Tag Archives: 60 Minutes - Page 3

Bitching & Moaning In 3/4 Time

“Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” The Duke

The beloved meme. hive me the meme, the theme, the angle, that’s all I need. In this contribution, please find the immaculate miscellany. Appearances and thoughts, ideations and observations.

Reality is like a card store. You go to the section for the thought and feeling you want. We look to be affirmed, bolstered and reassured. We just want to have our worldview validated and ratified. That’s all. And that’s why I’m here. To destroy myth and obliterate political folklore. I smash consciousness into smithereens. Or something.

You’re welcome.

This was a fascinating concept in television. While the format may seem familiar the delivery platform of HuffPost Live was anything but. Extremely interactive and participatory; this is the template.

Kvetch 22. I love to complain. The indictment. The bill of particulars. The gravamen of my discontent. Let’s face it, who wants to hear an exhaustive list of smiley smiley crap. Let’s cringe in union.

I join the inimitable Errol Louis and Gerson Borrero. New York speed, New York paced on NY1. The institution. Subbing for my old pal, Curtis “Rock Sliwa. This is a New York mainstay.

Lionel Podcast: Mind Crack and Thought Candy

Me as I want. This is my podcast. There are none like it but this is mine. And it’s not free. Nothing’s free. But it will never be cancelled by impuissant corporate types or the rantings and ravings of the criminally stupid free speech scaredy cats and thought vigilantes. It’s without an F-bomb or expletive. It could play on any afternoon drive slot. As to cleanliness. But not to subject matter. You can’t say this. Or like this.

Build a better mousetrap. In this rendition I speak from the heart for 60.5 minutes. Straight. No break. No interruption. Free form, stream of heightened consciousness. Can you dig that? Can you handle that? No commercials, time checks, station ID. Nada. Hyper-personal. Directed.

Like yelling theater in a crowded fire. Take a good look. I’ve been podcasting for years and it’s truly nonpareil if find correctly. You’re going to see a lot more of this form. But it’ll never replace radio. Spoken word radio, I mean. (The most stupid phrase. Of course it’s spoken word. What? As opposed to written word?!) Music radio’s another story, but that’s not my bag. No, this will complement terrestrial or satellite.

You’re welcome. But don’t ever underestimate its power. Or its ubiquity.

The Second Amendment Explained: They’re Coming for Your Gun, Sparky!

You see little sister don’t miss when she aims her gun. Janie’s got a gun. Her whole world’s come undone. From lookin’ straight at the sun. What did her daddy do? Mary stole some money. And she got herself a gun. Then she shot her man down. Now she’s on the run. (Three songs, three ideas, one theme.)

Sure as shootin’. I don’t care if you like guns, shoot guns, fear guns, hate guns. Don’t matter, Sparky. I don’t care whether you like the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth, First or Eighth. These are our rights and they’re going nowhere. And while I’m not a gun nut as the prototypical archetypal professional left would call them, I believe in what they mean. Better yet, what our forebears thought.

“Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)

Remember this name. One of my favorite antecedent Americans was Tench Coxe, who, writing as “the Pennsylvanian” in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 1788, noted the following. And pay particular note that it was written at a time that was near in time to the origin of the country when it was fresh in their minds.

The power of the sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from 16 to 60. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.

Now, the rudiments. It’s beyond and not subject to debate. It’s an absolute verity. There’s an absolute right to possess firearms. And I wholeheartedly suggest that you never get near the working end of a shootin’ iron, keep your powder dry, lock ‘n load, cocked and locked, ripped and stripped.

Lionel’s Tutorials: The Dread Conspiracy Theory

No one uses tin foil, we strictly prefer aluminum. Or aluminium, to my UK’ers. This is precisely the meme. This is exactly what the term conspiracy theory connotes or, more precisely, is designed to connote. It’s designed to refer to the paranoid and delusional, the pathologically frightened and unrealistically suspect, the psychologically disenfranchised. The loon, the nut, the emotional outlier. Wikipedia, as it does so unbelievably often, provides this fascinating review of the term.

