Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Italy’s highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox’s acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United States.

ROME (AP) — Italy’s highest criminal court on Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox’s acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial, prolonging a case that has become a cause celebre in the United States.
Will this never end?
I’ve long been a supporter of Knox and her claim of innocence in this case.
Apparently the Italian court system doesn’t recognize double jeopardy.
I continue to support Knox, and wish her well.
I couldn’t urge her strong enough not to set foot in Italy in the future.
And our State Dept. and POTUS should state soon that any future Italian extradition request will be denied.
Washington US Senator Maria Cantwell should also quickly publicly support Knox, as she has done for 3 years, and work to prevent any possible extradition in the future.
I followed this case closely, and a blog entry on cannonruminations.blogspot.com is still relevant:
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Amanda Knox, Kafka’s The Trial and Camus’s The Rebel
Franz Kafka’s The Trial is a metaphorical novel of a man caught in a bureaucratic maze of a totalitarian criminal justice system.
It’s an old metaphore on bureaucracies, and how these impersonal, top-down organizations smother the human spirit.
Albert Camus’s The Rebel is an existiential essay on what forces a man to revolt; to proclaim his humanity in the midst of total subservience to the state, or state bureaucracies.
As the appeal trial of Amanda Knox winds down by Monday, the Kafka and Camus writings bear reflection.
A young British student,Meredith Kercher, was murdered. That is a tragedy. And an American attending college in Italy, Amanda Knox, was accused, and sentenced to 25 years for the murder.
In a surreal Kafka-like tale, Knox was accused of being a sex-obessed, drug-addled murderer.
The Peruiga prosecutor, Minini(?), is a character out of Kafka’s bureaucractic nighmare.
He needed to find the killers, or killer, and he focused in on Knox and her boyfriend.
Under normal circumstances, Amanda Knox should have revolted, Camus-like, as she faced this ordeal.
Instead, the past 3 years in the Italian prison has shown her to be the opposite of the prosecutor’s protrait of a femme fatale, a she-devil.
How many of us would have reacted in such a calm manner?
The appeal decision is expected Monday.
The odds seem to be more than 50% that Knox will be found not guilty; and allowed to return home to the State of Washington.
That would be a victory for the human spirit; and a defeat for the deary, dark bureaucracies that make up our lives.

Friday, March 15, 2013

“What do we know about Pope Francis? Well, he’s 76 years old. He’s a former archbishop, he likes long walks on the beach, giant hats, and the music of Coldplay.” Comedian Greg Ferguson

“What do we know about Pope Francis? Well, he’s 76 years old. He’s a former archbishop, he likes long walks on the beach, giant hats, and the music of Coldplay.”
Comedian Greg Ferguson
“The way he’s lived has been simple and admirable, but it has not taught him how to deal with the high pressure of huge problems in the church,” Mario Cuomo said of Pope Francis.
Spot on, mr. mario.
The NYT’s reports this morning that Pope Francis was chosen over a Church bureaucratic reformer,Cardinal Scola.
The Vatican curia, the inner bureaucracy apparently won out over a possible reformer who would have seriously dealt with the many Church problems and scandals.
(..While the workings of the conclave are secret, Cardinal Bergoglio won the papacy, according to comments from cardinals, Vatican experts and leaks to Italian newspapers, in part because the Vatican-based cardinals protective of their bureaucracy snubbed the presumptive front-runner, and a favored candidate of reformers, Cardinal Angelo Scola…)

Just a quick plug from this humble tattered nonentity blogger, this speck on the windshield of life on a radio talk appearance on the 23rd March.

Just a quick plug from this humble tattered nonentity blogger, this speck on the windshield of life on a radio talk appearance on the 23rd March.
The blurb is at the bottom of the Saratoga Broadcasting info.

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

As of this lunch time, there is no new Pope. (Blog yesterday before new Pope Francis I)

As of this lunch time, there is no new Pope.
The ritual, secrecy,opaqueness of the whole process has some limitations.
But then I was baptized a northern Baptist.
Baptists baptize by dunking the person; and I really thought the
minister at Rochester,NY Lake Ave. Baptist church was going to hold me
under water till the second coming.
Perhaps he didn’t like me
taking more than one cookie from the church classroom; or playing
basketball while he teaching an adult class in the church’s basement.

