Ed Brayton has died.

One of the most ethical atheists in the world was Ed Brayton, whose blog Dispatches from the Culture Wars I used to read often. He and I did have a falling out over different views of feminism (we are both pro-feminist, he was just more radical than me) and I forgot about him for a long time. And now I have learned he is dead.

Some of you no doubt know this already, but I have decided to end my battle to the death with death. I’m entering hospice care and would like to slip into the eternal abyss in the next couple weeks. I reached the point where I simply have no fight left in me. I wish it were not so. But I have a few things to say first.

First, a profound thank you to those of you who turned this blog into a community. It has meant the world to me that it has become not merely a place for me to write, but a place where we shared ideas and values and helped fight the battles for equality, justice and liberty. Thank you all so much. Also to my fellow bloggers here. You have all added to my life immeasurably and I am forever grateful.

I’m also very grateful for an amazing group of friends and family who have gone way above and beyond to support me and love me. And to the doctors, nurses and aides who have taken care of me along the way. But it’s a time like this that makes one evaluate their life and most important beliefs. So, to that task.

I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid to die painfully and with suffering. My hope is that hospice will put me on a morphine or dilaudid drip and knock me out so I don’t feel anything, then I can just slip away. That’s essentially what happened with my dear friend Connie a few years ago. And I hope we can do it at home, as we did with her. I’d rather be with loved ones than in a facility. I’ll stay either with my best friend Rick or my parents.

Regrets? Mostly about the things I’ll never get to do now. I would love to have made Secular Quemanism a reality. Perhaps someone else can run with the idea now in my place (Mike Slomka? Bueller?) I still think it’s a great and important idea. I won’t be able to continue to advocate for humanism as an important philosophy. That sucks. I just have so much more to say and do.

My greatest hope is that after I’m gone the world continues to become more fair, just and equal. What else could we possibly hope for and work for? I urge you all to keep fighting the good fight for those core values. Who should you look to for leadership? I nominate Dale McGowan, the finest example of humanism I know, and Matt Dillahunty. They should be the public face and voice of this movement, not Dawkins or Krauss or Shermer.

Don’t be sad about this, be hopeful. I got to make the decision myself and spare others from that awful task. I did it while still of sound mind, if not body. That means the world to me. I maintained my self-determination until the end.

In closing, let me just say thank you again. You made my life better, richer and more fulfilled and who could ask for more? Goodbye, one and all. I will miss you as I hope you will miss me. Be good to each other along this incredible journey.

P Z Myers, who I was once also a fan of and later came to dislike, paid tribute to Brayton.

A sad announcement from Ed Brayton

Ed Brayton and I had some contentious disagreements back in the day, but we managed to put all that behind us and set up the Freethoughtblogs network with a mutual understanding that we needed something beyond the atheist movement, some kind of organization that would support diversity and social justice and not just tearing down religion. He named the network — we agreed that we didn’t want “atheist” anywhere in our label, even if we were effectively an atheist group, because even then the word was getting tainted — and he and I together made the initial investment in the site. We owe a lot to Ed.

Unfortunately, he’s also suffered from serious health problems over the years, and left the network he built to run a blog on Patheos. This was an amicable decision with zero drama behind the scenes or in front of it — he just decided that he couldn’t cope with the day-to-day chores of management, and just wanted a space where he could write with no pressure.

His health has worsened. He’s been in and out of hospitals for a while. People have been asking me how he’s doing, since his postings have become intermittent, and I don’t know either! Unfortunately, he just posted this to Facebook:

I’m giving up and calling in hospice. I just can’t do this anymore. To those who know me in real life I love you and I’m sorry. I did my best.

He always has done his best, and he will be missed.

_________________

Ed Brayton has died

___________

In Memoriam: Ed Brayton

Next Sunday, 27 September, we’ll be remembering the life of Ed Brayton in a conversation.

If any of you would like to share a few words, write to me and I can send you a link. If you’d rather not make a direct appearance, show up and leave a comment in the chat — I’ll read some of them into the record.