Hoosegows are packed with conspirators. The term refers to cognizable law, a law that has resulted in scores of Americans arrested and incarcerated for a host of crimes they’ve conspired to commit. It’s been hijacked by the meme masters to spin and confuse. From the same guys who refer to illegal immigrants as refugees. Freedom fighters versus terrorists. Illegally seized foreigners as enemy combatants.

But first, a word about the term’s juridical and historical antecedents.

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [18 U.S. Code § 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States]

See, there are conspiracies that government repeatedly imprison for. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

Nonpareil brilliance. None other than one of my heroes Gore Vidal said inter alia the following on the dread conspiracy. I quote him incessantly and watch his YouTube masterpieces most often. Along with Carlin and Bill Hicks, we often mistook their entertainment factor as a disqualifier for prophet. Why? Because we conflate entertainment with frivolous irrelevance. I’ve always said that the editorial cartoon often speaks louder than the editorial. Word.

  • “Apparently, ‘conspiracy stuff’ is now shorthand for unspeakable truth.” [Source]
  • “It is an article of faith that there are no conspiracies in American life.” [Source]
  • “I’m not a conspiracy theorist—I’m a conspiracy analyst,” [Source]

The 10 minute tutorial. It’s critical that youre aware of the ploy and argument technique to lump and mischaracterize political reality as the red herring conspiracy theory. Funny, isn’t it, that gross incompetence is far more preferred as an explanation than the truth.

Lionel Podcast & Video: Thought Vigilantes & Anthony Cumia

Prolegomenon. Since when does your taking offense enable and equip you with the ability to shut someone’s thoughts down? How does your categorization of my speech as offensive trump my right to say it in the first place? And better yet, why not opt out and merely change the channel, turn it off, unfollow, unfriend and just move along little dogie? Think (to use the negligence analog) the last clear chance doctrine. That, of course would make perfect sense. But wait, it gets better.

The gravamen. The issue is not whether a private corporation has the right to can the O&A moiety, Anthony Cumia, the issue is where’s our hardwired allergy to his censorship? Not to mention the loss of a rather lucrative livelihood that brought the company millions one would think. Where’s our patellar reflex, that Pavlovian obeisance to the notion of free speech and expression? A citizen’s been shut down for extraneous, extra-jusridictional and collateral statements. Doesn’t anyone notice? Or care? And this on the 238th birthday of the republic that ostensibly stands for the freedom of speech. I mean, that’s what the terrorists hate, right? Our freedom. That’s the issue, Sparky.

“I do declare, Miss Scarlett, I’ve been offended.” I’m getting the vapors. What shall I do? Try nothing. Read a book. And the point can’t be made enough or any clearer. Nothing will happen to you if someone says something that over the top rude, obnoxious and/or hateful. Repeat. Nothing will happen to you is someone utters something offensive.

My fellow lover of liberty, none other than Ricky Gervais said something that is just perfect.

I see offence as the collateral damage of free speech. I hate the thought of a person’s ideas being modified or even hushed up because someone somewhere might not like to hear them. Outside actually breaking the law or causing someone physical harm “hurting someone’s feelings” is almost impossible to objectively quantify.

Whither critical thinking? Listen to the discussions and you’ll hear dolt after Boeotioan state the issue as whether a private corporation can remove an employee. At the risk of sounding criminally redundant, you do realize that’s not the issue, don’t you? I’d expect nothing less from a corporate entity. Citizens United and Hobby Lobby notwithstanding, corporations aren’t people. People have feelings and on occasion guts. I’d be less than candid, however, if I didn’t express some surprise at a company that brags that it’s a safe haven from the play-it-safe and pabulum programing, free of FCC concerns. Amazing, truly ’tis.

The impuissant broadcast professional takes a pass on this one. And what a bunch of losers this crew’s turned out to be. So far, at least, let’s be fair. I mean there’s a chance they’ll come to the defense of freedom of expression, right? Ha! What are you smoking? They too have been so beaten down and acclimated and habituated to the notion of control that they just nod as the sheeple they are. Amazing, isn’t it? You’d think that folks whose very living relies and depends on unfettered speech would rail against a fellow broadcaster being clipped for something he said when not even broadcasting. You’d think after all of Howard Stern’s past problems he’d come to Ant’s defense sorta. Not out of friendship, mind you, but in the spirit of speech. I’ll tell you one thing. This would have never happened with Mel Karmazin at the helm. The man had elephantine huevos. And just imagine the reconstituted, left-over show remnant Opie &. Remember when a named member is jettisoned the name remains intact. Just ask “and the Pips” after Gladys booked it. What about that team? Not that you need more complication to the already stratified world of this issue but there are some very serious legal issues to weigh through. Those will be addressed instanter.

