Rolling Stone Has a Right to Put Whoever They Want On Their Cover

RS Tsarnaev cover

Big, stinking heap of phony outrage story of the day: Rolling Stone is printing a cover story about Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev and they have the nerve and lack of good taste (which is always the very first phrase we think of when we think American media, isn’t it?) to put a photo of the subject of that cover story on their cover. Shame, shame, Rolling Stone, now every body knows your name (which was probably the point to begin with, wasn’t it?).

Obvious point millions of “concerned” media members and other nervous nellies are blithely missing while falling all over themselves to feel outrage on behalf of poor, weak, innocent, defenseless, little Boston (Shame on you, Dropkick Murphys!): Rolling Stone has the same right to put on their cover whoever or whatever they want to put on their cover as all of those magazines that chose to give Osama bin Laden his celebrity treatment in the aftermath of September 11th did. What part of First Amendment right do you hypocrites not understand?

(Hey, Boston Herald, why don’t you show Rolling Stone the way and just say no to using the Tsarnaevs’ mugs to sell your cheap rag, huh?)

Grow up, America. The world is a hard place. The news media have a right (and responsibility) to make that unpleasant fact known to us.m

No use spending any more time on this ridiculous waste of a non-story. But if you want to defend the “defenders of decency” and attack Rolling Stone‘s “poor taste” and “bad judgment” in the comments, I will be more than happy to kick your ass down there.

Circumstances of Jill Stein’s Hofstra Arrest: “Symbolic” of What CPD Has Done to Democracy

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, the Green Party’s candidate for President and Vice President, you may have heard, were arrested a little over a week ago as they attempted to confront representatives of the Commission on Presidential Debates on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on the eve of the second official Presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney. What you may not have heard about are the actual circumstances of the arrest.

In a suit for injunctive relief filed on October 22 in Circuit Court in Palm Beach, Florida, to prevent that night’s third official debate from occurring at Lynn University in Boca Raton without inclusion of third parties, Stein’s attorney related the salient details of that arrest:

24.  On October 16th, 2012, less than one week ago, the United States Presidential Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, and her Vice-Presidential running mate, Ms. Cheri Honkala, were arrested for being on the grounds of the site of the Presidential debate which was scheduled to take place approximately seven hours later.

25.  Dr. Stein arrived on the grounds of Hofstra University at approximately 2:00pm in order to speak with defendant Commission for Presidential Debates to request that she and other “third party” candidates be allowed to participate in that evening’s Presidential debate. Fifteen minutes after making that request to a representative of defendant Commission, Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were approached by local police and the Secret Service, at which time they were handcuffed, taken to a remote detention facility/wharehouse/ especially set up to house “protestors”, where they were forced to remain for over eight hours while tightly handcuffed to metal chairs until such time as the debate between the only two candidates “invited” to participate in the debate was over.

26.  When Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were finally “un-hancuffed” from the metal chairs and released, they were sent out into the cold night in a remote location with no notice to their lawyers or staff of their release.

27.  Dr. Stein’s comments concerning her arrest, handcuffing, and incarceration are, in essence, the basis for this injunction. Upon her release, Dr. Stein stated: “It was painful but symbolic to be handcuffed for all those hours, because that’s what the Commission on Presidential Debates has essentially done to American democracy.”

We know the suit failed in its primary purpose to stop the debate.  But I hope you will take a minute and think about what happened to Stein and Honkala on the afternoon and evening of October 16. Think about these two women, candidates for president and vice-president,  on the ballot in 38 states with their Republican and Democratic opponents, handcuffed with plastic restraints to metal chairs for eight hours in an “undisclosed location,” like common criminals or terrorists.

This is what American democracy in 2012 looks like.

My 9/11: Afternoon

Continuing from yesterday’s posts. Rather than dig up faulty memories, I’ve decided to quote myself (writing as Burt Worm) from 2003:

The city felt like Berlin 1945

I felt like I was in a Graham Greene novel, especially when I was waiting [on the Queens side], with hundreds of tired, worried people, to be allowed to cross the 59th Street Bridge. No one was crossing any bridges at all, by car, train, bicycle or foot, and I wasn’t sure I was even going to be allowed into Manhattan. Continue reading

My 9/11: Morning

I first became aware on September 11, 2001, that something was up, so to speak, while waiting for a B train to Rockefeller Center at the 59th Street Station in Manhattan. I was getting a slightly late start on the day, having just come from voting for Mark Green for Mayor to replace Rudolph Giuliani.  I was feeling pleased with myself for doing my civic duty and confident that my vote would count, which, after election 2000, I didn’t take for granted any more.

The trains were moving through slowly that morning, which is not too terribly unusual. The southbound platform in particular was not moving at all;  trains sat there with doors open, confused commuters standing half in, half out,  and no sign of any chance for movement any time soon. I heard an announcement to the effect that no trains were going to Brooklyn because of–I wasn’t paying close attention, so I don’t recall if the phrase was “police action” or ” incident”–at the World Trade Center. It was probably the latter, though, perhaps, the word might even have been “emergency.” That would have been an unusual phrase to hear over the MTA intercom, and you’d think it would have stuck in the mind. Continue reading

Dueling Armageddons of TeaParty Rep. Steve Pearce

How many Armageddons?

The leaders of US business in the form of the US Chamber of Commerce, the New York Times reports, spent millions of dollars last election cycle electing the extreme right-wing dynamos now holding the Chamber and the rest of us hostage for the sacred Republican principle of a balanced federal budget (well, sacred except to Reagan, the Bushes, and the Congressional Republican leaders of the last 30 years). One of these intellectual giants the Chamber was particularly generous toward displays the kind of logic these new leaders (and, by implication, the rest of us) are at the mercy of:

The chamber spent $436,953 helping to elect Steve Pearce, a New Mexico Republican, almost 20 percent of the total that he was able to raise and spend on his own.

This month, Mr. Pearce told the radio program “News New Mexico” that cutting federal spending was just as important as increasing the debt ceiling.

“We have talked a lot about Armageddon if we don’t pass the debt ceiling,” he said. “There’s an equal Armageddon on the other side if we don’t start curing the spending problems.”

Set aside that the debt-ceiling “Armageddon” is pending next Tuesday and the other has been pending since Bush and Congressional Republicans spent the Clinton-era surplus on tax breaks for the rich, Pearce evidently wants us to believe  that in order to hold off the second already held-off Armageddon, it’s necessary to bring on the first.

Hey, Chamber, thanks for sending us this leader. Thanks a lot.