Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Stuff


Joy Reid speaks with Indian tribal elder and Marine Corps Vet Nathan Phillips (who served in Vietnam) about the recent confrontation in D.C. with high school kids who, allegedly, came from a “Catholic” school in Covington, KY (to say this video has gone viral is an understatement)…I’m curious now to find out about this “Black Hebrew Israelites” business; according to Phillips, it actually sounds like he and his group of Native Americans were trying to intercede against this band of stupid little pukes (and I don’t mean the 4 Black Hebrew Israelites…more here)…



…and Kyle K. tells us about government workers turning to GoFundMe pages to get money so they and their families can survive (NSFW...not sure how I can add to Kyle's quite justifiable outrage and disgust) – more here



…and Thom Hartmann tells us about the book “The Inner Level,” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett which basically argues that more just societies enable people to live longer, better lives (and I always thought Boris Johnson was a bit of a buffoon, though he certainly was smart enough to worm his way into positions of power in the UK – still, I’d like to send him a box of cornflakes with a message on it to go f*ck himself)…



…and here’s a tune we all know in remembrance of the man whose accomplishments we recognize and celebrate on this day (more here).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thursday Stuff


(The pic has to do with this vote, by the way.)

Farron Cousins tells us that Repug U.S. Senator Rand Paul (the “ophthalmologist” who was "certified and approved" by a board he oversaw himself) needs a hernia operation, so of course he’s going to go get it at that allegedly evil den of socialized medicine in Canada instead of “buying American,” if you will (more here)…



…and Seth Meyers gives us the latest on Generalissimo Trump and the shut down (more here)…



…and Cenk and Ana of TYT give us the latest example of wingnut outrage, this time over a Gillette TV ad (and of course, leave it to “culture warrior” Ben Shapiro to leap into action right away…pretty much shits and giggles here, people)…



…and last Monday would have been the 81st birthday of legendary NOLA singer/songwriter Allen Toussaint.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Tuesday Stuff


Kyle tells us that food inspections have been suspended because of the shutdown; NSFW - sick of the winning yet, you MAGA clowns?


And yes – I guess, at this point, I should know better than to ask that question...



…and the only reason why Steven Arnold King was called out for his white supremacy BS (here) is because the Repugs lost the House and King almost lost himself last year; if not for those two developments, the Repugs would be quiet as proverbial church mice over him…



…and Pap and Farron Cousins opine on the MSNBC commentator who quit because of the network’s alleged “pro war” slant, which, unfortunately, I largely agree with, until about 8 PM EST anyway (though calling that network “the worst of the worst” is a bit extreme as far as I’m concerned – Fox is, now, and has always been the media wing of the Repug Party…I think there’s a bit of a point to be made here, though it’s kind of funny to hear this from two guys who have appeared on The Putin Network)…



…and with the prior criticism of MSNBC in mind, I present this clip as a bit of a counter-point…Rachel Maddow speaks with David Laufman, former DOJ Counterintel Chief (didn’t see the rest of the Laufman interview)…



…and last Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the passing of the guy who you could call the patron saint of this dumb blog (here)…I would call these words to live by…



…and what do you say to something a little more upbeat than usual when it comes to the musical selections – no messages today, people!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Stuff


Leave it to The Putin Network to tell us about a gadget that could help the cops identify the caliber of a weapon or the ammunition used in a mass shooting (snark...or better yet, why don’t we just keep pushing for SANE GUN LAWS TO TRY AND PREVENT THE DAMN SHOOTINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE??!!)…



…and speaking of “the wall” that Our Orange Maniac Child President has been caterwauling about, I have to admit that this clip blew my mind – heard about it on Twitter yesterday (here)…



…and ZOMG! It looks like those SCARY MUSLIMS are actually cleaning up our national parks during the government shut down – wait, what? And anyone who litters the reflection pool at the mall in D.C. should get his or her ass kicked; I DO have to agree with the Dems, though, and say that, for safety reasons if nothing else, the parks should be closed during the shut down – yeah, I know that pisses off people who’ve planned vacations, and I feel bad about that, but there’s a simple lesson here, people – STOP VOTING FOR F*CKING REPUBLICANS WHO SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT!!!...