Again, I had disagreements with both of them, but these were minor; I never considered either of them to be as treacherous and dangerous as someone like Thunderf00t, Wahid Azal, or others on my enemies list.

Rest in power, noble warrior for truth and justice. Those skeptics and progressive activists who live after you will continue the fight.

 

Mary Kay Letourneau, pervert and idiot, is dead, but her damaged legacy remains

Read this story:

https://heavy.com/news/2020/07/mary-kay-letourneau-death/

Mary Kay Letourneau Dies of Cancer at 58

Mary Kay Letourneau, a former Seattle elementary school teacher who famously served time in prison after admitting to sexually assaulting her 12-year-old student, Vili Fualaau, died on July 6, 2020, KING 5 News reported. Letourneau was 58. After being convicted of child rape and doing jail time, she was sent back to prison after breaking her plea agreement to never see Fualaau again. She later married Fualaau.

KING 5 reporter Susannah Frame tweeted on Tuesday night that the former sixth-grade school teacher died of cancer.

Frame shared a photo of Letourneau and her longtime friend and attorney Anne Bremner. She tweeted, “Anne remembers her friend tonight as ‘one of the most alive people’ she’d ever known. She also said Letourneau was a dedicated mother of her two girls and ‘did everything right by them.’”

 

Letourneau is survived by her children, Steven Jr., Claire, Nicholas and Jacqueline, whom she had with her first husband, Steve Letourneau. She is also survived by her two daughters, Audrey and Georgia, from her relationship and marriage with Fualaau. The couple separated in 2017 and their divorce was finalized earlier this year.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Letourneau was babysitting her younger brother Phillip, 3, when he drowned in the pool at their Corona del Mar home. In 1998, Dr. Julia Moore, a psychiatrist who evaluated Letourneau and diagnosed her with manic depression, said, “There is no question that her brother’s death, combined with other traumas Mary Kay suffered later, contributed to the tragedy of her life today.”

Marcia Tinae wrote on her Facebook page, “Condolences to my nieces! Me and the kids love you guys Audrey Lokelani Fualaau – block all the noise and keep pushing okay. Love you always fam! Rest in love Mary Kate LeTourneau.”

OK, you may read the rest of that crap if you like. I will just say this:

First, both Susanna Frame and Anne Bremner are idiots, just like Letourneau. I can never understand a teacher throwing away her original family to violate one of her own students, at least TWICE, and be stigmatized afterwards! She should have been locked up in a mental hospital for the rest of her life! No release, no chance to hook up with her former student. And no allowing her to raise the girls she bore by that student, either! Imagine if as teens they also were fucked and impregnated by their teachers, because of the outrageous example set by their parents! Mary Kay Letourneau normalized one of the most destructive acts to our modern education system imaginable.
#disgust #reviled #deadandgoodriddance

She could have been my daughter!

Read this online obituary:

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/franklin-oh/sarah-grossman-9203495

Sarah Rae Grossman

October 7, 1997 – May 30, 2020
Obituary of Sarah Rae Grossman

With great sadness we announce the death of Sarah Rae Grossman, age 22, of Columbus, Oh (formerly of Springboro, Oh) on May 30, 2020. Born October 7, 1997 in Naperville, Il, Sarah is survived by her parents, Todd and Christi Grossman, and sister Jessa Grossman, of Springboro Oh; Grandparents Lonnie and Thelma Mullins, Mel and Shelley Grossman, and Phillip and Sue VanKersen, and many loving and amazing friends, aunts, uncles and cousins. She was a 2016 graduate of Springboro High School.

