Wednesday Reads: Video Tears, 40 years, 20 Years and LA

Good Morning!

I am feeling a little under the weather, so this post is going to be a link dump of sorts.

First, these series of links about two men in Angola Prison who have been held in solitary for forty years, yup you read that right!

I first saw this story in The Guardian, figures it would be on a foreign press site…

Forty years in solitary: two men mark sombre anniversary in Louisiana prison | World news |

They’ve spent 23 hours of each day in the last 40 years in a 9ft-by-6ft cell. Now, as human rights groups intensify calls for their release, a documentary provides insight into an isolated life.
Herman Wallace Angola prison

Herman Wallace, left, and Albert Woodfox in Angola prison in Louisiana. Robert King, the third member of the Angola 2, had his conviction overturned and was released in 2001.
Herman Wallace describes the cell in which he has spent 40 years Link to this audio

“I can make about four steps forward before I touch the door,” Herman Wallace says as he describes the cell in which he has lived for the past 40 years. “If I turn an about-face, I’m going to bump into something. I’m used to it, and that’s one of the bad things about it.”

On Tuesday, Wallace and his friend Albert Woodfox will mark one of the more unusual, and shameful, anniversaries in American penal history. Forty years ago to the day, they were put into solitary confinement in Louisiana‘s notorious Angola jail. They have been there ever since

Please read about these men and the life, or should I say non-life, they have been living. These men have been stuck in a small cell for almost as long as I have been alive!

Here are some more links on this story:

Marking 40 Years of “Inhuman” Solitary Confinement for Angola 2 Prisoners, Amnesty International Set to Deliver Tens of Thousands of Petition Signatures to Louisiana Governor | Amnesty International USA

Torturous Milestone: 40 Years in Solitary | Mother Jones

Amnesty International calls on Gov. Jindal to remove prisoners from isolation after 40 years | The Republic

40 Years in Solitary Confinement: Two Members of Angola 3 Remain in Isolation in Louisiana Prison

Solitary Watch

Okay, let’s go from forty years…to twenty.

Its been twenty years since the LA Riots:  Bill Boyarsky 20 Years After the L.A. Riots and Nothing Has Changed – Bill Boyarsky’s Columns – Truthdig

AP/Nick Ut

A Korean shopping mall burns in 1992 on the second day of rioting in Los Angeles.

The killing of Trayvon Martin is a reminder of the racial divide poisoning American life, which has resisted all attempts to bridge it, even after the country elected its first African-American president.

I write this on the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, a multiracial affair. It’s been 17 years since the O.J. Simpson murder trial, which further showed the antipathy between whites and blacks.

I covered those events for the Los Angeles Times. The riots, in particular, stick in my mind. I remember being at the First AME Church, a center of Los Angeles’ black community, and walking toward a nearby boulevard where young black men were battling Los Angeles Police Department officers. Church members, who knew me, grabbed my arms and led me back to AME, one of them saying, “This is no time for journalistic heroics.” I sneaked back and watched the battle. I also saw men from the church and Latino residents of nearby apartments fight the rioters’ fires, with no help from the city fire department, black and brown hands together around garden hoses. I drove through a city aflame to the paper downtown and then home, returning to the fires and rubble early the next morning.

Nor will I forget the challenge of reporting on the O.J. trial and a criminal justice system that was stacked against defendants, except for one as rich as Simpson. Each day, I watched from the courthouse as lawyers, witnesses, reporters and the famous defendant took part in a drama that plumbed the depths of how Americans feel about race.

Now, take a moment to remember the massacre in Norway almost a year ago. Anders Brevik has shown no remorse for the killings. And yesterday, while watching a film he made, tears rolled down his face. Anders Behring Breivik cries at own propaganda film – video | World news |

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man who killed 77 people in a bomb-and-shooting spree on 22 July 2011, is seen wiping his tears in court when his propaganda film is shown by the prosecutors. The video was put together from stills and texts depicting his vision of the evils of multiculturalism and the Islamisation of Europe

Video at the link.

Georgia has gone the way of the dark lord, by that I mean Voldemort aka Rick Scott, Governor of Florida:  Georgia welfare law requires drug test to receive aid | Reuters

Low-income adults seeking public assistance in Georgia will have to pass a drug test before receiving benefits under a measure signed by Governor Nathan Deal on Monday, making it the latest state to push through the controversial testing requirement.

Supporters of the Social Responsibility and Accountability Act said it is designed to ensure that welfare payments, called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, are not “diverted to illicit drug use.”

Under the law set to take effect on July 1, applicants who fail a drug test will become ineligible to receive benefits for a certain time period, based on the number of past test failures.

The law is not supposed to affect children:

If a parent fails a drug test, children can still receive payments through another person designated by the state.

Well, Georgia is also closing a bunch of their Labor Dept Offices, most of them in the Northeastern part of the state. That is bad news for the folks in Banjoville, yes, ours is one of the offices to be closed. It is a sad situation.

Over on the The Maddow Blog – Outside our windows: Tax Day these are some great pictures from the protest on Tax Day. However, I think this image from The Daily Dish is the best:

Face Of The Day – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast


A protestor wears stickers on his face during a tax day demonstration in front of the James A. Farley Post Office on April 17, 2012 in New York City. Dozens of protesters participated in a demonstration against loopholes that allow banks and corporations to pay lower income taxes than most individual tax filers. Similar rallies were held across the city throuhgout the day. By Justin Sullivan/Getty Image.

And lastly, did you all see the prom picture featuring Michelle Obama, wow…what legs!

Michelle Obama’s Prom Picture Is Pretty Damn Sexy

Michelle Obama is so cool that not even her prom picture is embarrassing. Yes, it’s a little risque (avert your eyes, Sasha and Malia), and it’s definitely of a certain fashion era—as is that ahhh-mazing wicker chair—but all things considered she looks damn good for a high schooler. The picture was unearthed by Ellen DeGeneres, who brought it out in an effort to stick it to Michelle after Michelle beat her at a push-up contest in February. Of course, in the end Ellen’s prom pic (as you can see in the below clip) was the more humiliating of the two. It just goes to show you, when it comes to fashion and fitness, Michelle is called the First Lady for a reason.

Photo at the link…

So, what sort of things are you reading about today? Please share them with us…