Wednesday, June 30, 2010

AeONsafe Brews Free, Secure WiFi at Bellano Coffee

These days, free wireless hotspots are commodities, not competitive advantages, for cafes. But one Santa Clara cafe has upped the ante.

Bellano Coffee on Stevens Creek Blvd. offers free, secure WiFi from AeONsafe. Aeon does it with a unique key it automatically creates for each user's communications. Read more about in this article from the Santa Clara Weekly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

900 Kiely Developer NOT the company in bankruptcy -- who knew?

The Fairfield Residential business division developing 900 Kiely (the former Kaiser hospital site) was not part of the business that filed for bankruptcy last year, according to company representative Ed McCoy at tonight's City Council meeting.

In that case, one might ask why McCoy didn't offer this information -- or return the Weekly's calls -- last year when I was reporting on the story. Inquiring minds do wonder.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

July 4 Fireworks Committee Wants Your Contribution

If you would like to help underwrite Santa Clara's 2010 July 4 fireworks show, contribute online at the City website, or send a contribution payable to the City of Santa Clara, Fireworks Fund, 1500 Warburton Ave, Santa Clara, CA 95050.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Conspiracy Con X - Texe Marrs and the Great Brotherhood of Conspiracy

Dateline Santa Clara. Ground zero for Conspiracy Con.
I arrive with my all-seeing eye at 14:00 hours: I stop by Texe Marrs, who seems anomalous here – an old-style tent revivalist at a gathering of New Age conspiracists. But of course, just as "in Christ there is no east or west," in conspiracy there is no left or right, only conspiracy as far as the eye can see.

Marrs has been talking since 1:30, but he's just getting to his point. He speaks in the cadences of the tent evangelist. He says something vaguely humorous, pausing, "That's funny, idn't it? And when you're in heaven." Pause. "I promise you." Pause. "You won't have a body." Put your hand on the radio. Yes, Lord, feel the spirit. Can somebody say, Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus.

Marrs is another pro at leading his audience exactly where he wants them to go -- then again, this audience is probably easier to lead than the Gadarene swine. "But what I want to talk to you about today are Them. I want you to understand who They are. This cult believes they are God's children. They have a holy book. They believe they are going to rule the planet." 

Marrs launches into a testimonial about his hatred of racism -- immediately cluing me in about where we're headed. We're steering a straight course for the shores of anti-Semitism.

"There are only two and a half million of them in the US," Marrs goes on. "they have an allegiance to another country. Their leadership has stolen our military secrets…" I want to leave, but I stay and confirm my suspicions. "I'm talking about Jews." Pause. "Satanic Jews."

That's enough for me. I head out to the bar. If we start here, I'm deeply afraid of where we'll be in 36 hours.

I want to try one of my conspiracy cocktails – a gin gimlet with a splash of absinthe. Except the bar doesn't have absinthe. Or Pernod. The bartenders suggests Jagermeister. Sure. We both agree – a gimlet with a splash of Jagermeister taskes pretty good.

Fortified by my conspiracy gimlet and lunch, I'm ready for another foray into the belly of the beast that is Conspiracy Con. Next up: William White Crow, Shaman, a "realist when it comes to the Government [that would be the other government, you know, the real one] UFOs, ETs, Secret Societies, 2012 and more."

Carolyn's Conspiracy Cocktails

As I prepped myself for the upcoming Conspiracy Con, I thought it would be appropriate to have some conspiracy cocktails.

As I thought about it, I developed a few rules. Conspiracy cocktails:

  • They should use as many ingredients as possible
  • Absinthe must be an ingredient
  • Obscure, arcane ingredients are preferred
  • Color should be black or unnatural
  • Conflicting and negating flavors aren't a problem. If you don't like the taste, keep adding ingredients until you do.

So herewith: Carolyn's Conspiracy Cocktails (CCC -- which if you squint could look like 666). The preparation for all except the Conspiracy Coffee is the same: Shake with ice and serve on the rocks or straight up with a splash of soda.


2 parts tequila
1/2 part each:

  • Midori
  • absinthe
  • blackberry brandy or crème de cassis
  • blue curacao
  • chocolate liqueur
  • lime juice
  • orange juice

Orange or lime twist


1 oz Gin
1 oz Dry vermouth
1 oz Rose's lime juice
Dash absinthe
Dash crème de violette
Dash orange bitters
Orange or lime twist

Conspiracy Con

1 oz white rum
1/2 oz Midori
½ oz fresh lime juice
dash of absinthe
dash of crème de violette or St. Germain
dash blue curacao
lime twist

Black Ops

1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1/2 oz dark rum
½ oz absinthe or pernod
fresh lime juice
Dash bitters
Lime twist

Conspiracy coffee

Mix in an Irish coffee glass:

  • 1 oz Irish cream liquor
  • Dash absinthe
  • Dash chocolate or coffee liqueur

Stir as you add hot coffee. Or mix it cold for a Conspiracy Alexander

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Illuminati Beware: Preeminent Gathering of Conspiracy Theorists Celebrates its 10th Year in Santa Clara

The annual conspiracist mind meld, Conspiracy Con, celebrates its 10th birthday – and 10th year in Santa Clara – on June 5 and 6 at the Santa Clara Marriott.

