In a video posted this week by the NRA, one of the organization's commentators said competency with a gun should be a "necessary skill" for children to be able to advance to the next grade in school, just like reading and writing.
In the video titled “Everyone Gets A Gun,” commentator Billy Johnson argued U.S. gun policy should be driven by the "need" people have to use guns.
“Gun policy driven by our need for guns would insist that we introduce young people to guns early and that we'd give them the skills to use firearms safely,” Johnson said. “Just like we teach them reading and writing, necessary skills. We would teach shooting and firearm competency."
"It wouldn't matter if they didn't want to learn," he added. "We would make it necessary to advance to the next grade."
Johnson linked gun policy to education, healthcare, food and retirement, saying the U.S. "subsidize[s] things we value," and said gun policy should be no different.
“Gun policy, driven by our need for guns would protect equal access to guns, just like we protect equal access to voting, and due process, and free speech. Our Founding Fathers believed that we did need guns. That's why they codified our access to guns into the Constitution,” he said.
Just when you think they cannot get any crazier, someone passes you a bowlful of crazy for breakfast. There are certain segments of society that would think this is a great idea and I'm talking about gangbangers and crazed gunmen. Thanks, NRA.
I've always hated the death penalty. Even if the right person is convicted, it's all about revenge and not justice. I dislike society stooping to the level of the worst of the worst. Moreover, the idea that there is a humane way to kill people is ludicrous. Lethal injection is supposed to be more humane than the electric chair, the noose, or the gas chamber but it is increasingly obvious that it is just as barbaric as previous methods of execution. The latest example of that took place in Arizona:
A condemned Arizona inmate gasped and snorted for more than an hour and a half during his execution Wednesday before he died, his lawyers said, in an episode sure to add to the scrutiny surrounding the death penalty in the U.S.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's office said Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead at 3:49 p.m., one hour and 57 minutes after the execution started.
Wood's lawyers had filed an emergency appeal in federal court while the execution was underway, demanding that it be stopped. The appeal said Wood was "gasping and snorting for more than an hour."
The lawyers said the execution started at 1:52 p.m., but Wood continued to breathe and was alive an hour and 10 minutes later. Defense lawyer Dale Baich called it a botched execution that should have taken 10 minutes.
This keeps happening ever since big pharma did the right thing and stopped supplying murder drugs to the several states. This botched execution may be the most egregious and sickening one to date. It proves once again that there is no HUMANE WAY to kill someone. If some states insist on executing people, they should make like Utah and have firing squads. That, at least, won't take 117 minutes. Think of that: 117 minutes. That's not justice, that's torture. Better yet, they could abolish capital punishment. I can dream, can't I?
In an email this afternoon, Landrieu spokesman Tyler A. Gamble wrote:It is customary for the City to provide standard proclamations to visiting groups that request them through the City’s web site. To be clear, the City does not endorse extreme or violent tactics, and this proclamation was issued in error. Any group can exercise their constitutional rights, but all of us have a responsibility to do so in a respectful manner. During these events, the NOPD is executing a robust security plan to keep the peace.
Like many governmental bodies, the city of New Orleans hands out ceremonial proclamations and letters of welcome to both citizens and visitors. Getting welcomed to town is reserved for groups and conventions, but anyone can apply for a ceremonial proclamation, as long as the reason fits in one of the city’s six categories: organizational honors; church anniversaries and pastoral anniversaries; retirements; heroic deeds; a 100th birthday; or “outstanding community service by an individual, group, or organization.” The Operation Save America proclamation seems to have fallen in the last category, as the organization has federal nonprofit status.
Gamble did not reply to questions as to the city's process when it came to vetting groups that ask for proclamations or letters of welcome. An email to Operation Save America regarding the proclamation was not immediately returned.
So much for the abortive proclamation. Another day, another TFC moment.
Even groups that come to protest here in Sin City feel compelled to post a picture of Bourbon Street. In this instance, it's Operation Rescue who are apparently out to save America. Their target is, of course, death/abortion mills. The only mills on Bourbon Street are Gin and T-Shirt mills. Operation Save America, or whatever the hell you want to call them, has, of course, not restricted its protests to so-called "death mills" and that is why it/they is/are malaka of the week.
I was originally going to focus on the group's malakatudinous protests outside a doctor's home in Uptown New Orleans. It was the talk of NOLA twitter the other day as one of my friends lives nearby. Here's the Uptown Messenger's account of the harassment neighbors faced at the hands of these fanatics:
In addition to protesting Planned Parenthood sites, Operation Save America is also holding demonstrations outside the homes of providers. A neighbor to one of those homes — who asked that his name be withheld out of concern that the group would target him — said his family has already endured two sessions of protests, with dozens of people holding signs on the sidewalk near his house featuring graphic images that he has done his best to hide from his young children.
“My kids are scared,” the resident said in an interview Monday afternoon. “It’s all these ugly pictures. They’re talking on the loudspeaker. I try to speak to them civilly, and it’s very difficult to do, because they’re looking for a confrontation.”
His requests that they turn down the volume, he said, were met with invective about the abortion provider instead. Ultimately, he said, he simply closed the blinds and turned up the music in the house until the demonstrators left, but the entire street is ready for the ordeal to end.
“It’s not necessarily the issue of abortion that’s frustrating to us,” he said. “It’s just their method of coming and taking over, and forcing us to deal with it.”
As far as these cretins are concerned, invading people's privacy and insulting them is a part of God's work and if you disagree with them, you are a baby killer or some such nonsense. Very Christian of them isn't it?
It would be bad enough if the story ended there but it gets even worse as the Operation Rescue pukes protested at a Unitarian Universalist Church *during* Sunday services:
...on Sunday, they took a different turn when members showed up inside the First Unitarian Universalist Church at Claiborne and Jefferson. The disturbance took place as the congregation was holding a moment of silence for a member of the church who had died the week before, said the Rev. Deanna Vandiver.
“Into that sacred silence, a voice began to speak, and it began to speak about ‘abominations,’ ” Vandiver said. The protesters were shouting that the church was not a true faith, she said. “Literally in our most tender and vulnerable space, religious terrorism began.”
The congregation was stunned at first, unsure what was happening, Vandiver said. She then invited the protesters to stay if they could join or observe the worship service respectfully, and if not, to take their protest outside the building. The congregation began to sing, and church leaders then began to lead the most vocal protesters outside, though a few chose to stay quietly through the remainder of the service.
In an account on their website, Operation Save America trumpeted the act as a victory for their mission in a “synagogue of Satan:”
At the Unitarian Universalist “church” in New Orleans, Deanna Waller, Jay Rogers, Mary Claire, Ken Scott, Russell Hunter, Toby Harman and others presented the truth of the Gospel in this synagogue of Satan. As God would have it, the “church” was filled with students from a “social justice” training school. According to Rev. Flip Benham, OSA National Director, the team presented a “dynamic witness.”
During an open “meditation” time, Deanna shared the Word of the Lord. When the female “pastor” took issue, Deanna reminded her that, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2). In violation of their “sacred tenants” of peace and tolerance, Deanna and others were summarily escorted out of the service.
Other saints stayed and dialoged until the conclusion of the service. It created no small stir. The “social justice” candidates ran to the Christians and asked them many questions. Our brethren gave them the reason for the hope that lies within them and defended the faith. Seeds of truth were sown. may the Lord water them in Jesus’ name.
Vandiver said she does not know specifically why the church was targeted. The denomination has a history of supporting pro-choice efforts, gay rights and other causes that Operation Save America opposes, she said, and the church on South Claiborne has specifically been supportive of Planned Parenthood in New Orleans.
“I think we were an easy target, because we’re literally just a few blocks down the road from where they’re building this clinic,” Vandiver said. “But we are not interested in being terrorized. Freedom of speech does not trump freedom of religion.”
That was an epic quote but I wanted to make sure that y'all read as much of this great story by Robert Morris as possible. The local MSM has been leery of tackling this group head on and I hope the Uptown Messenger's stellar work will force their hand. That's one reason I have desconstructed Robert's post. It also makes me feel like a French intellectual; pity it's too damn hot to wear my beret...
Back to the malakatude of OSA. Notice how they refer to a UU church as a "syngogue of Satan" and their own protesters as Saints? Are they Mormons now? They call themselves Saints too. I have a hunch that they are not: fundamentalists such as the people behind OSA are religious bigots who regard the LDS church as a cult. They're also confused. I was not aware that a UU Church was a synagogue let alone a Satanic one. I'm not going to delve into their theological positions, I came to mock them, not to study them.
It gets worse. I had a major TFC (This Fucking City) moment when I saw that Mayor Landrieu's administration had issued a proclamation honoring OSA's mission to New Orleans. I am not making this up y'all. Here's another extended quote from the Uptown Messenger story:
The certificate, which is dated July 20, extends Mayor Landrieu’s official recognition to Flip Benham of Operation Save America for “outstanding service to the city of New Orleans,” according to an image of the certificate being shared by the group on members’ Facebook pages. Supporters of the group were enthusiastic about Landrieu’s welcome, with one noting that “This is a first!”
Benham, director of Operation Save America, was found guilty of stalking in North Carolina in 2011 for distributing “Wanted” posters featuring the name and photo of a Charlotte abortion doctor, and sentenced to 18 months probation. A local organizer for the group, Pastor Dale Sochia of King Jesus Ministries in Boutte, told the New Orleans Advocate that they would be holding a funeral procession in Jackson Square on Tuesday featuring an open casket containing a “a real aborted baby.”
The mayor’s office on Monday downplayed the significance of the certificate.
“It is routine for the City to provide standard proclamations to visiting non-profits, faith-based organizations and conventions that request them,” according to an email from Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office. “As this group exercises its constitutional rights, the NOPD is executing a robust security plan to keep the peace.”
That's bull shit. Additionally, the last time the word robust was publicly deployed in New Orleans, it was by Editor Jim Amoss describing the born again Times-Picayune/NOLA.com/TP Street. And that didn't go down very well either as you may recall. The entire thing is guaranteed to infuriate a wide range of the citizenry. I guess they're pandering to the Catholic Church as well as the heavily Protestant malakas who are here to both rescue and save us as well as Murica. How nice of them.
The flying monkeys of OSA were unleashed on us, of course, by the TRAP anti-abortion measure passed by the state Lege and signed into law by our idiot Governor. I was, however, under the impression that Mitch Landrieu and his Senator sister were at least mildly pro-choice. Why then has the city administration honored a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as a terrorist organization? Change.Org is gathering signatures urging Hizzoner to rescind the proclamation. Click here if you'd like to sign.
I usually like to close this feature with a joke or a music clip. I won't do so this time. These people are capable of almost anything, and violence against people and property is emphatically not funny. Groups like Operation Rescue/Save American are a pox on the political landscape and that is why they/it are/is malaka of the week.
Two Republican judges on the D.C. Circuit Court have ruled that the equivalent of a typo is enough to strip health care subsidies from up to five million people, dealing what would be a death blow to the Affordable Care Act if the decision is allowed to stand. The one Democrat on the panel dissented.
The three-judge panel ruled in Halbig v. Burwell that people in the 36 states that use the federal health insurance exchange are ineligible for subsidized insurance. The decision would also affect those who purchased insurance through the exchange but don't receive subsidies, as reneging on the payments would lead to a rapid increase in insurance rates for everyone.
The White House said Tuesday the decision will be appealed to the entire D.C. circuit court -- what's known as an en banc review -- where Democrats hold a majority that is nearly certain to overturn the GOP judges' aggressive move. The next step could be the Supreme Court, which already upheld the Affordable Care Act in a separate case two years ago.
I would ask if they next plan to sue over the Civil Rights Act but LET'S NOT GIVE THEM IDEAS.