Thought vigilantes versus the police. Police denote government. Vigilantes emphasize the notion of the self-appointed, the Barney Fife types who feel that the authorities aren’t doing enough. They take it upon themselves to point out where others have transgressed. Imagine a more annoying and less lethal George Zimmerman. Church Lady meets Little Brother.

Being offended as a parlor game. Welcome to the United States of the Easily Offended. It’s who we’ve become. We actually get a kick out of it. Every day, teams of hypersensitive sentries pore over stories and Twitter and Facebook accounts hoping to catch something that can be viewed as offensive to soemeone. And all the while, no one can answer the question: So what if you’re offended? Better yet, just who was offended in the first place?

Let me get this straight. So, Anthony Cumia, who worked for this free speech monster, this medium that touted the irreverent and the censor-free, a subscription service that fellow artist Howard Stern joined after he long high-tailed it and escaped the censorious and ever-fining grip of the FCC, let me get this straight: SiriusXM fired Cumia . . . for what he wrote on his Twitter account?! Let’s just stop right there for a minute. Do you see anything so pathetically and obviously wrong with that? If you don’t you need remedial help in common sense. And as they say on QVC, but wait, there’s more. You have to actually go looking for this horrid Twitter account, allegedly flush with “racially charged” invectives. It doesn’t just fall into your lap, you must seek it out. Get this: In order to be offended! So, you have to pay for the subscription radio service that never broadcast his offensive bleating and you have to go and find the Twitter thread to be offended. That’s a lot of work, don’t you think?

I want my old country back.

The Cannibal Cop Is Free! The Thought Police Lose a Big One.

Get a load of this. This was a defense exhibit. A defense exhibit!

Freedom’s tasty, ain’t it? Let’s hear it for the First Amendment. That beautiful guarantee of the ability to think muse, opine, ideate, fantasize, imagine, guess, wonder, dream. To wax perhaps obscene or sexually demented in sick reverie. Fine. Think away. Just don’t act. Don’t carry through. Just think. Well, the thought police and the mindless bands of feckless, impuissant, atesticular, spineless Ted Baxter sockpuppet, echo chamber, cookie cutter, bumper sticker, presstitue pantywaist media types don’t care much for that freedom biz.

What took this Judge so long? I’d have granted the JOA motion instanter. But justice delayed is not necessarily justice denied. The Court was spot on in seeing through the danger of this verdict.

“The evidentiary record is such that it is more likely than not the case that all of Valle’s Internet communications about the kidnapping are fantasy role-play,” Manhattan Federal District Court Judge Judge Paul Gardephe said in a 118-page written opinion. “No real-world, non-Internet based steps were ever taken to kidnap anyone.” Well played, sir.

“No one was ever kidnapped, no attempted kidnapping ever took place, and no real-world, non-Internet -based steps were ever taken to kidnap anyone,” he further brilliant noted and wrote.  “Dates for ‘planned’ kidnappings pass without comment, without discussion, without explanation, and with no follow-up. The only plausible explanation for the lack of comment on inquiry about allegedly agreed-upon and scheduled kidnappings is that Valle and the others engaged in these chats understood that no kidnapping would actually take place.”

What does this do to “To Catch a Predator” crimes? Alone have I been in calling attention to my Constitutional incredulity over the idea of busting people for thinking they’ve arranged for an illicit rendezvous with the imaginary virtual minor. The idea that you think you’re contracting illegally. You think. Imagine a blind feller thinks someone’s in front of him and he pulls out a revolver and demands “Stick ‘em up!” Can he be rightfully charged with armed robbery? No, of course not. But he thought there was someone there. If we were to extrapolate the notion of thinking crimes, he should certainly suffer criminal exposure.

