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Prisons Foundation: Sobin "Behind the Wall" 15

Dear Friends, We recently added many improvements to our website, including regular updates to our popular "News You Can Use" section. New "unique ID" web-site counter, gives you a unique and easy way to win prizes. Just visit Prisons Foundation and view your unique visitor number at the bottom of the page. If you are the 500th, 1000th of 1,5000 visitor (or any interval of 500th visitors) you win your choice of our prison related music CD! If you visitor number on the counter shows you to be a winner, simply email us at [email protected] and let us know which of the following CD's you would like us to send you as a prize: • Prison Tracks: Instrumental guitar duets recorded in prison by Steve Andrew and Dennis Sobin. • A Stitch in Time: (a Lloyd S. Rubin Production) A moving holocaust musical written in prison by Lee Amirault and Dennis Sobin When contacting us with your "visit" number please be sure to include the full name and address where you would like your CD prize to be sent. Also note the approximate time of your visit to our website so we can verify your visitor ID. Thank you for your continuing interest and support of our work; and good luck! Yours for justice, Dennis Sobin #206757 C.T.F. D-3B #10 1901 E Street SE Washington, D.C. 20003 A CALL FOR SUPPORT: The Prisons Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that promotes the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration. We are now accepting tax deductable donations. The support of our supporters, quite bluntly, is what keeps us going. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Prisons Foundation so that we may continue to promote the arts in prison and help encourage the wonderful atistic talent we cultivate everyday: *Note the views in this letter are those of Dennis Sobin. Please send your comments directly to him.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Joe Biden's Daughter Allegedly Caught on Video Snorting Cocaine

The New York Post dropped a bombshell over the weekend:

A "friend" of Vice President Joseph Biden's daughter, Ashley, is attempting to hawk a videotape that he claims shows her snorting cocaine at a house party this month in Delaware.

The video, which the shooter initially hoped to sell for $2 million before scaling back his price to $400,000, shows a 20-something woman with light skin and long brown hair taking a red straw from her mouth, bending over a desk, inserting the straw into her nostril and snorting lines of white powder.

Thus far, no media outlet has purchased the video, and Huffington Post is reporting that it was filmed without consent. As to whether the tape is authentic, we'll have to wait and see, but my gut tells me the Biden family would be making noise right now if this were all a big hoax. They haven’t said anything.

Despite the greed and nastiness that brought this matter to our attention, we're now confronted with yet another major celebrity drug use scandal that is far from typical. If, in fact, Joe Biden's daughter is a cocaine user, there will be a very public conversation in which the vice president's history of aggressive drug war posturing will be juxtaposed against the drug use taking place in his own family. As the administration pushes a hardline response to the drug war violence in Mexico, Ashley Biden could easily become symbolic of the American drug user whose disposable income subsidizes the cartels and renders our enforcement efforts impotent.

Like the Michael Phelps saga, it's a story that tells itself and requires little to no narration from advocates for drug policy reform. Ashley will rightly be perceived as the victim of an unscrupulous associate who violated her privacy for personal gain. Her alleged drug use shouldn't (and hopefully won't) ruin her career. Who knows, maybe she could become president some day. So long as the vast and infinitely clumsy arm of the law doesn’t get involved here, no one's life needs to be ruined. Stay tuned.

