Crist’s Morrison Pardon: 21st Century Fox In A Lizard King’s Henhouse

Hey, being pretty much a sentient life long Doors aficionado, I am all in with pardoning Jim Morrison, which there has been a flurry of scuttlebutt emanating, cool and slow, with a backbeat narrow and hard to master, out of the instant swamps of Florida, regarding.

Oh, and when I heard the subject brought up by the patently unhip, plodding Blue Dog, holier than thou, I’m a better Democrat than you, scold Larry O’ Donnell on his craptastic bloviathon MSNBC show, that was just too fucking much. The backdoor rumor is Charlie Crist, who may or may not have eaten more chicken that a man has eve seen, is pondering giving the Big Scooter Libby Get Out Of Jail Free card to the Most Right Reverend Snake King Jim Morrison.

Outstanding. And long over due. Because if some fucking little germ boy, bear cage child threatening, functionally traitorous subservient to Cheney blank like I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby can get a walk from a complicit President of the United States in order to mask apparent criminal behavior, then why not a posthumous hall pass for James Douglas Morrison? Seriously.

If you are comparing and contrasting facts and circumstances, one was an entertainer who may or may not have, for a fleeting moment, exposed himself in 1969 to a Miami audience at the end of a Doors concert that truly could not only have cared less, but were bummed they had not done so earlier. The other, Cheney’s toy Scooter, conspired to expose and out a classified top CIA clandestine agent working on the most critical issue of the day, the existence of nuclear and/or weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and/or Iran. You know, the fraudulent reason the very same Mr. Cheney and wooden operated mouthed George Bush relied on to affirmatively, aggressively and illegally start a war against Iraq for the sins of 9/11 that Iraq not only did not commit, but had actual avarice for the people who did.

That Scooter Libby.

So, if Scooter Libby can skate and, in the process, serve as a firewall for the immorality and illegality of the Bush/Cheney Administration, there is no reason the Lizard King should not be posthumously exculpated.

No tears, no fears, but a lot of ruined years. Charlie Crist made clear intimations he wanted to do this when he took office. Being a gutless politician at heart he, of course, never did it as Governor of the rockin state of Florida. Instead he cowered to the perceived sensabilities of the people in rockin chairs. And lost his ass, soul and electability in the process. Douchebag. Crist is toast. But if he wants to belatedly clean up the halls of the Morrison Hotel, well then I am all for that. Mr. Mojo is rising; Charlie Crist is not. Lizard Kings rule; political blanks drool.

We have constructed pyramids in honor of this escaping. Let the spirit of Mr. Mojo fly Mr. Charlie Crist. It is about the only thing of merit, morals and guts you can do at this point. Get on with it you ineffectual political chameleon stale fish.

Special Trash Talk Rubbish Row: Scotch

I realize some of you who, like me, are sitting right across the pond from Soldier Field might imagine this is just a special NFC North Edition of Monday Night Football Trash Talk.

But this is different.

I need your help.

You see, on Wednesday I leave for a little trip to Scotland with my mom. The highlight of the trip will be a train trip through the West Highlands.

Now, I’m telling you this now not just so you can plan the party you’re going to throw once bmaz takes over Wednesday night or Thursday morning (if we’re all lucky Mary may do a post or two, too). And to warn you all, in case bmaz continues the Sharktopus kick he’s been on.

But also because I’m going to drink some Scotch.

I don’t actually drink Scotch–haven’t drank it since college, when one of the rich kids bought a case of Dewars. But I’m going to do so this week because–well, I’d be stupid to pass up this opportunity. And since a few of you often delve into trash talking argy bargy over Scotch in normal trash talk threads, I thought I’d put this one up so you can all offer your best advice about what I should try. And what I need to know about proper Scotch drinking (because this is the sort of train where one drinks Scotch properly, I think).

Oh, and as for football? When it concerns any NFC North game, I only care about rooting against the old Geezer! Even if he’s not playing. May Urlacher and Woodson have superb games.

(Image credit: Chris huh under Creative Commons)

Sharktopus Live Extravaganza!