By analogy, In 2002 Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, addressed the issues of virtual crime and the language is most pertinent here. The issue addresses child pornography and like cannibalism, the horror of the crime tends to short circuit rational thinking.

The CPPA [Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA), 18 U. S. C. §2251 et seq.] prohibits speech despite its serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. The statute proscribes the visual depiction of an idea. 

The mere tendency of speech to encourage unlawful acts is not a sufficient reason for banning it. The government “cannot constitutionally premise legislation on the desirability of controlling a person’s private thoughts.” Stanley v. Georgia, 394 U. S. 557, 566 (1969). First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought or to justify its laws for that impermissible end. The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought. 

To preserve these freedoms, and to protect speech for its own sake, the Court’s First Amendment cases draw vital distinctions between words and deeds, between ideas and conduct. See Kingsley Int’l Pictures Corp., 360 U. S., at 689; see also Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U. S. 514, 529 (2001) (“The normal method of deterring unlawful conduct is to impose an appropriate punishment on the person who engages in it”). The government may not prohibit speech because it increases the chance an unlawful act will be committed “at some indefinite future time.” Hess v. Indiana, 414 U. S. 105, 108 (1973) (per curiam). The government may suppress speech for advocating the use of force or a violation of law only if “such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U. S. 444, 447 (1969) (per curiam). There is here no attempt, incitement, solicitation, or conspiracy. The Government has shown no more than a remote connection between speech that might encourage thoughts or impulses and any resulting child abuse. Without a significantly stronger, more direct connection, the Government may not prohibit speech on the ground that it may encourage pedophiles to engage in illegal conduct.

When it comes to the deliciously jejune and puerile nobody can get near the Post.

It is beyond axiomatic. Thoughts are protected speech. Period. It’s a part of our freedom the terrorists hate, remember? If we ever lose those rights, it won’t be from those desert-dwelling terrorist types who are always prone to monkey bars. No, we will give them up and hand them off. I fear us.

My prediction proves true. Again. This was my commentary from March 5 of last year detailing precisely why the cannibal cop wasn’t guilty of anything. It denotes the differences between cognizable albeit inchoate crimes versus what this schlub was convicted of.

Hobby Lobby: The Stupidest SCOTUS Case Until Their Next Stupid Case

Work with me on this one. Not so much the holding per se, but the idea that it was based on constitutional precepts and tenets: that is what we call in the legal biz bullshit. Give me a break, Sparky. If Hobby Lobby were a family owned, closely held corporation run by Muslims applying Sharia law in rejecting insurance plans that provided, say arguendo, medication containing gelatin capsules that were porcine based, you can bet your sweet bippy that the case would have never been heard because it never would have happened. It’s the fact that the participants are Christians. That’s the way it works. We see when Constitutional Neanderthals still suggest that prayer in school would be cool. Prayer? Any prayer? Wiccan? Zoroastrian? Pagan? Hare Krishna?

Don’t make me laugh. The same SCOTUS who punted in Newdowwith the Ninth Circuit crafting a brilliant decision only to have the Supremes grant cert and then bail on a standing issue?! Remember, they’re in for life. Period. Article III, baby. ‘Tis a bitch. Until, of course, it’s a decision you like and then all is forgiven.

Be not mistaken, my friends. This “religious freedom” question was based on the fact that the religion was accepted. Judeo-Christian, no sweat. Muslim, Hindu of atheist? Not a chance.

Focus, people. If this were a legislative matter, viz. if this decision were being considered a part of the Affordable Health Act or anything but a full-throated SCOTUS review, we’d probably have the same arguments. In fact, Ol’ Ruthie threw out some beauts. This infra says it all.

Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.

And please refrain from the usual “You’re opening up a can of worms” argument or the equally valid slippery slope beaut. Only good cases open cans o’ worms and slippery slopes are reserved for cases you disagree with. Remember, you can also get a goo decision for specious reasonings. Look no further than Blackmun’s Roe v. Wade. I’m an ardent, full-tilt, drop dead pro-choicer, but that case was an abomination and an insult to logic and juridical precedent. Privacy?!

