Sunday News and Open Thread

Militants in Somalia attack the Supreme Court. All 9 attackers, most wearing suicide vests, were killed, court was in session, and hostages were taken. These AP photos show a ravaged city and incredible poverty. A burning car, rescue efforts, a woman with a baby trying to get to safety, one of the injured clinging to the pants of the soldier trying to help him, a little girl and her brother running to safety.

In the random acts of violence department: In Long Beach, CA, a man goes to a 7-11 and a homeless man throws a flammable object in his car.

The victim was sitting in a Toyota SUV at the convenience mart on Clark Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway when the car burst into flames, witnesses said.

The victim was pulled from the vehicle by witnesses and later transported to a nearby hospital. He sustained severe burns to his upper torso and is listed in critical condition.

After spending 38 years in prison, a judge in the Bronx has freed a man wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a child. David Bryant has no place to live, and no family still alive. For the time being, he will stay with the director of the Centurion Ministries, the organization that challenged his conviction.

The numbers of the wrongfully convicted in the country keep rising. There should be a mandatory requirement that the state that wrongfully convicted them provide services to assist them in re-adjusting to society.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Progressive Caucus members (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:52:30 PM EST
    who haven't stood up

    As of now, the following House members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have NOT signed the letter initiated by Congressmen Alan Grayson and Mark Takano pledging: "We will vote against any and every cut to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits -- including raising the retirement age or cutting the cost of living adjustments that our constituents earned and need."

    Karen Bass
    Xavier Becerra
    Earl Blumenauer
    Suzanne Bonamici
    Michael Capuano
    Andre Carson
    Donna Christensen
    Judy Chu
    Yvette Clarke
    Steve Cohen
    Elijah Cummings
    Rosa DeLauro
    Donna Edwards
    Sam Farr
    Chaka Fattah
    Lois Frankel
    Marcia Fudge
    Janice Hahn
    Jared Huffman
    Rush Holt
    Sheila Jackson-Lee
    Hakeem Jeffries
    Eddie Bernice Johnson
    Joe Kennedy III
    Ann McLane Kuster
    John Lewis
    David Loebsack
    Ben Ray Lujan
    Jim McDermott
    George Miller
    Gwen Moore
    Jim Moran
    Eleanor Holmes Norton
    Frank Pallone
    Ed Pastor
    Chellie Pingree
    Mark Pocan
    Jared Polis
    Charles Rangel
    Lucille Roybal-Allard
    Linda Sanchez
    Jan Schakowsky
    Louise Slaughter
    Bennie Thompson
    John Tierney
    Mel Watt
    Peter Welch

    If you are represented by any of the above Representatives please call them and ask them to sign the pledge.


    If you are represented by any... (none / 0) (#2)
    by unitron on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:23:54 PM EST
    ...No such luck, I'm stuck with the freedom fries guy.

    I can't imagine these names will (none / 0) (#27)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 10:27:56 AM EST
    not be added to the letter.

    That being said, the easy part is always signing some pledge; the hard part is doing the work against a tide of media and messaging that suggests we not only HAVE TO do this, but we have no choice but to do it this way.


    U.S. policy lets N.Korean children starve. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by caseyOR on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:42:08 PM EST
    This article appeared in today's edition of The Oregonian. Be forewarned, if you read it you will learn that our government has decided that starving the children of N. Korea is an acceptable foreign policy tool.

    The situation in N.Korea is dire.

    The next month Mercy Corps' Austin led the assessment team into the world's most isolated nation. They visited families who ate seed stock and wild grasses, spending 90 percent of their income on food.

    Fertilizer shortages, crop failures and increased prices cut daily rations of corn and rice to an average 400 grams. That's about 1,375 calories, one-third of what the average American consumes.

    Austin's pen froze in one unheated hospital. In one apartment, when he interviewed an elderly couple about their lack of food, the interpreter started to cry.

    "You know enough," she said. "This is too hard."

    People chipped through ice on riverbanks for plants and roots. "Protein is eaten only a few times a year, with many people able to name the exact date on which they last consumed meat or eggs," the team reported.

    The Obama administration has taken a hardline stance toward N. Korea, a much more heartless and cynical policy move than even Reagan or GW Bush took.

    I get that N. Korea is an oppressive regime that has been ruled for three generations by a family of heartless and mentally unhinged men. That does not excuse our decision to wage diplomatic war on the backs of starving children.  Surely, we are a better nation than this policy would indicate.