It’s Sharktopus time! Yes, we are taking the Emptywheel blog to new and fantastic heights tonight, all with you, our dear readers, commenters and friends in mind! Watch the world premier of a sure fir Oscar winner, Sharktopus, with us. All you have to do is tune your TeeVee to SyFy Channel at 9:00 pm Eastern, 8:00 pm Central and join us in comments as you watch and imbibe. For those on the west coast, we will be repeating the festivities when you can play at 9:00 pm Pacific, Arizona and FDL time.

The festivities will be led by Eli from FDL, Marcy Wheeler and some special guests, including the very disturbing, yet intriguing, “Mystery Dub”. Since the west coast will not get to see Sharktopus until 9 pm PST/FDL time, the whole event will be repeated with bmaz and, hopefully, some other special guests, celebrities and you!

With no further adieu:

Sharktopus is a killing machine, half shark and half octopus. From the Sharktopus entry in Uncyclopedia:

The sharktopus is tough, but fair. Actually, it’s not fair at all, it’s absolutely merciless and it will just fuck you up! It is also sophisticated, a gourmand and a member of MENSA Elite!!!It is a creature so evil that it was cast from the pits of hell and sent to kill all those who enter the sea. Combining the many rows of serrated teeth found in sharks and the awesome suction cup power of the octopus.

When you venture too close to the ocean, or make the critical error of stumbling into the ocean, you are fucked! The sharktopus will latch on with its tentacles, violate you and then start eating you feet first. It’s believed that it wants you to feel pain, hence the feet first. Man it’s painful, just ask Satan. After it eats you, it then goes after your family.

The sharktopus has three amazing abilities to make its killing arsenal very deadly. Ability the first: it can smell bloodlines. This ability has lead to the extermination of copious amounts of families. And has torn others apart based on bastard children. Nobody is safe. Ability the second: it can go on land when the bloodline vendetta has been announced. Once it has a target it can hunt you down no matter where you are, unless you live in the cloud city of Bespin. Ability the third: it is high skilled in a variety of…skills. Such as its proficiency in Southern Mantis style kung-fu, being adept at handling a variety of firearms, satisfaction of women, (much more after jump) Read more

Huge Brass Balls and A Burn In The Bay: BART Shooting Verdict

Sundown will be bouncing in off the water soon. There is probably a false lull except on the arterials leaving. But there is talk of a burn by the bay tonight. A city on flame from the ill will between the black and the blue. The verdict is, inexplicably, involuntary manslaughter in the Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit subway execution of young Oscar Grant by cop:

A jury found former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle guilty today of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting of an unarmed train rider, finding that he had acted with criminal negligence when he fired a single shot into Oscar Grant’s back at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland.

Within minutes of the verdict being read, the city was preparing for the the slow burn to lead to explosion:

3:30 p.m. City asks residents/merchants to prepare for possible violence

Police are advising residents to park cars in garages or a secure location if possible. Many streets in downtown are being closed off.

Residents and merchants should remove or secure large trash cans that are on the street. To report crimes in process, call 911 or 510-777-3211 from a cell phone.

There is reason for concern. The facts are incendiary. Kevin Drum hit it pitch perfect:

Of course, this understates the case a wee bit. Mehserle, along with several other BART cops, had Grant pinned face first on the ground when he very deliberately pulled out his gun and shot Grant in the back. Mehserle’s defense is that he meant to pull out his taser but mistakenly pulled out his gun instead. This is, needless to say, pretty hard to accept, and there’s little question that there’s a jury anywhere in the country that would have bought this story from anyone who wasn’t a police officer. You can judge for yourself in the cell phone video taken by a witness (the clearest view starts around the 1:45 mark).

I hardly even know what to say about this. I wasn’t in court and I wasn’t on the jury, so I didn’t hear all the evidence. But for chrissake. Look at the video. Mehserle didn’t look confused and modern tasers don’t feel much like service revolvers. And it’s not as if he was acting under extreme duress. At most there was a brief and perfunctory struggle, after which Mehserle calmly raised himself up while Grant was pinned to the ground, drew his revolver, and shot him.

