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Curl-Free Vector Potential Effects in a Simply Connected Space

A gauge invariant expression for the phase difference between two points of a wavefunction is derived using the Schrodinger equation for a charged particle in the presence of a vector potential. Such a phase difference is found to be the gauge invariant in a simply connected space in the quantum formalism. As applies to the Aharonov and Bohm effect, these findings therefore show that a multiply connected space is not an essential condition for establishing gauge invariance. That the Aharonov and Bohm experiements are constrained by a requirement for a multiply connected space, is a consequence of the properties of electron beams which cannot provide two separate sources of mutually phase coherent de Broglie waves. The macroscopic quantum interference properties of the superconducting Josephson junction are described. It is shown that a Josephson junction provides quantum interference between two mutually phase coherent souces of superconductive wavefunctions and therefore enables detection of curl-free vector potential effects in a simply connected space. An experiment is described to detect a change in phase difference of the superconductive wavefunction across a Josephson junction caused by a remote source of curl-free vector potential.

Fiction: The Proxies

SLiGO pub, what a shithole. Situated on a dead end street between a dilapidated triple-decker and a refuse filled empty lot, it’s a one story windowless box slathered in grimy stucco veneer. In front, blowing trash and empty liquor bottles litter a crumbling cement sidewalk and pothole filled asphalt road. Interspersed along the street, the empty metal frames of several decayed cars lay torn asunder, like bones picked clean by vultures – scattered debris, deteriorating in the elements. At the entrance, the pub’s only sign is a warning that reads 21 and Over; regulars learn the name as if by osmosis.

It’s a bit past 4pm Wednesday afternoon when I pull open the pub’s front door and step into darkness. In a putrid wave, the stench of cheap air-freshener and Murphy’s Oil Soap combine with wafting stale beer and old barf. A red-and-blue neon Miller High Life sign hangs above and behind the bar, providing the only illumination. Slowly, my eyes acclimate. But not my nose.

Sal Raggucci sits on a bar stool, his back facing me. In his mid-forties, he’s an enormous man, both in muscular mass and physical girth. His chest must be 50 inches around, and his waist nearly as large. He wears an old yellow and green checkered-plaid blazer, with heavy wrinkles across the back noticeable even in the dark. He’s a cop, I’m a reporter for the Lowell Times, and ostensibly am here to interview him. But we’re really just here to drink on company time.

I approach. “Hey Sal.”

He spins the stool with his feet, his neck too thick to simply turn his head. His face is fatfuck round, pockmarked like a golf ball, with a balding military crew-cut on top. Large orange-tinted sunglasses inside plastic tortoiseshell frames perch upon a bulbous nose. Underneath the blazer he wears a black button down shirt with oversized lapels, top buttons open to reveal peppered black and grey chest hair and a gold braided necklace. Because that’s Sal Raggucci.

We make brief eye contact as he scratches out, “Jeremy,” his chords like vibrating metal prongs on a rake. He stomps out a filterless Pall Mall. “Let me get you something.” He signals to the bartender, “Barney, get my friend what it is he wants,” then turns back toward me, “But you caught me at a time I got to go piss bad.”

“Take your time.”

“With my prostate, these days I have to,” he replies chuckling. Then off the stool, he waddles away toward the bathroom. That man is a freaking linebacker, holding scrimmage with a gold badge and a WWII issued Colt .45. He calls the gun ‘Mr. Respect.’

At the other end of the bar an elderly derelict twitches over an empty shot glass. An emaciated stick in oversized Salvation Army clothes, his wiry beard and shock of clumping unwashed grey hair streak down like a used cotton ball. He’s the type of drunk who in the morning loiters at the front door, milling about jittery-desperate before the place opens, examining the ground for used cigarette butts tossed by patrons the night before.

“Watcha drink’n?” the bartender asks me.

“Pull the usual, Barn.” And then we share the usual bartender-patron banter while Barney wipes the counter. How’s business, he asks. Can’t complain I say. And you, I ask. Fine, he replies. Whatever.

“Hey,” the derelict interrupts, “another one?” pointing to his empty shot glass.

“You still owe from yesterday. Pay up.”

“Jeesh, Barn. I need another drink. I got it bad.”

“And I got bills to pay and-”

“Christ,” I mumble, shaking my head, annoyed by the pathetic wretch.

“-a kid who wants new sneakers. Pay up now and order a drink or leave.”

The guy turns around, his eyes blazing into mine with bluster. “Yeah?” He bellows in old-man-wobbly gusto, “and why don’t you just shut the fuck up, bitch!”

Fear and adrenalin shoot through my veins. I clutch my beer mug, staring at the drink, still shaking my head. He’s a weak old thing. I could take him. I’d shove him off that stool, kick him in the ribs, claw his eyes out, fucking kill him on the spot. But I keep it all under control, acting cool. There’s no need to fight, is there?

He blurts, “you want a piece of me little man? I’ll fucking stick you. You’ll bleed right out on the floor. Fuck you up good and forever. Mother fucking, shit eating, faggot-ass puss-”

“Get out.” Barney says with calm ferocity.

Just then Sal exits the hallway with a loud sigh, pulling khakis up over his gut while splitting apart the blazer’s front in an inverted V, shoulder holster and gun flashing for a brief second.

“Oh, come on Barn, I’m just fucking with the guy. How about ano-”

“Get the fuck out.” Barney hisses back.

“You got a problem, Barn?” Sal asks.

Sal stops in front of the derelict as he’s walking by. He stares over and down at the drunk who glances away and scatters out of the bar like a cockroach. Still grasping that beer, my fingers are jet white. I force a release and try to ignore my trembling hands.

“And don’t come back asshole!” Barney yells after him. I take a long pull on my beer to calm down as he and Sal look at each other to share a chuckle. Then begins wiping the counter again. Sal walks over to his stool, sits, and stretches while expelling a noise somewhere between a yawn and a growling dog.

“How about another beer, Barn?”

“Right up.”

“Whiskey too.”

The bartender nods. Sal turns toward me about to speak but I interject, “See you got your gun back.”

“Yeah, Mr. Respect is back home.” Sal shoots back, not fazed in the least. He pats his chest where a slight bulge in his blazer reveals the gun.

“Long time.” I say, as Barney returns with Sal’s drinks.

“Yeah. Fourteen weeks desk duty. What a bitch. Internal Affairs here and Clearwater working at the speed of gub’mint. When that shit crosses state lines it takes forever and back. But it’s just a formality. They got to do what they got to do. One freak’n form in triplicate at a time.”

“How’s the poor kid?” About four months ago his daughter found her mother shot to death on the living room floor after coming home from elementary school. Shaking my head, I sigh and pull on my beer. No kid should experience a nightmare like that.

“Oh, she’s OK. Terrible shock and all. But Amy will bounce back. She’s making new friends. Enrolled in school. Sarah and her Timmy just moved in, so Amy’s got real family again. The school counselor’s helping. Work out her grief. But she’s a tough kid, she’ll be fine.”

White House press staff rewrites attributed quote after the fact

Jonathan Weisman, economics reporter for the Washington Post, admitted in an informal posting on Poynter that the White House demanded herewrite a quote [REFERENCE DEAD] taken ‘off the record’ from an unnamed administration official before they would provide approval for final publication. In his post he clearly admits that he “violated journalistic ethics, by placing into quotation marks a phrase that was never uttered by the source”, and then published the story as news.

At the time Weisman was writing a story about the now sacked chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, R. Glenn Hubbard, and his economic theories, many of which underpin the administration’s $374 billion proposal to end the ‘double taxation’ of dividends. Part of a $674 billion tax plan offered by the Bush administration, the dividend tax cut would ostensibly help ‘jump start’ the economy by reducing taxes on investment income. The White House press office agreed to provide an off the record interview on the condition that any quotes published would be e-mailed to the press office for vetting and final approval, which Weisman states has become “[…]fairly standard practice.”

The original quote Weisman obtained reads as, “This is probably the most academic proposal ever to come out of an administration.”, which the press office agreed was fine with a ‘small change’. The official, not the source of the original quote, instead suggested the quoted text state, “This is probably the purest, most far reaching economic proposal ever to come out of an administration,” but Weisman objected since it removed the word “academic,” which was the primary point of the original statement. The official amended the quote again to, “This is probably the purest, most academic, most far reaching economic proposal ever to come out of an administration,” and was finally printed with the “[…]most far reaching[…]” omitted as such: “This is probably the purest, most academic … economic proposal ever to come out of an administration.”

After publication the White House denounced Weisman for breaking his Journalistic integrity by printing a partial quote that the White House had already request he change after the fact. As made clear in his post, Weisman agrees with their claim that he violated journalistic ethics – but not for the reasons outlined by the administration’s press office. In the post he states:

I had, of course, violated journalistic ethics, by placing into quotation marks a phrase that was never uttered by the source, ellipses or no ellipses. I had also played ball with the White House using rules that neither I nor any other reporter should be assenting to. I think it is time for all of us to reconsider the way we cover the White House. If administration officials want to speak off the record, they are off the record. If they are on background as an administration official, I suppose that’s the best we can expect. But the notion that reporters are routinely submitting quotations for approval, and allowing those quotes to be manipulated to get that approval, strikes me as a step beyond business as usual. [emphasis mine]

In this he is clear: quotes are quotes. One does not attribute a quote, even to an unnamed source, that a person did not state. This is among the most basic of journalistic ethics taught in first year Journalism 101 courses. And Weisman’s Washington Post editor, Jill Dutt, appears to agree. In a follow-up [REFERENCE DEAD] letter Weisman discusses a conversation he had with his editor in which he states states he was told by her that it is, “[…]Post policy not to construct quotes in any way. Quotation marks are sacrosanct; they denote to readers the exact words uttered by a source.”

