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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Update: Conviction of Youngest Executed Tossed Out

Dec. 17, 2914 update:  Conviction thrown out.  

June 2014 update:  70th anniversary of the execution, and NYT with another piece.   Lynching-in-slow-motion.

JANUARY UPDATE:  NYT with major piece on this today. 

Earlier:  But 70 years too late.  Because, you see, we executed him in 1944. At 14 he remains the youngest prisoner put to death in this country in many decades.   George Stinney, Jr. was (you won't be shocked) charged with killing two white girls in S. Carolina.  His execution was well-publicized and brutal (as I cover in my e-book on capital punishment in the USA, Dead Reckoning).  Stinney weighed just 90 pounds and the Bible he carried had to be used for him to sit on so the electric chair could do its work.  Now lawyers seek a new trial.
Burgess said a member of the search party that found the girls' bodies has offered new testimony that raises questions about where the crime was carried out and whether Stinney was capable of doing it.

Stinney's sister, Amie Ruffner, now in her 70s and living in New Jersey, will testify that Stinney was with her the entire day of the murders and could not have killed the girls, Burgess said.

She was never asked to speak on her brother's behalf at the original trial.
--G.M.

Movie of the Year

Got to go with David Denby for once, re: Ida.   And it's now on Netflix.   The haunted aunt should (but won't) get Best Supporting Actress nods. Not sure where they will fall in my top ten, but I will mention sleepers Locke and Calvary and The Drop.

Album of the Year

From Lucinda Williams, full return to form, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone--rare case where a double-lp could have been--but glad it wasn't--cut to a single.  From Dad's poem that opens to J.J. Cale at the close.   Especially notable for her own lyrics, from devotion to (many) fuck-offs.  When I was at Crawdaddy throughout 1970s she was just getting started in the blues/folk realm.   At bottom below, from 1989, when I discovered her.

Song of the Year

As he turned 80.  NOLA contender.



Nativity Scene

Our kitty Zoe in her manger with pet reindeer.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Waitin' for the Mow Down

Monterey Bay Aquarium fun folks have named this big-mouthed snail with a mohawk after Joe Strummer of the Clash.

Great Defense

The Browns' Andrew Hawkins defends wearing that "justice" t-shirt.  Tremendous.

John Glenn Meets Beethoven

Yes, Ed did play my man Beethoven--our birthday boy--not too far back--helping to spark my own LvB obsession.  Here he does The Ninth.

Oh, Little Wall of Bethlehem

Banksy's Christmas card.   It's been around awhile but always goes viral again.  Here's background on his other art on the Israel-Palestinian fracture and more images below that he created at the Wall.








Monday, December 15, 2014

Cover-up of Botched Execution in Oklahoma

You may have heard today about report that has come out on the horrid botched execution in Oklahoma when the condemned man actually rose from the table before he finally died--of a heart attack--after the needle was jabbed into his groin for,  like, the 16th time.  "A bloody mess" the report quotes a doctor.  The new uproar stems from this Tulsa World probe--co-author was just on Maddow show-- and note that the report shows that the state tried to cover it up in certain ways.   Note: my ebook on history of capital punishment in USA right up to current debates on issues and, yes, botched executions.

Happy Birthday, Beethoven

Ludwig would have turned 244 tomorrow, so we'll be celebrating all day.  And why not start with the "You Say It's Your Birthday" boys, The Beatles, but this time with great live version of "Roll Over, Beethoven."   Then Chuck Berry live, after cool intro (plus duck walk).  Below that, Joni Mitchell's tribute to Ludwig.  And go here for our new film and book on the amazing global influence of Beethoven's Ninth. 


More Love for Christmas

The great Darlene Love making her annual Letterman appearance this month to do the annual Christmas song--presumably for last time, unless Colbert brings her back (he may want to do it himself).  Here's great one from 3 years back:

Birthday Boy Beethoven

It is believed (though some dispute) that the great man was born tomorrow in 1770.  So ponder that this was 244 years ago as you listen to this modernist epic that he penned.

From Hiroshima to Afghanistan

Shocked U.S. leaders & media defend torture? They've backed nuking 150,000 Japanese women & children for 69 years.

A Slough Day for Hobbits

If you missed this week's "Office/Middle Earth" mash-up on SNL.


Hallelujah--Leonard for Christmas

Few could imagine that Leonard Cohen--the Jewish Buddhist--once did "Silent Night" live, with Jennifer Warnes.

'Christmas Time in Washington'

Very early in his career, Steve Earle wrote a classic, one might say, traditional, Christmas song, "Nothing But A Child."   Later, as he turned increasingly political, he penned something quite different,  written as Bill Clinton, was facing 2nd term troubles and a terrible economy, hoping for "Four more years of things not getting worse."   So "come back Woody Guthrie."  Here's the before-and-after.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chuck's Buddy

When Holly covered Berry as together (with a few others) they pretty much invented "modern" guitar-based rock 'n roll.  Below that, virtually last song he wrote and recorded demo (never released in this form for decades),  here with pal Waylon Jennings slapping his thighs.  Below that, Buddy instrumental from very early on--1956, defining rock' n roll.

Torture

SNL's Charlie Rose interviewing the two $80 million Mormon creators of CIA torture techniques...


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Oh My God, Am I Here All Alone?

You may have heard about Dylan playing a mini-set for one super-fan last month.  Now here it is, with interview with the fan.