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The difference

How can these U.N. troublemakers not see the difference? In other countries, they’re protesting against unemployment, political corruption and control by an oligarchy, and their goverment is repressing them with military tactics. Here, they’re… just malcontents! Yeah, that’s it:

WASHINGTON — Federal officials have yet to respond to two United Nations human rights envoys who formally requested that the U.S. government protect Occupy protesters against excessive force by law enforcement officials.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the two envoys called on U.S. officials to “explain the behavior of police departments that violently disbanded some Occupy protests last fall” and expressed concern that excessive use of force “could have been related to [the protesters’] dissenting views, criticisms of economic policies, and their legitimate work in the defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The envoys also reminded the U.S. government of its international obligations to “take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of all peaceful protesters be respected.”

The letter, from Frank La Rue, who serves as the U.N. special rapporteur for the protection of free expression, and Maina Kiai, the special rapporteur for freedom of peaceful assembly, was sent in December 2011.

It was publicly released last week in connection with the 20th annual U.N. Human Rights Council meeting, which started Monday and at which both rapporteurs — independent experts sent out to investigate human rights problems around the world — will make their annual reports.

The U.S. government has not answered the letter. A State Department spokeswoman told HuffPost that “the U.S. will be replying,” but she couldn’t say when or how. “We do not comment on the substance of diplomatic correspondence,” she said.

Heart of gold

The Polyphonic Spree covers Neil Young:

The Polyphonic Spree covers Neil Young

Dimon in the rough

What a bastard:

Earlier today, following JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s testimony in front of the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Committee regarding his company’s recent massive banking loss, Adriana Vasquez, a janitor who cleans the JP Morgan Chase tower in Houston, Texas confronted him with a simple question: “Despite making billions last year, why do you deny the people cleaning your buildings a living wage?”

Dimon evaded Adriana’s question but told her to “call his office” to arrange a meeting.

Each night, Vasquez cleans 24 bathrooms across 11 floors in the JP Morgan Chase tower in downtown Houston. “I work hard each and every day scrubbing 24 bathrooms just to support my children, to keep food on the table and a roof over my head – but it still isn’t enough,” explained Vasquez. “I traveled to Washington, DC to confront Jamie Dimon because it is not acceptable that while he makes billions, he denies the people cleaning his buildings a living wage.”

Primary care

So the strange primary care physician I had down the block has closed down his practice, which saved me the trouble of leaving. My chiro says nobody knows why he’s leaving; I said I wondered if he was going to jail, and the chiro looked at me. “No, really, he was convicted of assault,” I told him. I looked it up; he’d maced a couple of teenage boys who’d thrown a landscaping sign on his lawn.

I picked my medical records up last week. Now what? My neighborhood is not exactly known for attracting top medical talent.

Coincidentally, I had my acupuncture appointment the next day, and my acupuncturist started raving about the bright young doctor who’d recently moved into the area. So I got a business card, made an appointment and I see her tomorrow. Yay!

Hot time, summer in the city

Oh boy.

Excessive heat warning remains in effect from 1 PM Wednesday
to 6 am EDT Friday…

* heat index values… 98 to 104 degrees during each afternoon
Wednesday and Thursday.

Such a doofus

Mitt Romney has discovered our local brand of convenience store. Hey Mittens, it’s not “Wawa’s” – it’s Wawa. As in, I’m going to Wawa, do you want anything? We do not use the possessive. What a tin ear he has. No, it’s not very important. Just illustrative of his awkwardness!

Plus, he’s a liar. The post office change of address card is… a postcard.


MSNBC is no more a “liberal” network than Fox News. It is merely a brand that exists to give use the illusion of choice.

I am pretty sure that this was an unintended outcome of the “stand your ground” law in Florida. Tavarious China Smith is from Manatee County in Florida. He sold drugs to undercover cops and had a pending warrant. He was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

He has also been able to use the “stand your ground” defense twice.