It really is pretty much exactly that. Oakland knew. They knew from the first second. Now their justice has been taken by a jury with no blacks. Down south in Hollywood. Taken as blatantly as Oscar Grant’s life.

On a corollary, you have got to admire the balls on Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, who talked his client into trying to pull back the manslaughter lesser included charges from consideration by the jury and send them to deliberate up or down on second degree murder.

Legal experts called the ruling a victory for the prosecution. The defense had sought to rule out the manslaughter counts, but Judge Robert Perry said jurors – who are scheduled to hear closing arguments today – had enough evidence to consider them in connection with the shooting of unarmed train rider Oscar Grant.

“The defense wanted all or nothing, betting that the jury would not find him guilty of murder,” said Laurie Levenson, a former federal prosecutor who teaches at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “This gives the jury a compromise position.”

Yeah, that is the play, but it is a tad more bare knuckles hairy than that sterile explanation. See, a client doesn’t make that decision without some, um, input from his lead defense lawyer.

That’s a big time play. Because if you misread the jury (and whoo boy is that easy to do; juries are fucking loopy), and if they don’t like your guy or you case as well as you thought, you just walked your client head first into a top count conviction for second degree. Probably a lot less tense when your client is a cop. Being tried in LA for shooting a black kid in Oakland. But still…

Guess the prosecution didn’t think the jury would return on second either, because they fought tooth and nail to keep the lesser includeds in the jury verdict set. And that is what the court did, so Mike Rains did not have to stand in the well of the court next to his client and wait. Wait for the jury to come in. Wait to see if your move to put your client’s ass on the big line for the top count, all or nothing, was genius or wanton malpractice. Wait for the jury to get seated. They don’t look at you as they file by on their way to the jury box when returning with the verdict. They know and you don’t. And they will not risk giving it away by making eye contact. A procession of twelve druids. It is eery silent.

Then you wait as the judge and clerk go through the formalities for the reading of the verdict. It takes forever. It is absolute hell. But today was a good day for Michael Rains and his client Mehserle. But a bad day for the City of Oakland. Now the night comes.

New Year's Resolution Music Jam

Back when President Lieberman and President Bad Nelson vetoed real health care reform and instead insisted on a mandated giveaway to the insurance industry, I sat down and listened to the entire box set, Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, the Atlantic Recordings, from start to finish. As you can imagine, it helped my mood immensely.

It made me realize that I haven’t been taking enough time to just sit down and listen to music of late.

I resolved to change that this year–to take more time for both recorded and live music.

So help me keep my New Year’s resolution. What have you been listening to of late–both new and old–that has really rocked your soul? What new bands have been busy making great music while I’ve been buried in a sometimes futile fight against DC culture?

And Happy New Year!

Road Trip Open Thread

Mr. EW and I decided today was the day to drive to Philadelphia. I hear they have Elves there…

If bmaz has recovered from watching his beloved Old Man River North, Brett Favre, get shellacked the other night, he’s likely to come in and post something interesting … or at least open the liquor cabinet.

If anything really exciting happens, email me–I’ll check in a few times from the road.

In the meantime, behave yourselves!

Giving Thanks for the Richness of Michigan

Picture 155Michigan is, economically, the nation’s basket case.

But because of our agricultural diversity, it is incredibly rich in fresh and local food–perhaps not a bread basket, but definitely a healthy food basket. Which–should you ever decide to limit yourself to local ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner–makes it a wonderfully rich state.

Which is just what the friends I share Thanksgiving with and I decided to do.

We came very close to eating all local last year–except for the wine and flour and random oranges. So I suggested we make a concerted effort to buy Michigan this year. With the exception of spices and olive oil and a few items from the vicinity of our out-of-town guest, everything came from MI.

