Richard and Linda Thompson:
Darlene Love’s 2004 Christmas Eve appearance on Letterman:
The Kensington strangler has struck again. Police have said that the third victim is likely connected to the two previous killings, which were connected by DNA tests. There were also three women in the same area who got away from someone who tried to strangle them (since they were prostitutes, at first they didn’t bother to report it).
It’s kind of strange. These murders are happening not that far from my house and the places I go, but because they’re literally on the other side of the tracks (in this case, the elevated train tracks on Frankford Avenue), they might as well be on the other side of the moon.
The women who have been killed all had past drug problems and probably relapsed. Someone on the news, a local man, was interviewed: “It’s getting to the point where you’re afraid to get in a car with a stranger.” (My friend wisecracked, “Like it was perfectly okay to get in a car with a stranger up until then?”)
But, you know, that’s life on the other side of the tracks: Crack addicts, open-air drug markets, bombed out buildings, women giving blowjobs in cars to get the money for a quick high.
It would be a lot easier to park my car there and take the train downtown; a lot cheaper, too. But I’m not going near that neighborhood at night, and I don’t know if my car would be there when I got back, anyway.
States can’t go bankrupt, but the new GOP-controlled House plans to change that — to break the backs of the public employee unions. Here’s their game plan, via Calitics:
But that could be about to change if House Republicans get their way, according to a recent Reuters article:
Congressional Republicans appear to be quietly but methodically executing a plan that would a) avoid a federal bailout of spendthrift states and b) cripple public employee unions by pushing cash-strapped states such as California and Illinois to declare bankruptcy. This may be the biggest political battle in Washington, my Capitol Hill sources tell me, of 2011….Republicans in the House of Representatives already want to stop state and local governments from issuing tax-exempt bonds unless they are more forthright about these future obligations. Republican Representatives Devin Nunes and Darrell Issa of California and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have introduced a bill that would require state and local governments to estimate the size of public pension liabilities if their assets earned a more conservative rate of return than many plans currently expect. Failure to do so would result in the suspension of their ability to issue tax-exempt bonds.
Reuters cites a Weekly Standard article that laid out the endgame – by changing the law to allow state bankruptcies, and then forcing states to go bankrupt by cutting their funding and undermining their ability to borrow, states would be able to reopen contracts with public employees. Not only could wages and benefits then be cut for current workers, but pension benefits for retired workers would also become fair game for cuts, as has happened with retired auto workers and others whose private sector pensions have been slashed after corporate bankruptcies.
It’s no surprise that California Republicans like Issa and Nunes are leading this fight – they know that public employee benefits are one of the last vestiges of a middle-class workforce in the state, and that those unions are one of the last lines of defense against the right.
California already has one big battle come up in early 2011 over the state budget. Looks like we’ll have another in 2011 with this federal effort to force us into bankruptcy. And with Barack Obama busy caving to the right whenever possible, we’ll have to win this fight on our own.
I wonder if this will for one minute keep Darrell Issa from getting invited onto Bill Maher’s show? Nah!
So sorry human rights get in the way of the empire!
US officials regard European human rights standards as an “irritant”, secret cables show, and have strongly objected to the safeguards which could protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from extradition. In a confidential cable from the US embassy in Strasbourg, US consul general Vincent Carver criticised the Council of Europe, the most authoritative human-rights body for European countries, for its stance against extraditions to America, as well as secret renditions and prisons used to hold terrorist suspects.
He blamed the council for creating anti-US sentiment and hampering the US war on terror. “The Council of Europe (COE) likes to portray itself as a bastion of democracy, a promoter of human rights, and the last best hope for defending the rule of law in Europe – and beyond,” Carver said. “(But) it is an organisation with an inferiority complex and, simultaneously, an overambitious agenda. An investigation (by the Council of Europe) into renditions and ‘secret prisons’ in Europe connected to the US war on terrorism … created a great deal of controversy and anti-US sentiment in the Council of Europe,” wrote Carver.
The European court of human rights, the final court of appeal for human rights claims from the UK, whose judgments include the decision to ban deportations to countries which practise torture, is also singled out by the cables.
I want to hear from the same people who explained to me that voting for a constitutional law professor would usher in a new era of respect for civil liberties.
Oh, and by the way? It’s now completely obvious that Osama bin Laden accomplished everything he set out to do.
So they’ll launder drug money and transactions for various and sundry criminal operations, but they won’t process WikiLeaks contributions? Give me a fucking break. I think BoA is soon going to find out who really owns the internet:
Bank of America Corp. said Friday evening that it was joining other financial institutions in declining to process payments intended for WikiLeaks.
“Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks,” the bank said in a statement.
“This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.”
Companies that have cut ties to WikiLeaks have faced cyber-attacks from hackers who back WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s anti-secrecy organization. MasterCard, for example, has said its website was brought down but that card transactions were not compromised.
I can’t wait to see what the hackers do next — and to see the Bank of America documents they’re going to leak. We’ll see who the real criminals are.
In the meantime, here are alternate means of contributing.
This is what the bankers have wrought. And you know what’s weird? Their press is actually covering it, and the cops aren’t attacking the reporters. Hmm: