Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

‘Unite The Right’ Rally Had Nothing To Do With Statues

Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents’ basements carrying TIKI torches from Home Depot.

The odor of citronella must have been overpowering. Was this an attack on the campus left or on mosquitoes?

“Blood and soil!” they chanted. “Jews will not replace us!”

Jews?

Had Jews somehow prevented these dorks from getting laid?

Deeply offensive, but also deeply ridiculous. The iconography of the torch-lit parade was straight out of Triumph of the Will, Leni Reifenstahl’s epic film glorifying Hitler.…

Read More

Across The Country, Bills Immunize Drivers Who Injure Protesters

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

With all eyes on the tragedies of Charlottesville, many say this is not the America they recognize. However, legalized violence is nothing new, chiefly in the form of police brutality and the immunity offered to those who retaliate against protesters. Though lawmakers are objecting to the car-plowing incident in Virginia that killed activist Heather Heyer, Republican representatives across the country have introduced a slew of bills granting immunity to drivers who injure protesters, exhibiting lawmakers’ disregard for freedom of speech and freedom to organize.

1. North Carolina votes to protect drivers who collide with protesters.

In April 2017, the North Carolina House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that would not hold drivers who collided with protesters liable as long as they “exercise due care.” After chaotic protests blocked interstate roadways in response to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by Charlotte police, the bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Justin Burr, said, “This bill does not allow for the driver of a vehicle to target protesters intentionally… It does protect individuals who are rightfully trying to drive down the road.”

Though GOP lawmakers insist otherwise, Democratic Rep.…

Read More

Misdemeanor Defendants Facing Jail Time Not Told They Have A Right To Counsel, Bar Association Finds

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

The defendants were booked, photographed, fingerprinted and then led into Court 1A in the county courthouse in Nashville. There was no judge. Prosecutors handling the misdemeanor cases invited the accused who were interested in pleading guilty to step forward and finalized plea deals for suspended sentences and an array of fines. There were no defense lawyers, nor were any of the defendants advised they were entitled to one.

Later that day in September 2016, a group of five defendants was called up by a local prosecutor and offered the previously arranged plea deals, some of which might have resulted in days behind bars.…

Read More