“Dark Knight” Shooter James Holmes Called MTV Personality Before Aurora Massacre

Diggity Dave Aragon

More information trickles out about James Holmes odd behavior in the weeks leading up to the “Dark Knight” theater shootings. From LA Weekly:

In a creepy interview this morning (Wednesday) with CBS Los Angeles, Diggity Dave — a former “accessories master” for MTV’s Pimp My Ride who dabbles in alt-metal and campy horror films — says he believes his yet-to-be-released film The Suffocator of Sins may have inspired Holmes’ death rampage….

The L.A. singer/filmmaker tells CBS2 that a man calling himself James Holmes phoned him in June, acting all starstruck and claiming he’d watched the Sins trailer hundreds of times.

We quote:

“He would tell me what he really liked about the trailer. He kept pressing if I could give him more information on the story. He wanted to know how many people Batman kills. He wanted to know if it was selective killing. Does he make a list of people he wants to kill or is it a mass body count?”

From the CBS LA link:

In an exclusive interview, Pimp My Ride’s Diggity Dave told KNX 1070’s Charles Feldman that a young man who called himself “James Holmes” phoned him in June about his upcoming film, “The Suffocator of Sins.”

Dave wrote, directed and stars in the forthcoming takeoff of the Batman movie, which shows a young vigilante Batman shooting down evil doers. Some have said the YouTube trailer resembles a crowded movie theater. He describes the film as a “very sick and dark twist of the Batman movies.”

Here’s the trailer:

There’s a plot description at the LA Weekly link. Here’s another tidbit from Business Insider:

While he couldn’t completely, positively identify the man who called him as the true James Holmes, Dave said the caller introduced himself as such. What’s more, Dave said he thinks his caller was just looking for a friend.

“He was shocked I took his call,” Dave told CBS Los Angeles. “He couldn’t believe he was talking to me. I’m a pretty good judge of character and I knew the kid was lonely.”

Aragon also claimed that Holmes asked him about the Joker.

So we have a few more clues about Holmes’ state of mind. I’d have to say that watching the movie trailer “hundreds of times” is suggestive of paranoid schizophrenia. Holmes may have had delusions of reference–believing that he was video was communicating with him personally. Another suggestive symptom is that Holmes was apparently isolating himself from others It would be interesting to know if Holmes had been neglecting his personal hygiene. But, as I have said repeatedly, we still don’t have enough information to be sure what was happening in this young man’s mind. It sounds like he was able to communicate pretty well with Aragon on the phone.


Wednesday Reads: Get the vote out of MTV, Crimes and Punishment…of the Jesus Kind

Good Morning…

Last night Boston Boomer had a post about the recent change in diet for those Texas prisoners on death row.  So I thought I would start this morning’s post of with a story about another prisoner, this time in Alabama.

Alabama Inmate Sues to Read Southern History Book – NYTimes.com

Last Friday, Mark Melvin, who is serving a life sentence at Kilby, filed suit in federal court against the prison’s officials and the state commissioner of corrections, claiming they have unjustly kept a book out of his hands.

The book, which was sent to him by his lawyer, is a work of history. More specifically, it is a Pulitzer Prize-winning work of Southern history, an investigation of the systematically heinous treatment of black prisoners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Mr. Melvin, 33, alleges in his suit that prison officials deemed it “a security threat.”

Melvin was charged when he was 14 for helping his brother commit two murders. He works in the prison’s library. A year ago, his lawyer sent him a few books, including the Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction, “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” by Douglas A. Blackmon.

The book chronicles the vast and brutal convict leasing system, which became nearly indistinguishable from antebellum slavery as it grew. In this system, people, in almost all cases black, were arrested by local law enforcement, often on the flimsiest of charges, and forced to labor on the cotton farms of wealthy planters or in the coal mines of corporations to pay off their criminal penalties. Though convict leasing occurred across the South, the book focuses on Alabama.

Mr. Melvin never received the book. According to his lawsuit, he was told by an official at Kilby that the book was “too incendiary” and “too provocative,” and was ordered to have it sent back at his own expense.

He appealed, but in his lawsuit he says that prison officials upheld the decision, citing a regulation banning any mail that incites “violence based on race, religion, sex, creed, or nationality, or disobedience toward law enforcement officials or correctional staff.” (Mr. Melvin is white.)

So he sued.

Blackmon, the book’s author, says his book has never banned before, and that the last convicts of the forced labor coal mines were moved out in 1923.  They were sent to Kilby, the very same prison that Melvin is being held at.