Some of this food is stuff we eat year-round (several of us had a Tantre Farm CSA share this year, Bells Beer is one of the local standards in these parts, and I’ve grown spoiled with Calder’s Dairy butter). Some of this will require some substitutions (while I found local chestnuts last year, I was unable to this year, so will substitute Jerusalem artichoke in the stuffing). And including wine among the local products pushed us to try wines we otherwise wouldn’t have (special thanks to Mary from Everyday Wines, who went out of her way to help me replace the Bowers Harbor Pinot Grigio mr. emptywheel and I tested on Monday night).

Picture 158Among all the other reasons I appreciate Thanksgiving, taking the opportunity to recognize local farmers and food producers is one of them. Even in a time when the state is suffering, they sure exemplify the richness of Michigan.

Here’s what we’ll be eating–all of which should be marked in the map above–along with some of the local shops that stock these products:

Harnois heritage turkey, Whitmore Lake, MI

Michigan bacon, from Sparrow Meat Market

Stock from Ernst Farm chicken, Ann Arbor, MI

Tantre Farm veggies and pumpkin, Chelsea, MI

Needle Lane Farm Jerusalem artichokes, Tipton, MI

Picture 159Shetlers Farm potatoes, Homer, MI

Garden Works Organic Farm onions, Ann Arbor, MI

Kapnick Orchards apples, Britton, MI

Cranberries, Grass Lake, MI from People’s Food Co-Op

Wasem’s Fruit Farm rhubarb, Milan, MI

Zingerman’s Creamery cheese, Ann Arbor, MI

Calder Dairy butter and ice cream, Lincoln Park, MI

Guernsey Dairy milk and cream, Northville, MI

Sunrise Poultry Eggs, Homer, MI

Pioneer Sugar (beet sugar) from “the Thumb,” MI

Westwind Milling Company flour, Linden, MI, from By the Pound

JK Scrumpy’s organic hard cider from Almar Orchards, Flushing MI

Bells Brewery beer, Kalamazoo, MI

Michigan wine from Everyday Wines:

With other home-grown veggies, sage, thyme, home made bread and sourdough starter, and vinegar

I may update this later with pictures–or maybe to proselytize about putting bacon on your turkey. Until then, may you all have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

See-Through Turkey

I’m going to talk a bit about where my Thanksgiving Dinner is coming from later today. But I was fascinated by this consideration of Turkey Dinner from Sunlight Foundation.

Turkey. What are the results of the latest federal safety inspection of the plant where your turkey met its end? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) knows, but it’s hard for ordinary consumers to get their hands on that information. While the agency posts results of bacterial sampling for different type of meat and poultry, it’s not available in a format that consumers could use to compare brands or products.

Cranberry sauce. If you serve the canned kind (my husband always insists on it)—can you believe the claims on the label? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues warning letters to companies that violate labeling laws for offenses such as false health claims (This oatmeal can cure memory loss!) or if it fails to list information about a chemical preservative.  On the FDA’s website, you can search them by company, date, download them, all good stuff. Except that last year the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) criticized the agency because it had neglected to post at least 220 warning letters and had also posted some duplicates. We don’t know what the FDA doesn’t tell us.

Stuffing. Was there ever a recall on the brand of stuffing mix you are thinking of buying? While you can sign up to receive alerts on recalls of contaminated products, whether meat (USDA) or not (FDA), there’s no central searchable database where you can look up a particular brand name and research any history of safety problems associated with it. After the scare last year involving salmonella poisoning, the FDA set up such a database; however, it’s restricted to products containing peanut butter (and later one for pistachios). It’s great to have that specific information, but while my five-year-old son thrives on a diet primarily based on peanut butter, most of us like to vary our diets.

It goes on to raise questions about pesticide and Ag subsidy transparency–click through to read the rest.

I noted last night that today is a good time to remember–and support–those food banks that help ensure that families that are struggling can enjoy a Thanksgiving Dinner, too.

It’s also a good time to reflect on how big and scary our food system has become. (Indeed, the industrialization of our food system may contribute to the rising number of Americans who struggle to get enough food.)

Where did your turkey come from?

Marcy Eats Kobe at Netroots Nation

kobe.thumbnail.jpgKobe beef, that is.