Georgia wingnut Phil Gingrey is leaving Congress after a failed attempt to secure the GOP nomination for the Senate. He was too extreme even for Georgia Republicans. I am scared shitless that this mook will continue to be licensed to practice medicine. He's an anti-choice Oby-Gyn, put that in your pipe and smoke it, y'all
Gingrey pulled a classic wingnut stunt this week, but it's one that should be beneath contempt for a physician. He wrote a letter to the CDC about the looming humanitarian crisis on the border. Here's how Charlie Pierce described this despicable letter:
The other day—Congressman Phil Gingrey who, with Paul Broun, makes up half of the Georgia-based legislative vaudeville act, Two Docs And A Crock—sent a letter to the Centers For Disease Control, which happen to be in the general area of his district, warning that the children who have been coming through eight kinds of hell to get to this country might be little walking petri dishes, and that we better should watch out for that.As such, reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning.
Wait. Whoa there, dear and glorious physician. How did we manage to crowbar Ebola onto that list? Unless some of these kids are swimming here from Sierra Leone, that's one problem about which we don't have to worry, since there never has been a case of Ebola's breaking out anywhere but in Africa. But you can see what Gingrey's doing here. He shoehorning Ebola onto his list of concerns about the Little Brown Ones (tm GHW Bush Enterprises, LLC) because a) he knows Americans are more aware of it than they are of, say, dengue fever, and b) because, alas, Ebola's in the news because it's running wild at the moment in west Africa, where it's never broken out before. So congratulations to Phil Gingrey—excuse me. DOCTOR Phil Gingrey—has decided to use a medical crisis overseas to gin up politically expedient xenophobia over here. Extremely well-played, sir.
Even for a right winger, this is appalling. He's ginning up hysteria with his dubious "diagnosis" and using his medical degree to give this claim credibility. It's totally reprehensible. I'm not sure if this is something that could cause him to lose his license to practice medicine in the state of Georgia, but I hope someone reports this cretin to the appropriate regulatory body.
The worst thing about an episode like this is that other extremists will use it and, thanks to the interweb, this story will live forever. I called Gingrey a Doctor earlier when, in fact, he's a quack. He ought to be ashamed of himself, but teabaggers are shameless and believe that one can lie in service of a "just cause." There's a special place in hell for quacks like this and before going there, he should stick his stethoscope up his ass.
There's something about summer that unhinges people. Some spend way too much on sunscreen and trashy novels and others go crazy in less salubrious ways. Here in NOLA, and in other big cities, it means a spike in violent crime and the hysterical reaction to it. Any time gunfire happens in a tourist area everyone pitches a fit and the Mayor of the day freaks out. The same thing does not happen when gun violence occurs in African-American neighborhoods like Central City or Hollygrove. Imagine that.
Others believe that crime can be abolished by means of social programs and education. I support those efforts BUT there will *always* be criminals. Remember Tony B, Steve Buscemi's character on The Sopranos? When he got out of prison, he tried manfully to become a law abiding citizen. It was too hard for him so he punched his boss and went back to being a doomed wise guy. I think efforts to break the cycle of crime are great but they won't always work. Once again, life imitates The Sopranos.
Another place madness breaks out every summer is on the American Right. In 2010, it was yelling and screaming about death panels, this year it's xenophobic nativists yelling and screaming about immigrant children. The media, of course, loves public displays of rage and hatred. It makes their job so much easier. I am always struck by how well the wingnuts learned the lesson of the new left in the 1960's: if you scream and wave a sign the cameras will come. This is another problem that will always be with us. Anti-immigrant sentiment is a recurring theme in our national drama as some in each generation forget that this is a national built by furriners. The only true natives are the ones who are slurred by Dan Snyder and even they migrated from elsewhere a long, long time ago.
Back to lethal summer madness. Hamas and the Netanyahu government are doing yet another death dance in the Gaza Strip. The current edition of this depressing cycle involves Hamas firing a ton of missles at Israel and the Israelis bombing the shit out of Gaza. It ends up being disporportionate because Israel has a fancy missile defense system whereas people are dying in Gaza. Josh Marshall posted something yesterday about this madness that I agree with:
The Palestinian Envoy to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva tells Palestinian Authority TV that the PA needs to be prudent about appeals to the Human Rights Council because every Hamas rocket - fired indiscriminately and without warning into civilian areas - constitutes a "crime against humanity." He also notes reports from Gaza about how the IDF is sending advance evacuation warnings before bombing attacks. This candor will and is being seized on by supporters of Israel. But it's just as much as rebuke to the rejectionist right in Israel who claim there's no partner for peace among the Palestinians.
There's a path to end all of this. Not just this flare-up but the whole conflict. It's there. It just needs to be taken.
I think Josh is right but neither side is willing to take the first step. Over time, this has become a religious dispute characterized by a fatal lack of empathy on both sides. It's often forgotten that the state of Israel was founded by secular liberals such as Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion and, on the Palestinian side, Yasser Arafat, was not notably pious either. The Bibi-Hamas stand-off looks insoluable but I think a cease fire is possible. They'll never get together to sing Kumbaya but they should be willing to stop firing missiles at one another. At least, I hope so. Never forget that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were able to bury their past lives as extremists to help end the Troubles In Northern Ireland.
Now that I've ended on a mildly optimistic note, I'll give Tom Petty the last word:
Zealotry in literally applying the letter of the law in a way that defies common sense can constitute malakatude just as surely as political buffoonery. That is why the Manassa, VA City Police as an entity is/are malaka/malakas of the week:
The teen is facing two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he’s 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life. David Culver of NBC Washington first reported the story and interviewed the teen’s guardian, his aunt, who was shocked at the lengths Prince William authorities were willing to go to make a sexting case in juvenile court.
“The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice,” said the teen’s defense lawyer, Jessica Harbeson Foster. “What is just about this? How does this advance the interest of the Commonwealth? This is a 17-year-old who goes to school every day, plays football, has never been in trouble with the law before. Now he’s saddled with two felonies and the implication that he’s a sexual predator. I don’t mind trying the case. My goal is to stop the search warrant. I don’t want him to go through that. Taking him down to the hospital so he can get an erection in front of all those cops, that’s traumatizing.”
Consensual sexting between anyone is, well, gross, and between minors it's, well, creepy. But the idea of taking a brand spanking new erect dick pic is creepier than creepy. It's also malakatude taken to its literal extreme. Are the police going to hire a fluffer Boogie Nights style to produce the desired tumescence? Are they going to give the boy some porn to beat off to? Should consensual stupidity ruin a 17 year old's life?The mind reels and the stomach churns
The first time I heard about this story, I thought it came from the Onion. When Josh Marshall posted about it, I realized that it was true. Josh sums it up better than I can:
I think we know our laws about sexting and purported sexual predation have gotten totally f'd up when, in order to prosecute a 17 year old for exchanging naked pictures with his 15 year old girlfriend, prosecutors get a warrant to compel the 17 year old boy to submit to what amounts to a mini-porn shoot with a police photographer.
Sounds like the cops had a big bowl of stupid for breakfast that morning. And that is why the Manassas, VA City Police is/are malaka/malakas of the week.
I decided to post this under the FOH rubric because I'm feeling a bit foggy this morning. Actually, most of the articles linked to are about stuff in the past so I think the history thing works. It does for me.
Geaux Tigers: LSU Prof Bob Mann wrote a swell piece about how Hubert Humphrey's time as a grad student in Red Stick imbued him with a passion for civil rights. After all, there weren't a lot of black folks in either his native South Dakota or Minnesota.
Historical News of the Weird; The WaPo had an oddball story about how the kid cast by the Nazi regime as the perfect aryan in a propaganda campaign was, in fact, Jewish. I hope David Dukke hasn't seen this one...
The Slatest Sporting News: UGA history Prof Claudio Saunt wrote a fascinating take on the American Indian mascot furor: This Land Is Their Land.
Ice Cream and Segregation: I learned something new about the absurdity of Jim Crow from Michael Twitty's non-twitty piece in the Guardian: Black people were denied vanilla ice cream in the Jim Crow south- except on Independence Day. Totally ridiculous and completely fascinating.
The New Louisiana Hayride: This one is kind of a stretch but Edwin Edwards is clearly a historical figure. My buddy Lamar White interviewed the Congressional candidate and 4 term Governor and posted about it at his blog, Cen Lamar.
Perhaps I should be ashamed of posting this lurid book cover, but I'm not:
Cult of Shame would be an excellent band name and they could even do this classic pop ditty:
Speaking of shame that you cannot dance to, the Vestigial Picayune posted a story this morning entitled: Ray Nagin joins the Louisiana Politicians Hall of Shame. What? No, Dick Leche?
As you've probably already heard, my former Mayor C Ray Nagin aka the Walking Id aka the Shiny Headed fool was sentenced to 10 years in the slammer. He's required to serve 85% of the sentence, which is long time to be in the pokey. The Tweeter Tube is ablaze with criticism and icky jailhouse rape jokes. I thought he'd get 15 to 18 years but it's hard to argue with Nagin's passive role in the bribery scandal. Also, as I put it on da twittah:
On reflection, not surprised by sentence. Berrigan a liberal judge, former ACLU honcho or is that honchette? #nagintrial— G is for Gamaleil (@Adrastosno) July 9, 2014
I'm just relieved it's over. My only concern is whether or not C Ray will be able to keep his head as shiny in the slammer as it was today, which is why I have this earworm:
The idiocy in Mississippi continues with McDaniel supporters insisting that he, and they, are not racists. Their defense is a classic: some of my best friends are "them people." McDaniel's hometown paper is insisting that he cannot be a racist because he played basketball:
It’s been frustrating to see so many people in the black community be convinced that Chris McDaniel was a racist just because someone they trusted told them he was. If they did a little research on their own, they would find out that McDaniel was a basketball standout at South Jones and Jones County Junior College.
Them people are obviously too trusting of what Marse Thad done told them. It's perversely amusing to see that Mississippi is stuck in the 1980's when it comes to race relations. It's good enough to call "them people" blacks instead of negroes, nigras, or that other N word that they think only Klansmen and rappers use.
There may be no atheists in fox holes as the old saw goes, but there are plenty of bigots in basketball; especially at the high school and Jaycee level. I say that as a self-confessed hoops fanatic who is also a white guy living in the Deep South so I've heard it all. The good news is that one hears it less and less, except, that is, when our next door neighbors have a close election. Btw, the Laurel Leader-Call also deplored the so-called bloc vote:
It’s insulting to the election process and to their intelligence that black people are still letting their votes be “delivered” in blocs to certain candidates. One would think that the terms “bought and sold” would make them cringe. But that’s just what they allowed themselves to do — all to keep wealthy, powerful white men in power. It’s ironic. The more free our society is, the more enslaved it becomes.
Gotta love those "sensitive non-racist" Magnolia Staters, particularly when they throw in a gratuitous slavery reference. There's a brand spanking new lost cause in Mississippi: the McDaniel campaign. I cannot wait until the next imbecility committed in its name.
Isaiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons took part in a recent “30 for 30” film on his 1980s “Bad Boys” championship teams. To the detractors who said the team was thuggish or that they got lucky in spots, Thomas responded with his standard line:
“The film don’t lie.”
Watching film can provide you with an amazing amount of detail on that team. The violence it perpetrated on defense and the grace with which it ran fast breaks. The time Rick Mahorn decided to punch out the entire Chicago Bulls team and the feathery shot that Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson took to sweep the finals.
It’s all in the film. And the film don’t lie.
Of course, it actually does.
And that’s our fault.
We see what we want to see and we hear what we want to hear. If you hated those teams, you saw the way that Bill Laimbeer clothes-lined Larry Bird in the playoffs. If you loved those teams, hey, that was just the cost of doing business.
When Magic Johnson body-checked Thomas in the 1988 NBA finals, it was like Bryan Burwell said: “People would say, ‘Oh that Magic… What a competitor.’” When Mahorn flattened Jordan, it was thuggery.
The film lies all the time because we add layers of interpretation to it and color its view through our own lenses.