Oh, yes. Here’s some video to watch.

SCOTUS Gets It Right: Cops Need A Search Warrant for Your Cellphone

It’s axiomatic. Search incident to a lawful arrest. Cops have a field day seizing whatever’s on the defendant’s person and whatever’s nearby. And it makes eminent sense. Let’s seize evidence and fruits of the crime and especially secure the area to ensure the police officer’s safety. And cellphones fell prey to the vacuum cleaner swath of the search. Until now.

Cellphones are data troves. They’re repositories of pictures, notes, emails , thoughts, itineraries. The rough draft of your life. And Roberts spelled it out perfectly. Imagine that!

Lyle Denniston in SCOTUSblog said it best:

Treating modern cellphones as gaping windows into nearly all aspects of the user’s life and private conduct, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ordered police to get a search warrant before examining the contents of any such device they take from a person they have arrested.  Seeing an individual with a cellphone is such a common thing today, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., wrote, “the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.”

And it even addressed the idea of cloud technology and data storage platforms. This really mucks up the works. Again, Denniston notes

[t]he ruling was such a sweeping embrace of digital privacy that it even reached remotely stored private information that can be reached by a hand-held device — as in the modern-day data storage “cloud.”  And it implied that the tracking data that a cellphone may contain about the places that an individual visited also is entitled to the same shield of privacy.

The Court’s ruling drew some suggestions by Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., to narrow its scope, but it did not accept those.  The result was the broadest constitutional ruling on privacy in the face of modern technology since the Court’s ruling two Terms ago limiting police use of satellite-linked GPS tracking of a suspect’s movements by car.

The tutorial commences infra. I love this stuff. Being a lawyer, law-trained but more importantly having slogged through MASH-unit Flawda highfalutin rootin’ tootin’ prosecutin’, I’ve a different perspective. A different take. Theory meets practical. And it’s legal commentary that I love inside and out. Because it’s real and it affects you. Moreover you’re charged with knowing it. Ignorance is not a defense. Unless your Linda Tripp, but that’s another story.

Rejoice! The Constitution’s alive and well. And the Supremes got if right.

On the Sixth Anniversary of the Death of the Prophet George Carlin

He was a prophet who might have made you laugh. But that was incidental. That was an added bonus. What he spoke of were subjects that more often than not were anything but funny. And he left a legacy of some of the most brilliant routines and writings and observations ever recorded.

His verbal facility was nonpareil. There simply was nothing like it. It was jazz. Lyrical, verbal jazz. And here’s why we may never see the likes of him again.

Why? Because in so many instances, in so many arenas what passes for Carlin is mockery of the opposing view, typically anything uttered by anyone from the GOP or Republicans or Tea Party. That’s not Carlin. He had platforms and positions and ideologies that stood independent of the object of targeted ridicule. Political discourse today is personal. Snarky, smarmy, impolite and hardly impolitic.

There’s nothing like him now. And with the exception of the late Bill Hicks, no one with the intellectual firepower.

 

The 20th Anniversary of O. J.’s Murders: Part III – O. J. Pre-Twitter and Post Ted Baxter

Holy Narcissus, Batman! Imagine. Just imagine. O. J. With no Twitter, no hashtags, no Facebook, microblogging. Nothing. Zip. Just plain old cable. Tired, haggard, hoary, unimaginative and cobwebbed. Well, Junior, that’s exactly the way it was. And somehow we survived. In fact, I respectfully submit, it was better. Social media would have destroyed it. Because the heft that’s associated with simultaneous tweetage amounts in effect to a poor man’s stenography. We’re so busy reacting we miss that which we should react to. Not to mention, twits tweeting create a separate, ancillary and attendant substory.

And to the scores of 20-something millipedes (or is that millennials?) who suggest that since they were in fifth grade when Simpson commenced with his slashings they have no singular and independent recollection or reference point to the event, let me respond to these cub citizens that I wasn’t around tic the Civil War bug it was in all the papers. The height of hubris and arrogance from these kids today, I’m tellin’ ya! In the scope of history events are modular. They fit together and interlock. Their significance aside from the fact that it happened is that it happened. How’s that for cosmic?

And here, my third installment.