Of course, there is no comment from the Alabama Department of Corrections.  However, when you consider that Alabama’s criminal punishment practices were also in the news this past week, when it was reported that in one Alabama town, you must choose between iron bars or Jesus. Here is an article, with commentary, on Operation “ROC” written by George Mathis: Alabama criminals sentenced to time in church | News To Me with George Mathis

The separation between church and state has narrowed a bit in Alabama, where judges are now sentencing criminals to time behind bars or in a church pew.

City Judges in Bay Minette have begun a new program to non-violent criminals,

“Operation Restore Our Community,” which could be called “Operation We Lock Up More People Than We Can Afford,” will save the town of 8,000 a lot of cash, if offenders choose to get right with Jesus (or Allah).

Lawbreakers get to pick the church of their choice, but must check in with the pastor once a week for a year to get off the legal hook.

Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland told WKRG it costs his department about $75 per inmate per day to feed, house and delouse criminals.

So far, 56 churches in North Baldwin County are participating. I bet none are Wiccan.

Rowland says the program doesn’t violate separation of church and state issues, but must not have run across any scorned atheists or ACLU lawyers, who are already considering a legal assault.

“This policy is blatantly unconstitutional,” said Olivia Turner, executive director for the ACLU of Alabama in an article in the Mobile Press-Register. ”It violates one basic tenet of the Constitution, namely that government can’t force participation in religious activity.”

As you all know, I recently attended the funeral of one my very good friends.  Derrick was not one of those Baptist that went to church on Sundays…but at his funeral, the Sheriff’s Chaplain made sure to let all those people know that Derrick had been “saved.” The Chaplain said he was going to used Derrick’s death to “guilt” the sinners who came to the funeral into accepting Jesus as their savior.  (Cause you know, if you aren’t reborn you ain’t getting to heaven.) I almost walked out…I was so upset that this “preacher” was using Derrick’s death to “save the sinners.”  But there was one thing he said that I agreed with…He started the sermon with this statement, “Christians can be hateful people.” Yes, they certainly can be.  Especially when they are exploiting the sorrow of a community for their own fundamentalist gain.  Damn, I hate organized religion!

Oops, went off on a tangent there.

Sticking with the crime and punishment theme…

Wisconsin’s Voter Rewards Programs Under Investigation | Crooks and Liars

The subpoenas are flying fast and furious in Wisconsin. This time, the story is over the “voter rewards” programs mounted during the recalls.

Via JSOnline:

Details of the secret investigation are sketchy, but it is clear the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office is investigating charges that Wisconsin Right to Life offered rewards for volunteers who signed up sympathetic voters in the recall races. Several people familiar with the investigation said subpoenas were being distributed “like candy.”

Prosecutors had earlier acknowledged that they also were looking into complaints about get-out-the-vote block parties sponsored by a liberal group, Wisconsin Jobs Now.

There’s a little false equivalence in this article, at least, that’s how it appears to me. Yes, there are two investigations, but let’s compare and contrast the specific voter rewards programs, which in some cases were a lot like the benefits you get for signing up for a new Visa card at the low, low interest rate of 23 percent per year.

Here’s the Wisconsin Right to Life Voter Rewards program:

During the recall races, the group had sent an email that described the elections as putting “a pro-family, pro-life state Senate at stake.”

It then offered “rewards for volunteers who make an impact over the weekend by educating and encouraging family and friends to vote by absentee ballot.”

Those who signed up 15 “pro-life/pro-family voters” by July 5 would get a $25 gift or gas card as a reward. The person signing up the most people in each Senate district would win a $75 gift or gas card.

Awesome. Nothing says vote integrity like a $25 gift card. You might also recall this group as the one who sent out the phony absentee ballot notices to registered Democrats so they’d mail in their ballots a day late.

It looks like the Wisconsin Republican Party has hired big guns, James Bopp to get to the bottom of all this…Bopp is one of those who orchestrated the Citizens United, corporations are people too, lawsuit.  Back to the C&L article:

Turning the snark off for a moment, there is a real problem here; indeed, across the nation. Our voting system is being corrupted by Voter ID laws and hackable voting machines. As silly as I think it is to offer voting rewards programs, I also think we have a far deeper and more serious problem. Sending mailers with bogus dates on them is a far more egregious problem than having a barbeque or even handing out payola for voter quotas.

I’m not sure how this is all going to turn out, but I hope people start realizing how precious their votes are, and how easily they can be corrupted.