ASU Assistant Professor Ersula Ore was arrested May 20 after a run-in with police. Ore said she was crossing the street to avoid construction when a police officer confronted her, violated her civil rights and then physically assaulted her while attempting to arrest her.
ASU police said Officer Stewart Ferrin contacted Ore, who was walking down the middle of the street, and directed her to move to the sidewalk. Ore, police said, became argumentative and belligerent, escalating the situation. She chastised the police for being disrespectful, refused to provide ID when asked and then physically resisted arrest. She also cursed at and kicked the officers involved, police said.
The entire incident is available on audio/video and has made its rounds online.
Theoretically, this should be easy to figure out. It’s all on film.
However, thick lenses and festering wounds make it hard to see exactly how this will play out.
Several groups have claimed this is a case of racial profiling and over-zealous police work. Ore is black. Ferrin is white. Ore herself notes in the video that she had been on the campus for three year and never saw one person arrested for jaywalking, the original reason Ore was stopped. Driving While Black has morphed into Walking While Black on the ASU campus, according to one of the groups involved in this discussion.
A police review has found nothing improper about the stop, despite putting Ferrin on paid leave until an FBI review of the situation is completed. (A paid leave during an outside investigation is common and does not connote innocence or guilt in these situations.) From the police vantage point, an officer contacted someone who was doing something out of the ordinary and probably unsafe. Everything was fine until Ore became arrogant and unreasonable, refused to respond to officer requests/commands and then really lost it on the cops. White, black, green, whatever. It was a case of someone resisting a peace officer.
My own view of the situation was colored by a recent airline flight with my family. We ended up on Southwest, which has “open seating” (a.k.a. The Hunger Games with less legroom) so people can pick whatever seats they want based on when they get on the plane. When Dad and I ended up on the plane, most of the seats were full, but strangely enough, there were two seats open in the exit row. The flight attendant was standing there and when we asked him if those were open, he said, “They are now.”
When we sat down, we ended up next to a guy who had his two teen daughters in front of him. All three were cursing about something. After five minutes, an airline official came on the plane and said, “The lady who just left the plane wants you to join her.” They got up, cursing, and left.
The story we got from the people who were on the plane was that the lady was sitting in the exit row when the flight attendant noticed she had a brace on. When he informed her that airline rules stated no one with a brace could sit in that row for safety reasons, she said, “Fine. I’ll take it off.” When he said that wouldn’t work, she became combative and started yelling at him. After about six “Ma’am, I’m sorry” statements from the steward, the lady told him that this was “bullshit.” He then said he’d been as nice as he could for as long as he could and she was being pulled off the flight.
(If you must know, the family was white. The flight attendant was black.)
The way I saw it, things didn’t need to get that out of hand. When the guy noticed the brace, there were plenty of nearby seats of equal value. She could have moved easily. Conversely, if the brace were really something she could take off, was it worth the squeeze to try to enforce this rule? Kind of ticky-tacky if you think about it.
However, the whole thing in my mind came down to arrogance and a superiority struggle.
Who the hell are you to talk to me this way? Both people thought it, although neither of them said it. To the flight attendant, this was his realm and he was enforcing the rules. To the lady, it was some third-rate “rent-a-cop” guy throwing his weight around.
When my wife watched the video of Ore’s arrest, she saw the connection as well: “This is like that thing on the plane.”
Ore’s initial complaint was that the officer spoke to her disrespectfully and she wasn’t going to let that slide. The officer’s initial complaint was that something was happening that shouldn’t have been and he needed to correct it. As both situations wore on, neither party would give and eventually the people with the real power in the dynamic played their trump cards.
Ore was in court Thursday, fighting the charges against her as the FBI continues its investigation into the incident. Although the dashcam video will be paramount in what gets decided in both cases, it doesn’t show everything, both sides argue. The local newspaper is arguing for individual officer cameras to create more detailed video of stops like these and to eliminate some of these concerns.
Because, after all, the film don’t lie.
My residual case of old fartism is currently aimed at one of the younguns at Salon: one Elias Isquith. Isquith is one of that fine internet publications newer and lesser lights and he is the latest person to tell Justice Ginsburg to retire for the "good of the left" or some such highfalutin shit.
The worst thing about the piece is Isquith's tone of high moral dudgeon and assumption that he knows what's best for both Ginsburg and the country. Unsolicited advice is never appreciated and unsolicited moralizing should be dismissed out of hand.
I realize that Justice Ginsburg is a tiny, frail looking cancer survivor but she looked just as fragile when she was young. It's also ludicrous to tell a great American and distinguished Jurist to hang up her robes because some pundits think the Democrats might lose the Senate in the fall. That's certainly a possibility but the GOPers have a talent for squandering advantages and at least two of the vulnerable Southern Democratic Senators, Mark Pryor and Kay Hagen look as if they might survive after all. My own Blue Dog, Mary Landrieu, is running a poor and confused campaign, which has increased the chances of her losing to the dim Congressman from Red Stick, Bill Cassidy. It's making me feel all blue and dogeared but I'll go into that another time.
The whole debate reminds me of sports fans sermonizing about when and why their favorite players should retire. That's up to them. Willie Mays was the target of a lot of carping at the end of his storied career. He was still a good player at 40 before going downhill but he still enjoyed it and kept playing despite the critics whining that he wasn't as good as he used to be, He was playing for himself and his team, not to preserve some fanboy's memories. In Ginsburg's case, she seems to be peaking as a Justice right now. Her Hobby Lobby dissent is a classic that ranks with Harlan's in Plessy or Jackson's in Korematsu to name two of my favorite dissenting opinions. Damn, that may have been the dorkiest sentence I've ever written... .
I realize that people will not stop offering unsolicited advice to their elders and betters but it will continue to irk me that it's directed at a female Justice. Until they start yelling at Justice Breyer to retire, it's sexism, pure and simple, and then it will be ageism.
Enough with the malakatude already.
What is a Federal Judge, Alex?
The more I read about Justice Alito's other worldly and totally detached from reality opinion in the Hobby Lobby case, the more I miss Sandra Day O'Connor and other supremes who were not ripped from the federal courts.as it were. O'Connor was a legislator and practical politician at heart who would have looked at this case and spotted it as one that should have been laughed out of court. She would have then instructed her clerks to translate her common sense opinion into legalese. Her successor on the court has done the opposite and has opened up a can of worms that will lead to endless litigation and, even worse, to federal judges ruling on what constitutes "a sincere religious belief." Doesn't sound very " conservative" to me.
One of the most endearing things about Bill Clinton's Presidency was his desire to appoint someone who had served in elected office to the Supreme Court. He wooed Mario Cuomo who, in classic fashion, played Hamlet and initially accepted but finally rejected the offer. Clinton, quite correctly, believed that many of the most distinguished Justices had never wielded a gavel before joining the High Court: Warren, Black, Douglas, Brandeis, and Frankfurter to name a few.
With the exception of Justice Kagan, the current court is made up of lawyers who, for good or ill, have spent the majority of their careers on the bench and outside the hurly burly of American public life. The whole thing reminds me of a story about Lyndon Johnson and his mentor, Speaker Sam Rayburn. LBJ raved about the "best and brightest" who surrounded JFK and Mr. Sam said: "I'd feel better about those fellas if one of them had ever run for Sheriff."
Sam Alito has not only never run for Sheriff, he has no clue as to what life outside the judiciary is really like. I'm not sure exactly who President Obama or his successor should nominate, but no more judges please.
We miss you, Sandy, baby. Your appointment was the best thing Ronald Reagan ever did.
That's their WHOLE FUCKING PROBLEM WITH IT. That's the problem: Women, making their own choices. They don't WANT THAT. They want to make the choices. They want to be able to say, you do this and not that. They want to be able to say, your right to privacy ends where my pervy thoughts begin, and this is about as complicated as it gets.
I'm sorry for yelling, but for FUCK'S SAKE. Does anybody really not get where we are right now? "Religious freedom" now means "my freedom to be untroubled by anything that challenges or differs from me" and "individual responsibility" means "I got mine" and "rights" mean nothing if you're anything other than a rich white dude.
No offense, I feel compelled to say, to rich white dudes, lest they become oppressed by a mean hashtag on Twitter or something, and feel something akin to constraint on their speech or movement or ability to do whatever the fuck without hearing a word to the contrary of their every goddamn fucking wish. I can't imagine how bad that might make them feel, after all.
I am so tired of this neediness, I really am. I am so tired of hearing people who have everything in the world that a person needs to feel secure complain that they need more, that they need universal approbation, that they need to grind in their heels while stepping over the bodies of those who are not worthy. I am so tired of it not being enough, you have all the money and power, now you need all the love, too.
You need to make sure not only can nobody do anything about your position, now they can't even think disagreeable thoughts about it in their own heads. Now they can't even go against your beliefs without you even knowing about it because you might know about it and you might in some way touch the very same pennies they touch when they pay for things you don't like. It's exhausting, exhausting in my fucking bones, being around it. All the feelings, all the beliefs, all the sincere imaginary convictions of people who have nothing else to worry about besides making sure everybody else has everything to worry about, and the idea that these things, these words, this fucking air, trumps anybody's goddamn life.
This is a problem, other people making their own choices, because it means other people might exist, and think, and breathe, and feel, too. And have sincere convictions, too. And be able to take care of themselves. And be real people, almost just like you. That would blow your mind apart, so better to make sure everybody lives by your rules, so you don't have to think about them at all.
The news out of Nevada about the wackadoodle couple who murdered three people, and some news out of Europe has me pondering the concept of neo-Nazism. I almost called this post "I don't get it " but I do: what could be more outrageous than styling yourself after the most despicable, violent political movement in history? The more puzzling part is why anyone would style themselves after the biggest loser of all time: Adolph Hitler. That, I don't get, or guys wandering about in SS uniforms. They should get their asses kicked on sight but attention is what they want so perhaps their asses should remain unkicked.
Speaking of Euro Fascists, EU elections are always good for extreme right wing groups. The European Parliament is essentially powerless so it's the ultimate protest election. The most pernicious manifestation of this tedious trend took place in Greece where the Golden Dawn seems to be coming out of the closet as a hardcore Neo-Nazi party:
Last Wednesday Greece got that jolt when Nikos Michaloliakos, Golden Dawn's imprisoned leader – who stands accused of murder and assault – made his first public appearance in almost nine months. The politics of hate took over Athens as the 58-year-old was hauled before parliament, ahead of a vote to lift his immunity from prosecution, on further charges of illegal weapons possession.
Emboldened by its recent success in European and local elections – in which the party emerged as the country's third biggest political force, thanks to a softening of image that has attracted ever-growing numbers of the middle class – the extremists drove home the message that they were not only on the rebound but here to stay. And as they ran roughshod through the house of democracy, hurling abuse at other MPs in an unprecedented display of violence and vulgarity, there was no mistaking what Golden Dawn is: a party of neo-Nazi creed determined to overturn the democratic order. For, far from being contrite, the handcuffed Michaloliakos was in unusually aggressive mood, giving Nazi salutes, telling the house speaker to "shut up", and instructing guards to take their hands off him.
Outside, black-shirted Golden Dawn supporters, lined up in military formation in Syntagma Square, gave a hearty rendition of the Nazi Horst Wessel song – albeit with Greek lyrics. All this was a far cry from the party's recent efforts to distance itself from the thuggery and racist rhetoric from which it was born.
"That day democracy felt a bit weak," said Pavlos Tzimas, a political commentator who has watched the party's rise from its fringe group beginnings in the early 1980s. "After all the revelations [about criminal activity], after all the prosecutions against its MPs, it still has the nerve to act in such a way, in scenes of hate that, frankly, I cannot recall ever being seen inside the parliament," he sighed. "Golden Dawn is not a passing phase, it will not disappear with the end of the crisis, it feels untouchable, it fears nothing, and what we saw this week is its real face. It is not like other extremist parties inEurope. It is a true neo-Nazi force whose aim is to use democracy to destroy democracy."