The Church’s rituals certainly attract attention. All the major networks have their big names in Vatican square.
But how much air pollution is generated by the black smoke after each undecided vote.
If the votes continue for days, or weeks, Vatican square will be as air polluted as Shanghai,China.
I know the Church likes tradition, but how about just tweeting to the world when a new Pope is decided?
Just imagine here that the new Pope, the infallible leader of 1.2
billion worldwide is being decided by 115 cardinals. That’s not very
Why not modernize the process by having the
cardinals decide on the final three; and then opening up it to on line;
phone balloting by all the Catholics in the world.
Or the final 3 could appear on Idle, the X Factor, or the Voice.
The three finalists would perform a Mass; and the best, or quickest performer could win.
And the panel of judges would then ask each of the three whether they
favored women being ordained as priests; eliminating male priestly
celibacy ; and perhaps some others.

Congratulations Pope Francis I.

Catholic cardinals elected Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentine, as the new pope. The 76-year-old Jesuit will take the name Francis. (NYT)
Here’s a profile. (National Catholic Reporter)
Congratulations Pope Francis I.
This certainly is a change from the Europe- and Italy-centric Popes in the Church’s history.
But let’s get serious here.
Pope Francis I has been a strong opponent of the progressive Argentina government and president (a lady-Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner).
He will not deviate from the Church’s dogma,tradition, on such important issues as contraception;women ordination as priests; priestly celibacy; gay rights, including marriage and adoption; and a long list of issues that divide the Vatican bureaucracy from the Catholics in the neighborhoods and streets of Buenos Aires and Brooklyn. and the Bronx.
Pope Francis often visited the barrios in Argentina, teeming with the poor, and mothers with many children.
But in these visits, and in his counseling, he has not promoted a rational approach to childbearing, esp. contraception.
Expect the same ol’ same ol’ on these important issues.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Paul Ryan wants to repeal Obamacare! The guy is persistent, and consistent. But he needs to get a life!

Paul Ryan wants to repeal Obamacare! The guy is persistent, and consistent. But he needs to get a life!
(“..Second, health care. Our budget repeals the president’s health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare…Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose—including traditional Medicare—and help them pay the premiums.
Third, welfare reform. After the welfare reforms of 1996, child poverty fell by double digits. This budget extends those reforms to other federal aid programs. It gives states flexibility so they can tailor programs like Medicaid and food stamps to their people’s needs….”)
“You are snarky. Stop and be nice-you look ugly when you speak like that..” Take that, Mr. Ryan!
Meghan Lemery, Mean Girls:How to Use Girlpower for Good, Not Evil” Saratoga Today, Week of March 8-14th, 2013.
Paul Ryan, the House Budget Chair, has unveiled the House GOP budget for 2013-2023.
It is a right-wing, libertarian Ayn Rand budget that is DOA with Dems.
Ryan wants to repeal Obamacare! He never quits, even after the SCOTUS majority declared it constitutional.
He wants to begin vocherizing Medicare by 2024, while still claiming that the current single-payer Medicare will be one of several options.
But of course, offering other private insurance options will begin the death spiral of traditional Medicare.
He wants to bloc grant Medicaid (totally), and numerous other social safety net programs. And the block grants will be much lower in total dollars than these various programs are currently getting.
He, and the far right-wing, know what they are doing.
Block granting these programs to numerous GOP, far right, governors and legislatures will unravel our already fragile safety net.
And Mr. Ryan wants to give the top 5% of income/wealth owners more tax relief.

Humorist Andy Borowitz tells us that Ryan’s budget was just endorsed by Ayn Rand:
(..Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) was jubilant today after his newly unveiled budget plan picked up a key endorsement from the novelist Ayn Rand.
It was a rare public utterance for the late Ms. Rand, who has been damned to eternal torment in Satan’s lake of fire since 1982…”

Monday, March 11, 2013

House Rep. Paul Tonko and the Saratoga Congress on the Corner meet-up on Saturday.