This is a pic that RevDeb took last night when a bunch of us went out to dinner (that’s Gregg Levine warning me that Jane’s gonna be pissed). Between Eli and Ian and Scarecrow and Rayne, they couldn’t stop me from eating Kobe.

I’m home now from Netroots Nation, lying on the couch trying to ingratiate myself with McCaffrey the MilleniaLab (who is upset that I watched parts of about 4 football games–and met Franco Harris–without him). He also wants you to know that he never trusted Tony Dungy and that certainly hasn’t changed in the last few days.

For those who didn’t make it this year, here were some Netroots Nation highlights, from my perspective.

Of course, the most important part was hanging out with all the folks I spend my days with online, only in brick and mortar space. Key new additions (in brick and mortar space) were Alaska heros Shannyn Moore and Mudflats, down for the fun. 

As mentioned, another key highlight was meeting Franco Harris! His son is running for mayor of Pittsburgh–hoping to make the city serve its residents.

And of course, the steel tour. It’s amazing what human ingenuity can do. We’ve just got to make sure we continue to do it here in the States.

Had a very bizarre pub crawl with Trapper John, DHinMI, Kagro X, Miss Laura from DKos, Bob Fertik from, Phil Anderson from Albany Project, and a few others. Between the "midget bar" and the pitcher of absinthe and all the smoke, I felt like I was living a surreal Czech film. Only, we were screaming about Rahm Emanuel the whole time.

And I had two panels that I was honored to be on–one on manufacturing with (among others) Steelworker President Leo Gerard and Congresswoman Donna Edwards, and another on torture with the ACLU, CCR, and Congressman Jerry Nadler. I’ll have more to say about the latter tomorrow, I think.

I should be back to regular programming tomorrow–I’ll finally get to wade through that HJC document dump. (Incidentally, I got to meet Governor Corzine, as well, and will do a post on that.)

Thanks to bmaz for posting some great work while I was in Pittsburgh. I don’t know what we’ll do with the site next year, when bmaz will be on whatever bizarre pub crawl I’m on in Las Vegas.  I guess you’ll all have to join us in Vegas?! Read more

Woodstock: 40 Years Down The Road And A Nation Lost

Well, I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, Tell me, where are you going?
This he told me

Said, I’m going down to Yasgur’s Farm,
Gonna join in a rock and roll band.
Got to get back to the land and set my soul free.

As you may have heard, we are on the precipice of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. The famous, and infamous, cultural milestone took place down on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm outside of Bethel New York between August 15 and August 18, 1969. Thirty-two acts performed, during a sometimes rainy weekend, in front of nearly half a million concertgoers. The history and lore of Woodstock began immediately, it was clear to both those who loved it, and those who hated it, that it was a uniquely seminal moment.

Well, then can I roam beside you?
I have come to lose the smog,
And I feel myself a cog in somethin’ turning.
And maybe it’s the time of year,
Yes and maybe it’s the time of man.
And I don’t know who I am,
But life is for learning.

We are stardust, we are golden,
We are billion year old carbon,
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Something had happened. Something big and transformational. But what? The prevailing view seems to be that it was a symbol of the discord and unrest of the 60’s, the antiwar movement and the counterculture generation. It is also viewed as the ultimate example of the peace and love motif of "the hippies". I wonder about all that; in fact, I am more inclined to the view expressed by Jon Pareles in a great article in the New York Times:

Yet for all the benign memories, Woodstock also set in motion other, more crass impulses. While its immediate aftermath was amazement and relief, the festival’s full legacy had as much to do with excess as with idealism. As the decades roll by, the festival seems more than ever like a fluke: a moment of muddy, disheveled, incredulous grace. It was as much an endpoint as a beginning, a holiday of naïveté and dumb luck before the realities of capitalism resumed. Woodstock’s young, left-of-center crowd — nice kids, including students, artists, workers and politicos, as well as full-fledged L.S.D.-popping hippies — was quickly recognized as a potential army of consumers that mainstream merchants would not underestimate Read more