810, MON 863

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