 House Rep. Paul Tonko and the Saratoga Congress on the Corner meet-up on Saturday.
Had the opportunity to attend Rep. Tonko’s Congress on the Corner meeting at the Saratoga City Center on Saturday.
Tonko handles himself very well; is very articulate; and provided the good turnout with detailed answers on several questions.
AARP shirted attendees were very concerned with Medicare and Social Security cuts that may still be on the table in the coming budget negotiations.
Tonko has been, and reinforced this Saturday, that he is opposed to additional cuts in these entitlements. He is not in favor in privatizing SS through any type of individual retirement option.
I had the opportunity to ask him about the POTUS’s upcoming visit to Israel.
Obama will be under intense pressure in Israel, both by right-winger PM Netanyahu, and others in the Israeli national security apparatus, to agree to a date for engaging in an aerial attack on Iran’s nuclear development sites…either a joint Israeli/US attack; or a unilateral US attack.
I asked Tonko if a Congressional Declaration of War should be in place before this happens…a Declaration that is Constitutionally required is we were to attack Iran. While this Declaration requirement has not been really applied for over 50 yrs., it is still a power that Congress has.
I also asked, in a linked question, if Israel should be pressured to publicly announce that they, indeed, have a large stockpile of activitated nuclear warheads. Also, should Israel be pressured to announce they will dis-mantle, de-commission a small number of these nukes, slowly and with Israel’s survival taking precedence.
Tonko’s answers were somewhat hazy. He favors negotiations, rather than striking Iran. He really didn’t deal with the second part of the question.

(“..It is believed that Israel had possessed an operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War.[2] Although no official statistics exist, it has been estimated that Israel possesses from 75 to as many as 400 nuclear weapons, which are reported to include thermonuclear weapons in the megaton range.[3][4][5] Israel is also reported to possess a wide range of different systems, including neutron bombs, tactical nuclear weapons, and suitcase nukes.[6] Israel is believed to manufacture its nuclear weapons at the Negev Nuclear Research Center…”)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

North Korea and the threat of a preemptive nuke strike.

(..With just hours until the United Nations considers new sanctions against
North Korea, a spokesman for the regime of Kim Jong Un declared, “Now
that the U.S. is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war, the
revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK will exercise the right to a
preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors
and to defend the supreme interests of the country.”
Where is Dennis Rodman when we need him?
Perhaps Obama and Kim Jong Un could engage in a one-on-one basketball gig.
Mr. Kim is a young man; educated in the West (the US, me thinks); likes Western stuff; has a new wife; yada, yada, yada.
But he must realize that N. Korea would be vaporized if he, and his military honchos, were found to actually be moving forward on such a preemptive strike.
The new South Korean Pres. is a lady, an apparent delicate flower that seeks dialogue with the north.
Perhaps she could talk to Kim’s wife; and the two could talk some sense into Kim’s brain.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The NRA is promoting pink weapons, in its' marketing to women. You can't make this stuff up!

The NRA is promoting pink weapons, to appeal to females.
The Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickerson article in the current Rolling Stone is a good read…scary in its’ detail about the marketing strategy of the NRA.

Andrew Cuomo for POTUS in 2016?? We need a respite from jibber jabers pontificating on 2016.

Rita Yelda and Jim Anderson: Cuomo is clearly awakening to the Democratic electorate he’ll face in his likely presidential race in 2016. D&C)

It's best to stop ruminating on the 2016 POTUS race.
Major league politicos live from election cycle to election cycle.
Gov. Cuomo will have to run for Gov. in 2014; and that seems to be the rational political outlook for him.

Like his father, Gov. Cuomo may have a difficult time selling his NY brand of blue politics outside the state.

It would be expected that Hillary and VP Biden will likely run in 2016.
Hillary's candidacy will depend on her health and energy; and the status of Bill's health; and, of course, their marriage.

Biden would like to be POTUS, you betcha.
Obama will give him a larger spotlight in the next 2 years.
Without being accused of age discrimination, his age (74) in 2016 will be a subtle, unstated issue.
Let's remember that McCain was already in his 70ies in 2008; and age never became a significant issue.

If Biden runs, makes it to the POTUS debates, he can repeat the Ol' Gipper's line against his 1984 foe, Walter Mondale:"I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

And referring to 2016, if we have to, Jeb Bush has a new book; making book signing appearances; and the media jibber jabers are pontificating on his possible run in 2016.