Have you noticed the sound of crickets coming from many of the main stream media outlets when it comes to the Occupy Wall St. protest?  From what I understand, NPR has avoided it as if the people occupying Wall St. were lepers. Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street | The Dissenter

The organizers, who pride themselves in being “leaderless,” have sought to bring together a diverse crowd of various political persuasions. They have rallied behind the slogan, “We are the 99%,” to show they will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the top 1% in America. They have rallied against banks that engage in tax dodging while at the same time foreclosing on Americans’ homes and charging exorbitant interest rates on student loans putting young citizens in deep debt. They are rising up against increased unemployment and war against the poor in America. And they have used what is known as the General Assembly process to make decisions, which democratically gives all people present an opportunity to influence the continued organization of Occupy Wall Street.

Traditional media have characterized the plurality of voices and the number of issues the occupation is seeking to challenge as a weakness. Establishment media has been openly condescending. Ginia Bellafante’s report in the New York Times has generated significant attention for her focus on the fact that some “half-naked woman” who looks like Joni Mitchell to her is the leader of this movement of “rightly frustrated young people.” Bellafante accuses the protesters of lacking “cohesion” and “pantomiming progressivism rather than practice it knowledgeably.” NPR reiterated NYT’s focus on the “scattered nature of the movement” in its coverage of the occupation (and tellingly used a photo of a man holding a sign that reads “Satan Controls Wall St”). Local press have treated the occupiers as if they are a tribe or a group of nomads focusing on occupiers’ behavior instead of trying to understand the real reason why people are in the park.

Liberals have shown scorn, too, suggesting the occupation is not a “Main Street production” or that the protesters aren’t dressed properly and should wear suits cause the civil rights movement would not have won if they hadn’t worn decent clothing.

(photo: David Shankbone )

The latest show of contempt from a liberal comes from Mother Jones magazine. Lauren Ellis claims that the action, which “says it stands for the 99 percent of us,” lacks traction. She outlines why she thinks Zuccotti Park isn’t America’s Tahrir Square. She chastises them for failing to have one demand. She claims without a unified message police brutality has stolen the spotlight. She suggests the presence of members of Anonymous is holding the organizers back writing, “It’s hard to be taken seriously as accountability-seeking populists when you’re donning Guy Fawkes masks.” And, she concludes as a result of failing to get a cross-section of America to come out in the streets, this movement has been for “dreamers,” not “middle class American trying to make ends meet.”

Granted, some of the images of bare breasted women smiling for the cameras are annoying to me for obvious reasons, but the protest has gotten some momentum.

Ellis conveniently leaves out the fact that Occupy Wall Street is inspiring other cities to get organized and hold similar assemblies/occupations. Second, if the protesters did have one demand, does Ellis really think that would improve media coverage? Wouldn’t pundits then be casting doubt on whether the one demand was the appropriate singular demand to be making? Third, so-called members of Anonymous are citizens like Ellis and have a right to participate in the protest. It is elitist for Ellis to suggest Occupy Wall Street should not be all-inclusive. And, finally, there is no evidence that just “dreamers” are getting involved. A union at the City University of New York, the Industrial Workers of the World, construction workers, 9/11 responders and now a postal workers and teachers union have shown interest in the occupation.

You can read the rest at the link, it is a long post…so check it out if you can.  I wonder how many of those protesters voted for Obama?

Did you all catch the news that MTV has ditched Obama’s Get Out the Vote campaign? MTV Scratch | Get Out the Vote | Says They Can’t Help Obama Campaign | Mediaite

I remember these hipsters and young voters fawning over Obama…like he was the golden boy of the cool millennial crowd.

MTV told Obama‘s re-election campaign that they’re going to have to go it alone this year. According to a New York Post “exclusive,” the President’s Get Out the Vote campaign-within-a-campaign was declined service by MTV’s internal ad agency, MTV Scratch, which does not engage in political work. If they need to know what the kids want, they are going to have to figure it out themselves.

Get Out the Vote — a campaign run by Deputy Director of Public Engagement Buffy Wicks and aimed at increasing participation among young voters — is hoping to win back the affections of the millennial generation who helped elect Obama in 2008 but have since become discouraged by high unemployment rates. “The youth initiative is having trouble with big donors and youth votes,” says the Post‘s source. “They asked, ‘Can you tell us how we should be talking to them?’ ”

MTV Scratch apparently does know the millennial “speak” and can reach this pocket of the population, but what they don’t know…

…is politics. And so, several weeks after they’ve submitted their application, Get Out the Vote has been turned down. MTV has a long history of political involvement, running campaigns to get young voters registered and informed and hosting hard hitting town halls, and will likely find another way to be involved this cycle. Their involvement, however, has typically been non-partisan, and they have not, so far as I can tell, directly engaged with a particular campaign as this Post item suggests Get Out the Vote was hoping they would. Direct engagement between a Viacom property and a presidential re-election campaign sounds complicated for both parties.

