This year there are two separate prison reform initiatives on the ballot. One is the SAFE California Act, which calls for repealing the death penalty, and replacing it with life in prison without the possibility of parole. The other is the Three Strikes Reform Act, which seeks to amend one of California's most controversial laws so that life sentences for a third offense would be limited to serious or violent felonies. Those who are already in for life would have their sentences reduced if the third conviction was not serious or violent.
At a public forum this coming Sunday co-sponsored by the California Justice Committee, community leaders will gather to discuss strategies for mobilizing voters, and to explore alternatives to incarceration. The featured panelists include Georgiana Williams (outspoken mother of Damian Football Williams) and ex-convict Ernest “Big Ern” Williams. Last year Big Ern was released after serving 45 years in the California penitentiary system, and he’s now considering a run for public office.
The event begins at 6 PM, and will be held at 114 W. 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles. Admission and street parking are free.
While acknowledging the legitimacy of their message, Bill Maher lambasted Occupiers Friday night for their strategic and tactical nonsense. He might have also mentioned that insisting on the “right” to monopolize land that was intended to be shared with others, is a moral and legal affront.
Occupiers often tout the importance of reaching a consensus before acting, but their “commitment” to such a decision-making philosophy obviously doesn’t extend to cooperating with the millions of people who don’t wish to attend a General Assembly or rely on finger-wiggling to communicate, and who aren’t under the illusion that by claiming to be petitioning the government for a redress of grievances, a group of protesters is somehow entitled to live in a park indefinitely.
Maher suggests: “Instead of organizing interstate hootenannies, maybe it’s time for Occupy Wall Street to actually participate in the American political process.” He’s right about the arena, but when he later urges Occupiers to serve the Democratic Party, Maher misses the mark.
The June 6, 2012 primary offers the voters of California a unique opportunity to stand against business as usual in Washington: with 24 candidates on the ballot for United States Senate, six of them Democrats, it's possible, at least in theory, that a unity candidate could win second place and the chance to debate centrist Diane Feinstein face-to-face in the run-off in November. Marsha Feinland of the Peace & Freedom Party would fill this role perfectly: she is articulate, personable, dedicated, and right (that is to say, Left) on the issues. It would be illuminating if, before she heads back to Washington to act in our name, our senior senator was required to explain her positions on such matters as international trade, military adventurism, immigration, homeland security and the bankster crime wave (she's for aggressively prosecuting Julian Assange for espionage, for example, but much less enthusiastic about putting financial crooks in jail), to say nothing of addressing unresolved allegations of corruption stemming from her days on a military appropriations subcommittee. With Democrats and Republicans divvying up the primary ballots, it might not take very high numbers to grab second place; it would certainly make for a livelier debate in the general election to have a representative of the 99% sharing the stage with Sen. Feinstein rather than another one-percenter like herself from the GOP. Project VoteSmart has a summary of Dianne Feinstein's key votes.
President Charm and his apologists like to blame everything – including the inexcusably cruel medical marijuana crackdown – on Republican members of Congress. But as Glenn Greenwald and Jon Walker rightly point out, the executive branch is authorized by the Controlled Substance Act to reclassify marijuana and recognize its legitimate medical use. The approval of Congress is not required. When asked about it at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed that Obama could unilaterally rectify the situation – if he were so inclined.
What kind of a person would even think about voting for a politician who chooses to deprive gravely ill people of the treatment they need?
Chris Francescani’s otherwise solid Reuters article about George Zimmerman, with previously undisclosed and illuminating background info, is marred by Francescani’s baseless assertion that Zimmerman “disregarded police advice against pursuing Martin.” Actually, there’s no known evidence that Zimmerman continued to follow Martin after the police dispatcher “suggested” he halt, but the lynch mob has brainwashed a lot of people into perceiving fiction as fact.
There needs to be probable cause (incriminating evidence) that the shooting was unlawful. The use of deadly force when it’s reasonable to fear great bodily harm or death is a right, not just a defense that can be used in response to charges. That’s why the State of Florida submitted a probable cause affidavit. In other words, it’s unlawful to prosecute someone without probable cause. Renowned criminal defense attorneys such as Jeralyn Merritt and Alan Dershowitz have explained (here, here and here) why the affidavit is terribly flawed. If the best refutation of their criticism is that it’s common to prosecute people who’ve shot others, the State has failed to meet its evidentiary burden.
When the crime is prostitution, and someone is filming it. Then they’re making porn, and having sex for money magically becomes lawful.
I’m in favor of my Secret Service guys getting loved on for a brief time by low-maintenance, professional lovely ladies. For too long men have been made wrong for their libido and there's a huge underground market that is (sadly) criminal because of our culture's religious BS. It's time for girlfriends and wives to take responsibility for the lack of passion in their relationship so the men don't feel they have to go get it elsewhere. When someone says, "I do," they really have to say it every day if they don't want the relationship to get stale. "I'm not in the mood" used to seem to me like a good enough excuse, but I'm often not in the mood to go hit the gym either, and I go because it works to go.
A few years ago a cop cited me for sunbathing nude, buttocks facing skyward, at a beach in Malibu. Although several nearby women were wearing thong bikinis, none of them were treated as lawbreakers. A protest song called “Free the Tushie” was recorded in response to this outrageous double standard, and I think it could work as the Justice Party theme song. Check it out and cast your vote.
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Writing for Forbes, Rick Ungar explains why “it makes nothing but dollars and sense for clever state governments to shift to a single-payer state healthcare system as the key driver for attracting business to their struggling domains.” If that outlook were widely adopted by conservatives, and if liberals were to largely concede it’s not kosher to force Americans to buy commercial health insurance, a political sea change would be upon us.
The evidence suggests Al Sharpton, et al. should focus more on White Plains, NY, and less on Sanford, FL...
Now they tell us George Zimmerman said “cold” rather than a racial epithet. He's prejudiced against the weather!