Sobin "Behind the Wall" 14

Dear Friends, During the months he has spent in jail (which will soon come to an end) our Director Dennis Sobin has completed the second book he set out to write at the beginning of his incarceration. Dennis was incarcerated for going to D.C. City Hall (by invitation) to testify at a public hearing in defiance of an unconstitutional court order that his son (an Assistant District Attorney General that works in City Hall) had placed against him. The case is in appeal and being reviewed (many thanks to James Butler Esq., the ACLU and the legal team from Georgetown). The first book Dennis completed in jail is entitled "Outsider Art On The Inside: Understanding and Helping Imprisoned Artists." It is being type-set and prepared for publication and will soon be available at the Prisons Foundation website: (www.prisonsfoundation.org). Dennis' second book, "From Prison to the Kennedy Center: Starting Over at the Top" profiles many individuals and organizations. Dennis also discusses encounters with the legal system and notable activists, artists, convicts and individuals he has met over the last forty years of his activism including: Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and ex prisoner philanthropist Lloyd S. Rubin among many others. Below are the final paragraphs from this book: Midway through the 66th year of my life, while still in jail, a dream came true when I was visited and interviewed by a feature writer for the prominent national Music magazine "Spin." Many established artists would kill to get into this popular and influential publication, much less go to jail for it. After writer David Peisner and I discussed my musical and Foundation goals and accomplishments, I mentioned my political plans. David asked, "Do you think you'd have much of a chance of making an impact since you don't have clean hands?" David knows about the false allegations and relentless persecution in Florida that earlier resulted in ten years of imprisonment, and the tricks my son and sister pulled to re-incarcerate me on my return (after asking them for an accounting of my inheritance and personal savings). I answered, "To me, clean hands are empty hands.....mine are experienced hands." David already knew they were musical ones, having listened to my numerous CD's that I had recorded both inside and outside the underbelly of society: prison. About that underbelly, our political leaders would do well to spend some time there. Perhaps not a lengthy amount as I have done, but at least some period. They would then see the results of the mindless laws, mistake-prone judges and socially insulated and politically motivated members of the establishment's "lock em up" crowd. And they would understand the words of the sad but wise ex con I met in 1965 that helped shape my life: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -Martin Luther King Jr. "Letter from Birmingham jail." Yours for justice, Dennis Sobin #206757 C.T.F. D-3B #10 1901 E Street SE Washington, D.C. 20003 A CALL FOR SUPPORT: The Prisons Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that promotes the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration. We are now accepting tax deductable donations. The support of our supporters, quite bluntly, is what keeps us going. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Prisons Foundation so that we may continue to promote the arts in prison and help encourage the wonderful atistic talent we cultivate everyday: *Note the views in this letter are those of Dennis Sobin. Please send your comments directly to him

Sobin "Behind the Wall" 13

Dear Friends, The Prison Art Gallery is expanding in a way that will benefit up to ten nonprofits organizations across America. The success of the Prison Art Gallery in Washington D.C. has been overwhelming. We've sold an enormous amount of art over the last few years and our good reputation means that we have received even more art recently; hundreds of excellent pieces from the growing pool of imprisoned artists who have heard about our gallery and advocacy work. Rather than seek larger gallery space, we have decided to place this new art with up to ten established nonprofit organizations (at no cost to them) across the country. If your organization has office space and an active membership, you will qualify. The only expense incurred by these "satellite galleries" will be the packaging and shipping of the art pieces. There are no other expenses or obligations. When this gorgeous and unique art gets to you - complete with artist biography and prison location - you will display it in the reception areas of your offices and offer it to your membership, customer base or the general public. Each price has a suggested donation but you can negotiate any price you wish. Of the amount you receive, your organization will keep 40% while the remainder will be forwarded to us on a quarterly basis to be shared with the artists who created the art! We will send replacement art for the pieces you sell so you will always have a full and fresh display. Periodically their will be rotation of this art to make your collection new and interesting. More than an opportunity to earn excellent revenue at no expense or risk, you can expect good publicity as you will be tied into our national network of galleries. The Prison Art Gallery and the Prisons Foundation always generate interest from newspapers and journalists. We will also share with you press releases we have developed and grant proposals that have won us sizable grants from our city's grants agency (funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, now with a bigger than ever budget). All regions of the country have such agencies ready to give funds to nonprofits for unique, socially meaningful art. To be considered for this no-cost opportunity to have a branch of the Prison Art Gallery at your location under your organizations sponsorship, kindly provide the following information: 1. Name of your organization 2. Website 3. Location/Mailing address 4. Telephone number 5. Date founded 6. Square footage of your office 7. Hours and days your office is open 8. Mission Statement 9. Contact person/email/phone Please email this information to [email protected] or mail to: Prison Art Gallery, 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington, D.C. 20006. Yours for justice, Dennis Sobin #206757 C.T.F. D-3B #10 1901 E Street SE Washington, D.C. 20003
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Law Enforcement: Cops Go Phishing for Dope at Virginia Concerts, Reel in Plenty

The jam band Phish played a three-night show at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia, over the weekend -- their first appearance anywhere in five years -- but it was just like old times as local police and a surprising array of other law enforcement agencies arrested at least 267 people on drug charges and seized a reported $1.2 million worth of drugs. Hampton police reported 194 arrests, while police in neighboring Newport News reported 73 more.