    When will we listen to "the better angels of our nature"?

    Children are starving because of (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:21:57 PM EST
    the North Korean government.

    And that "diplomatic war" is our effort to not have to wage real war were real Americans and real Norh Korean children will be killed.


    Thank heavens.... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by unitron on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:48:34 AM EST
    "After spending 38 years in prison, a judge in the Bronx has freed a man wrongfully convicted of raping and murdering a child. "

    ...the judge finally got out of prison so that he could free that poor man.

    : - )

    Fun with sentence construction... (none / 0) (#15)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 06:11:47 AM EST
    looking at the time stamp on your comment, I'm wondering if this is the kind of thing that keeps you up at night...



    Larry Summers on health care (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 10:42:55 AM EST
    Most experts would agree that it is a good thing that politics thwarted the effort to establish a guaranteed annual income in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as well as the effort to establish a "single-payer" health-care system during the 1970s. link

    BTW, someone needs to send him a dictionary. Larry is clapping loudly that we have finally passed universal health care when in fact the legislation mandates insurance rather than care and will be at least 20 - 30 million people short of being universal.

    One of the many inmates serving LWOP (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:11:03 PM EST
    interviewed.  He's 80 and has spent most of his adult life behind the bars of Maine's prisons.

    He's given up escaping and trying - no lack of cunning, just no more fire to do it.

    Read down, and get the details on one of his attempts.

    And the cost of keeping him behind bars.

    on the other hand (none / 0) (#6)
    by nyjets on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:51:26 PM EST
    He is  a murder who had been a trouble maker for his entire stay in prison. I am sorry, he should no be allowed to go free.

    From our "Not the U2 Album" file: (none / 0) (#4)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 04:03:24 PM EST
    Vandalism has become so extensive in Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California that the popular Rattlesnake Canyon has been closed to the public. Park rangers note that 17 areas of the canyon have been defaced by graffiti, including several historic Native American cultural sites.

    I hate to think it's coming to this, but it probably won't be too much longer before we start to seriously consider regulations to control the sales of spray paint.

    Appropriate happening at (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 05:19:00 PM EST
    Too recent to speak ill of. (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 08:27:16 PM EST
    I don't think (none / 0) (#11)
    by NYShooter on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:21:15 PM EST
    it was meant as "speak[ing] ill,"
    although, "appropriate," may not have been the best choice of words.

    My choice would have been, "tragic irony."


    Can I hire you as my editor? (none / 0) (#16)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 07:34:06 AM EST
    Speaking Of Somalia (none / 0) (#9)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:56:12 PM EST
    I just finish posting a "Flag" comment on the Russian article and thought I would give another comparison

    the Confederate States of America used a couple of flags, one of them was the "Bonnie Blue" notice how close it matches the Somalia Flag

    one a rebel, the other a pirate, both rather simplistic, like the Jolly Roger

    missing link (none / 0) (#10)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:58:23 PM EST
    The "Bonnie Blue Flag" originated ... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 04:04:15 AM EST
    ... as the flag of the long-forgotten "Republic of West Florida," which once comprised present-day north-central Louisiana and the southern Mississippi and southern Alabama gulf coasts. American provocateurs (with the none-too-subtle encouragement of Gen. Andrew Jackson) had seized this region from Spain in September 1810, and it was formally annexed by the United States less than 90 days after the ouster of the main Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge.

    The imperial authorities in Spanish Florida's capital of St. Augustine protested, of course. But since most of Spain was then occupied by French troops and was a major battleground in the Napoleonic Wars, they could expect no help from the mother country in their efforts to reclaim the territory.

    Per the terms of the 1819 Transcontinental Treaty -- aka the Adams-Onis Treaty -- between the United States and Spain, the entirety of Spanish Florida was formally ceded to the U.S., in exchange for fixing the national boundary between the U.S. and the Viceroyality of New Spain (which became independent Mexico two years later) and absolving $5 million in claims which American settlers in northern Florida had previously levied against the Spanish colonial administration in St. Augustine.


    well how 'bout that (none / 0) (#30)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:16:58 PM EST
    there must be channeling going on, has that darn dog Sam got loose again? 5 days ago I wrote a spoof about the Trayvon Martin case over at Diwataman called "Dances With Werewolves" a spin on the Kevin Costner film "Dances With Wolves", and I bring up Andrew Jackson and the Florida Seminole Indians, its near the bottom of the page, they are a bit serious over there and didn't take an interest, I am sketching another called "My Cousin Benny" for "My Cousin Vinny" with Joe Pesci, not sure if its worth the effort though

    Andrew was from the Bonnie Braes

    thanks for the historical review


    So you're saying... (none / 0) (#13)
    by unitron on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 03:03:06 AM EST
    ...that Somali pirates stole the idea for their flag from us?

