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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,157

Journal Archives

Charles P. Pierce on Obama's Trayvon remarks today...hoo boy.


...in making those remarks, and in sounding for one of the very few times like what once was called a Race Man, the president broke what a lot of people assumed was a covenant he'd made with them when they permitted him to be president. That covenant was fashioned for him during his speech to the Democratic convention in Boston, wherein he told a divided country everything it really wanted to hear about itself. He was going to be the living demonstration of the progress the nation had made. His job, in addition to being president, was going to be as a redemptive figure. That was the deal by which the country would allow him to be its president.

I always thought that speech was overrated. I thought it was dreamy utopian nonsense that did not take into account the well-financed virulence that would be brought to bear on him, and on his policies, and on his entire public career. (I think the fact that he bought it has a lot to do with how stuck in the mud his administration has been, and is, on several important issues.) Remember, in his big speech on race during the campaign, he made it a point to mention how his grandmother would tense up when she saw black men on the street. That was the Barack Obama of the 2004 speech. That was the Barack Obama of the redemptive covenant. That was how the country would allow him to speak on race, if he wanted to be its president.

Today, there was none of that. He didn't even obliquely try to justify sidewalk profiling of the kind that set off the chain of circumstances by which Trayvon Martin was made dead. He spoke plain truth, and the reason you know it is so many smart people already are saying how politically unwise it was that he spoke at all. He broke the covenant, once and for all, which ought not to matter, because it was counterfeit all along.

Read it: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/president-obama-trayvon-martin-speech-071913

We interrupt your regularly-scheduled GD discussion to bring you this important announcement:

The SyFy Network will be re-broadcasting "Sharknado" at 7pm EST tonight.


On the Cover of the Rolling Stone

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
(Photo: Handout via The New York Times)

On the Cover of the Rolling Stone
By William Rivers Pitt
Truthout | Op-Ed

Thursday 18 July 2013

Wanna see our pictures on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for our mothers
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rolling Stone

- Dr. Hook

I awoke on Wednesday morning to the outrage du jour: Dzhohkar Tsarnaev on the cover of the newest Rolling Stone looking like Jim Morrison's little brother after a fight with a Flowbee. As someone from Boston who was personally affected by the Marathon bombing, I am apparently supposed to be all up in arms about this. It glorifies a murderer as if he were a celebrity or a rock star, they should have run a cover with the victims instead, and so forth.

Three things:

1. The outrage over Tsarnaev's face on the cover has everything to do with the fact that there is a puppy-dog cuteness about him which is jarring in the context of his alleged crimes. If Tsarnaev's face looked like the back of an old man's balls, no one would give much of a damn about this. I'm not going to get all worked up about the attractiveness double-standard involved here; this issue of Stone has a huge feature story on the dumb bastard, and so having him on the cover makes perfect sense.

2. The fact that Rolling Stone has excellent journalists like Matt Taibbi working for them means putting newsmakers on the cover is not out of line. Hell, they had Charlie Manson on the cover once upon a time, as well as George W. Bush in 2009. It's not like this is some crazy new thing. Hitler made the cover of Time twice, and I'm pretty sure that had nothing to do with how the middle of the last century shook out.

3. From everything I have read and heard - which is quite a lot given my location in the 617 area code - the victims of the Marathon bombing have no interest whatsoever in gracing the cover of Rolling Stone or any other periodical. They just want to be left alone to heal and recover. As for glorifying Tsarnaev or potentially upsetting the bombing victims, his face has been on the front page of every newspaper in the Western hemisphere more than once, so that horse left the stable so long ago that the oats have germinated and the hay has become straw...and speaking of horses that left the stable, the idea that being on the cover of Rolling Stone is some epic honor belongs to another era when Dr. Hook songs were actually relevant.

(Sorry, Stone, but in the immortal words of Robbie Robertson, it ain't like it used to be)

But perhaps more important than all of that, speaking personally, is the simple fact that I just don't care. There are far larger and more dangerous fish to fry right now than getting all worked up over who is on a magazine cover.

The rest: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/17641-on-the-cover-of-the-rolling-stone

Pigpile on Daddy...

On edit, pic from the first week in April for size comparison:

Regarding Dzhohkar Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine

If you haven't heard already, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev is on the cover of the newest Rolling Stone looking like Jim Morrison's little brother after a fight with a Flowbee. Apparently, lots and lots and lots of people are all WHAAARGARBLE over this, because the cover of Stone is for celebrities and rock stars and the like.

For the record, and in my own humble opinion:

1. I don't care. Got bigger things to worry about;

2. If Tsarnaev's face looked like the back of an old man's balls and they put him on the cover, no one would be complaining;

3. The fact that Matt Taibbi writes for Stone means newsmakers (like Manson once upon a time, and G.W. Bush in 2009) are allowed on the cover; and,

4. I DON'T CARE. Got bigger things to worry about.

Definitely buying a copy, though. It'll fit perfectly over my dartboard.

Are Militant Atheists Using Chemtrails to Poison the Angels in Heaven?

Are Militant Atheists Using Chemtrails to Poison the Angels in Heaven?

Also featured:

Revealed! Obamaís IRS Using Nazi UFO Technology to Bully the Tea Party

Dorito Danger: How Mexican-Style Snack Chips Are Threatening Americaís Borders

...and more.