Conference organizer Brian Hall, describes the event as "a forum for… the most controversial speakers in the world," on "Mind Control, Secret Societies, Shadow Government, The Federal Reserve, 9-11, Occult Technologies, Suppressed Knowledge, New World Order, etc."

Even including, Hall continues ominously, "the manipulation of humanity by non-human intelligences...alien, inter-dimensional, demonic, satanic... operating on (and in) this planet, that looks upon humankind as sheep and cattle to be herded and slaughtered at will."

This jeremiad seems surprising coming from the preppy 30-something Hall, a Livermore resident who looks more like a Young Republican than the eminence grise of contemporary American conspiracy theory.

Indeed, Conspiracy Con's success is likely due more to Hall's talent for business administration – and friends in the event-planning business "who held my hand" – than his knowledge of secret cabals. Hall chose Santa Clara for Conspiracy Con for many of the same reasons the 49ers give for wanting to build a stadium here.

"The cost is less and right along there is hotel row," he ticks off methodically. "There are great convention services. It's much closer for me [than San Francisco] and it's much easier to get to. It's very close to the airport."

(This is invariably disappointing to those who expect the city to be a vortex of cosmic power, or the Illuminati's home away from home. Although -- hat tip to blogger Adam Gorightly -- I bet if you plotted it on a map, you'd find that the Santa Clara Marriott sits at the mystical center of secret Kabbalistic geography connecting the Rosicrucian Museum, Winchester Mystery House, Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, proposed 49ers stadium, and the CERN super-collider in Geneva.)

Anyway, Hall's business acumen paid off. The conference draws hundreds every year and features a veritable who's who of the contemporary conspiracy scene.

Past guests include George Noory, host of the popular all-things-conspiracy radio talk show Coast to Coast a.m.; 9-11 Truther movement founding father Richard Gage; and memory-recovering, MK-ULTRA sex slave Cathy O'Brien. This year's lineup includes host of the syndicated late night cult film TV show Cinema Insomnia, Mr. Lobo (

Hall is vague about what exactly he did before starting Conspiracy Con – "not a heck of a lot." More to the point is what he calls his "waking up journey," which began 15 years ago and culminated in launching Conspiracy Con.

"Some friends showed me some materials that went against everything I had been told. It made its point well enough to [make me] look further.

"There are things going on here right under our noses that are much more serious," he continues. "What is commonly known as the global elite. Are they connected? Is there a conspiracy? No one was putting on a conference on the research, to generate awareness."

ince then, Hall has been a man with a mission. "I see a great imbalance on this planet that gets greater every year. From Kennedy [assassination] to 9-11 and beyond, it will lead to the same people: the people that have manipulated human events for eons." Getting the message out, Hall says, "is the most important thing I can do."

Conspiracism's All-American Pedigree
Conspiracism is as American as the proverbial apple pie, according to Professor Jeff Pasley who teaches Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracies in U.S. History and Culture at the University of Missouri.

"For example, one thing that was widely believed [before the American revolution] was that the British were going to force Americans to become Catholics, based on Quebec's act tolerating Catholicism," Pasley explains. "[This was seen] as the first step in the plan to Catholicize America."
Conspiracy beliefs also use the language of enlightenment, "exposing truth by gathering proof," Pasley explains, while neglecting the rest of the scientific method – experimentation, data collection, analysis, peer review, and retesting.

The age of mass media adds fuel to the conspiracy fires, says Pasley. People have access to a lot more data, but their powers of analysis haven't grown to match it. "Most people's idea of weighing evidence is, 'It's hot today so it must be global warming,'" he says.

The flaw here isn't in the conclusions. Human beings do, in fact, engage in conspiracies; for example, Watergate. The flaws in our global warming conclusion are classic reasoning fallacies: questionable correlation and unsupported assumption. A further problem with conspiracism is un-testability: Contrary evidence is just evidence of a cover-up. For example, the reason you don't agree with me about the reality of global warming is that you're manufacturing the evidence to discredit me, you're just revealing yourself as a tool of the puppet-masters, etc.

Of course, conspiracy theorists have no monopoly on fallacious rhetoric. Politics inspires it in spades. Consider for example: "Dolores Carr: Supported by law enforcement. Jeff Rosen: Supported by bail bondsmen." (Questionable correlation, unsupported assumption, loaded words, impugning motives).
This ad doesn't tell me anything about Rosen, but it does tell me one thing about Carr. Namely, that she's a lawyer, judge and District Attorney who's willing to put her name on this mean-spirited propaganda. It's enough to make me vote for Jeff Rosen, but that would be another questionable correlation: Because Carr runs an ad that I find ethically questionable, therefore Rosen would be a good DA.

Where was I?

Oh yes. In the final analysis conspiracy theories don't stand up to pragmatic test that the best 
explanation is usually the one requiring the fewest unsupported assumptions. In other words, if you hear hoof beats, it's probably horses, not zebras.