Lazy Saturday Reads: Signs of Life After the Snowpocalypse

 crocus snow

Good Morning!!

I can’t wait for spring flowers and warmer weather, can you tell? I have all the symptoms of Spring fever, including inability to concentrate on anything serious, like politics or plane crashes. But I’ll do my best to give you some interesting links on this lazy late March Saturday.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Amanda Knox has finally been freed to live her life without the bizarre Italian legal system breathing down her neck. From the Chicago Tribune: Amanda Knox conviction thrown out by Italian court, closing legal saga.

Amanda Knox, who maintained that she and her former Italian boyfriend were innocent in her British roommate’s murder through multiple trials and nearly four years in jail, was vindicated Friday when Italy’s highest court threw out their convictions once and for all.

“Finished!” Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out late Friday. “It couldn’t be better than this.”

The surprise decision definitively ends the 7½-year legal battle waged by Knox, 27, and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, 31, to clear their names in the gruesome 2007 murder and sexual assault of British student Meredith Kercher.

The supreme Court of Cassation panel deliberated for 10 hours before declaring that the two did not commit the crime, a stronger exoneration than merely finding insufficient evidence to convict. Instead, had the court-of-resort upheld the pair’s convictions, Knox would have faced 28 ½ years in an Italian prison, assuming she would have been extradited, while Sollecito had faced 25 years.

“Right now I’m still absorbing what all this means and what comes to mind is my gratitude for the life that’s been given to me,” Knox said late Friday, speaking to reporters outside her mother’s Seattle home.

This case has made me grateful that in the U.S. Constitution contains a double jeopardy clause.


Things are getting really ugly in Yemen. From The Washington Post: How the Yemen conflict risks new chaos in the Middle East.

The meltdown in Yemen is pushing the Middle East dangerously closer to the wider regional conflagration many long have feared would arise from the chaos unleashed by the Arab Spring revolts.

What began as a peaceful struggle to unseat a Yemeni strongman four years ago and then mutated into civil strife now risks spiraling into a full-blown war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran over a country that lies at the choke point of one of the world’s major oil supply routes.

With negotiators chasing a Tuesday deadline for the framework of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, it seems unlikely that Iran would immediately respond militarily to this week’s Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, analysts say.

But the confrontation has added a new layer of unpredictability — and confusion — to the many, multidimensional conflicts that have turned large swaths of the Middle East into war zones over the past four years, analysts say.

The United States is aligned alongside Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and against them in Yemen. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, who have joined in the Saudi offensive in Yemen, are bombing factions in Libya backed by Turkey and Qatar, who also support the Saudi offensive in Yemen. The Syrian conflict has been fueled by competition among all regional powers to outmaneuver one another on battlefields far from home.

Scary. All this because George W. Bush lied us into two needless, unwinnable wars.

Crocus in Boston

Ahramonline: Arab leaders pledge support to Yemen.

Although Saturday’s Arab League summit was due to cover a range of regional topics, the ongoing crisis in Yemen took the lead spot as the summit opened with speeches from Arab leaders.

A Saudi-led military offensive is underway against targets held by Houthi rebels in the turmoil-hit country, with the backing of a number of Arab states.

In his opening speech, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that military action was  “inevitable” to restore legitimate rule in Yemen.

El-Sisi also said that Egypt has accepted a proposal by a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to form a joint Arab military force to counter the “unprecedented threats” facing the region’s stability.

Arab foreign ministers agreed on a draft resolution to form a joint Arab military force to counter growing security threats in the region. The proposal requires the endorsement of the Arab leaders during the two-day summit this weekend.

Saudi’s King Salman vowed in his opening speech that the military intervention will not stop until Yemen is stable and safe. The monarch said that Saudi Arabia supports the Hadi government’s legitimacy in Yemen and wants stability for the Yemeni population.

He further stated that the situation in the region necessitates an Arab coalition to fight terrorism.

More details from CNN: Arab League to discuss military operation in Yemen.


The Wall Street Journal on the incredibly selfish, suicidal co-pilot of that crashed Germanwings jet: Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Concealed Depression From Airline.

BERLIN—Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who crashed an airliner into a French mountainside, was being treated for depression, a fact he concealed from his employer, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Lubitz had been excused from work by his neuropsychologist for a period that included the day of the crash, this person told The Wall Street Journal, but he decided to ignore the advice and reported to work.

The Germanwings tragedy highlights a broader industry dilemma: reliance on pilots themselves to disclose serious physical or psychological ailments to their employer—and what can happen when secrecy urges or privacy considerations trump full disclosure, safety and medial experts say.

Despite mandatory, regular medical exams—supplemented by company-specific safeguards intended to periodically check on aviators’ skills and psychological state—airlines ultimately depend on employees to honestly assess and report when they shouldn’t be flying.