Hampton police reported 81 felony arrests resulting in 119 charges and 113 misdemeanor arrests resulting in 126 charges. Newport News police didn't provide a breakdown of arrests, but said most resulted from operations targeting fans staying at local motels and hotels. The Newport News operation came "in anticipation of increased violations" of state drug laws, the department said, and a "majority of those arrested were Phish concert attendees."

Hampton police reported seizing marijuana, cocaine, heroin, Ecstasy, and various prescription drugs, as well as $68,000 cash. Newport News police reported seizing 17 grams of cocaine, 369 grams of marijuana, and small amounts of hashish, mushrooms, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, and OxyContin.

Big bust numbers at Phish Shows in the Hampton Roads are nothing new. When the band played Virginia Beach in 1998, police arrested 136 people, and when the band returned for a one-night show at the Coliseum in 2004, 100 people got busted.

The concerts drew about 17,000 people each night, and with such a target-rich environment, local police called their colleagues to get in on the action. In addition to Hampton, Poquoson, and Newport News police, other agencies working the show included the Hampton Sheriff's Office, the Virginia State Police, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the DEA, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Army's Criminal Investigations Division, and the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations.

Substance using or peddling Phish fans: You're not paranoid. They are after you.

Why Are Democrats Barking About Rush Limbaugh's Drug Use?

National Review Online has a good point here. Obama's past drug use was rightfully declared off-limits during the campaign. Everyone on the left seemed to agree that was appropriate, so bludgeoning Limbaugh over his own drug use is lame.

You could make a decent argument that Limbaugh's behavior was more shocking (in light of this wildly hypocritical statement, for example), but that's really beside the point. The fact that past drug use is no longer a landmine on the campaign trail is an encouraging signal that our political culture has matured beyond the finger-wagging of the past. If we want it to stay that way, then there must be a bi-partisan truce when it comes to trashing someone's character for using drugs.

If you're actually discussing drug policy, that might be different, but just blatantly citing past drug use as evidence that someone's an asshole is not cool. This isn't about Rush Limbaugh, it's about moving beyond the "I didn't inhale" era so that we can have public discussions of drugs and drug policy that aren’t politicized and perverted to the point of absurdity.

Prisons Foundation: Sobin "Behind the Wall" 12

Dear Friends, We are pleased to announce to report that the selection of a world-class Board of Directors for our upcoming Safe Streets Arts Foundation is progressing well. We encourage others to continue to apply, however, since there are additional seats we wish to fill. We are striving for maximum diversity. The new Safe Streets Arts Foundation will take over (from the Prison Art Gallery) and expand our annual Kennedy Center program "From Prison to the Stage" which features the work of imprisoned and formerly imprisoned playwrights and composers. The Safe Streets Arts Foundation will also establish and oversee a network of prison galleries across the U.S. (and potentially overseas) under the sponsorship of other nonprofit organizations; using as a model our successful Prison Art Gallery in Washington, D.C. Listed below are the impressive and distinguished backgrounds of some the people who have been initially accepted to serve on the Safe Streets Arts board. Their names are being withheld pending final notification of all accepted applicants. Current board members selected include: • An established artist, art curator and art professor whose art is featured in a well known gallery. For the last six years she has been a mentor to imprisoned artists at a famous women's prison. • A former prisoner who produces and hosts a popular broadcast program for a major radio station. While in prison he formed a singing group that successfully performed and toured after the members were released; including a stunning and moving production at the Kennedy Center. • A warden of a large men's State Prison who holds a PhD and believes that "Art programs boost self-esteem." She previously served as warden of a maximum security women's prison and is a national speaker on modern prison initiatives. • A Social Scientist and professor of Criminal Justice who acquired his graduate degree after his release from prison in 1991. He has served on government commissions responsible for funding billions of dollars into community development and crime prevention programs. • A former elected official who is currently a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. An international traveler and collector of art, he holds a law degree and a master degree in International Affairs. If you are interested in submitting an application for a position on the board, please send a resume and a brief letter of introduction and interest to: Prisons Foundation C/o: Board Selection Committee 1600 K Street NW Suite #501 Washington, D.C. 20006 Yours for justice, Dennis Sobin #206757 C.T.F. D-3B #10 1901 E Street SE Washington, D.C. 20003 A CALL FOR SUPPORT: The Prisons Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that promotes the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration. We are now accepting tax deductable donations. The support of our supporters, quite bluntly, is what keeps us going. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Prisons Foundation so that we may continue to promote the arts in prison and help encourage the wonderful atistic talent we cultivate everyday. *Note the views in this letter are those of Dennis Sobin. Please send your comments directly to him.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States

Sobin "Behind the Wall" 11


"SOBIN BEHIND THE WALL"

Mobile Prison Art Gallery Completes Successful Southern Tour

February 2009

 


Dear Friends,

We welcome back to Washington, D.C. our Outreach Coordinator, Donovan Berry and our mobile Prison Art Gallery. Donovan spent more than a month on the road touring several southern states with the popular & transportable Prison Art Gallery. A converted mobile home, it was purchased by the Prisons Foundation last year thanks to a settlement won against a government regulatory agency (our hats off, as usual, to the American Civil Liberties Union).