There has always been an extreme right wing in Greece. It used to manifest itself in royalism, militarism, anti-communism, and nostalgia for the military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1975. This turn towards neo-Nazism is much more disturbing: Greece was brutally occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The Greeks were seen by the Nazis as unruly sub-humans. They got the unruly part right.
I spent about a year living in Greece as a kid during the junta days. Not even extreme right wingers had any words of praise for the Nazis or Italian Fascists. In fact, Greeks *hated* the Germans while liking the Brits and non-Greek-American Americans. The uber-malakas in the Golden Dawn don't make the connection between Merkel's Germany, which they hate, and the German scum they now aspire to emulate. It's creepy beyond belief, and I know it's turning the stomachs of older Greeks but bad times cause a lot of ugliness to ooze to the surface.
The rebound of the extreme right in the US seems inevitable in retrospect. Times are bad, the NRA is ascendant, and we have a black President who is also a Democrat. That last bit is a big part of it: the Clinton years saw the last explosion of right wing extremism here. This current group makes me *almost* nostalgic for the conservatives who were mindlessly pro-police. The Nevada nut jobs drank the Posse Comitatus kool aid, which led to the death of 2 cops in Las Vegas. The fact that they were "performance artists" gives me a whole new reason to hate them...
The whole thing has given me a nasty flashback to the back-to-back Gret Stetwide elections wherein David Duke was on the ballot. Duke scared the beejesus out of Blue Dog Democratic Senator J Bennett Johnston in 1990 before scaring the shit out of everyone else before losing to Edwin Edwards in 1991. At the time, people tended to focus on Duke's past as a KKK Imperial Wizard, but anti-African-American racism was subsidiary to his rabid anti-semitism. That's right, David Duke is a hardcore neo-Nazi. It wouldn't surprise me if he popped up in Greece, he's spent much of the last 8 years rabble rousing in Eastern Europe. Of course, Greeks are probably too swarthy for the Gret Stet Fuhrer wannabe's taste.
One more quote from Lisa Smith's fine Golden Dawn article in the Guardian about a disturbing conversation she had in an Athens cafe:
Dissmissing charges that Golden Dawn is a criminal gang masquerading as a political group, the second – a self-described government employee – said the far right was the best response yet to the great Jewish conspiracy of an interconnected banking system that has come with globalisation. "Let's not forget all the faggots and the Jews, the wankers who control the banks, the foreigners who are behind them, who came in and fucked Greece," he insisted. "The criminals who have governed us, who have robbed us of our future, of our dreams, need a big thwack."
You may notice that I bold faced a phrase because it's a literal translation of a Greek word familiar to First Draft readers: malakas. The Golden Dawn, however, have gone beyond malakatude to become a genuine threat to democracy. Like the character in this Peter Tosh song, they're dangerous, so dangerous:
Rachel Maddow had a swell segment on her show about bad political commercials. The one that caught my eye was for recently defeated Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. It even has a cheesy disco/funk jingle. Check it out:
Okay, I'm back. I had to get up and do the hustle or some such shit. The ad wasn't unleashed on the world until the day before the election, so my hunch is that the campaign knew it was a turkey, but also knew they were gonna smoked by their teabagger opponent, the Other Dan Patrick. This teawad idiot should not be confused with Sports Dan Patrick who was Keith Olbermann's partner on Sports Night back in the day.
Losing to the Other Dan Patrick is quite a comedown for the man who brought the gavel down on the Wendy Davis filibuster, and was once the frontrunner in the 2012 Senate race. He lost that time to a certain uber malaka named Ted Cruz. Now Disco Dave is about to dance his way off the stage. And yeah, I know Charlie Pierce calls David Gregory Disco Dave, which makes the Texas pol the Other Disco Dave if you wanna get technical about it. I don't and it's my blog. Neener, neener, neener.
Another reason the ad tickled my fancy is that it reminded me of some local teevee ads for NOLA ambulance chaser Chip Forstall. Here's one of the Chipper's commercials. Btw, he stands tall:
Actually, that Zydeco jingle is a helluva lot better than the KC and the Sunshine Band lite thingamabob in the Dewhusrt ad.
Texas is not only Louisiana's next door neighbor but we have something else in common. We have Diaper Dave Vitter and they have Disco Dave Dewhurst. I'm hoping that Dewhurst's defeat will foreshadow Vitter's defeat in next year's Gret Stet Governor's race. I am not holding my breath: there's no room on Diaper Dave's right.
It just occurred to me that I should give the Gret Stet's own Zachary Richard the last word with his classic Zydeco rock tune, Dancing At Double D's:
I just realized that Dr A, our friend Mark Folse and I were in the crowd that day. I only wish the chick next to YouTuber ZviZeav would have STFU. She almost ruined Zach's accordion duel with David Torkanowsky.
We're having an extended allergy season here in New Orleans this year. Plus there's a major drainage project on Napoleon Avenue 3 blocks from Adrastos World HQ. This means that I am one wheezy and itchy motherfucker right now. My eyes are all swole up and puffy, and benadryl is the best thing for it. That, in turn, makes me groggy and not feel like writing. That's a long way to explain why I've been a bit on the quiet side of late.
Since I'm feeling uninspired today, I thought I'd steer you to some interesting things I've read on the interweb. The links are all in sub-headers since I'm feeling sub-normal and unlike Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Guess that makes me a substitute for another guy...
Grandee or Scalawag? Ed Kilgore has written the best thing I've seen about the Cochran-McDaniel mishegas. It remains to be seen what will happen next door in Mississippi.
Chrissie Hynde Goes Solo: The Pretenders frontwoman has recorded her first solo album. This is an excellent profile by the Guardian's Tim Lewis wherein she opens up more than usual. Good job, Tim.
Why Bobby Jindal Will Never, Ever Be President: Spot on piece by Gambiteer Clancy DuBos. My only quibble is that he was reluctant to say that PBJ is one ugly little bastard both inside and out.
The Case For Reparations: I suspect most of y'all have already read this Ta-Nehisi Coates opus. It's both exhaustive and exhausting, but a must read. I was particularly interested in the discussion of redlining in the Chicago real estate market.
Finally, I've never posted a tune from the Who compilation LP that gives this feature its title. It's time to rectify that:
A Connecticut woman has filed a lawsuit against the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club claiming that during this year’s parade she was struck in the face by a cabbage, which knocked her off her feet and caused injuries that required several surgeries, according to federal court documents.
Jean Brown’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in New Orleans on Wednesday, says the cabbage was “thrown overhand, like a baseball” by “a float rider from the top deck of a float,” according to the lawsuit, which also names the parade’s insurance underwriter, Lloyd’s of London.
Brown’s suit contends the cabbage was tossed “through the deliberate and wanton act or gross negligence” of the unidentified float rider.
The annual St. Patrick’s parade typically draws hundreds of marchers and riders who parade in tuxedos, some trading flowers for kisses along the route.
Cabbages are considered a prized throw of the parade, which celebrates Irish heritage. Carrots, onions and MoonPies also are often tossed into the crowds.
The lawsuit asks for more than $75,000 in damages. It states that Brown suffered “severe and disabling injuries, including but not limited to bleeding, multiple fractures to her face, compression to her facial nerves, a break in her eye socket, a tear in her cornea, surgeries and also likely requiring future surgeries.”
Brown and her New Orleans lawyer, Rufus Harris, did not return messages.
The Irish Channel club dates to the late 1940s. Ronnie Burke, the club’s vice president, said it was started by his grandfather and later was led by his father.
Burke said Friday he had heard about a woman who was injured at the parade but said he had not seen the lawsuit.
He said the club has strict rules for handling the cabbages it tosses to spectators and that it works to adhere to the same rules the city sets for Carnival krewes. “The cabbage is supposed to be handed, or an underhand toss, no more than maybe 5 feet from the float,” he said. “If it’s thrown overhand, that is absolutely against our rules and our regulations.”
The club takes steps to ensure that riders follow the rules, he said, including having cameras set up to record the parade at different points along the route, in case reprimands need to be handed down later. But Burke admitted that post-parade policing doesn’t really curb rule-breaking during the parade, and he said float lieutenants keep an eye on riders.
“That’s the problem. We usually don’t catch them when they’re on camera,” he said, though he added that the float lieutenants often manage the situation themselves. “The lieutenants have come back and told us about people and the lieutenants have kicked them off the floats. That can happen either with it being a cabbage or not adhering to the safety rules that we have,” he said.
Burke said this is the first time the St. Patrick’s Day club has been sued by someone claiming to have been injured during its parade. But for some Carnival krewes, the threat of litigation has loomed over parades for years, said Arthur Hardy, a Carnival historian and publisher of the Mardi Gras Guide.
Hardy’s annual guide in 2013 noted several instances of litigation since the so-called “Coconut Law” went into effect in 1988. That state law added coconuts to the list of throws for which Carnival krewes are given some protection from liability, unless a rider is guilty of “a deliberate and wanton act” or acts with “gross negligence,” according to the guide.
The rising insurance costs stemming from litigation were enough to convince the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club to temporarily stop distributing its prize coconuts in 1987, according to the guide, which recapped a few examples where Carnival spectators have sued over injuries suffered from throws, including people who were struck in the face by bags of beads. Zulu later passed a rule requiring riders to hand coconuts to individual spectators rather than throwing them into the crowd.
In one case that garnered national publicity, a retired schoolteacher was struck in the head by a coconut in 2006. She claimed later that she subsequently suffered from head injuries, nightmares, depression and “a loss of interest in Mardi Gras.” In 2010, the court absolved the coconut tosser of gross negligence, according to the Mardi Gras Guide article.
Hardy said most parade spectators in New Orleans know to keep a lookout for flying objects. He compared parades to a baseball game: “If you go to an event where things are thrown, you might get hit.”
“There’s some expectation at a parade that things are coming off floats, and if you don’t want to be in the line of fire, then protect yourself or step back,” he said.
Yeah, I know that was a long quote but it's a helluva story. Btw, a friend of mine knows the ambulance chaser in questions, calls him Rufus Harrass.
That is all.
Music is in the air, it'a part of daily life for many of us. As such, plagiarism, both intentional and unintentional, is inevitable. Led Zeppelin has been accused of stealing riffs before and it's happened again as the band is poised to re-release its catalog.
Led Zeppelin may soon be headed to court over the claim that Stairway to Heaven was stolen, in part, from another band. A lawyer is preparing an injunction against the upcoming reissue of Led Zeppelin IV, arguing that one of the group's most famous guitar lines was nicked from the headlining act at their first US gig.
"It's been a long time coming," attorney Francis Alexander Malofiy said in a feature story for Business Week. Malofiy represents a songwriting trust for the late Randy California, guitarist for the band Spirit. According to California and his supporters, the opening of Stairway to Heaven copies from Taurus, an instrumental track that appeared on Spirit's eponymous 1968 debut album.
It certainly appears that Jimmy Page, who wrote Stairway to Heaven, would have had the chance to hear California's version. In 1969, Led Zeppelin and Spirit played together in Detroit, Atlanta and Seattle; on 26 December 1968, Zeppelin were the opening act for Spirit's gig at the Denver Auditorium Arena. Taurus was part of Spirit's set list at the time. "It was such a pretty moment, and it would typically come after a big forceful number and always got a good response," recalled Spirit co-founder Mark Andes. There's even evidence that Led Zeppelin integrated a different Spirit song, Fresh Garbage, into their 1969 tour sets.
Why now? The reissue means that Randy California's family can get some money out of the Led Zep camp since they cannot get any past royalties. I think they should do what they've done in the past and settle. Take a listen to the Spirit tune in question:
This story has been floating around for eons. It's particularly amusing because Led Zep management is notoriously litigious. Former Manager Pete Grant was a goon who would sue you for just giving him a side-eye glare. They even sued over a sublime parody by Little Roger and the Goosebumps, Stairway to Gilligan's Island. Ooh, it makes me wonder:
Despite the health concerns, Zucker and Buckyballs became a cause célèbre on the right. An opinion column in the Wall Street Journal last November decried the "irrational federal war on Buckyballs." Reason Magazine recently ran a feature on the federal government's "vendetta against the creator of Buckyballs." Zucker also appeared on Fox News, where he was feted as a small businessman fighting "government overreach."