In return, Germanwings, a unit of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and many other airlines around the globe promise to avoid punishing pilots who comply with that guiding principle.

Read more at the WSJ. As Dakinikat wrote yesterday, this guy could have just shot himself or jumped out of a high window, but instead he decided to take 149 other people–including babies and high school kids–with him when he committed suicide.

Life after Snowpocalypse

A few stories on the terrible explosion in NYC’s East Village:

Newsweek: A Slice of New York City History Goes Up In Smoke.

An explosion in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday injured an estimated 25 people and destroyed a row of landmarked buildings that have held meaning for generations of New Yorkers. At one time the mayor’s residence was there, and another building housed an iconic vintage-clothing store made popular in the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan.

“It’s a real tragedy. It was scary,” says Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “It’s shocking when this happens in an area that’s so close-knit. People really live on the streets here, in a good way. There’s a real community.”

City officials say the March 26 explosion happened at 121 Second Avenue and also damaged the neighboring buildings at 119, 123 and 125. The buildings all were awarded landmark status in October 2012 as part of a designation of an East Village/Lower East Side Historic District. The buildings in that district date mostly to the mid- to late 1800s, a time when wealthier New Yorkers started moving uptown and selling off their properties, which were often turned into tenement housing.

European immigrants began moving into the area in large numbers in the second half of the 19th century. An early influx consisted mostly of Germans, and the area became known as Kleindeutschland, or Little Germany. Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe moved there too and established a vibrant theater district.

“The East Village and the Lower East Side are remarkable in that they’ve seen successive waves of immigrants and new populations coming in and really shaping and affecting the physical environment, bringing with them their social clubs, their gathering places,” Bankoff says.

By the middle of the 20th century, the Village became an epicenter for artists and bohemians.

The historic district, one of 114 in the city, runs north-south from around East 7th Street to East Second Street and east-west from First and Second avenues to the Bowery.


Click on the above link to continue reading. More details on the fire at ABC News: NYC Building Fire: Restaurant Owner Smelled Gas Before Massive Explosion, Officials Say.

From The New Yorker, a thoughtful and interesting essay on living in the East Village by Sarah Larson: The East Village Fire: Love Saves the Day.

Finally, one of the passengers in the GOP Clown Car, faux libertarian Rand Paul, opens his big mouth and spews nonsense and hate.

From Charles Pierce’s “Stupid for Lunch” cafe: Rand Paul’s Take On Defense Spending. In which the cafe staff starts the five minute clock for Senator Rand Paul.

The staff at the Cafe has a small clock in one particular booth. The booth is reserved for Senator Rand Paul, whenever he stops by for a quick lunch, for which he invariably undertips, when he doesn’t try to beat itout the back door.

Time was when Senator Aqua Buddha entertained us all — five minutes at a time — about how the country was wasting its money on a whole mess of sophisticated boom-boom. The staff knows when to begin the countdown and they begin invariably to whisper again…

Continue reading at the link.

Atheist Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave over this from TPM.

Rand: ‘Moral Crisis’ Led To Gay Marriage, US Needs Religious Revival.

“Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything,” Paul said during a private prayer breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club.

“In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage — there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.”


Raw Story: Rand Paul calls for ‘tent revivals’ to resolve the ‘moral crisis’ of gay marriage.

“The moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage — there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think there would be some other sort of marriage, ” he explained. “I think the exhortation to try and change people’s thoughts has to come from the countryside.”

The libertarian lawmaker then took a slightly religious turn, saying “You know, I’ve said this before, we need a revival in the country.”

“We need another great awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, you know,’reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform’.”

In a recent interview with Brett Baier of Fox News, Paul admitted that the use of the term ‘marriage’ for same sex couples offends him.

Watch the video at Raw Story. Honestly, I think that cartoon JJ post last night is beginning to make sense. Someone must have put LSD in Rand’s grits when he was a kid. Why would anyone vote for this wacko?

I’d write about the latest “revelations” about Hillary’s emails, but I don’t want to completely depress myself. I have to believe this will all die down before the 2016 primaries.

What have you been hearing and reading? Let us know in the comment thread and enjoy the rest of March. April is coming soon!


19 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: Signs of Life After the Snowpocalypse”

  1. NW Luna says:

    “Moral crisis”? What about the moral crisis of millions of Americans without basic healthcare because they still can’t afford the premiums, or their wingnut governors have rejected the ACA? Millions more struggling to make ends meet, because the value of their paychecks has gone down while CEOs get paid even more ridiculous rates? Millions who are homeless, and those close to homelessness because of exorbitant rents? I could go on and on.

    The real “moral crisis” is the “I’ve got mine; f-u” attitude of Paul and his cronies.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Ditto to all of that!!!