    Well, that's what pirates do, they take stuff from others.


    I am unaware of the origination (none / 0) (#29)
    by P3P3P3P3 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 10:50:28 AM EST
    of Somalia's Flag design choice, since it is of simple design, I did not suspect copying, sharing does go on, look at Liberia's Flag, a US and a Bonnie Blue

    it is possible its just some militaristic Scottish adventurers



    Responsible gun ownership news :-( (none / 0) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 07:35:16 AM EST
    I'd like an update on the 11-year old in a few (none / 0) (#18)
    by Angel on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 08:13:40 AM EST

    And the humorous (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 08:13:52 AM EST
    A 52-year-old man is recovering at a Lincoln, Nebraska hospital after accidentally shooting himself in the leg... during a concealed carry class

    This comment pretty much says it all: (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Angel on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 08:44:33 AM EST
    "Oh, yeah, guns really make us safer, don't they? All these loons, frightened of their own shadows, who think they have to carry a gun EVERYWHERE... why doesn't that comfort me?

    What, have they been watching television so much they think we're all living in a Mad Max movie? Are they preparing for Armageddon, when Jesus will return and send everyone without a gun to hell? Are they preparing to fight the UN or the U.S. Army when the lizard people take control?

    I grew up with guns. I used to hunt all the time. But today's gun culture is a product of NRA fear-mongering. It's fantasy, pure and simple - but fantasy that kills people. And why? Money and political power. That's it. Those interests whip up hysteria in gullible people for their own benefit."


    And the not so humerous (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:30:38 AM EST
    Charges against St. Louis County gun instructor put concealed-carry permits in doubt

    CLAYTON * A St. Louis County police records clerk was stumped when a concealed-carry permit applicant presented a certificate showing he had received the required eight hours of firearms training that very day.

    She looked at her watch. It was about 1:30 p.m. March 5. She asked exactly when he took the class. It started at 10 a.m., he said. She alerted supervisors.

    An undercover sting that followed resulted in criminal charges against Donald Crangle, 52, a prolific trainer of Missouri's armed citizens and the first to be accused of wrongdoing.

    Police are now enlisting other jurisdictions to identify the scope of the problem and are trying to decide what to do with at least 1,770 people toting guns in public on Crangle's say-so.

    Two undercover officers signed up for Crangle's next class, on March 22, at his north St. Louis County home. In just three hours, Crangle told the 11 students they had completed the course, even though they had not met any of state-mandated criteria, said Lt. Chris Stocker, whose detectives obtained the charges.

    Passing the course with flying colors was one student who turned the muzzle of a loaded weapon toward her own face after it jammed and another trainee fired at one target but hit the next one.

    People with this level of proficiency are walking the streets of cities in my area with loaded guns which I find frightening rather than humorous.  


    Guns don't make people smarter; (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 10:01:59 AM EST
    I wish I knew why so many people think otherwise.

    One thing I find disturbing about this is that not (none / 0) (#24)
    by Angel on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:54:21 AM EST
    one single person who took the class reported they were not getting the full eight hours of instruction.  And the instructor is guilty of only a misdemeanor offense, that is shocking.  I hope that at the very least the IRS goes after him for not reporting his income.  

    You're on a roll here. (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 08:32:19 AM EST
    Those shouting 2nd. Amendment rights (none / 0) (#26)
    by MO Blue on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 10:12:21 AM EST
    believing that it gives them unrestricted rights to any and all weaponry without regulations might find that the courts have refused to back that assumption.

    High court rejects challenge to NY gun law

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is staying out of the gun debate for now.

    The justices on Monday declined to hear a challenge to a strict New York law that makes it difficult for residents to get a license to carry a concealed handgun in public.

    The court did not comment in turning away an appeal from five state residents and the Second Amendment Foundation. Their lawsuit also drew support from the National Rifle Association and 20 states.


    New York Enacts the Strictest Gun Laws in the United States ..


    This is shameful (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 09:01:24 AM EST
    On everyone's part, but especially on the defense attorney's.