Zucker now runs a website, Unitedweball.org, that sells products "to support the legal battle of one individual against government." The site claims that "the government’s case against Buckyballs will have severe, far-reaching ramifications for the future of American businesses and consumers." The site's wares include larger versions of Buckyballs, called Liberty Balls and the Ball of Rights.
Is there anything more inherently conservative these days than a toy called LIBERTY BALLS?
Here where I live, if you pull a gun on a law enforcement officer, things go down hill pretty fast. But out in Bundystan, as long as you're a far right militia member and/or white supremacist, apparently it's not a problem. At least until now. Apparently the FBI is starting to investigate the Bundy outlaws as part of "formal investigation into alleged death threats, intimidation and possible weapons violations."
Because Second Amendment. If you're an African-American or even a homeless guy in Albuquerque, you get shot with few or no questions asked. I suspect the authorities were hoping these knuckleheads would leave when Fox News dropped them but, apparently, they have nothing better to do with their time. This should be interesting.
I have my umpteenth cold of 2014, so instead of writing something brilliant (as if) I decided to share a few articles with y'all that have caught my attention in the last week or so.
Sterling's Fold: This is Bill Simmons' take on the Sterling clusterfuck and includes a *really* interesting account of a commercial flight Simmons took with Sterling and V Stiviano.
Benghazi and the Bombshell: Everyone's been talking about Joe Hagan's piece about Lara Logan, 60 Minutes and her horrendously irresponsible story about Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. I was a lifelong 60 Minutes viewer but that story was the last straw so I stopped watching. I miss Morley Safer and am glad to hear that he wants Ms. Logan fired.
Look at my Gun: Digby is now writing for Salon and this is her best piece for them yet. This paragraph sent a chill up and down my spine:
For instance, in the wake of the new Georgia law which pretty much makes it legal to carry deadly weapons at all times in all places, parents were alarmed when an armed man showed up at the park where their kids were playing little league baseball and waved his gun around shouting “look at my gun!” and “there’s nothing you can do about it.” The police were called and when they arrived they found the man had broken no laws and was perfectly within his rights to do what he did. That was small consolation to the parents, however. Common sense tells anyone that a man waving a gun around in public is dangerous so the parents had no choice but to leave the park. Freedom for the man with the gun trumps freedom for the parents of kids who feel endangered by him.
The NRA has declared war on America: Speaking of gun nuttery and netroots bloggers gone mainstream, Ana Marie Cox attended the NRA conventon so we didn't have to. Thanks, dawlin. I meant to link to this last week but did not. Better late than never.
Finally, on a lighter note:
Whatever Happened to Music Rivalries?: A funny piece by Steven Hyden wherein he lets go off his Oasis fan boy inspired hated of Damon Albarn and Blur. I'll give Oasis the last word:
It's time for a new, and highly derivative, feature here at First Draft. I doubt if I'll do this on a daily basis but this tweet from MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin caught my eye:
Remember: you can't trust the government to collect grazing fees or run a website, but deciding who to kill and how is just fine— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) April 30, 2014
One execution stopped midcourse, another postponed.
Oklahoma corrections officials looked for answers Tuesday following the death of inmate Clayton Lockett, who convulsed and writhed on the gurney after drugs to carry out his death sentence were administered.
"His body started to twitch, he mumbled something I couldn't understand," said Dean Sanderford, his attorney. "The convulsing got worse, it looked like his whole upper body was trying to lift off the gurney. For a minute, there was chaos."
He said guards ordered him out of the witness area, and he was never told what had happened to his client.
The execution was halted, but the result was still death.
I've seen a lot of comments this morning about how these guys deserve to die painfully, and you know what? They probably do. Lockett was a murderer, rapist, kidnapper. He was scum. But we keep having the same stupid conversation, about capital punishment, because we think capital punishment is about the people we're punishing. About what they did.
It's not. It's about everything, literally everything, but that.
Do these guys deserve to die painfully? Ask the other question: Do we deserve to kill them painfully? Do we deserve to kill them at all? Is that what we deserve to do? Watch a man writhe on a gurney while the prison guards panic and try to get him to die already: Does that sound like something you'd enjoy? Does that sound like something that wouldn't be a double feature in every dream you ever had after?
Does that sound like something that wouldn't destroy you from the inside out, no matter who the man you killed had killed? No matter what he'd done?
Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, so get thine own sandbox. Not because you can't do it. We're supremely talented at screwing up our lives, ladies and gentlemen, we can do hate and violence better than any other living creature. Vengeance is mine, because you shouldn't have to carry it. Because being the person who punishes punishes no one more than you.
I originally planned to write a Donald Sterling as malaka of the week post today. But since the new NBA Sheriff in town has banned him for life and is urging the owners to force him to sell, I decided to praise the new Commish instead. David Stern tolerated Sterling's bigotry, slum lordism, and overall creepiness for 30 years so I'm pleased that Silver went nuclear.
Is justice completely satisfied in this case? Of course not. In a just world, Sterling would not profit on the sale of his team but this is more than I expected so I'm a relatively happy camper. The fine imposed on Sterling is a small hit by billionaire standards, but the public humiliation inflicted on him is priceless.
I'm pretty sure that the Commish wouldn't have gone nuclear if he didn't have the votes of 3/4 of NBA owners to force the sale. Once Silver told the presser that Sterling had admitted that the voice on the tape was his and had not apologized, it was over. Who wants to endorse that shit? Not even Mavericky Shark Mark Cuban who has gone from skepticism to supporting Silver. Racism is bad for business, y'all.
Now that Adam Silver has dealt with *his* racist owner, the pressure on Roger Goodell to do likewise with Dan Snyder of OAF fame is likely to increase; at least I hope so. For lagniappe, here's the effigy of Goodell that I have in my living room from the 2013 Krewe du Vieux parade:
Now that Sterling has been banned for life and the Clippers players showed their disgust with him by doing the inside out jersey thing, it's time to get back to basketball. The protest, of course, gave me an earworm:
In spite of its comic possibilities, I've ignored the Bundy Ranch freak show until today. Why? Because of the armed doofi and militiamen hanging out with the deadbeat patriot, that's why. Now that the threat of Hannity inspired violence has somewhat receded, it's time to make Cliven Bundy malaka of the week. Come on down, cowpoke.
The other reason to give the malakatude crown of throrns to the pudgy scofflaw is the quote heard round the world, or the internet at least:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
This quote via the NYT's Adam Nagourney conclusively establishes that, like his new best friend Sean Hannity, Cliven Bundy is a meathead: dead from the neck up. I briefly contemplated skipping past the irony of the welfare rancher dissing anyone else for being on "guvmint subsidy" but it is irresistible. Bundy, like most teabaggers, lives in what Ray Davies has called a "fantasy world of celluloid villains and heroes." He thinks life is a bad John Wayne Western (not one of the films he made with Ford or Hawks, it's more like McClintock wherein the Duke spanked Maureen O'Hara) and that he's the hero slaying the eebil BLM. I call bullshit on that shit: in addition to being a racist malaka, Bundy is all hat and no cattle. The Feds are now focused on judicial means to lasso the renegade rancher who probably thinks this book is about him:
Still, as Mr. Bundy surveyed the dusty landscape last weekend, the only sign of law enforcement was Brad Rogers, the sheriff of Elkhart County, Ind., who had flown 1,800 miles to stand in solidarity with the embattled rancher.
What the blue hell? First of all, patrol your own meth-ridden hick-haven county, you asshole. The taxpayers you claim to revere don't pay you to grandstand out of state.
Second, this LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL sees nothing wrong with an armed resistance to the government:
Rogers is an outspoken critic of federal government overreach. He says he took an interest in the Nevada case because it has the potential to affect those in Elkhart County as well.
YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT. Or is this one of those things where you wish the county sheriff holds all the power and can tax the people in the name of Prince John?
Look, if these nutjobs want to stage a peaceful sit-in in protest of a law they believe is unjust, I believe they should be able to do that. But when they show up packing heat, determined to start a firefight, that's where it becomes a wee bit different from the claims of "civil disobedience" they're vomiting all over the press.
If this rancher was a young black man in a housing project refusing to pay his rent, these assholes would be demanding Obama send in the 101st. And if any law enforcement official stood up for that kid, he'd be unable to leave his house without body armor thanks to the very same whackjobs now claiming the government's tyranny is forcing them to gun up.
Louisiana State Rep.Thomas Carmody (R-Bible Belt) is the latest person to emerge from obscurity to become malaka of the week. I never heard of him before today and plan to forget him as soon as possible. Unfortunately, that won't be soon enough: his bill establishing the Bible as the official state book got out of committee yesterday. Here's a longer than average excerpt from an article in the Vestigial Picayune:
The post title is inspired by Will Haygood's wonderful biography of Harlem pastor/Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. It's a pity that Powell isn't around today to infuriate Bill-O and the wrecking crew at Fox News, but I digress. I seem to do that a lot. It's part of my style such as it is.
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the Al Sharpton as the Donnie Brasco of the Civil Rights movement thing. You gotta love the image of Al wearing a wire while meeting with various wise guys. Hmm, I wonder if they wired up that enormous pendant that he used to wear around his neck? The Rev is downplaying the reports but I'm interested in hearing what the "no snitching" folks think of Sharpton's work with the Feebs. I'm fine with it since he was working against some very, very bad people in a very, very dangerous way.
This is, of course, a great Noo Yawk tabloid story and the Daily News rocked it with a front page that depicted the Rev as-what else?-the King of the Cats:
Just one problem: Hobby Lobby’s owners have little control over where their employees’ money is invested. As Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform explains:
401(k) plans are directed and invested by employees, not by employers.… They are the ones—not their bosses—who choose which mutual funds to invest in. This is true both of the employee’s elective deferral and the employer’s match. The menu of choices is primarily provided not by the Hobby Lobby employers, but by the 401(k) plan administrator, who helps select a wide menu of mutual fund (and, increasingly, exchange-traded fund) choices so that the fiduciary obligations of the plan are met.
Hobby Lobby’s 401(k) simply provides a structure for individuals to choose from mutual funds that best meet their needs and savings goals.
Ideally Hobby Lobby's health care coverage would simply provide a structure for individuals to choose from treatments that best meet their needs and medical situations. Nobody's coming around the floral design aisle forcing everybody to take the pill, for fuck's sake. These are the champions of individual freedom? I've had more logical arguments with Claire.
Plus, is it me or was the above quoted portion written by someone who's never made an objection to an investment? You absolutely CAN tell your investment advisor which mutual funds with which you will not associate due to the companies involved being scumbags, and you aboslutely can place restrictions on which types of funds you'll offer as investment choices. In fact, there are funds explicitly designed for those with moral restrictions of one kind or another. They're called MRIs.
Now, investing solely in those might limit the amount of cash you haul in from your investments, since the Ignorant Tight-Ass Fund doesn't pay out dividends like it used to, but this is about Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs, after all. RIGHT?
Interestingly enough, Mother Jones doesn’t disclose the companies that its own employees invest in under the news site’s 401(k) plan.
BECAUSE MOTHER JONES ISN'T IN WASHINGTON YELLING AT JUSTICE ROBERTS. That's not "interesting," it's irrelevant.
Legendarily dickish former spook MIchael Hayden is back in the news. He's been known to insult people and he's at it again:
Who gets “emotional” about torture—or, rather, what is the proper emotional response to a history of torture and lies? On Fox News, on Sunday morning, Chris Wallace asked Michael Hayden, the former director of the C.I.A., about a report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sixty-three hundred pages long, that “says the C.I.A. misled the public about the severity and the success of the enhanced interrogation program.” Hayden’s first response was to talk about the feelings of Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the committee, citing an article by David Ignatius: “He said Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ‘ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.’
”Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.
What's fascinating to me about the stand-off between Senator Feinstein and the CIA is that it is the latter who are "emotional," and, I daresay, hysterical, about the subject of torture and keep making things worse for themselves. Old school spymasters like Allen Dulles and Richard Helms were known for their tact and discretion as opposed to the Hayden-Brennan school that keeps calling out members of the intelligence committee including its chair. It's an indication of the arrogance of the CIA and how much power they gained in the Bush-Cheney years.The pre-Church committee CIA was just as arrogant but at least they had better manners...
Back to Hayden's imbecilic, sexist comment. As far as I can tell, having a vagina doesn't make one more emotional than having testicles. Besides, Michael Hayden is an emotional motherfucker who puts the testy in testicles...
In other intelligence committee related news, I have a new hero. It is the mustachioed Independent Senator from Maine ,Angus King. I've never had a hero named Angus; probably because it's evocative of haggis and bagpipe music. Anyway, Senator King was on Up with Steve Kornacki and went after torture aficionado, Dick Cheney:
“If he doesn’t think that was torture,” he said, “I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through.”
“That’s ridiculous to make that claim,” King went on. “This was torture by anybody’s definition.” Even John McCain agrees it was torture, he added, “and I think he’s in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney.”
“What they did was bad, but then to misrepresent it the way they did throughout a number of years — that’s what’s really the worse thing.”
As we all know Cheney has always lacked the courage of his convictions. He was a rabid hawk during the Vietnam era but dodged the draft and then bragged about it. His Dickness is the ultimate chicken hawk and would rather shit in his pants on Meet The Press before being waterboarded. Now that I think of it, *that's* something I'd like to see and David Gregory deserves to experience.
That is all.
You probably heard yesterday that Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister was featured in a leaked video showing him necking with an aide during the holidays last year. I was going to write a quick malaka of the week post about this minor league hypocrite getting caught and failing to use the misteloe defense. What's funnier that a Duck Dynasty backed family values Congresscritter getting caught on camera sucking the face of an aide and family friend whose name is Mrs. Peacock? Very little. Then, I read a post by my friend and Daily Kingfish colleague Lamar White, which connected the dots in a very interesting manner. Here's the money quote:
But while the national media gawks over the lurid details and focuses on Congressman McAllister’s rank hypocrisy, they’re missing the real scandal here: Who leaked the video, and was this leak purposely timed? After all, this video was recorded nearly four months ago, from inside the Congressman’s own district office.
To borrow a horror movie cliche, the call was coming from inside the house.
The story was first broken at 12:19PM by The Ouachita Citizen, a fledgling website that claims to have a paid readership of more than 5,200 people but, based on third-party web traffic analytical data, likely has a daily audience of between 200-300 unique visitors. An hour and a half later, the story was on the front page of Politico. An hour later, it was covered by almost every national news outlet in the United States- Fox, CBS, The Washington Post, NBC.
With all due respect to John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman, the two Politico journalists who broke the story nationally, it defies logic that they somehow randomly stumbled on a story published on a website that even most Louisianians have never heard of and verified the authenticity and provenance of a blurry surveillance video (which, by the way, was behind a paywall) all within a span of 90 minutes. No, this leak was coordinated and planned, and more than likely, considering it was recorded nearly four months ago, it had been in the works for a long time.
Notably, The Ouachita Citizen strongly supported State Senator Neil Riser, calling Mr. McAllister a “liberal” in a bizarre, apoplectic rant, which, ostensibly was an endorsement of Riser but reads more like a scathing attack against McAllister for supporting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. In its report on the McAllister video, The Ouachita Citizen claims to have received the video from an “anonymous” source, but somehow, inexplicably, they were able to verify the video’s provenance. The Ouachita Citizen, in my opinion, bordered on recklessness in their reporting, publishing Mrs. Peacock’s home address and implying, without any evidence whatsoever, that she may have never actually married her own husband. It seemed, to me, nasty and personal, motivated by more than a mere desire to inform the public.
I don't know much about this Congresscritter but it turns out that he's one of a handful of GOPers who supports Medicaid expansion in the Gret Stet, which means he's got a lot of enemies on the far right. Lamar, of course, is from that neck of the piney woods and knows his stuff. It will be interesting to watch this play out and learn exactly who is behind this Nixonian dirty trick.
There are times when the Louisiana state capitol seems like the world's tallest insane asylum. This week has been one of those times. In fact, there was a surreal Senatorial discussion about, uh, chicken boxing between NOLA city slicker JP Morrell and Elbert Guillory from Opelousas. Only a long quote will suffice to prove that I am not making this up:
State lawmakers spent a portion of Tuesday morning discussing the finer points of a “sport” known as chicken boxing. And no, it wasn’t an April Fools’ joke.
It happened in the Senate Committee for Judiciary C when state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, began discussing his Senate Bill 523.
The bill is meant to tighten the language in the state’s 2008 cockfighting ban.
The legislation would expand the state’s ban on cockfighting to include all types of chickens. It also would make it a felony to possess paraphernalia, such as razors, spurs, leather spur covers and other items commonly used in the sport that once was prevalent in south Louisiana but is now illegal.
Senators had few questions, except for state Sen. Elbert Guillory, R-Opelousas, who said the legislation would shut down the sport of “chicken boxing,” a nonfatal form of cockfighting in which the birds aren’t outfitted with razors and spurs.
Guillory said he was especially concerned about the part of the law that deals with paraphernalia.
“Leather spur covers and plastic spur covers, um, that are used in the legitimate sport of chicken boxing might be considered paraphernalia,” Guillory said.
“Wait, wait, wait ... chicken boxing?” Morrell said.
“Yes, chicken boxing,” Guillory replied.
At that point, it took Morrell a few stops and starts before he could articulate his point. A moment later, he was able to muster: “I appreciate your passion for your constituents, (but) I have no knowledge whatsoever on chicken boxing, so I cannot speak to that.”
Morrell continued, “If chicken boxing ... I can’t even speak on chicken boxing. Honestly, I have never heard of that. It sounds like something to circumvent cockfighting.”
It was at that point that Guillory explained chicken boxing.
“No, no. Let me explain to you, senator,” Guillory said. “Just as dueling is a blood sport, two men fighting each other with swords is a blood sport that is illegal. Similarly, two men with boxing gloves on can box each other as a sport that is legal. This is the same distinction between chicken boxing and cockfighting.”
The distinction is clear as mud to me. It seems to be a way to get around the ban on cockfighting, but I'm a city boy so what the hell do I know about gamecocks and such?
There are two things about this story that I know for sure. First, Opelousas is one of the coolest town names in the known universe. Second, if I ever form another band, it will be called Chicken Boxing. Why not? Ry Cooder had the Chicken Skin Band. Here's a song from them dedicated to the Roberts Court in the wake of another horrendous campaign finance decision. It was written by a bona fide commie, Woody Guthrie:
It has been quite some time since I wrote about Governor Asshole and his legal and political problems. It's the way of scandals: they ebb and flow. The shit storm is starting to flow again in the GW Bridge Too Far scandal. This time Christie's wounds are self inflicted.
Does anyone take this "investigation" seriously? It's really more of a defense brief in investigatory drag and it's about as attractive as Chris Christie in a bustier, stockings, and stilettos. Sorry for searing that image into your brains but he deserves a bit of slut shaming after the shamelessly shameful way his mouthpiece Randy Mastro baited Bridget Kelly in the report. I think Joan Walsh nailed it:
Randy Mastro’s report put the blame squarely on two fired staffers, David Wildstein and deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly. But its treatment of Kelly was mind-blowingly mean, describing her as “emotional,” “erratic” and as a liar; confirming Trenton gossip that she was “personally involved” with chief of staff Bill Stepien, and that Stepien apparently dumped her; alleging that she asked an aide to delete an incriminating email when the investigation began, thus implicating her not only in the plot’s execution but its coverup.
The hilarious thing about the Mastro report, other than his punworthy names, is the way it purports to read Ms. Kelly's mind. She wisely declined to be interviewed. The implication is that she got all hormonal and took it out on Jersey drivers. Everyone has had bad breakups but few get jilted and cause traffic jams. Obviously, the fact that Bridget Kelly has a vagina is the reason that the saintly Governor of New Jersey is in the mess he's in...
I had the displeasure of watching Governor Fat Fuck's Friday presser wherein he preened, strutted, bragged, and bullied his way to so-called redemption. In between insulting reporters like a latter day Fat Jack E Leonard, Christie told a couple of whoppers. My personal favorite was when he claimed he didn't know if he was invited to kiss Sheldon Adelson's ass in Vegas. As we all know, he was a participant in the Sheldon primary, grovelled to the gambling mogul, and then apologized for using the term "occupied territories" in a way that offended Likudnik and right wing sensibilities. Christie is a classic bully: he kisses UP and kicks DOWN.
As a satirist, I am thrilled that Governor Kramden has his arrogant mojo back and plans to go through with his plan to insult pig farmers in Iowa and maple syrup producers in New Hampshire. I cannot wait to see him interact with the notoriously prickly voters in NH, if, that is, he survives all the investigations coming after him. He's already alienated at least 3 of his former aides (Kelly, Wildstein and Stepien) and seems to be losing the Wall Street primary to Jeb Bush. That's right, W's brother, the allegedly smart one. Not a lot of competition for that title among Bar and Poppy's dim brood...
Finally, Christie's funniest defense of the Mastro report is that the mouthpiece's law firm is full of former prosecutors and they would never lie. That's particularly ironic to a New Orleanian who is watching the US attorney commenting scandal unfold in a manner that's reversing convictions and disgracing former US Attorney Jim Letten. Lensman Mark (Oyster) Moseley has been all over that scandal like a cheap suit, which seems to be growing like kudzu, sort of like the GW Bridge Too Far scandal.
That is all, anything else would be Mastrobation...
(One of the biggest things I tell student journalists is that they have to write for the audience, not for themselves. Unfortunately, when you get into a story after a while, you start wondering if you’re writing for yourself and your audience is just too polite to tell you to shut up. If that’s the case here, tell me. I have the sense that shutting up is just too easy and it gives in to the basest desire of administrators who are playing the “armadillo defense:” Hunker down, take the hits and eventually everyone goes away because they get tired of trying to break you. I don’t tire easily. – Doc)
1) People who enjoy their First Amendment rights are really just a few loud assholes:
School board member Eric Everson said he wasn’t surprised by the widespread attention the article has received in the media.
“This type of thing garners big news because you have a very active and involved minority of people who are very sensitive to the word ‘censorship’,” Everson said.
In other words, if it were any other topic, people wouldn’t be in such a kerfuffle.
News flash #1: Have you SEEN people get irate over gun laws, voter laws, taxes, unions or anything else? Given that the room was packed with what media estimate at more than 70 people, I’m guessing this isn’t just the “active and involved minority” of folks who have taken an interest. This has gotten coverage throughout the state, via newspapers, TV, radio and websites. It’s been in Chicago, D.C., San Francisco and more. It was on national sites like HuffPo and Jezebel. I get the sense that people haven’t been all up in the business of the Fond du Lac school board for anything else like this in quite some time.
News flash #2: You can’t marginalize an issue by referring to it as being the work of a few noisy busybodies when all evidence points to the contrary.
Solipsistic piehole Jay Mariotti, who used to disgrace Chicago with his opinions about sports, says that the rape accusations against Darren Sharper are, in fact, all about Jay Mariotti:
Sharper, a five-time All-Pro who is accused of drugging women in most of the alleged rapes, is represented by Leonard Levine. He is best known as a criminal defense attorney, recalling his successful 2006 defense of Mark Sanchez when the current New York Jets quarterback was accused of sexual assault as a USC student-athlete. But curiously enough, in August 2010, Levine chose to reverse roles and represent a troubled plantiff who’d lost her full-time job, had little money to her name and chose to tell lies and press charges against an innocent man who’d simply tried to help her.