    • gregoryp says:

      Yep, this libertarian movement is one of the most evil things I’ve seen in my lifetime. It just astounds me, really. I just can’t figure out how a rational person can defend this crap. We’ve lost our way as a community of people (if we ever had it to begin with). Not sure how to convince people filled with hatred or apathy that they need to change their viewpoint so that we can move forward as a people with one common interest. Making this country a wonderful place to live for each and every person who resides here.

  2. dakinikat says:

    I hope Amanda Knox can get on with her life without fear of the Italian “justice” system any more. I can’t believe that drug on for so long.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Me either. In this country she would never have been tried the 2nd time. She served a number of years in prison before the court nullified the first jury verdict. It’s been a witch hunt ever since

    • gregoryp says:

      The bad thing is that I believe the prosecutors knew that she was innocent but chased the conviction anyway because they were somehow convinced that she was some sort of amoral harlot as if that were some kind of rational to destroy someone’s life over the actions of another person.

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    “Scary. All this because George W. Bush lied us into two needless, unwinnable wars”

    BB….I read this at TPM and it ties in closely to your comments about the Middle East and the History of our meddling in the affairs of that region and our role as a protector and user of oil. I thought you might enjoy reading it

    Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo

    • bostonboomer says:

      That was good. Thanks. Josh Marshall is very good at analyzing situations in a calm manner.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Believe it or not it is snowing this afternoon in Western MA. Three solid months of cold weather and snow that refuses to completely melt! So sick of it!!! Difficult to believe that in a few days we will be in April. I refuse to accept that this past season of unrelenting snow has nothing to do with climate change. Those melting ice caps are telling us that the atmosphere is rapidly changing while those climate deniers in DC are telling us this is nothing more than “god’s will”.

    We don’t need a religious revival to take place but a course in science that when the oceans warm up bad things happen around the globe. The lack of clean water, food supplies, and polluted air as has been predicted.

    Am unable to grasp what this world will look like in 100 years due to the indifference shown by those in charge to ignore the warnings of over population and the need to show real stewardship of the planet.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      “Am unable to grasp what this world will look like in 100 years due to the indifference shown by those in charge to ignore the warnings of over population and the need to show real stewardship of the planet.”

      I think it’s basically too late!!!! I read the other day that in less than 100 years there will be at least a 10 ft rise in the sea level. That means many of the coastal cities will be gone or significantly affected. NYC, or what’s left of it, will be unrecognizable. New Orleans will be mostly underwater, Miami and much of the Southern areas of Florida will be inundated. Large areas of the West coast will be also affected, Since many of the largest population centers on the planet are on or very near the coast I can’t even imagination what effect that will have on where people will be forced to live. It will also affect the water supply and the ability to grow crops since many of the places that will be affected the most are where so much of our fresh fruits and vegetables are grown. Our descendants will hate our guts, and who can blame them?

    • bostonboomer says:

      It snowed here too, but just snow showers. How much did you get, Pat?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Mike Pence was warned by business leaders and LGBT advocates what the real intention of this law was/is. Instead of listening to our concerns he denied that the purpose was to pave the way for denial of services to LGBT folks, choosing instead to frame it as a bill to protect religion conscience. The crafters of the bill were very careful not to say the words gay, lesbian or transgender hoping the intent of the bill would slide under the radar, IT HAS NOT!!!!
      And now the backlash has begun and Pence is running for political life.

      From LGBTQNation: “Indiana governor says he didn’t anticipate ‘the hostility that’s been directed at our state’”

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    “Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle announced today that he has canceled plans for a $40M expansion of his company’s Indiana headquarters. A backlash against Angie’s List is already underway from Twitter’s haters.”

  6. ANonOMouse says:

    George Stephanopoulos just ripped him a new one on ABC Sunday. Pence refused on 2 or 3 occasions to give a simple “yes” or “no” answer to whether or not this bill would allow discrimination against L/G’s. He also answered “NO” when Steppie asked him if the State would add “sexual orientation” to the States anti-discrimination laws. We have an old saying in the South that goes like this. “It’s a dirty bird that shits in it’s own nest”. Pence’s performance was terrible and I’m sure not representative of what most Hoosiers believe. He just dug what was already a deep hole, much, much deeper. He brought up Notre Dame and Hobby Lobby and their objection to the ACA, attempting to draw an analogy, but he couldn’t reconcile either to his new law. Pence knows exactly WHO this law is aimed at and the ambiguity of the wording of the law doesn’t and can’t hide it.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Steppie asks “do you think it should be legal to discriminate against Lesbians and Gays in the State of Indiana”, “yes or no”, Pence refuses to answer the yes or no, 2 times. And that tells you everything you need to know about the bill.