Sarah graduated May 3, 2020 from The Ohio State University with an Honors Degree of Bachelor of Science in the School of Environment and Natural Resources. Her specific course of study within the EEDS program (Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability) reflected her life passions. Prior to the Covid pandemic, Sarah planned to complete a second degree in Spanish in 2021 while attending the Universidad of Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

It is impossible to find the words to describe her kindness, unique spirit, and unwavering dedication to her convictions. Sarah was a fierce but compassionate supporter of environmental issues and social justice. A genuine friend who loved and cherished her extraordinary friendships. She was the most caring and thoughtful daughter, a beloved granddaughter, and a loving sibling and best friend to her sister Jessa.

Sarah had spent the past two summers in Guatemala researching the harvesting industry. After graduation she planned to pursue work promoting positive environmental, climate and land use policies, assisting migrant workers and indigenous communities. She wanted to help the voices of the underserved be heard. She opened our eyes to both lovely ideas and ugly truths. In addition to being a full time student, she was a hard working employee, having held over six jobs in her short life, most recently at Stauf’s Coffee, and Chadwick Arboretum in Columbus, Oh. Sarah loved nature and being outdoors- hiking in the great National Parks of this country, collecting and caring for plants, watching the sun set and the moon rise. She had many interests that brought her joy- creating ceramics and art, finding that awesome thrift store find, and she definitely loved her coffee! She had visited nine countries- always wanting to learn about the world through the eyes of another. She lived a short but full life.

We will forever miss those big dimples and sweet smile. Those who knew her will understand what a beautiful soul the world has lost.

And how did she die? According to posts on Twitter:

Wow. I know some people on Twitter are still in denial about this:

Erin Stalcup
@stalcup_erin4
Replying to

Hey, this claim is currently unsubstantiated. As such, her family is asking that tweets like these be taken down until such time as they can prove them and are ready for all of the negative attention that has come upon them.
2:27 PM · Jun 5, 2020
________________
eclair
@canuclairify

Replying to

Hello! Please take this post down immediately out of respect for Sarah’s close friends and family. There is no conclusion as to how she has passed and spreading misinformation is incredibly harmful.
_____________
But I’m sure it’s only because she was a white woman and some people still can’t get their heads around the idea that ANYONE can be a victim of police brutality or racism in general!
Well, think again!

Viola Fauver Liuzzo (née Gregg; April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was a housewife and mother of five. In March 1965, Liuzzo heeded the call of Martin Luther King Jr and traveled from Detroit, Michigan, to Selma, Alabama, in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Liuzzo participated in the successful Selma to Montgomery marches and helped with coordination and logistics. At the age of 39, while driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

One of the four Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant Gary Thomas Rowe.[1][2] Rowe testified against the shooters and was given witness protection by the FBI.[3] The FBI immediately began a smear campaign and leaked to the press what were purported to be salacious details about Liuzzo. The FBI attempted to downplay the situation and to discredit Liuzzo by spreading rumors that she was a member of the Communist Party, was a heroin addict,[4] and had abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African-Americans involved in the Civil Rights Movement.[5] All of the rumors were entirely false and were wholely fabricated by the FBI.[6][7]

THAT woman could have been my mother or grandmother!

If it turns out that Sarah Grossman did not die because of tear gas, we should correct the misinformation. But she is worth remembering anyway. So is anyone who takes a stand (or drops to a knee, for that matter) to protest injustice.

16142334_10211338387960087_7371942984170139432_n

Kobe Bryant, rape allegations, and a Disney heiress

Here’s a story that emerged in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash last month. Among those killed with him was his 13 year old daughter.

https://www.businessinsider.com/kobe-bryant-abigail-disney-rape-allegations-not-a-god

Disney heiress says Kobe Bryant ‘was not a god’ in lengthy Twitter thread about rape allegations

abigail disney

Abigail Disney spoke out about Bryant’s rape allegations Saturday.

Disney heiress Abigail Disney addressed the rape allegations against late NBA star Kobe Bryant in a 24-tweet thread on Saturday that urged people to avoid turning Bryant into a god.

The 60-year-old, who is the granddaughter of Roy O. Disney — a cofounder of the Walt Disney Company — had in a tweet January 29 shared an op-ed from the Washington Post about allegations Bryant faced some 17 years ago, writing “The man was a rapist. Deal with it.”

