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12 posts from May 31, 2009 - June 6, 2009

June 06, 2009

Pianist in Purple Tights


A shot from last week's performance by Bill Britelle's Television Landscape at Galapagos Artspace in DUMBO.

June 05, 2009

I have a special practice, I handle one client

Revelations from law enforcement: "Police say lawyers aid Mafia, new book suggests"

Police suspect a handful of practising lawyers play an indispensable role in the dealings of Canada’s most notorious crime family, protecting sensitive meetings from police scrutiny with their mere presence, and even subscribing to cellphone numbers for mobsters in order to thwart police eavesdropping, a new book reveals.

Mobsters have lawyers. Who knew?

June 04, 2009

Wecht walks!

The government has quietly dropped all charges against Cyril Wecht a Pennsylvania coroner and Democratic party activist whom many believe was targeted for politically motivated prosecution by GWB-appointed U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan.

White Collar Crime Prof has details:

There is no press release on the website of the US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania announcing the dismissal of the case against Cyril Wecht.  But one seldom finds a US Attorney's Office posting a press release on a case dismissal - it always seems to be the indictments and convictions that they are anxious to report. (shouldn't a minister of justice report all instances of justice?).  

But the press is reporting that the charges against Cyril Wecht have been dropped. See Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Wecht charges dropped; Eric Heyl, TribLive, Buchanan's big case slams shut for good; Joe Mandak, (AP),U.S. drops charges against pathologist

June 03, 2009

Plushie entomology

Motherly love, originally uploaded by weirdbuglady.

I just stumbled across an amazing artist on Flickr.

Weirdbuglady's plush work is a combination of crafting, cartooning, fiber arts, sculpture, and popular science.

Check out her plushie invertebrates, sea creatures, and reptiles and amphibians.

She's even got an Etsy shop.

Too many martyrs

Josh at Thoughts from Kansas draws some important parallels between two American assassinations--civil rights activist Medgar Evars in 1963 and physician George Tiller last Sunday:

Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist in Mississippi. Growing up black in a state where dark skin was a crime, he had the courage to stand up for his rights and the rights of his friends and family. He organized boycotts, sued for admission to a segregated law school, and became field secretary for the NAACP.

His house was attacked with Molotov cocktails, but he didn't back down. In Phil Ochs' immortal phrasing, "They tried to burn his home and they beat him to the ground/ But deep inside they both knew what it took to bring him down." And on June 12, 1963, returning home from a meeting with NAACP lawyers, Evers was shot in the back. Ochs concluded that "The country gained a killer and the country lost a man," [...]

Amanda Marcotte debunks the self-serving myth that run-of-the-mill anti-choice agitators can wash their hands of Dr. Tiller's assasination. Not everyone who objects to abortions is part of the movement, but the movement as it manifests itself on the streets and outside the clinics in this country is ugly and violent.

Its main tactics are harrassment and intimidation from confronting patients on the street to picketing clinic staffers at home. As Amanda details in her post, Operation Rescue of Wichita is directly linked to Tiller's alleged shooter, Scott Roemer.

If you think flirting with violence is just for fringe anti-choicers, remember how then-vice presidential candidate and current 2012 GOP presidential hopeful Sarah Palin tied herself in knots on national TV to avoid classifying clinic bombers domestic terrorists.

Darcy and Lindsay in the Wall Street Journal

Martin Johnson of the Wall Street Journal has a great piece on New York's burgeoning neo-big band scene featuring Darcy's band, Secret Society, and one of my photos.

June 02, 2009

You go, Uighurs!

The Uighurs staged a rare public protest of their detention at Guantanamo Bay:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — A group of Muslims from China awaiting a court-ordered release staged a self-styled protest inside their prison camp Monday, waving signs demanding their freedom written in crayon on their Pentagon-issued art supplies.

''We are the Uighurs,'' said one sign. "We are being oppressed in prison though we had been announced innocent.''

Another: "We need to freedom.'' [McClatchy]

Just to make this absolutely clear: these men are not terror suspects. It's not like they're accused of terrorism that the U.S. can't prove. They're not accused of anything. U.S. authorities admit the whole thing was a mistake.

The Uighurs are Chinese Muslims, a despised minority persecuted in the People's Republic. As a result of this repression, many flee to nearby Muslim countries, including Afghanistan, where they hope to live and worship in peace. The United States is satisfied that the Uighurs had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism, violence, or jihad. They can't be sent back to China because the Chinese government will probably kill them.

Attorney General Eric Holder initially suggested relocating at least some of them to the U.S., but he and Obama have caved to Congressional pressure and withdrawn that suggestion. The retreat on the Uighur issue may also have something to do with the fact that the U.S. and China have agreed to restart high-level talks later this month in Washington. China would consider it an affront if the U.S. were to give the Uighurs asylum.

June 01, 2009

Tancredo staffer pleads guilty to karate chopping black woman

Who could have predicted that a Tom Tancredo staffer might (i) plead guilty to karate chopping an African American woman in the head after calling her an unprintable racial slur, and, (ii) call Sonia Sotomayor a racist?

Song from the Uproar

Song from the Uproar, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.


A scene from the rehearsal of Song from the Uproar at Galapagos Artspace last Friday.

Requiem for Dr. Tiller: One couple's story

Commenter Deeka6 and his wife sought the help of slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in 1994. Doctors discovered 8 months into a much wanted pregnancy that Mrs. D. was carrying conjoined twins. They explained that only one of them had any chance of survival and that twin would go on to a life of painful surgeries and organ transplants. They decided to terminate the pregnancy and sought the care of Dr. Tiller because he was one of the few providers in the country who performed that procedure.

Deeka6 writes:

We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies.

Read his comment in full at Balloon Juice.