…and I went through my mental Rolodex of “wall” songs to see what I could come up with, and I settled on this.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Wednesday Stuff


As some have pointed out, I guess we dodged a bit of a bullet last night, you might say, when Generalissimo Trump didn’t declare a national emergency over his stinking wall, though we still have far to go to fix this mess unfortunately – I thought this recent commentary from Chris Cuomo of CNN gave us some really good context…



…and David Pakman tells us what we probably knew already, which is that the Gropenfuhrer doesn’t know what a shutdown truly does…and also, while we’re quite rightly blaming Repugs, don’t let that gutter snipe Mick Mulvaney off the hook, Trump’s COS (POS is more like it), since this is what the “Freedom Caucus” really wants…



…and the following from “Now This” tells us about the threat of industry concentration (you can add the telcos to this list too, by the way – basically the choices are Verizon and Comcast, which is like having to choose between bubonic plague and leprosy…the cynic in me says, “Yeah, well, Josh Hawley and Mike Lee don’t have to worry about campaign contributions from tech companies in Utah and Missouri I’m sure,” but for now they’re doing the right thing – as the hero of their party once said in another context, “trust, but verify”…but when it comes to Hawley, it looks like he won’t be playing “hallway roulette,” whatever that means, as noted here…too self-entitled to answer questions affecting his constituents, apparently – didn’t take long for Hawley, did it?)…



…and yesterday would have been the 72nd birthday of David Bowie, and tomorrow marks the 3rd anniversary of his passing.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Tuesday Stuff


I’m sure there are drinking games that some folks will come up with given that Our Lying Orange Lunatic Wannabe Dictator is going to address the nation tonight on our alleged border crisis, but I would suggest that you NOT take a shot every time the word “wall” is uttered (or “slats” or “fence”), or else you might end up in the emergency room – given that, Cenk and Ana of TYT tell us about Huckleberry Graham’s propagandizing on this subject (and as Cenk says, there’s NO WAY Huck will take $5 bil from our ridiculous defense budget for this PR boondoggle because that hurts Graham’s donors)…



…and Farron Cousins gives us some more background on our alleged “national emergency” and what the Gropenfuhrer can do as a result (terrific)…



..and I thought this was a pretty good NSFW discussion by Kyle K. on what a marginal tax rate truly is given what AOC is proposing (around 60-70 percent), which is actually pretty mainstream stuff (and GREAT point at the very end to compare this with what is pretty much the actual tax rate for our corporate overlords)…



…and I FINALLY finished Elvis’s great book over the holidays – kind of a stream-of-consciousness memoir, but I thought it was a fascinating insight into a truly full life in music.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Thursday Stuff


I now give you my first modified-schedule post for 2019…first, kudos to the Lobster Club for this number during this year’s Mummers Parade, held in Philly on New Years’ Day for the uninitiated, as noted here (and to me, the REALLY funny part is that this was broadcast on WPHL-17 in Philadelphia, which is a Sinclair station)…



…and Francis Maxwell tell us about how one of America’s Great National Pastimes had a banner year last year, and I’m referring to – wait for it – racism of course…




…and I honestly wasn’t trying to link the prior clip to this item – of all of the lefty, liberal, Democratic issues out there where I personally may have a sticking point with someone over something, I can think of no issue bigger than what I consider to be the clear-cut, unmitigated guilt of this guy (in this post, I’m going to reference the Wikipedia article here – normally I would be leery about relying so much on Wikipedia, but this article has excellent sourcing…I’ll note why I’m bringing this up a little later).

From “Commonwelath v. (Mumia) Abu-Jamal” (what follows is a summary of the prosecution’s case):

Murder of Ofc. Daniel Faulkner

At 3:55 am on December 9, 1981, in Philadelphia, close to the intersection at 13th and Locust streets, Philadelphia Police Department officer Daniel Faulkner conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle belonging to and driven by William Cook, Abu-Jamal's younger brother. Faulkner and Cook became engaged in a physical confrontation.[28] Driving his cab in the vicinity, Abu-Jamal observed the altercation, parked, and ran across the street toward Cook's car.[4] Faulkner was shot from behind and in the face. He shot Abu-Jamal in the stomach. Faulkner died at the scene from the gunshot to his head.

Arrest and trial

Police arrived and arrested Abu-Jamal, who was found to be wearing a shoulder holster. His revolver, which had five spent cartridges, was beside him. He was taken directly from the scene of the shooting to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he received treatment for his wound.[29] He was next taken to Police Headquarters, where he was charged and held for trial in the first-degree murder of Officer Faulkner.[30]

Prosecution case at trial

The prosecution presented four witnesses to the court about the shootings. Robert Chobert, a cab driver who testified he was parked behind Faulkner, identified Abu-Jamal as the shooter. Cynthia White, a prostitute, testified that Abu-Jamal emerged from a nearby parking lot and shot Faulkner. Michael Scanlan, a motorist, testified that from two car lengths away, he saw a man, matching Abu-Jamal's description, run across the street from a parking lot and shoot Faulkner. Albert Magilton, a pedestrian who did not see the shooting, testified to seeing Faulkner pull over Cook's car. As Abu-Jamal started to cross the street toward them, Magilton turned away and did not see what happened next.