On February 1, the Disney heiress, who has a net worth of over $120 million, doubled down on her previous statement, offering new commentary on Bryant, who died January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.  

“OK, time to bite the bullet and say something,” Disney said when she began her Twitter thread early Saturday morning. “If you don’t like it, just stop following. First of all, yes, it IS my business because I’m a woman who has herself been assaulted and spent my life knowing, loving and feeling for women for whom it’s been so much worse.” 

At the onset of the thread, Disney offered praise for Bryant amid her discussion of the rape allegations, noting that a person can do both good and bad things in their lifetime. “I mourn Kobe too,” she wrote. “He went on to be a man who seemed genuinely to want to do good. The face[sic] that he raped someone does not change any of these other facts.”

As The New York Times reported, the allegations stem from Bryant’s 2003 a trip to Colorado for an operation on his knee. Byrant reportedly asked a concierge at the spa where he was staying for a private tour. Following the tour, he invited her to his room where they began kissing. Bryant had said what followed was consensual sex, though his accuser said she was raped. 

Court documents revealed the woman had bruises on her neck and tears on her vaginal wall, The New York Times reported. While the case never went to trial, reportedly over the accusers’ refusal to testify, a lawsuit between Bryant and the accuser resulted in an undisclosed settlement.  

Bryant later apologized to his accuser. 

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual,” he said in a statement, “I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”

Disney went on to compare the allegations against Bryant to a drunk driver killing a person. “Does his lack of intention absolve him of responsibility for the death?,” Disney asked. “If he said he wasn’t that drunk or didn’t know he was drunk, or didn’t mean to kill the person, or is really really really sorry, does any of this absolve him?”

“Of course not,” she added in the next tweet. 

Disney’s final takeaway: don’t worship the NBA star. 

“So yes, we should mourn him,” Disney said. “We should mourn his daughter and his family and all the other lives lost on the helicopter. It was horrible. But don’t deify him because he was not a god. That’s all. Just don’t deify him”.

There has been a flood of discourse since Bryant’s death over whether his 2003 rape allegations should be revisited as the world mourns the basketball star’s tragic death. The Washington Post received backlash when it suspended a reporter for sharing an article about the 2003 case on Twitter after Bryant’s death. The DC newspaper would later walk back its decision to suspend the reporter, saying her tweets did not violate WaPo policy. Still, it said her tweets were “ill-timed.” 

The reactions to Disney’s two-dozen tweets were largely negative. 

“Breaking: bored heiress of a multimedia empire has nothing better to do on a Wednesday because her life is completely empty & meaningless,” one Twitter user said in a tweet that was retweeted more than 120 times. 

Not all of the reactions to Disney’s thread were negative, however.

“What a thoughtful thread,” one person tweeted. “Thank you for writing it. I have seen the way that fierce emotional identification and defense of abusive behavior can happen with sports figures.”

Abigail Disney did not return Business Insider’s request for comment.

Here are my responses to that story:

  1. Kobe Bryant was ACCUSED of rape, but he was never brought to trial, let alone convicted. From a strictly legal standpoint, he is NOT a rapist, so calling him one, especially when he is dead and cannot defend himself from that charge, might as well be called SLANDER.
  2. It is entirely possible that the supposed victim was an opportunist who after having sex with Bryant proceeded to sue him in an effort to get money out of him. This is why, even if the sex was indeed consensual, KOBE BRYANT WAS AN IDIOT TO HAVE AN AFFAIR.
  3. Bryant had four daughters at the time of his death and I’m sure they would have been shocked at the idea of their father raping anyone. That’s a bigger issue to me than his celebrity sports status. Sometimes it is better to let dead dogs decay.
  4. Abigail Disney’s personal wealth was completely irrelevant to the issue, so why mention it? If she had been homeless and not even related to Walt Disney at all, the issue would have been the same.
  5. Sports figures ARE glorified and thus are largely shielded by their own fans from their reputation being damaged by accusations of wrongdoing. We saw that to some extent with O J Simpson, who was a football star early in his life. To this day, I think Simpson got away with murder because he was a rich celebrity; a poor man would have been convicted and sent to prison for life.
  6. Yes, point 5 does seem to contradict point 1. Maybe someday I will have a more consistent ethical position, but for now I have to keep thinking about the matters more. I just feel that one mistake made by a man shouldn’t destroy his life…..unless that mistake destroys other lives. Murder is far worse than rape or adultery. And all people make mistakes.