With Obama losing the black vote, the Jewish vote and the small donor vote…this is a clear signal that he is losing the hipster-doofus vote. (Of course I jest about the doofus part.)

That is it for me, 2 am and I am beat, so I will stop here…but I’ll catch ya later in the comments!


Saturday Reads: What a glorious time to be free…spandex jackets for everyone!

Good Saturday morning, knowing that I had to write this post today, my anxiety level has grown.  This will be nowhere near as good as Wonk, so…that said, here we go.

You’ve been unemployed for longer than 4 months? Don’t even bother applying for that job…Yes, I am starting off with some attitude for this morning reads.  According to this post from Rachel Maddow’s blog, those of us who have been out of work for the last few years are screwed when it comes to finding that job.  Maddow Blog – Persistently job-searching, persistently jobless

A screenshot from an actual current job posting.

On last night’s show, Rachel made the point that the recent high rate of unemployment has a lot to do with the unemployed staying unemployed for longer. In other words, “high employment is due to persistent unemployment.”

The reason? There are likely many, but one noteworthy problem takes place in a very specific setting – the hiring process between employer and potential employees. Catherine Rampell of The New York Times recently reported on a study of job postings on numerous employment websites, and discovered “hundreds that said employers would consider (or at least ‘strongly prefer’) only people currently employed or just recently laid off.”

This blatantly excludes anyone who belongs in the “Continuing Joblessness” category below.

Jared Bernstein

The stigma attached to being unemployed has increasingly become more of a factor in the hiring process, although the legality of discriminating against employment status remains in question. Rampell writes:

Legal experts say that the practice probably does not violate discrimination laws because unemployment is not a protected status, like age or race. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently held a hearing, though, on whether discriminating against the jobless might be illegal because it disproportionately hurts older people and blacks.

Given that the average duration of unemployment today is nine months — a record high — limiting a search to the “recently employed,” much less the currently employed, disqualifies millions.

The rationale also doesn’t make much sense. As Rampell notes, “…people who have been out of work for two years or longer are people who were laid off during the recession. That means many of them were workers whose jobs were eliminated simply because their businesses were doing badly, not because they were personally incompetent.” Basically, questioning a person’s qualifications because they’re out of a job could cause employers to miss a potentially great hire.

The article goes on to say in March,  New Jersey became the first state to make it illegal to post job adverts which state the applicant must be employed.  In Washington, there is proposed legislation in the works that addresses this issue.

…in the House, the Fair Employment Act of 2011 would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit employers from refusing job applicants solely on the basis of unemployment.

Such a law would probably help dispel the use of job postings like this, but unfortunately, like any other anti-discrimination law, the validity of any cases brought forth would likely be difficult to prove. Employers would have to realize that the practice is inefficient for them in order to cause any considerable change.

This next article comes from HNN, History News Network, and brings comparisons of Hoover and Obama up to a different level, that being the “smarts” level…Obama and Hoover: Two “Smart” (Stupid) Presidents | History News Network by Jonathan Bean

For the past year, I have been researching how the housing bubble of the 1920s contributed to the Great Depression when the bubble burst. My study involves reading many articles and speeches by Herbert Hoover, first as Commerce Secretary (1921-1928) then as president (1929-1933). As the nation endures the Obama presidency, I see much in common between the two men, both seen as “smart” by their supporters.

We forget that Hoover had a “titanic intellect,” a stellar career as a mining engineer, translated medieval manuscripts into English, and wrote the textbook Principles of Mining. He helped orchestrate relief aid to save millions from hunger and starvation across post-World War I Europe. During the 1920s, he was a “progressive” busybody telling businessmen in all fields how they could make their work more efficient. His Commerce Department held 2,500 trade association meetings. One of those associations—the American Construction Council—was headed by trade lobbyist Franklin Delano Roosevelt. No, I am not making this up! FDR thought Hoover’s “smart” approach to jawboning business was an improvement upon competitive capitalism.

Barack Obama can’t boast that kind of record (he achieved very little before becoming president) but he shares the same cast of mind as Hoover: In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Is Obama Smart?,” Bret Stephens concludes that

a) Obama (like Hoover) thinks he is smarter than those who run businesses; but

b) “stupid is as stupid does.”

As their “smart” policies failed year after year, Hoover and Obama dug in and blamed the international environment (“economic headwinds”).

So, take a look at quotes from articles written about each man.  One discusses Hoover by interviewing people in 1928, and the second is from the 2008 WSJ article referred to up top.

Hoover 1928:

The Outlook reporter anonymously interviewed a prominent banker as to why business was opposed to Hoover, a “smart” candidate who mesmerized the the country with how he would engineer permanent prosperity.