Donovan traveled with his family who represented the Prisons Foundation (and the creativity of imprisoned artists!) well and placed many works with both art collectors and justice advocates.

Despite a poor economy the tour proved successful with many new friends made and insights shared. The cost of the trip was underwritten through art sales and the continuous help of our supporters. A big thank you to all the art collectors, justice advocates and members of the general public who stopped and shopped. Stay tuned for photos of the event!

 

Yours for justice,

Dennis Sobin

#206757

C.T.F. D-3B #10

1901 E Street SE

Washington, D.C. 20003

 

Please send theatrical any submissions to to Prisons Foundation, C/o Selection Comit.  1600 K Street NW, Suite 501Washington, DC 20006 ([email protected]).

 *Note the views in this letter are those of Dennis Sobin. Please send your comments directly to him.

 

 

Kellogg's Stock Takes Big Hit After Phelps Bong Controversy


I'm no expert on the stock market, but this doesn’t look good for Kellogg's:

Kellogg Co. Stock -- February 2009:


As the chart shows, the company's stock took an immediate dive following its decision to drop Michael Phelps over the infamous bong hit photo. What began as a coordinated boycott by drug reform organizations quickly escalated into a full-blown media frenzy as major news outlets picked up the story. Pot-friendly websites like Digg.com began directing massive traffic to news coverage that was critical of Kellogg's anti-marijuana posturing, thereby increasing the campaign's visibility among likely supporters.

The cumulative impact of all this negative publicity is helpfully illustrated by The Vanno Reputation Index, which monitors the public image of leading corporations:
Out of the 5,600 company reputations Vanno monitors, Kellogg ranked ninth before it booted Phelps. Now it's ranked 83. Not even an industry-wide peanut scare inflicted as much damage on the food company's reputation. [Business Insider]

In the current economic climate, it would be silly to think we're solely responsible for Kellogg's falling stock. Still, the Vanno data clearly shows that we've dealt a substantial blow to the company's reputation at the worst possible time. Whether or not we actually had a considerable impact on Kellogg's bottom line is beside the point. What matters is that we sent an unprecedented message to corporate America that reefer madness is bad for business.

For far too long now, the drug war has been sustained by a corporate culture that embraces anti-drug propaganda at every turn. Just as our press and politicians have struggled to come to terms with evolving public attitudes about drugs and drug policy, corporate America has remained enslaved by the tired mindset that a healthy public image is best secured through hardline anti-drug posturing.

The Phelps saga may soon be regarded as the moment when all of that changed, the unforeseeable, yet inevitable moment when the invisible hand of America's marijuana culture finally became a fist.

Update: Many have pointed out, and I agree, that Kellogg's falling stock is much better explained by the economy than the boycott. I thought I did a sufficient job of drawing this distinction in the post, but I can understand how the title and tone of the overall post might lead some to conclude otherwise. So for the record: the point of the post is not that the marijuana reform community crashed Kellogg's stock. I don't believe that to be true. The point is that our message gains much better traction at a moment like this. The last thing Kellogg's wants is a highly publicized boycott in the middle of an economic crisis.

I've been skeptical of previous boycott proposals that have circulated among reformers in the past, but this effort has been a massive success. In terms of media coverage and the subsequent slaughter of Kellogg's corporate reputation ranking, we couldn't have asked for a more visible impact than we've managed to achieve.

Just because Kellogg's hasn't formally surrendered to us somehow doesn't mean we didn't kick their ass. I'm sure they are utterly stunned by the backlash they received, and that's what matters.