On two occasions, more than two years apart, he committed homicides but was not charged thanks to provisions of Florida’s “stand your ground” law. Smith claimed self-defense in both cases and prosecutors agreed. He never faced a judge or jury for fatally shooting Nikita Williams, 18, in February 2008 in a drug-related incident or Breon Mitchell, Williams’ 23-year-old half-brother, in December 2010.

Smith’s only punishment stemmed from using a gun to kill Mitchell. Since he was by then a felon, convicted on drug charges, Smith wasn’t allowed to carry the Ruger .357 Magnum he used to shoot Mitchell outside a Palmetto nightclub in 2010. In January, a federal judge in Tampa sent Smith to prison after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm….

Arthur Brown is the assistant state attorney in Manatee County who reviewed both of Smith’s homicides and declined to prosecute Smith in the Mitchell case. He said both were clear-cut cases of self-defense and that provisions of the “stand your ground” law only strengthened Smith’s claims.

Smith is serving seven years for the gun possession charge.

Marissa Alexander is serving 20 years for a warning shot after a physical altercation with her estranged husband. She had never been arrested before this incident.

Alexander’s case was prosecuted by Angela Corey, the Florida State’s Attorney who is also prosecuting George Zimmerman. Alexander was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and because she discharged a firearm during the incident, the case fell under Florida’s “10-20-life” law, enacted in 1999, which mandates a 20-year sentence for use of a gun during the commission of certain crimes.

Corey initially offered Alexander a three year deal if she pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, but according to CBS affiliate WTEV, Alexander did not believe she had done anything wrong, and rejected the plea. Her bet did not pay off: the jury in the case returned a guilty verdict in less than 15 minutes.

OK. Yes, I do beleive there should be some kind of review of “stand your ground” and “10-20-life” laws.

Something just isn’t right with all this.



Corporate primacy = poverty for people

I’ve been able to talk with USW president Leo Gerard a couple of times and was impressed with his intelligence and insight. Go read his entire post:

The GOP has contended for 30 years that the primary function of government is to serve corporations and the 1 percent, and that when they thrive, the 99 percent may receive hand-me-down benefits. Democrats believe the principal function of government is to serve the majority of people and that when they benefit, the economy thrives for everyone.

For all the fancy talk in Ohio on Thursday, it comes down to this: Do Americans want a government of the people by the people for the people, one conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal? Or do Americans want a government of the corporations by the corporations for the corporations, one dedicated to the proposition that the rich are better than everyone else?

For the rich, like Mitt Romney, the proposition that they are better than everyone else is a given. Romney believes that he, the son of a wealthy car company executive and governor, the youth who attended exclusive private schools and wallowed in every privilege, is a self-made man.

That is basic Republican philosophy: Every wealthy person and every successful corporation achieved that all by themselves. They didn’t inherit; they didn’t benefit from taxpayer-funded infrastructure like roads, schools and patent enforcement; there was no luck involved. They achieved it alone by virtue of their own grit, hard work and dedication.

Anyone can do it, the GOP believes, if they would just buckle down, work hard and follow all the rules. As a result, in Republican world, anyone who isn’t rich has only himself to blame.

Therefore, in GOP-logic, the poor and middle class are inferior beings. Government should not serve them. The government, Republicans think, should bow to the successful, who earned service. The government must not, according to the GOP, reward shiftlessness by providing benefits to middle class scallywags who have failed to do what it takes to get rich.

The letter

This is, I believe, the second year that indie musicians got together for a Big Star tribute for the late Alex Chilton:

On May 28th, some of indie and power pop’s elite gathered together to perform Big Star’s “Third” in its entirety, plus a whole lot more. Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, Mitch Easter, Robyn Hitchcock, Brett Harris, Norman Blake, Chris Stamey, Django Haskins, Mike Mills and Ira Kaplan knocked out over two hours of music. Some great stuff and I have it all for a possible post if there is enough interest.

Oh, and Ray Davies:

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