Quiet Sunday Night Open Thread

baby giraffe

Here’s a feel-good story for a quiet Sunday night:

Rare Rothschild giraffe born at Greenwich conservation center

When a rare, nearly 6-foot-tall giraffe was born Friday morning at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center, she had a crowd waiting for her.

Petal, a 6-year-old Rothschild giraffe — which are classified as endangered — gave birth to a healthy female calf with a group of other giraffes and conservation center staff watching.

“She’s a great mom,” said Marcella Leone, founder and director of the center. “She was very proud, trying to show off her newborn.”

Petal, now a second-time mother, has already bonded with her newborn, who looks like her, with a mix of dark patches broken up by bright cream channels.

There’s a contest to name the newborn, which you can enter here.

LEOZCC is a nonprofit, accredited conservation center and off-site breeding facility specializing in species at risk and conservation-based education programs. The mission of the Lionshare Educational Organization, which manages LEO Zoological Conservation Center, is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people with wildlife and the natural world.

Here’s a video of the baby giraffe standing up for the very first time.

Isn’t that adorable?

I don’t know if you saw this story at The Daily Beast yesterday: Why Tea Partiers Are Boycotting Fox News

Apparently some Tea Partiers are upset with Fox News for not hammering the Benghazi story anymore.

“Particularly after the election, Fox keeps turning to the left,” said Stan Hjerlied, 75, of Fort Collins, Colo., and a participant in the boycott. He pointed to an interview Fox News CEO Roger Ailes gave after the election in which he said that the Republican Party and Fox News need to modernize, especially around immigration. “So we are really losing our only conservative network.”

The three-day boycott lasted Thursday morning through Sunday morning, and is the second time this group of activists have gone Fox-free in an effort to steer the coverage. Organizers say a two-day boycott earlier this month knocked 20 percent off of the network’s regular viewership. (A Daily Beast analysis of the same data showed that the boycott had little effect.) […]

A leader of the boycott, Kathy Amidon, of Nashville, declined an interview, instead directing The Daily Beast to a website, Benghazi-Truth. The website, a single-page, 23,000-word manifesto complete with multicolored fonts, supposedly incriminating videos of Fox News’s complicity in a coverup, and communist propaganda photographs, is kept by someone who identifies himself online as “Proe Graphique,” and who other members of boycott described as someone who works “in New York media.”

By way of explanation, the website reports: “People ask why not all mainstream media? Why just Boycott FOX? The answer, again, is that FOX needs the Tea Party/conservatives more than the conservatives need FOX after FOX turned left, basically selling out the people who made FOX successful in an attempt to earn an extra buck. FOX is extremely vulnerable to these boycotts while the rest of the MSM doesn’t need us at all, to speak of.”

Talk about biting off your own nose to spite your face! How far right are these people if they think Fox News is too far left?

This story isn’t really lightweight, but it’s so ridiculous that it’s almost funny. Greg Mitchell posted a piece that he wrote on assignment for the Washington Post on media failures on Iraq. Amazingly, ten years after the fact, the Post wimped out and killed the story. Here’s Mitchell’s introduction–you can read the whole think at his blog.

Due to “popular demand,” based on my post last night, I’m publishing below the assigned Outlook piece that I submitted to the Washington Post on  Thursday.   I see that the Post is now defending killing the piece because it didn’t offer sufficient “broader analytical points or insights.”  I’ll let you decide if that’s true and why they might have rejected it.

The original appeared almost word-for-word at The Nation this weekend (there I added a reference to Bob Woodward and to Bob Simon).   I had absolutely no plans to even mention that the piece was killed until late last night when I saw that Paul Farhi of the Post had written for Outlook a piece claiming that the media “didn’t fail” in the run-up to the Iraq war.   That inspired me to write the post last night which has proved quite popular.

The cowardice of the corporate media is just amazing.

When I was a senior in high school, I had to write a lengthy term paper for my English class. I had recently read a book about a momentous Supreme Court decision, Gideon v. Wainwright. The book was Gideon’s Trumpet, by Anthony Lewis. I was so inspired by the book and the SCOTUS decision that I wrote my term paper about the case. I called it “Justice for the Poor.” I was a liberal from childhood and I’ve only moved further left in my old age!

From the summary of the case at the United States Courts website:

Clarence Earl Gideon was an unlikely hero. He was a man with an eighth-grade education who ran away from home when he was in middle school. He spent much of his early adult life as a drifter, spending time in and out of prisons for nonviolent crimes.

Gideon was charged with breaking and entering with the intent to commit a misdemeanor, which is a felony under Florida law. At trial, Gideon appeared in court without an attorney. In open court, he asked the judge to appoint counsel for him because he could not afford an attorney. The trial judge denied Gideon’s request because Florida law only permitted appointment of counsel for poor defendants charged with capital offenses.

At trial, Gideon represented himself – he made an opening statement to the jury, cross-examined the prosecution’s witnesses, presented witnesses in his own defense, declined to testify himself, and made arguments emphasizing his innocence. Despite his efforts, the jury found Gideon guilty and he was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Gideon sought relief from his conviction by filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Florida Supreme Court. In his petition, Gideon challenged his conviction and sentence on the ground that the trial judge’s refusal to appoint counsel violated Gideon’s constitutional rights. The Florida Supreme Court denied Gideon’s petition.