Banker: My firm “has many textile manufacturers as clients . . . but nobody in the bank would presume to tell our customers how to make rayon.” Yet Hoover is “confident that he knows more about finance than financiers, more about industry than industrialists, and more about agriculture than agriculturists. He is so sure of his judgment in these fields that he wants to impress it on others. He is very seldom willing to take advice. Since he knows more than any advisers could, why should he?”

“[Hoover’s] cast of mind will handicap him . . . . Because of his confidence in his own wisdom he is suspicious of those who disagree with him.”

“We object, moreover, not only to his ignoring our advice. We object to his offering us his advice on matters that are none of his business.” [Banker notes how Hoover’s Commerce Department urged business to invest in certain industries or areas]. “It is not our function as bankers to tell our customers with whom they should do business.”

Now take a look at the similarities to this Wall Street Journal article…

Obama 2008:

“‘I think I’m a better speech writer than my speech writers,'” [Obama] reportedly told an aide in 2008. ‘I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m . . . a better political director than my political director.'”
Stephens writes: “How many times have we heard it said that Mr. Obama is the smartest president ever? Even when he’s criticized, his failures are usually chalked up to his supposed brilliance. Liberals say he’s too cerebral for the Beltway rough-and-tumble. . . .”
“Socrates taught that wisdom begins in the recognition of how little we know. Mr. Obama is perpetually intent on telling us how much he knows. Aristotle wrote that the type of intelligence most needed in politics is prudence, which in turn requires experience. Mr. Obama came to office with no experience.”

Much is made of the president’s rhetorical gifts. This is the sort of thing that can be credited only by people who think that a command of English syntax is a mark of great intellectual distinction. Can anyone recall a memorable phrase from one of Mr. Obama’s big speeches that didn’t amount to cliché?”

As many of you have seen, there has been a whole lotta buyers remorse of late…by those who put Obama in the White House.

We have now reached the point where many Americans, even those who voted for Obama, share the attitude of those disillusioned with Hoover: In 1931, they recalled how they felt just three years prior: Hoover seemed so wonderful! He promised to end poverty in our time! And he seemed so smart!

[…]

We all know how well Hoover did in practice. It’s starting to look like “deja vu all over again.”

Yes, you can say that again…again.

On to a discussion about some of those disillusioned Obama bots… This post by LisaB over at No Quarter brought the most recent “should have voted for Hillary” admission to my attention. Another Captain Obvious : NO QUARTER

Yet another columnist says he “should have voted for Hillary.” Meh. You think? I used to find this sort of public re-thinking a little satisfying, but quite frankly now it just makes me mad.

Just around the same time I read that No Quarter post, Boston Boomer sent me a link to the original Bill McClellan article below.

I should have picked Hillary over Obama

In it, McClellan writes that the realization came as he was splashing around in Lake Michigan, lucky for us it was not while he was on the toilet experiencing a life altering bowel movement.

He then goes on to point out Obama’s god-like projection which blinded him to voting for Hillary, who he says was just more of Bill and he didn’t want it anyway.

McClellan discusses some of the many Obama fuck-ups and comes to this conclusion.

The blame, I think, lies with Obama. He is not strong enough to be an effective president.

Really? No shit!

(Oh yeah, sorry for the “language” but they tend to slip out when I’m pissed off.)

The examples of Obama’s weakness continues, then McClellan finishes the article with this nugget… and I will go back to the No Quarter article, which I think puts this “Should Have” admission in its proper place.

McClellan wonders why Obama seems passive, not aggressive enough, etc, (insert your own weakened descriptors here). And he comes up with a familiar answer: the dude is smart but he wasn’t ready.

Why has Obama not lived up to the promise? He is clearly intelligent. For some reason, though, he was not ready for the rough and tumble of national politics.

McClellan goes on to say that Obama, having been protected and bumped along in elite institutions full of well-meaning white people (as opposed to. . . ), had not encountered any real opposition, personal or circumstantial before becoming President.

Dude – what was there about a non-writing law review editor, present-voting first-term-senator, sub-committee-skipping chair, no-political-history political messiah, life-long-friend dropper, and Chicago-machine operator that failed to register with you? Had you considered the politician on his merits, you COULD NOT HAVE FAILED to realize he was Not Ready.

Hillary had been tested. Eight years in the meat grinder. She’d have been a better president.

Seriously? That’s what you’re going with? And it took you how long to tip to this bit-o-wisdom? I’m not very happy you realized your error, not thrilled that you see the difference, just disgusted that another Captain Obvious has come out with his supersuit on.

More for you after the jump…

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