Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I don't stand the ghost of a chance

Yes, the main headline here in London is that it's hot. In Maryland, this would be a normal summer's day, of course, but in Maryland, we had air conditioning. My plan for tomorrow is to stand under water a lot.

Digby: "Over the week-end Melissa Harris-Perry delivered one of the most fatuous commentaries yet about the NSA spying revelations. She snidely exhorted "Ed" Snowden to "come home" so that she can stop talking about him and move on to more important topics. Evidently, despite the fact that she commands four hours a week on her own show and many more as a frequent guest on various MSNBC panels, she has no agency and cannot choose what stories to discuss. As long as "Ed" refuses to face the music and submit himself to federal prison, probably for life, she will not be able to talk about the information he revealed [...] I just watched a half hour bloc of MSNBC and FOX News and the coverage of the NSA leaks this morning was almost exactly the same. I guess bipartisan comity is possible after all ..."

"Cargill Flouts Law to Secretly Build Land Bank in Colombia: Cargill, the world's largest food company, has been secretly amassing land from small farmers in eastern Colombia, despite a law prohibiting the practice. When the two countries signed a free trade agreement last year, Cargill emerged as the owner of 52,574 hectares where it grows corn and soybeans. The small farms in the isolated high plains of Vichada department in eastern Colombia were given to poor peasants in the 1990s under a scheme to convert 'wasteland' in an area that had become a stronghold for the lucrative cocaine trade. Colombian law prohibits any one person or entity from owning more than one 'agricultural family unit' of this land in an effort to diversify land ownership in a country where most land is owned by a small wealthy minority." (Thanks to ksix.)

"Nations Buying as Hackers Sell Flaws in Computer Code [...] ReVuln specializes in finding remote vulnerabilities in industrial control systems that can be used to access - or disrupt - water treatment facilities, oil and gas pipelines and power plants."

So this German guy tells his Facebook pals that, in the name of the NSA Spy Protection League, they should join him for a walk to observe them in their natural habitat at the local US army spy center. Naturally, he quickly got got lots of visits and phone calls from the cops and state security offices. (via)

I guess I'm as shocked as a lot of people are at the idea that a guy with a gun can stalk a kid and shoot him and walk away, but according to Jeralyn, it sounds like it might have been a bit more complicated than the headlines indicate. One issue to keep in mind is that many people have pegged the prosecutors as (a) having over-reached with their charges and (b) doing a generally lousy job of presenting a case. And it's not just FOX news saying so.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, in "On the Killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman," says the verdict was correct.
Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas say, "Blame the law."
Amanda Marcott, "George Zimmerman Shouldn't Have Had A Gun."
Charles Pierce, "What George Zimmerman Can Do Now"
Meanwhile, compare and contrast:
"'America's Justice System Is a Joke': Athletes Respond to Trayvon Martin Verdict"
"What Athletes' Response To The Zimmerman Verdict Says About Race And Class In America"

"My New Hero, Kathleen Kane aka Destroyer of Democracy [...] The ACLU and 23 citizens have filed a federal district court suit challenging Pennsylvania's 1996 statute defining marriage as between 'one man and one woman' and banning recognition of same-sex marriages from other states. And AG Kane has refused to serve as the state's defense..." (via)

Meanwhile, in the case of an actual destroyer of Democracy, Paul Rosenberg continues his series on The Structure of Lies in Conservative Jurisprudence with "Lying in the confirmation process & beyond: John Roberts, Pt. 3 [...] Each of these sorts of activities is directly detrimental to the rule of law, injecting elements of random, arbitrary, and capricious decisionmaking into the entire body of American jurisprudence, and giving the lies to Roberts' claims about the sort of self-restrained justice he would be. If the Supreme Court itself were subject to judicial review, these are precisely the sorts of decisions that would be routinely over-ridden. They are not acts of law, but acts against law. While there might, conceivably, on some rare occasion be reasons for taking any one of these actions individually, it should always be possible to give compelling reasons why. The motivating need should fairly scream out from the pages of any decision taking one of these extreme actions. But these are patterns, not isolated examples, and no such reasons are ever given."

Bloody hell! Tampons of mass destruction confiscated by Texas Republicans. See, I can't think of any reason for them to do this other than to try to alienate voters.

"The Federal Reserve helped fund the D.C. Metro system. Wait, what?"

Much as I'd just like to humorlessly shove David Cameron into a chair and shout at him for an hour about how if there were jobs for all these unemployed people we'd all know about it because most of the people in this country would be getting desperate calls from headhunters begging us to come work for them, but since no one actually wants to pay people for all the work that needs to be done, his rattling on about how cutting benefits will send people back to work and save money (ha!) is just more evidence that he is either incredibly stupid or a complete lying bastard or both - [take a deep breath] - much as I'd like to do that, I can't help but be charmed by the telling fact that he can't even peg a parody Twitter account when he sees one. Not charmed by Cameron's cluelessness, of course, but by it providing Edinburgh Eye with an excuse to quote some of the fake tweets from the purported Ian Duncan Smith account. Like: "My salary is £65,000 a year. After petrol, food and housing are deducted I'm only left with £65,000 a year. I deserve a pay rise."

I was reading a so-so article I won't bother to link when I was startled by this image. Yeah, it seems like something that would have happened back in those days, but I have no memory of ever seeing this episode, even though, in retrospect, it wouldn't have been that show without at least one such scene. I can hear their voices in my head and everything, but I just don't remember it.

Singing the Lesbian Blues in 1920s Harlem

Cartoon: Picasso's Blues Period

It's been a tough few days, you probably need something like a Nerdy, sexy, dirty, funny lovesong on a uke to cheer you up.

Chet Baker, Let's Get Lost


  1. As Ambrose Pierce put it, justice is "a commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service."

    Fortunately, there's no question about the allegiance of courtiers like Melissa Harris-Perry. Servants of the state always profit while anyone seeking to hold them accountable...

    Read this on the train today:

    There are bad people everywhere,
    and good ones among the bad.
    I hastened to console myself by
    reflecting: And who knows? These
    people are perhaps by no means so
    much worse than the remainder who
    have remained outside the prison. Even
    as I thought this, I shook my head at
    the idea, and yet, my God, if I had only
    known at the time how true that thought

    The House of the Dead, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    1. Thanks for this, JC. It's been a while since I remembered this passage.

    2. One more for the ages:

      The human being and the citizen perish forever in the tyrant, and a return to human dignity, to repentance, to regeneration becomes practically impossible for him. What is more, the example, the possibility of such intransigence have a contagious effect upon the whole of society: such power is a temptation. A society which can look upon such a phenomenon with indifference is already contaminated to its foundations. Put briefly, the right given to one man to administer corporal punishment to another is one of society’s running sores, one of the most effective means of destroying in it every attempt at, every embryo of civic consciousness, and a basic factor in its certain and inexorable dissolution.

  2. Mike Flannigan's take on the whole sordid Trayvon Martin affair. His final say: We're all to blame from the President on down.

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  4. Crosspost from MercRising

    John Conyers and Justin Amash will present an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill that will “‘end authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act,’ as well as prevent the NSA from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, ‘including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.’”

    The vote in the House could come as soon as Wednesday, July 24th. It deserves your support.