 

Roger Ailes can now be called Roger Dead

Roger Ailes was the founding President of FOX News, which was a creation of Rupert Murdoch and his News Corporation. For all practical intents and purposes, FOX News was the American conservative version of Pravda: a news source which had the effect of propagating right-wing politics at the expense of objective reporting. Last year, as a result of a series of sexual harassment accusations by women associated with the network, Ailes resigned as FOX News President. And now he has died.

Rolling Stone writer Matt Tabbi, already known as a dedicated enemy of corruption and hypocrisy in our governments, wasted no time going after Ailes.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-roger-ailes-was-one-of-the-worst-americans-ever-w483013

Continue reading

Tim LaHaye is no more

Read this news story:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/left-behind-co-author-tim-lahaye-leading-voice-evangelicalism-dies-n616481

‘Left Behind’ Co-Author Tim LaHaye, Leading Voice of Evangelicalism, Dies

Tim LaHaye, an intellectual and popular leader of the evangelical movement whose 16 “Left Behind” novels sold tens of millions of copies, died Monday at age 90 in San Diego following a stroke last week, his ministry and his family said.

The “Left Behind” novels, co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins, were enormously popular, crashing mainstream best-seller lists in the 1990s and the 2000s, which until then had been all but unheard of for Christian-themed fiction.

The books, which were based heavily on the Book of Revelation, chronicled the struggles of the unfortunate people “left behind” on Earth after the Second Coming of Jesus and the “Rapture” of believers into Heaven, introducing the frankly apocalyptic theology to a much wider audience.

“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul that I don’t expect to be filled until I see him again,” Jenkins said in a statement Monday.

But the books were only part of the reason the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College named LaHaye the most influential leader in evangelical Christianity in 2001 — ahead of Billy Graham, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.

Falwell, who died in 2007, credited LaHaye with having inspired him to found the Moral Majority in 1979. And in a 2005 interview with Time magazine, Falwell called LaHaye and Jenkins’ “Left Behind” books the most influential Christian body of literature of the 20th century — behind only the Bible itself.

LaHaye also founded San Diego Christian College, 12 Christian secondary schools and the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy at Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia.

Among the first departments at San Diego Christian College was the Institute for Creation Research, which branched out as an influential young-Earth creationist research organization in 1972.

In 2005, Time enshrined LaHaye and his wife of almost 70 years, Beverly LaHaye — an evangelical leader in her own right as founder and chairwoman of the powerful conservative political group Concerned Women of America — as “The Christian Power Couple.”

Combined, their books and their radio and TV shows reached hundreds of millions of conservative Christians around the world for more than a quarter-century — and drew sharp criticism from liberal organizations and fellow pastors on the more progressive side of the Christian spectrum.

In 2009, LaHaye famously called President Barack Obama a socialist whose rise to power was possibly a signal of the approach of the End Times.

In an essay Monday in Christianity Today, Jenkins acknowledged that LaHaye was often called “opinionated, polemic, a right-wing conservative fundamentalist — and some will even accuse him of homophobia.”

But “the Tim LaHaye I got to know had a pastor’s heart and lived to share his faith,” Jenkins wrote. “He listened to and cared about everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing.

“If Tim was missing from the table at a book signing or the green room of a network television show, he could usually be found in a corner praying with someone he’d just met — from a reader to a bookstore clerk to a TV network anchorman.”