Okay. I mean, yawn, but I get it. When you have a media platform, you might as well use it to trash people you think are shitty.
Better than bragging about how awesome you are.
First, please realize I’m living a good life in southern California, by the beach, blessed with wonderful companions and friends. My multi-media sports site, featuring a three-hour national radio show streamed Monday through Friday, has been a glorious ride, allowing me to speak and write freely and interview guests in a professional forum without ESPN-like institutional filters. I harbor no bitterness about a grossly unfair episode involving a regrettable association, which was blown up into a debacle by sleazy media sites and even reputable newspapers that never sought my side and didn’t try hard to seek the truth. I was accused of crimes I did not commit — by a person who made several unsuccessful attempts to seek a large financial payoff, including a civil case that was quickly dropped — and my life today is as clean and upstanding as it always was. My two daughters are well. I am well.
I have no opinion on the accusations against Sharper, just an opinion on how awful this column is. Nothing says "I'm not bitter" like 90,000 words about how totally sick your new life is. And there's nothing more appropriate than using your children as a shield against criticism. BY THE WAY I HAVE KIDS: This is the grossest line in the entire gross column.
Lawyers lie — it’s a redundancy — but Levine recklessly disregarded the truth and severely damaged my reputation in a retaliatory Los Angeles Times story. Because I didn’t want my family exposed to further one-sided media coverage and rampant lies being told by the plaintiff, I chose not to pursue this winnable case in a very expensive trial.
How incredibly big of you. I'm sure that is why you pleaded no contest to stalking and assault. But then, everybody is out to get this guy. EVERYBODY. Thank goodness he's so high-minded and willing to let things go.
So, to retaliate, he invented a sick lie. He told the Times that I’d punched his client in the face. I haven’t punched anyone in my life, much less a woman in the face. He didn’t tell the Times that she was a heavy drinker, didn’t tell the Times that she was the one abusing me, didn’t tell the Times she had fallen twice on a drunken boat excursion off Marina del Rey — with several witnesses around — and sustained bruises that Levine conveniently blamed on me. No, Levine wanted to get back at my attorney. So he fabricated a horrible image of me for public consumption.
I thought about suing Levine. Instead, wanting to be rid of the sleaze element, I moved on.
Mariotti is so disgustingly full of crap, Roger Ebert once told him to get bent, just in case you were thinking any of this bore any resemblence to reality.
In the coming weeks and months, you’re going to read quotes from Levine defending Sharper. This is what he told a judge last week:
“All of these were consensual contact between Mr. Sharper and women who wanted to be in his company, who voluntarily ingested alcohol and drugs in many cases.”
All nine cases were consensual. That’s what Levine is saying.
And this is what he said when agreeing to a judge’s edict that Sharper not go to bars or clubs: “If he goes to a bar and meets women, he’s putting himself in a position of being accused of misconduct whether it’s true or not.”
Levine would know. He used that strategy against me.
He was representing a person who was accusing you of misconduct. Are you NEW?
May the better lying lawyer win. Such is the American legal system, 2014.
Am I a terrible person for being impressed he didn't haul out the out-of-context Shakespeare line like your dickhead Republican brother-in-law does every time tort reform comes up? I'm surprised the McDonald's coffee case didn't make an appearance, given that this entire column could have been authored by a first-year law student who got a speeding ticket and now is like, so disillusioned with the system, bro. It's like nobody can catch a break.
Certainly not Jay. But he's let it all go.
New Orleans Saints fans are hardcore. Some of them want to take their fanatical Who Dattery with them when they die:
If the Saints get their way, you won’t be caught dead in the latest piece of fan gear.
A custom casket seller with an unusual storefront in the Esplanade Mall is under fire from the team over his $3,000 “Who Dat?” model casket, a black-finished steel coffin fitted with a gold satin pillow and fleur-de-lis decals.
Jonathan Lahatte, a former Orleans Parish sheriff’s deputy who opened his ’Til We Meet Again shop last fall, says he has no plans to slip away gently.
“You can be a diehard Who Dat all your life. What better way to celebrate it than be buried with it for all eternity?” Lahatte said from his store in a back corner of the mall, behind Great American Cookies. “Right now I believe I’m not doing anything illegal, so I’m going to keep it the way it is.”
The Saints beg to differ. They sent a letter Tuesday to Lahatte’s attorney — his brother Joey — asking that he stop selling or advertising the Who Dat coffin.
The move marks a morbid turn in the NFL’s enduring campaign against trademark infringement, which has long targeted sellers of knock-off T-shirts and collectibles. For a while in 2010, the league fought over the phrase “Who Dat” itself, before backing off in a fight with local retailers, some of whom had adopted the ubiquitous team slogan.
Lahatte, who once worked in Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s mounted horse unit, thought he’d slain the issue even before he opened his store in October, after the team contacted him over his fleur-de-lis design.
“We immediately agreed to change it. We sat there for like two hours. We increased the size of the middle two points, the curvature of the outer two points. We elongated the top and fattened it,” he said. “We thought we were OK.”
Lahatte began running TV ads that include both the Who Dat coffin and one licensed by the NCAA for departed LSU football fans. The 30-second clip first shows a military coffin with “Taps” playing, then moves on to the two team coffins, with chanting fans of both teams. “Our heroes. Our team,” the announcer intones. “How will you be remembered?”
Dr. A wondered if fans in any other pro sports town would want a team coffin. My immediate reaction was: Green Bay Packers and Boston Red Sox. Anyone else? I'm not surprised about the LSU casket, I expect to hear tell of Crimson Tide, Seminole, and How Bout Dem Dawgs coffins any day.
This time around the Saints and the NFL aren't going after the coffin dude for using Who Dat, but for the shape of his fleur de lis. Casket Boy points out the absurdity of this:
The team’s fight over the fleur-de-lis frustrates him, Lahatte said.
“It’s been around since the 17th century. Should we be paying royalties to the French government?” he said. “I’m a small business owner with a wife and two kids, trying to live the American dream. All of my money is invested in this. If they were to sue and win, they’re just going to get caskets.”
I don't think he's just talking through his Lahatte, guys. Once again, the NFL is bullying a small businessman with a bizarre dream. They should just bury the hatchet and not try to entomb this morbid dreamer.
This story gives an entirely new meaning to the term coffin corner kick.
That is all.
Light blogging from me this week. Hey, stop cheering. Here's a story that's funny only because nobody got hurt, but they didn't so it is:
Eric Wilson, 41, of Hiram, Ga., was arrested in the French Quarter after firing five shots into paintings that were being sold on the Decatur Street side of Jackson Square. NOPD said he has been charged with five counts of aggravated criminal damage, illegal discharge of a firearm and illegal carrying of a firearm.
According to officer Garry Flot, Wilson shot the paintings with a Taurus revolver around 5 p.m., then walked on Decatur Street.
Artist Alan Minor told our news partners at FOX 8 that Wilson had been sitting next to him for about an hour when he suddenly got up and started firing.
"When he got in front of my artwork, he took five shots at it," Minor told FOX 8. "It was a complete random act. I wasn't expecting it at all."
The bullets shattered some of Minor's paintings, which are done on plank boards. Minor says after the shooting, the man calmly walked down the street. Minor says he didn't see any police officers around.
"There was a gentleman that was on a bicycle that followed him but he didn't know he was being followed and I guess as he got further down Decatur, he signaled the cops that this was the person that was firing the gun," Minor told FOX 8.
Wilson was arrested in the 700 block of Barracks Street without incident. Police said officers found the handgun when they searched Wilson, along with five spent shell casings.
Police said Wilson's motive is unclear.
My former business was located at Jackson Square. I could tell tales that could curl your hair. In fact, I have already done so in a post entitled Mrs. Fagin and the Urchins. I have, however, never, ever shot a painting. Seems a bit extreme to me.
It's been all C Ray all the time since he was convicted on 20 of 21 counts yesterday. In the NOLA newspaper war, the Advocate routed the locally clueless team at the Sometimes-Picayune. The best wrap up of the trial and Nagin's oddball career was written by former Picayune city editor Gordon Russell. Now that I think of it, Picayune alums *won* the coverage, including Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace and WWL-TV investigator David Hammer. In contrast, the vestigial Picayune had an "entrepreneurship, tourism, and business" content provider as part of their courtroom team. I guess it's their version of keeping the brand out there as C Ray once put it.
For other C Rayisms, there's a pretty good Wikiquote page chock-full-o-them. I may have to add some when I get the chance. They missed the time he threatened to "cold cock" teevee reporter Lee Zurik aka Lee Eyebrows.
On an even lighter note, WWNO, one of our public radio stations, has informed us that the zany folks at Next Media Animation in Taiwan have turned their attention to C Ray's conviction:
My only criticism of the animation is that C Ray's head is insufficiently shiny.
That is all.
I've had a lot of fun riffing about the #nagintrial but now that it's reached it's inevitable conclusion, I feel sad. Nagin was one of my primary subjects as a blogger and I always found him to be as entertaining as he was infuriating. I even voted for him in 2002 before he'd established that he was in over his head. Even though he got what was coming to him, I still find it difficult to celebrate anyone being sent to jail.
There were also some disgusting tweets after the verdict. Why do people think that prison rape is funny? It is not. It makes one despair of the human condition, which is why, while I did get off a few good one liners today, I'm not in the mood to post them. All I can say is that I'm glad that it's over.
I may write at a bit more length about the Nagin trial when my 4000th cold of the winter is better but for now, that is all.
It was a wild morning. First of all, deliberations in the Nagin trial have been delayed until tomorrow because of an unspecified juror problem. It's unknown as to why Judge Berrigan chose not to move on with the deliberations. That's what alternates are for. Twittercourt never closes so several of us had suspicions about what happened:
Pssst. Juror 8, I know a guy who can totally hook you up with some granite counter-tops dude. You know what to do. #nagintrial— Eli Ackerman (@eliackerman) February 11, 2014
Pssst. Juror 8, I know a guy who can totally hook you up with some granite counter-tops dude. You know what to do. #nagintrial— Eli Ackerman (@eliackerman) February 11, 2014
In other Gret Stet news, PBJ's coastal restoration Kaiser, Garret Graves, is leaving the guvmint. His lobbyist pals in the oil and gas industry are going to miss him so much that they're throwing him a shebang or is that a blow out?
The suit in question was designed to make the oil and gas industry pay for the environmental degradation caused by offshore drilling. That seems only fair but Gov PBJ and Graves are bleeding hearts when it comes to the oil bidness. For more inf on the litigation follow this Google news search link thang. Science makes my brain even if I'm married to a scientist.
The SFLPA-E was set up to be an independent, non-political agency BUT everything is political in the Gret Stet; especially when it comes to the oil industry and Piyush Bobby Jindal. It's okay to sue the Feds but evil to sue Big Oil. So it goes.
I'll give the Kinks the last word:
It's looking bad for the Walking Id aka former New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin. The prosecution's closing was strong and its rebuttal even stronger. The defense seems to be trying the lay groundwork for an appeal based on the NOLA.com commenting scandal at the US Attorney's office. It has already led to several convictions being reversed.
I spent much of today riffing on the trial again. Here are some highlights or lowlights depending on your perspective. The case is now in the hands of the jury who will commence deliberations at 2:30 after chowing down. Note: Jenkins is C Ray's mouthpiece,
Sounds like C Ray is chillaxing in court. It's what he did for 8 years while Mayoring. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
#nagintrial full of baffling and inexplicable things. Much like the career of C Ray. He was more of a performance artist than Mayor.— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
Nothing worse than putting a guilty client on the stand who thinks they're innocent. That's Jenkins' big dilemma. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
First a Dollar Bill freezer reference and now a gangster one? What is Jenkins thinking? Oh well, gotta say something. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
Nothing involving C Ray makes sense. He's a surrealist or dadaist. Sort of the Marcel Duchamp of NOLA politics.. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
C Ray shaking his head a lot at #nagintrial. Wonder if it makes any noise. Probably not, it's empty, after all.— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
Jury charge: You may not consider the shininess of the defendant's head as a factor in his favor. C Ray: the human mirror. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
Jury charge: You may not consider the defendant's inability to go 3 minutes without saying man as a factor. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 10, 2014
The unthinkable and unimaginable happened in the Nagin case. The defendant testified in his corruption trial. It did not go well for the former Mayor. He blamed everyone but himself for his misfortunes. It's not my fault, man was his constant refrain. Juries hate this and will probably hate him for doing it.
I was one of many political junkies who followed the trial on the Tweeter Tube. In lieu of the detailed analysis that I'm too lazy to do, check out #nagintrial and my feed for snappy commentary. Here's a totally self-serving self-absorbed selection of my tweets. (There are several inside-NOLA references, but I'm too lazy to explain those either.) Fitting because no one is more self-absorbed than C Ray.
C Ray name dropping about suite hopping. Can finger popping be next? #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 6, 2014
C Ray trying Rabbinical tactic of answering a question with a question. Chutzpah thy name is Ray Ray. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 6, 2014
Once again the exploding economic pie blows up in C Ray's face. Waiting for the auto-pen/secretarial signature defense. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
Looks like Jenkins threatened to use a sander instead of a buffer on C Ray's head. Could explain the change in demeanor. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
C Ray using the Peter Gabriel defense at #nagintrial. I don't remember, I don't recall. I got no memory of anything at all.— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
C Ray proving he knows his alphabets. P is for penitentiary. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
C Ray trying on different defenses like pants. Now it's the figurehead defense. Looks a bit tight to me. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
Louisiana used to be known for competent corruption and then came C Ray. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
C Ray on the job 24/7. Just don't ask him about the details. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
C Ray using the James Brown defense now. He was the hardest working Mayor in show business. Good gawd, y'all. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
To paraphrase Russell Long, C Ray's defense: don't blame you, don't blame me. Blame that fella behind the tree. #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) February 7, 2014
What do former Virginia Gov. Sponge Bob McDonnell and former New Orleans mayor C Ray (The Walking Id) Nagin have in common? They're both cheap bastards who have never picked up a check in their lives and feel that they're entitled to free shit including money, money, money. Don't give me that do good goody good bullshit.
The #nagintrial gets more interesting every day. It has kept me glued to the Twittah. The Feds case is looking more and more like a steamroller and C Ray and his attorney, Robert Jenkins are getting flattened like Wile E Coyote. The latter is an experienced and competent trail lawyer, so I'm sure that he urged C Ray to cop a plea but the latter was too cocky and/or stupid to cut his losses. Ray Ray thinks he's bullet proof. Nobody is.
The shit really hit the fan yesterday; so much so that Picayune refugee Gordon Russell wrote 2 stories for the Advocate on different aspects of the trial. One was about C Ray leeching off his friends, associates and anyone possible to "supplement" his income. Poor baby only made $150K, man. Too little, man.
The other story inspired this post title. It's about how C Ray used his office to coerce Home Depot into giving the ill-fated family firm, Stone Age Granite, a contract that they would have never gotten otherwise. It was a shakedown and it seems as if Nagin spent much of his tenure as Mayor living and working on Shakedown Street.
The trial has given many of us flashbacks. The merry band of NOLA bloggers, or blogpocheh in Liprap's phrase, were in the thick of things in those days. I'm not sure if it's giving me PTSD or a bad case of old fartism but our Mayor was milking every cash cow he could while his constituents were on their knees after Katrina and the Federal Flood. Selfish, greedy, heartless, stupid bastard.
Nagin seems on his way to being convicted and getting buried under the slammer. All I can say is that it's a good thing that he looks good in orange.
You're probably wondering why I'm going on about a bad 2002 movie that I've never seen, not even at 2AM on HBO-Malakatude. Here's why. It was mentioned Friday at the corruption trial of former Mayor C Ray Nagin aka the Walking Id (stole that nickname from my old buddy Liprap.) It seems that C Ray is a fan of the movie, if, that is, it has any adherents:
Among the messages was one where Nagin advised Meffert not to deal with businessman Aaron Bennett because he talked too much, including to then-TP investigative reporter Gordon Russell.
There was also a message where Nagin was excited after finding out that Meffert had scored some tickets to the Saints' 2007 NFC Championship game.
"You the man, and has always been my undercover brother."
The undercover brother in question is the guy below who is one of the pastiest white boys you will ever see;
Dat da man? Apparently, he was to the grammatically challenged Nagin. Not any more. Meffert rolled over on his former boss/hero a few years back and ended his life as C Ray's puppet, which was one reason the NOLA blogger Dambala dubbed him Muppet. Muppet was awestruck by C Ray's hipster douchebaggery and jumped like a bug-eyed frog every time his master's voice told him to. Muppet's time on the witness stand was more entertaining than a barrel of crazy monkeys as is best documented by this tweet by the aforementioned mild mannered Journalistic bulldog, Gordon Russell:
Pin msg from Meffert to Nagin: "Gordon Russell up my ass and in my shit 24/7." #nagintrial
— Gordon Russell (@GordonRussell1) January 31, 2014
and this instant classic:
Meffert: "As things started to come out, I got increasingly worried. It was all kind of Velcroing to me." #nagintrial
— Gordon Russell (@GordonRussell1) January 31, 2014
Velcroing is a new concept to me and a totally preposterous one, but this trial has so many farcical elements that it's hard to pick and choose. That's why I'm rambling and weaving all over the place like a drunken monkey. Hmm, another monkey image. Shock the monkey to life.
The other major witness today was crooked contratctor Frank Fucking Fradella. FFF was the dirt bag who bribed the Mayor in order to get work from the city. Part of the scam involved a company Nagin owned with his spawn callled-get ready-Stone Age Granite. It conjures up images of C Ray guest starring on an episode of The Flintstones and driving off with Fred to a lodge meeting or some such shit. Hmm, now that I think of it, Muppet was Barney to Ray Ray's Fred. Yabba-dabba-do, man. Nagin says man a lot man but seems incapable of manning up. Peyton Manning? He's up in Jersey hanging out with David Wildstein and Governor Fat Fuck. Maybe not since the former is flipping on the latter. This post is getting more and more like an overstuffed sofa every minute. That's why they call me Shecky, folks.
Since I'm posting tweets (I haven't got the hang of doing it all nice and fancy with an avatar ) here's one from someone who is near and dear to me. In the immortal words of Bob Newhart, that, that, that would be me:
C Ray was as incompetent a crook as he was a Mayor. Taking checks personally? What a maroon. #nagintrial
Yes, that's right, C Ray was not only on the take, but took the take himself. Try saying that 3 times after a few beers. I picture the eerily vain Nagin, taking the cash and then pausing at the mirror to buff his shiny but empty head. Unlike much of the post this is realistic. I was around C Ray on 3 or 4 occasions and every single time he preened and primped like a teenybopper before the prom. It's as if Pete Townshend wrote Go To The Mirror for the Walking Id.
Back to the trial. The prosecution had a good day. Their case looks strong and Judge Ginger Berrigan (Clinton appointee and former card carrying ACLU lawyer) runs a tight ship but lifted her ban on ELECTRONIC DEVICES so the trial was live tweeted. It was a good day to sit at the computer and watch the Good Ship C Ray slowing sinking under the weight of his arrogance, stupidity, bad taste in movies, and failed granite business. And that brings me to the last tweet of the post complete with the avatar this time. Figured it out. Yay, me:
Did Nagin take his undercover brother for granite? #nagintrial— Adrastos (@Adrastosno) January 31, 2014
Life continues to imitate the Sopranos with this week's "honoree." Congressman Michael (Mikey Suits) Grimm (R-Roid Rage/Staten Island) may be be low hanging fruit but I am not one to look a gift horse in the proverbial mouth. Jeez, two cliches in the same sentence, I must be slipping. No make that slipped.
You've all heard about the Christopher Moltisanti of Congress threatening a slight reporter from NY1 but let's relive the glorious highlights as reported by the Noo Yawk Daily Nooze:
The confrontation occurred on Capitol Hill when reporter Michael Scotto followed up questions about the President's speech by pressing the congressman on a federal investigation into his fund-raising.
“Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances ... but as you saw he refused to talk about that,” Scotto said as Grimm began to walk away.
Hearing Scotto’s comment, Grimm turned and walked toward the NY1 reporter. "Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I'll throw you off this fucking balcony,” Grimm said, according to the cable news channel.
Why, why, I just wanted to ask you?” Scotto responded.
“If you ever do that to me again,” the Staten Island congressman shot back.
When Scotto replied, “why, why it’s a valid question,” Grimm said: “No, no, you're not man enough, you're not man enough. I'll break you in half. Like a boy,” according to the NY1 transcript.
After posturing a bit more, Grimm grimly apologized to the reporter. He may not, however, get off Scotto free. He was already being investigated for some campaign finance fiddling and is even reputed to be tied to the venerable Gambino crime family. I hope that he didn't take out a loan from a shylock to win his race in 2010, the vig would be staggering by now. Actually, Grimm sounds more like a loan shark than a borrower. They're fond of breaking arms and legs...
It's time to pose the age old question: where the hell do they find these people? Grimm is not only a thug (I'll leave the Richard Sherman comparison to Joan Walsh since she did it so well) he's an idiot. Dude, you were just on teevee and the cameras were still rolling. Making empty and moronic threats will only get you in even more trouble than you're already in.
Michael F has already compared this episode to the Sonny-Carlo beatdown scene in The Godfather and he's on the money. It also makes Mikey Suits like the Godfather obsessed wise guys in a certain show set in Jersey, which is, of course, my very own personal obsession. I'm still not sure what outrage this is most like. Since I've declared Grimm the Christopher Moltisanti of Congress, I'm leaning towards the time he mugged Betty Bacall for her swag bag, or when he shot the kid in the foot at the bakery for making him wait too long for pastries. It's a pick 'em, y'all.
The good news is that guns are banned from Capitol Hill so this amped up malaka couldn't pull a rod on Scotto. Thus far, the Second Amendment wackadoodles haven't gotten around to arming Congressmen but it wouldn't surprise me if they proposed open carry for our elected officials. Nothing they do ever surprises me.
I hope that Grimm's constituents will punish him for this outburst by voting him out if the Feds don't have enough evidence to take him for a perp walk. Tony Soprano eventually got tired of Christopher's antics and solved the problem wise guy style. In this case, voting this boy breaking, balcony throwing malaka out of office will suffice as punishment. Of course, if Paulie Walnuts wants to drive his Caddy around Grimm's property and destroy his shrubbery that would be fine with me. That was to avenge Christopher throwing Little Paulie out the window, which perfects the Sopranos-Grimm analogy. And that is why Michael Grimm is malaka of the week.
Given our long and inglorious history of corruption and chicanery, it's odd that C Ray Nagin is the first New Orleans Mayor ever indicted on corruption charges. Jury selection for his trial starts today at the federal courthouse downtown. I thought that he was going to cop a plea but he hasn't as of yet. It's typical, C Ray is known as a gambler and a dumbass; the Les Miles of politicians. This is a roll of the dice, which could lead to an epic jail sentence if it craps out. Just ask Dollar Bill Jefferson or former NOLA council cretin Renee Gill-Pratfall about that.
Judge Ginger Berrigan has banned texting-n-tweeting from the courtroom, so I'm uncertain if there will be any live accounts. But there's still bound to be a whole lot of tweetin' goin' on and this appears to be the main trial hashtag: #nagintrial. I'll update that if it changes.
I may have time to drop in on the trial at some point. I'm not sure if I'll try and sneak some tweets in though. One thing I learned in law school was NEVER PISS OFF THE JUDGE.