Illustration by Bob AulDead Kennedys founder/spoken-word artiste Jello Biafra--whose quest to be the Green Party presidential nominee is being derailed by that happenin' Ralph Nader--faced his ex-band mates in San Francisco Superior Court on April 24. East Bay Ray, Klaus Fluoride and D.H. Peligro filed a lawsuit that claims their former front man is using the profits from Dead Kennedys albums to support his political and spoken-word careers. Biafra countered that the three have tried to wrest away control of the Dead Kennedy's record label, Alternative Tentacles, ever since he refused to sell the rights to the song "Holiday in Cambodia" to Levi's for a TV commercial. The disgruntled bandies retorted that the Levi's ad was never pursued but that Biafra uses it as an excuse to retain profits. "We think Biafra's acting like a capitalist in the worst sense of the word," Ray reportedly said. "He may not be a corporation, but he certainly knows how to act like one." Accusing the Greenie who wrote "Kill the Poor" of acting like a capitalist? Wow, now the gloves are off!
THE GREAT AMERICAN SMOKEOUT Clockwork picked up an important parenting tip we'd like to pass along. If a teenager in your household took a black marker and scrawled "420" on his forehead on April 20, he was not necessarily marking Adolf Hitler's 111th birthday or the one-year anniversary of the deadly 1999 attack by teenage gunmen on students and teachers at Columbine High School in Colorado. Since the late '80s, pot smokers around the country have used "420" to celebrate cannabis. In fact, if Junior was missing around 4:20 p.m. that day—before coming home and polishing off the SnackWells —he probably wasn't hanging out with the skinheads on Huntington Beach's Main Street or plotting with the chess club to mow down homeroom. He was likely just holed up with friends burning a fatty. Whew, what a relief!
INITIATE THIS The League of Women Voters on April 20 joined youth-advocacy groups in asking the state Supreme Court to put the kibosh on Proposition 21 because it violates the state constitution's ban on ballot measures that cover more than one subject. The measure—which was approved by 62 percent of California voters on March 7—allows prosecutors instead of judges to decide whether those ages 14 to 17 get tried and imprisoned as adults. But that was only a small part of it; the initiative totaled 13 pages of fine print on the ballot or 43 pages in normal type. All that text extensively rewrote state laws on three separate subjects—gangs, the juvenile-justice system and the adult system—despite the ballot title referring only to juvenile crime, says the American Civil Liberties Union. The single-subject limit, which was approved by state voters in 1948, is intended to ensure that the will of the people is accurately reflected by barring multifaceted initiatives that offer voters an all-or-nothing choice. Three previous propositions were struck down after single-subject challenges. Keep your fingers crossed.
OUT OF TIMES The Anaheim-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced April 20 that the Los Angeles Times agreed to withdraw an advertisement for itself that depicted Muslim women in Islamic attire next to bikini-clad women on a beach. The ads, appearing in print and on TV as part of the new "Connecting Us to the Times" campaign, drew the ire of Muslims, feminists and 200 Times reporters. Hussam Ayloush of CAIR says the ad marginalizes Muslims—the "us" is quite clearly the blondes in the bikinis, "the Times" the women in chadors. "The ad suggests that Muslims are not part of the 'us,'" he says. Things got weirder when a Times' marketing staffer told Ayloush the ads were supposed to show that the Times covers everybody—women who have total freedom and women who live under the oppression of Islam.