This blogger, for one, hopes he does not.
The nation, and the world, needs a respite from another possible Bush POTUS.

Jeb's brother, Bush 2, is rated one of our worse POTUSes in history.
That rating will not change by 2016.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Casey says Pope Timothy Dolan could get him back to church. (TU))

Casey says Pope Timothy Dolan could get him back to church. (TU))
A Pope Dolan will not happen, Casey.
How really strange that the 100+ voting Cardinals will need this week, or longer, to get to know one another.
“get to know one another”?
How is that for an example of the isolation produced by large bureaucratic silos?
A Pope from the US will not happen now as the scandals here will not produce positive pr for the Church…and the growth of the Church is taking place in the southern hemisphere, Africa and Asia..the lower income nations.
Whoever the new Pope is, the rigid conservative thrust of the current Roman Curia will produce no change in the outmoded docrines that are driving so many Catholics from the Church.
The real question, perhaps, is the Church going to survive as a large inefficient, centralized, hierarchical bureaucracy?

The liberal Keynesians have it right.

(..The President apparently believes Republicans are serious about deficit
reduction, when in fact the Tea Partiers now running the GOP are serious
only about dismembering the government…”
Robert Reich
Dr. Reich has it right.
He’s against the absurd austerity, deficit hawks; he’s a Keynesian liberal; but also a realist without illusions.
He’s been there (Wash-Labor Sec.) and done that, so to speak.
His latest blog is a very good read.
And so is a fellow liberal Keynesian Paul Krugman’s NYT column Fri.
“Ben Bernanke, Hippie”
joe dunphy

Federal lawmakers are no closer to a deal that would undo sequester cuts. (AP

(Federal lawmakers are no closer to a deal that would undo sequester cuts. (AP))
Have you ever seen, or heard, of a Congressional one sentence bill?
A single sentence bill would, of course, have NO input from any trained lawyer.
It is almost unheard of in Congress.
But Rep. John Conyers put a single sentence bill in the hopper (so to speak); a short sentence that would repeal the so-called, silly Sequester.
I just signed an on-line petition in support of HR 900.
You all should consider doing same. LOL.
The bill states:
“H.R. 900: To eliminate the sequestration under section 251A of the
Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, …
…and for other purposes.”
I have no clue what section 251A says.
While I could google it, I will trust Conyers and Alan Grayson on this.
I’m also concerned about Conyers and the Michigan state/governor take over of bankrupt Detroit.
Conyers has represented some, or all, of Detroit since 1965.
His wife served on the City Council, but seems to have been corrupted.

The appointment of an emergency fiscal monitor is anti-democratic.
It is the Michigan white Governor, and legislatuare, replacing local democratic reps.
It’s not good in any way.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Former NY gov. GOP candidate Carl Paladino is running for the Buffalo school board.

Board President Mary Ruth Kapsiak, who is running for re-election this year, reprimanded Paladino, telling him that if he continued to verbally attack anyone, she would ask him to leave.
(Paladino is running for a seat on the Buffalo School Board. (BN))
"..Board President Mary Ruth Kapsiak, who is running for re-election this year, reprimanded Paladino, telling him that if he continued to verbally attack anyone, she would ask him to leave.
“..Paladino responded: “I want to know why this School Board condones a cover-up of the criminality of what’s going on in the schools.”
“You have to go. Because right now you’re out of line,” Kapsiak told him.
He shot back: “You’re out of line.”
And with that, a security guard escorted Paladino out of the board room…”
You can’t make this stuff up.
Mr.Carl must be bored.
You don’t need deep pockets to run for a local school board.
You just gather enough signatures to qualify.
Mr. P. seems to have a conspiratorial mindset; and a strong belief that life, the govt. at all levels, and those who work in same are corrupt and deserve to be pilloried with scurrilous libelous insults…a sort of Hobbesian view that ..”people were inherently selfish; they struggled constantly against one another for survival. “[T]he life of a man,” he wrote in his master-work, Leviathan, “is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” that life is short and brutish…”
Carl is opposed to the state’s Safe Act, which includes mental health background check requirements.
There should also be a mental health background check for those running for the Buffalo school board.
When this bizarre human ran for Gov., someone indelicately labeled him a “psychotard”…not a term I would use necessarily, but if the shoe fits, as they say.