Drug War Chronicle Book Review: "Dope Menace: The Sensational World of Drug Paperbacks, 1900-1975," by Stephen J. Gertz (2008, Feral House Press, 219 pp., $24.95 PB)

For anyone with an interest in drugs, kitsch, and popular culture, "Dope Menace" is going to be a real pleasure -- and probably something of an education. Lavishly illustrated with more than a hundred pulp paperback book covers, many of them gloriously lurid, their cover text tawdry and sensational, the book offers a delicious, delirious excursion to the far shores of post-World War II pop culture, a place where the sordid mixed with the forbidden, and sexual anxiety -- or was it curiosity? -- permeated almost everything.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/dopemenace.jpg
"Love Addict" screamed the title of one pulp paperback. "She came offering her body... for a shot of heroin!" The cover enticed, showing an attractive woman lifting her black dress high enough to reveal the pale flesh of her thigh above the top of her black stockings as she prepares to inject herself with the needle she holds in one hand while a man smoking a cigarette reclines on a bed watching. "A novel of today's Sex-Ravished, Dope-Hungry Girls."

Gertz knows his pulp. A respected authority on antiquarian books, he also contributed to "Sin-A-Rama," an award-winning visual history of sleaze paperbacks from the 1960s. And he puts his knowledge on fine display here, not only with his lovely selection of cover art -- more on which later -- but also with a downright scholarly text that takes up about half of the book's first 60 pages.

Gertz's exposition is as revelatory as his collection of cover art is alluring. His text provides a capsule history of the golden era of pulp paperback publishing in the 1950s and 1960s -- some 243 million of those 25-cent pocket-sized paperbacks sold in 1952 alone -- when, long before the dawn of the Internet, the mass pulp market was a key means of informing (or misinforming) the great unwashed curious about things where cultural knowledge had been lost (drugs since the advent of drug prohibition) or suppressed (sex since forever).

In the 1950s, hard back books were sold at bookstores. But, available at countless newsstands, grocery and drug stores, anywhere an enterprising publisher or wholesaler could squeeze in a display rack, the pulps radically democratized knowledge about drugs, albeit vicariously, and sometimes, thanks to hack writers who knew nothing of which they wrote, with ridiculously ludicrous misinformation.

Like the Internet, the pulps can be seen as a transgressive medium for their time, one that allowed the spread of knowledge outside officially sanctioned avenues. And like the Internet, the emergence of the pulps in general, and dope and sex pulps in particular, excited the wrath of moral crusaders. Gertz opens the book with a 1952 quote from Congressman Ezekiel Gathings (D-Arkansas), who complained that the pulps appealed to "adults with low ethical standard" and were "a media for the dissemination of appeals to sensuality, immorality, filth, perversion, and degeneracy."

But that didn't stop publishers from cranking out dozens, perhaps hundreds, of dope pulp titles a year for decades. And the publishers, of course, were responding to an apparently insatiable demand for the tawdry tomes with lurid covers, hopefully featuring beautiful women in various states of drug-crazed undress.

Gertz's text is a grand tour of the dope pulp phenomenon, reaching back to early forebears like the drug "confessionals" of Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Alastair Crowley and the racist anti-opium novels of more than a century ago before plunging headlong into the morass of sin and sensuality of mid-century mass market America. We go from such figures as Willliam Burroughs, whose dope memoir "Junkie" got the classic dope pulp treatment, to those nameless hacks (Gertz names them and their pen names, but I won't) whose prose was sometimes so awful and misbegotten that you have to laugh out loud. And you get a detailed treatment of some of the more esteemed illustrators as well.

But it's the cover art that really sells this book. How can you resist such kitsch as: "Reefer Club. A glimpse into the lives of our lost generation," superimposed over a cover montage showing images of passed out women with smoke drifting over them. "The girl was a slave of marijuana -- Yet was she wholly bad?"

If you lay "Dope Menace" on your coffee table, you're going to end up with amused friends and a well-thumbed volume. And you're going to learn something in between the laughs.

I have to say a word about Feral House, the publisher of "Dope Menace." I first became aware of them sometime back in the early 1990s, when Feral House head Adam Parfrey published "Apocalypse Culture," a truly mind-bending compendium of pieces from the far fringes of the American wasteland. Since then, Parfrey and company have continued cranking out the weirdness. If titles like "Mexican Pulp Art," "Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin," "Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook," "Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground," or "Porn and Pong: How Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider and Other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture" sound like they might appeal to you -- or for that matter if you're looking for a serious memoir like Anthony Papa's "15 to Life" (available from DRCNet as a premium) -- check out the Feral House catalog. This short list is just a taste.

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