LaHaye’s ministry said that in addition to his wife, he is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

I first heard about Tim LaHaye when I was still a thoroughly brainwashed Southern Baptist and I had the misfortune to pick up and read his book “The Battle for the Mind”, a right-wing extremist diatribe that demonized secular Humanism as a corrupter of  American society. I wasn’t until I attended college and deconverted from Christianity that I realized the truth. I came to see that Humanists were to LaHaye what Jews were to Adolph Hitler and his Nazis; they were scapegoats that Christian bigots could focus their hatred on instead of the spiritual love that Jesus actually taught about.

As for that series of “Left Behind” novels LaHaye co-wrote with Mr. Jenkins, the entire premise behind those books was an outright lie, as I already showed in this blog entry:

Why the Rapture is a bogus concept

And that is why I prefer to call that fraud Tim LaHELL. He was just like Hal Lindsey, another self-styled expert on Bible prophecy no one should take seriously!

 

Another Creationist bigot goes to hell!

At least if there is a hell, there should be a place in it for frauds like this guy:

http://ncse.com/news/2013/03/duane-t-gish-dies-0014753

Duane T. Gish dies

  • March 6th, 2013

The young-earth creationist Duane T. Gish died on March 5, 2013, at the age of 92, according to Answers in Genesis’s obituary. Born on February 17, 1921, in White City, Kansas, he served in the U.S. Army from 1940 to 1946 in the Pacific Theater of Operations, attaining the rank of captain. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949, and then a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1953. After a stint as a postdoctoral fellow and then assistant professor of biochemistry at Cornell University Medical College, he returned as a researcher to the University of California, Berkeley, from 1956 to 1960, before joining the Upjohn Company as a researcher from 1960 to 1971. In 1971, he became the vice president of the Institute for Creation Research, founded in 1970 by Henry Morris. In 2005, Gish retired, becoming the ICR’s Senior Vice President Emeritus. A prolific writer, his most famous book was Evolution: The Fossils Say No! (Master Books, 1973), entitled in later editions Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (Master Books, 1985) and Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! (Master Books, 1995). His most recent book was Letter to a Theistic Evolutionist (ICON, 2012).

But Gish was famous, or notorious, principally on account of his debates with scientists, including such opponents as George Bakken, Kenneth R. Miller, Massimo Pigliucci, Kenneth Saladin, Michael Shermer, and William Thwaites. “If the mild-mannered professorial Morris was the Darwin of the creationist movement,” wrote Ronald L. Numbers in The Creationists (2006), “then the bumptious Gish was its T. H. Huxley.” Gish boasted of having engaged in over three hundred debates. He was certainly a lively debater, whose style involved a rapid delivery of arguments on widely varying topics; his debate style was dubbed the “Gish Gallop” by NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott in 1994. But scientists quickly concluded — in the words of Karl Fezer, writing (PDF) in 1993 — that “Gish will say, with rhetorical flourish and dramatic emphasis, whatever he thinks will serve to maintain, in the minds of his uncritical followers, his image as a knowledgeable ‘creation scientist.’ An essential component is to lard his remarks with technical detail; whether that detail is accurate or relevant or based on unambiguous evidence is of no concern. When confronted with evidence of his own error, he resorts to diversionary tactics and outright denial.”

Creationism, especially the Bible based kind, never had any legitimacy. To understand why, just read this.

The Tragedy of Rodney King

First, read this:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/rodney-king-dead-swimming-pool-160339712.html

Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by police in 1991 sparked the L.A. riots, was found dead at his California home on Sunday. He was 47.

Police said King’s fiancée discovered him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their Rialto, Calif., home, about 55 miles east of Los Angeles.

Police responded to a call at 5:25 a.m., pulled King out of the pool and attempted CPR, but could not revive him.

King’s representative Suzanne Wickman confirmed to his death to KABC-TV. According to TMZ, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, told friends King spent the bulk of Saturday drinking and “smoked marijuana at some point,” before she went to went to bed at 2:00 a.m.