The prosecution presented two witnesses from the hospital where Abu-Jamal was treated. Hospital security guard Priscilla Durham and police officer Garry Bell testified that Abu-Jamal said in the hospital, "I shot the (mf'er), and I hope the (mf'er) dies."[31]

A .38 caliber Charter Arms revolver, belonging to Abu-Jamal, with five spent cartridges, was retrieved beside him at the scene. He was wearing a shoulder holster. Anthony Paul, the Supervisor of the Philadelphia Police Department's firearms identification unit, testified at trial that the cartridge cases and rifling characteristics of the weapon were consistent with bullet fragments taken from Faulkner's body. Tests to confirm that Abu-Jamal had handled and fired the weapon were not performed. Contact with arresting police and other surfaces at the scene could have compromised the forensic value of such tests.[32]

I would highlight what you could call the case for the defense in the trial, but as far as I’m concerned, there wasn’t one, or at least not one to be taken seriously. All kinds of attempts at what I would call deflection were thrown into play, such as the “running man” theory (it really wasn’t Abu-Jamal, but someone running from the scene who could not be identified by anyone). And neither Abu-Jamal or his brother, William Cook, testified in their own defense (yes, I realize that can be a strategic move in a court case, but to me, it can add up to a collective picture of guilt, which I think happened here, and apparently, the jury agreed – for the record, Abu-Jamal’s birth name was Wesley Cook).

One of the attempts at deflection came in the form of Arnold Beverly, someone who the Abu-Jamal legal team fought over to use as a defense witness. Beverly’s story was that he was supposed to carry out a contract hit on Faulkner because of the officer’s crime busts – I think that, in the end, Beverly just turned out to be another one of the kooks and bottom-feeders who seemed to latch themselves onto this case for publicity reasons. Besides, anybody dumb enough to try and carry out a hit on a Philadelphia cop knows that his or her life, quite rightly, wouldn’t be worth a wooden nickel afterwards.

The one area of this case where Abu-Jamal’s legal team actually won out was over what was ruled to be prejudicial sentencing instructions to the jury during the penalty phase (the CUNY professor in the Democracy Now! clip, Johanna Fernandez, played that to the hilt…yes, Ron Castille’s actions were politicized, which is never a good thing when you’re talking about a legal procedure – and Fernandez now says that there could have been a FOURTH person at the crime scene? GMAFB!).

Do I think Abu-Jamal deserves a molecule of sympathy? No. But if it turned out that there was impropriety at the penalty phase, then he should be granted a remedy allowed by the law.

Many people I respect and admire have latched onto the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal as if he’s an actual political prisoner. As far as I’m concerned, that is because he is a world-class con man and smooth talker who’s a pro at playing gullible saps for his own ends. He’s as much of a “political prisoner” as I am. And I’m sorry, but on this matter, Mike Farrell, Ed Asner, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and the late Roger Ebert and Paul Newman ARE ALL WRONG.

I’m definitely not a “legal eagle” by any means, but I grew up in Philadelphia when Ofc. Faulkner was killed and while this case was playing out. Yes, I will grant that there was prejudicial activity that occurred surrounding the trial which was wrong, but as far as I’m concerned, it didn’t do a damn thing to change the facts in evidence. And Judge Albert Sabo dent over backwards to accommodate Abu-Jamal and his legal team.

As far as I’m concerned, Mumia Abu-Jamal executed Ofc. Daniel Faulkner in a horrible, brutal manner. And I could care less if Abu-Jamal’s life was endangered in prison because he contracted Hep C (I will grudgingly grant Abu-Jamal’s point about PA having more life inmates than any other state – here).

I guess admitting this means that I’ll now have to turn in my lefty, Trotsky-ite calling card as an unabashed liberal propagandist. But there you are.

With this admittedly boring preamble out of the way, I now give you the clip from Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Interviewing Prof. Fernandez of Baruch College - CUNY about the fact that Abu-Jamal will be granted a hearing to try and make a case for his innocence yet again, as noted here (I was clutching my keyboard throughout the interview, and it was all I could do to not pick it up and smash it against the monitor when Fernandez compared Abu-Jamal to Nelson Mandela at about 11:26 – as far as I’m concerned, Fernandez is just another one of the bottom-feeders I alluded to earlier)…



…and because I think we need to get whatever laughs we can when we can do it (especially with the Dow heading south again), I give you this number to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the discovery of the remains of King Tut, as noted here (well, excuuuse me!).