Yeah, I think I've found my new favorite thing in the world.

"So I guess Todd Akin was right..."

"Texas state Senator Wendy Davis singlehandedly stopped a draconian abortion bill from getting passed in the Texas state legislature, stood up there filibustering for 12 hours. So I guess Todd Akin was right Ė women can shut that whole thing down."

- Bill Maher

If you read anything today, please read this.

A NYT feature on Jeff Bauman, the man who lost both legs in the Boston Marathon bombing, who was captured in the iconic photo of Carlos Arredondo and an EMT rushing him to the aid tent in a wheelchair with his legs gone at the knee.

Beyond the Finish Line

BOSTON ó Jeff Bauman stared straight ahead, his eyes wary and unconvinced, as his doctor told him the next procedure would be easy and painless. He sat in his wheelchair at Boston Medical Center, and Dr. Jeffrey Kalish, his primary surgeon, explained how a resident would remove the sutures from his legs.

Most of Baumanís legs were gone. He had been waiting for his girlfriend near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 when the first of two bombs detonated and blew them off. An iconic sporting event had turned into a scene of chilling devastation, and a photograph of Bauman in the aftermath, his legs gruesomely lost, later became a searing symbol of the attacks.

The day of the bombings, Bauman had had an emergency, through-knee amputation that lasted about two hours. A surgeon had sifted through layers of skin, tissue and muscle, preserving what was healthy, cutting what was dirty and sick. He had removed what was left of Baumanís lower legs at the knee joints.

Two days later, Kalish had performed a formal amputation at about four inches above the knee. He had measured the legs and cut each layer ó skin, tissue, muscle and bone ó farther up in the thigh, like a staircase. Then he washed out the legs for 10 minutes, tucked the muscle, and stitched the tissue.

The rest: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/sports/beyond-the-finish-line.html?hp&_r=0

...and P.S., if you were one of the jackasses running around claiming that Bauman was actually a Blackwater operative who planted the bombs as part of a "false flag" operation, I hope you feel sick reading this, and are capable of locating at least a small measure of shame.

Did you know John Roberts is also chief justice of the NSAís surveillance state? (seriously)

Did you know John Roberts is also chief justice of the NSAís surveillance state?
By Ezra Klein
The Washington Post

July 5, 2013

Chief justice of the United States is a pretty big job. You lead the Supreme Court conferences where cases are discussed and voted on. You preside over oral arguments. When in the majority, you decide who writes the opinion. You get a cool robe that you can decorate with awesome gold stripes.

Oh, and one more thing: You have exclusive, unaccountable, lifetime power to shape the surveillance state.

To use its surveillance powers ó tapping phones or reading e-mails ó the federal government must ask permission of the court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A FISA judge can deny the request or force the government to limit the scope of its investigation. Itís the only plausible check in the system. Whether it actually checks government surveillance power or acts as a rubber stamp is up to whichever FISA judge presides that day.

The 11 FISA judges, chosen from throughout the federal bench for seven-year terms, are all appointed by the chief justice. In fact, every FISA judge currently serving was appointed by Roberts, who will continue making such appointments until he retires or dies. FISA judges donít need confirmation ó by Congress or anyone else.

The rest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/05/did-you-know-john-roberts-is-also-chief-justice-of-the-nsas-surveillance-state/

The article goes on to state that one such appointee was Federal District Judge Roger Vinson of Florida, "who not only struck down the Affordable Care Actís individual mandate but the rest of the law, too." Furthermore, "Only one of the 11 members is a Democrat."

Apologies if this has already been posted, or if this was common knowledge. It was news to me.

I've read here a dozen times today that DU is an echo chamber, has no wider impact, etc.

Once upon a time, DU considered itself a think tank of sorts. People came here to inform, inspire, to become informed and inspired, and to carry that information and inspiration out into the wider world.

In the spring of 2002, as the country still sat in a fearful crouch after 9/11 and the motherfuckers in the Bush administration were running wild, a few of us on DU who live around here decided to do something. We crafted a detailed pamphlet on the hard realities of the day, photocopied it a thousand times, and stood in a busy Boston square to hand them out. We talked to anyone willing to talk, argued with those who wanted to argue, and spent a day together in an act of simple education.

...which seems quaint and maybe even a little silly after twelve years. We were genuinely worried at the time about being assaulted or targeted in some way - if you think things are more paranoid now, I would argue you've blocked out the darkness that was late-'01 and all of '02-'03 - but we did it, and came back here to DU, and shared our story and our pamphlet...and in the weeks and months that followed, piles and piles of DUers followed suit where they lived, and came back to share their experiences here.

And if you think that didn't make a difference - even a little one - then you are cynical past the point of redemption. DU-as-think-tank and DU-as-activism facilitated that...and it still is those things. It takes a truly cynical person to look at what happens here and see only an echo chamber.

People are informed here, inspired here, enraged here, engaged here, and that carries into the wider world...where real people have real conversations, cast real votes, donate real money, and volunteer real time for or against what they may.

That is "feet to the fire," and it matters.

Toss even a small stone into a still pool, and the ripples spread in all directions in an ever-widening circle.

It matters.

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