The cause of death is unknown, but police are investigating it as a drowning. Rialto Police Capt. Randy DeAnda told CNN there were no preliminary signs of foul play.

King was beaten by four white LAPD officers following a DUI stop on March 3, 1991. Footage captured by an amateur videographer showed the officers hitting King 56 times with wooden batons.

“I just got lucky that night to have the cameras on me,” King said in April, marking the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots. “When I saw the tape, I was so happy that it was on tape and then looking at it, it was like I was in another body. I felt like I had died in that one, and was just watching it.”

The four officers–Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon–were acquitted of criminal charges, sparking the riots that left 55 people dead. (Koon and Powell were later found guilty of federal civil rights charges and sentenced to 30 months in prison.)

In hindsight, it appears that Rodney King was an example of a soul who could not be saved and was doomed to pass away prematurely due to his own failures instead of being able to live a full life. Even so, he had a few good qualities that society should have done a lot more to nurture, instead of treating him like he was disposable.

There was simply no excuse whatsoever for the beating King received from the cops; they were clearly out of control and lawbreakers themselves. So why were they acquitted at the first trial? One reason was because the jury was all white, a racist practice that was all too common in the South, where blacks would be sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, while guilty whites would be exonerated.

Another issue was the misperception that it is better to have a few corrupt and abusive cops on the beat than too few cops to keep order in society. That is simply wrong; I think I’d rather have no cops at all than ANY cops that are themselves criminals and never held accountable for their misdeeds because such corruption can feed on itself to ruin a whole society from within. The riots that broke out resulted from people seeing lawlessness among the cops and in that courtroom and thus thinking, “If they will not uphold the law and promote justice, why should we?!” No, I do not blame them at all!

Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Stacey Koon, if they are still alive, should never work for any police force ever again, nor should any cop caught being so abusive. And no jury involved in a case involving a black person and white people should be of one racial makeup!

Andrew Breitbart is Dead

Conservative media activist and trickster Andrew Breitbart died today at the age of 43. As far as I’m concerned,  that was simply justice after all the contemptible lies he told using media manipulation to advance his right-wing agenda, which I see as itself dishonorable. He was even responsible for the unjustified downfall of ACORN shortly after Barack Obama became President, which ACORN had helped get elected.

I think we need to do what we can to either reestablish ACORN or replace it with a simular organization. I only regret that Breitbart will not live to see that happen. But there are plenty of other Republican bigots out there we can seek to punish! Their day of reckoning will come if we just have enough backbone to go after them and make them pay!

Osama Bin Ladin is no more.

After nearly ten years of hysteria over what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 (9-11), we finally killed the terrorist leader who was behind it. Some thoughts on that:

  1. We were fighting a war on Al-Quida, which is not a nation state. Wars normally end when an enemy nation’s capital is conquered and its leadership is captured or killed. But Al-Quida has no capital and anyone could rise to be its leader in the future. Even Bin Ladin’s death will not end the War on Terrorism; it will only end when the American people stand up and DEMAND that their government end it. That should start happening NOW!
  2. Bush Jr could have gotten Bin Ladin six or seven years earlier if he had not diverted resources from the campaigns in Afghanistan to fighting Iraq over claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction that turned out to be total falsehoods.
  3. Indeed, the simple fact that the dictatorships of both Tunisia and Egypt were brought down by popular revolts means that attempts to overthrow a government from the outside is illegitimate if that government is not even at war with other states. The Iraq War that started in 2003 was a criminal act of  aggression by the United States. If any other nation had pulled such a stunt against a weaker rival, it would have been seen from the start as opportunistic imperialism. Why should America be given a free pass to be so hypocritical?
  4. We still have dozens of prisoners at Gitmo. Those that have not been charged with any crimes should be released immediately and sent back to their home countries. There is no excuse for holding such people without scheduling trials for them all. That is simply not the American way.