Gideon next filed a handwritten petition in the Supreme Court of the United States. The Court agreed to hear the case to resolve the question of whether the right to counsel guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution applies to defendants in state court.

The Supremes decided that criminal defendants who could not afford an attorney should be provided with one.

The Court held that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial and, as such, applies the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In overturning Betts, Justice Black stated that “reason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.” He further wrote that the “noble ideal” of “fair trials before impartial tribunals in which ever defendant stands equal before the law . . . cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.”

I don’t think my English teacher was particularly liberal, but he said I convinced him with my paper and I got an “A.”

You can read more about this case at The Nation.

I really miss the Warren Court!

I came across a fascinating obituary yesterday in The Guardian. It’s about Peter Scott, who for years was a cat burgler who targeted movie stars and other very wealthy people. He was known as “The King of the Cat Burglers” and “The Human Fly.”

Peter Scott, the “King of the Cat Burglars”, who has died of cancer aged 82, was once Britain’s most prolific raider of the wealthy, specialising in the theft of jewellery and artworks from Mayfair mansions and stately homes. He was the subject of a film, starring a young Judi Dench, and the author of a memoir in which he claimed he was “sent by God to take back some of the wealth that the outrageously rich had taken from the rest of us”.

Born Peter Craig Gulston into a middle-class Belfast family, he was educated at the Belfast Royal Academy, where a contemporary was John Cole, the former BBC political editor and Guardian journalist. By the age of 12 Peter had decided on a life of crime rather than any of the legal options that would have been available to him. His teenage apprenticeship involved burgling houses in the wealthy Belfast suburbs, with his college scarf, rugby bag and debonair manner as disguise. He reckoned to have carried out more the 150 such thefts by the time he was finally arrested in 1952 and sent to Crumlin Road jail for six months.

Realising that he was now a marked man in Belfast, he changed his name to Scott, moved to London and found work as a club bouncer in the West End. But off duty, he won a reputation as an accomplished and athletic cat burglar, able to climb and penetrate the best-guarded home counties mansions. He specialised in stealing from the very rich or, as he put it, “the real meaty jugular vein of society”. Jail time – by the end of his career he had served about 14 years – was the price he was prepared to pay for being a real-life Raffles.

While inside for an early stretch, he met the then best-known thief in London, George “Taters” Chatham. Together the two of them stole millions of pounds’ worth of art and jewellery. Over the years, Scott claimed to have robbed Vivien Leigh and Zsa Zsa Gabor and to have taken Sophia Loren’s £200,000 necklace when she was in Britain filming The Millionairess in 1960. He robbed the late Shah of Iran’s English mansion, making sure not to disturb the peacocks, which acted as guard dogs. The French Riviera was another happy hunting ground.

Scott wrote a memoir called The Gentleman Thief, published in 1995. Even after the book was published and Scott was supposedly retired,

…in 1997, he was involved in the theft of Picasso’s Tête de Femme from a Mayfair gallery. Scott quoted WE Henley to the officers who arrested him: “Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody but unbowed.”They were unimpressed. He was jailed for three and a half years for handling stolen goods, having pleaded guilty halfway through the trial. “I was poaching excitement,” was how he explained his relapse.

Scott spent his later years as a tennis coach and tending the gardens of a church in Camden, north London – he had always sought horticultural work in jail – and offering advice to local youngsters about the pitfalls of crime.

There an even longer tribute to Scott at The Telegraph.

This guy reminded me so much of the Cary Grant character in Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. In the movie, Grant plays a reformed cat burglar named John Robie. Like Scott, Robie loved to spend time in his garden caring for his roses. In the movie, someone is pulling off daring jewel thefts using Robie’s modus operandi, and Robie is naturally a suspect. In order to prove his innocence he has to catch the imitator. I’m sure you’ve seen the movie, but here’s the trailer. I couldn’t get it to embed. And here’s a clip in which Grace Kelly tries to trap Robie into stealing her (fake) diamonds, but instead . . . fireworks!

I hope you’re having an enjoyable evening. Please share any upbeat or funny links you’ve come across today–actually whatever you want to post is fine. This is a wide open thread!

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7 Comments on “Quiet Sunday Night Open Thread”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Reuters has a breaking news banner announcing that the EU-IMF bailout plan for Cyprus has been approved–not sure how good or bad this news is yet.

  2. ecocatwoman says:

    I love all African wildlife. Giraffes are so majestic & beautiful. It’s hard to believe that the young aren’t injured at birth, dropping such a great distance on the hard ground. Then to escape being killed by a predator have to stand almost immediately and be able to run if necessary. In the days of the Great White Hunters, giraffes were shot & killed so their tails could be made into fly swatters.

    Damn, I guess I’ll have to start watching FOX since they are left leaning now – NOT!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Sergio Garcia Climbed A Tree And Hit The Craziest Golf Shot Of The Year

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/sergio-garcia-climbs-tree-hits-shot-video-2013-3#ixzz2OVkeLLNq

    I don’t know if anyone else here likes golf, but this is amazing.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Bill Gates is offering a big reward to the person who creates a better condom.

    If you think you can create a Next Generation Condom that considerably enhances or preserves pleasure, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation might award you a Phase I $100,000 grant. The aim is to improve condom uptake and regular use.

    Don’t tell the Pope!!