As the Washington Post’s policy implies, this is not and should not bestandard practice. That the White House Press Office would ask, and receive, the right to completely rewrite a quote after the fact indicates a serious conflict of interest and, potentially, a troubling breach of ethical standards by those in the administration’s press office. Without further admonishing Weisman or the integrity of the Washington Post for an isolated incident, an important question to ask is not what went so wrong with this story, but is this common practice in the White House Press Pool among other, lesser known, reporters and publications? In their zest and zeal to gain access to policy makers, have journalistic ethics and integrity among reporters and the press degenerated to the point where they allow the administration to rewrite quotes and confabulate the ‘news’ on a routine basis? And should this be common practice, does this represent anything resembling a free press?

Ari Fleischer admits Bush called from a prepared list of reporters

March 7th, 2003, at an official press briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer twice admitted under questioning that the President’s staff preselected which reporters to call, and the order, for the East Room Press Conference on the evening of March 6th, 2003. This Press Conference was President Bush’s eighth solo news conference since inauguration, and the second formally presented in the East Room during prime time. Mr. Fleischer responded to a reporter’s query over a short gaffe in which the President was heard to say to a reporter, “You’ll be there in a moment,” upon which he then called CNN correspondent John King and remarked “…this is a scripted…[pause]”, after which an outburst of laughter from the press pool could be heard. The president then moved directly onto the next question. An audio excerpt of this gaff is available from this Buzzflash commentary. [*] See the video of Press Secretary Fleischer on C-SPAN. Go 20m:50s into the briefing for the first question, in which Ari responds by admitting that he prepared the list of questioners during Bush’s Press Conference, and then immediately called on the next reporter: Here is a transcript of that first question: REPORTER #1: Last night after the fifth time the president looked down at an apparent list of reporters, he smiled and he said this is scripted – (interrupted) ARI: are you going to complain he didn’t call on you? REPORTER #1: no! no! no! (continues) – which surely suggests he did not write that script, which gave two questions to one network, two questions to one wire service, and one to other big and wealthy media, but left all the rest – including Helen Thomas – ruled out in advance of any chance to ask, and left to serve only as window dressing, and my question is: since you, Ari, are always fair in recognizing us, who was it that wrote that script that the President confessed to, was it Karl Rove, or Karen, or who? ARI: It was me who gave the president the suggestion on the reporters to call and the president called on all reporters and didn’t call on any columnists. He then abruptly called on the next question. 25m:50s into the briefing he is asked a followup question again by a second reporter. Here is the transcript: REPORTER #2: First of all, without regard to who the president called on last night, what’s the reason for working from a prepared list as opposed to doing it in a more spontaneous manner? ARI: Because, as you know, for many of the people who’ve covered the President’s pool sprays this is nothing new to you. Uh, the President just thinks it is actually a more orderly news conference, rather than to have the usual cacophony of everybody screaming where the person who gets called on is the person who has the loudest voice. I thought it was actually a very… it was a long news conference, uh, it was a solid news conference, uh, reporters were called from all over the place… uh, many people rushed out and bought new… [screams of “NO!!!” audible in the background] … well, many different outlets, the president noted that many people went out and bought new shoes. uh president was pleased to have done it. Not relating directly to this event, as it happened after publication, Mike Allen, of the Washington Post, wrote an article on President Bush’s distaste for news conferences quoting White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett saying, “if you have a message you’re trying to deliver, a news conference can go in a different direction.” He further stated: “In this case, we know what the questions are going to be, and those are the ones we want to answer,” Bartlett said. “We think the public will see the thought and care and attention he’s given to a lot of the different questions that are being asked about the diplomatic side and the military side and the potential post-Iraq issue. These are all legitimate questions that he has answers for and wants to talk about.” Unstated is that due to the format other legitimate questions would go unanswered. The article later states that Bush prepared for the press conference “…[from] a memo of about 50 possible topics with suggested answers.” A formal Press Conference is traditionally an unscripted event with reporters raising their hand to be called upon at random (or the discretion of the President at that moment in time) in sometimes brutal questioning. Allen’s article quotes Robert Dallek, a presidential historian at Boston University, noting that “…citizens lose an important measure of the president when he is shielded from sustained questioning,” and further stating, “People don’t want to just hear from the press secretary all the time,” he said. “They want the real thing — the horse’s mouth.” Unfortunately, when members of the press core pool are selected by White House staff, and further when the White House staff preselects for the President exactly who will be called upon during a formal press conference, ‘sustained questioning’ and ‘spontaneity’ are the last words one can use to describe the process. Does setting such a precedent further diminish a Free Press in the United States? Discuss.