Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ladies and Germs!

"The health department shut down the food-and-beverage operation at the shop, Vox Pop, in January, because of $29,000 in unpaid fines going back to 2007...The Jan. 28 inspection also turned up eight violations, including 'evidence of mice or live mice' and 'conditions conducive to vermin.'”--New York Times (3-16-2009)

According to Barnes and Noble, the crackpot 9-11 Truther Sander Hicks (search Hicks on this blog and scroll down) seems to have published a book titled Marching Plague: Germ Warfare and Global Public Health (2006). The synopsis of the book claims:

The sixth Critical Art Ensemble book offers a radical reframing of the rhetoric surrounding germ warfare. After refuting the idea that massive biological attack is a probable future occurrence, the book goes on to argue that biological weapons programs primarily serve the economic interests of the military-security complex, squandering resources needed to fight the massive loss of life each year from emerging infectious diseases. The book also includes two appendices examining the case of the U.S. Justice Department against Steve Kurtz, for which the original manuscript of the book was seized in the state's investigation.

On the other hand, Amazon says Marching Plague was written by the Critical Art Ensemble and published by a radical publisher called Autonomedia. Perhaps the actual author is Sander Hicks, but since the Critical Art Ensemble describes itself as a "collective," the actual authorship of Marching Plague is a bit murkey.

Critical Art Ensemble links Marching Plague to a turgid, poorly-composed project position paper titled "Bodies of Fear in a World of Threat." The position paper refers to "the authors" (presumably of Marching Plague) and opines:

CAE's opinion is a simple one. We believe that biowarfare "preparedness" is a euphemism for biowartech development and the militarization of the public sphere. Preparedness, as it now stands, is a madness that continues because it gets votes for politicians, audiences for media venues, profits for corporations, and funds for militarized knowledge production. If there is any real threat to our bodies and health, it is not coming from weaponized germs, but from the institutions that benefit from this weaponization.

Of course, the anonymous Simple Simons of this simple position paper--and perhaps of Marching Plague--don't know the first thing about the dangers of biological agents. Certainly Sander Hicks, who is credited as the author of Marching Plague by Barnes and Noble, is not a scientist with expertise in biological warfare, public health, or emerging infectious deseases. He started a Brooklyn coffee shop called Vox Pop that was closed down in January by the Health Department because of unsanitary conditions.

According to The New York Times (3-16-2009):

The health department shut down the food-and-beverage operation at the shop, Vox Pop, in January, because of $29,000 in unpaid fines going back to 2007.

Vox Pop is also three months behind on the rent. The telephone has been disconnected. And the person who was hired in December to straighten things out has never been paid.

...[A] health inspector walked into the Cortelyou Road shop, at the corner of Stratford Road. That visit was a follow-up to a Jan. 7 inspection that found, among other things, that Vox Pop’s permit had expired. The Jan. 28 inspection also turned up eight violations, including “evidence of mice or live mice” and “conditions conducive to vermin.” Ms. Ryan said those problems were in a part of the basement that was not used for food storage, and were corrected immediately, as were other issues the health department cited. But there remained fines from the earlier inspections — fines that were not paid while Mr. Hicks was in charge.

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