A Crisis made worse by Religious Nuts and Political Dunces

We’re all still trying to unravel the reasons and events unfolding in Cairo and Libya.  The basics point to religious fundamentalism here and abroad fueled by irrational hate that’s being cynically exploited by politicians riding religious zealotry and bigotry to headlines. We have a nexus of religions that hate and politicians that thrive on hate.  It’s beyond disturbing.

First, we have a two religious extremists in the United States that produced and/or promoted a “movie” that shows a competitor religion in such an offensive light that it sets off the religious extremists in the other religion. Florida Christian whack job Terry Jones is well know for his adventures in Koran-burning.He’s been promoting a movie that vilifies Egyptian Muslims.  You can see bits and pieces of it at The Atlantic and read about some of the highly offensive content.

The movie is called Innocence of Muslims, although some Egyptian media have reported its title as Mohammed Nabi al-Muslimin, or Mohammed, Prophet of the Muslims. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because most of the few clips circulating online are dubbed in Arabic. The above clip, which is allegedly from the film (update: Kurt Werthmuller, a Coptic specialist at the Hudson Institute, says he’s confirmed the clip’s authenticity) is one of the only in English.*  That’s also because it’s associated with Florida Pastor Terry Jones (yes, the asshole who burnt the Koran despite Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’ pleas) and two Egyptians living in the U.S., according to Egyptian press accounts.* The Egyptians are allegedly Coptic, the Christian minority that makes up about a tenth of Egypt.

Obviously, there’s a lot to this story that’s still unclear. What we do know is that some members of Egypt’s sometimes-raucous, often rumor-heavy media have been playing highly offensive clips from the highly offensive film, stressing its U.S. and Coptic connections. In the clip below, controversial TV host Sheikh Khaled Abdallah (known for such statements as “Iran is more dangerous to us than the Jews” and that Tehran had engineered a deadly soccer riot in Port Said) hypes the film as an American-Coptic plot and introduces what he says is its opening scene.

As the fervor has built, both the Coptic Church and the U.S. embassy to Egypt issued formal condemnations of the film. The latter, made just this morning, began, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” The statement also noted the September 11 anniversary, adding, “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

I won’t print the descriptions of some of the most offensive things, you can go read it at the link. This is what set off the riots at the Cairo Embassy and has now led to the death of a US ambassador and 3 other diplomats in Libya. 

Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff members in a fiery and furious attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-made video mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.

President Obama strongly condemned the killings and ordered increased security at American diplomatic posts around the world. American defense officials said 50 Marines were en route to Libya to strengthen security at United States diplomatic facilities.

The death of Ambassador Stevens was the first of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades.

“These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement from the White House Rose Garden where he stood side-by-side with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Make no mistake: we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

Mr. Obama also offered praise for the Libyan government, noting that Libyan security forces fought back against the mob, helped protect American diplomats and took Mr. Stevens’s body to the hospital. “This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya,” he said.

Enter the right wing kooks and we now see how extremely offensive and extremely connected to religious extremists that some of our own politicians can be.  We’re seeing this from two sources of extremely unhelpful people.  The first is Netanyahu who is under increasing criticism from the opposition in Israel for “wagging the dog” and being more interested in ‘regime change’ in the US than in Iran.  (“Who are you trying to replace?” Shaul Mofaz asked Bibi Netanyahu. “The Administration in Washington or in Tehran?”)  Netanyahu has invented a snub by Obama out of whole cloth and seems to be pressing the case for Romney who has pretty much guaranteed he’d join in a war against Iran and who knows else in the Middle east.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the White House had declined the Israeli government’s request for a meeting on the sidelines of a U.N. confab later this month in New York City. The White House cited a scheduling problem, but denied reports that they had refused to meet with Netanyahu in New York.

“Contrary to reports in the press, there was never a request for Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet with President Obama in Washington, nor was a request for a meeting ever denied,” the White House said.

The US and Israeli right wing press has gone crazy-go-nuts over another complete fabrication about Obama’s love of Muslim countries and distaste for poor little Israel and its leader’s lust for all out war in the middle east.  Read this analysis of NeoCon Benjamin Netanyahu at The New Yorker.

In his first term as Prime Minister, in the nineties, Netanyahu used to behave in such a high-handed way with White House officials that Bill Clinton left meetings with him bewildered and bemused, wondering who, in their relationship, was the leader of a superpower. But Netanyahu’s arrogance, in the guise of Churchillian prescience, has hardly receded over the years. Obama, in an attempt to cool the latest crisis, called Netanyahu last night and spent an hour talking with him.

Adding to the outrage is the fact that Netanyahu is performing not just for his allies on the Israeli right but for those he perceives as his allies on the American right, including those in the Jewish community. His performance is in the same neocon voice as the one adopted by the Romney campaign and in its opportunistic reaction to the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outposts in Cairo and Benghazi, which left our Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other consular employees dead. Unbelievably, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, took to Twitter and wrote, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” Romney himself accused Obama of sympathizing with the attackers in Libya.

The neocon strategy, in both Israel and the U.S., is to paint Obama as naïve in the extreme. In this, Netanyahu and Romney are united—and profoundly cynical.

Meanwhile, enter our Republican whack jobs and the completely feckless and worthless bubble boy, Netanyahu fan boi, Mitt Romney.  How can one person have so much money and be so clueless about so many things? This analysis is by Josh Marshall at TPM.

As noted, we have two simultaneous crises washing over Washington tonight from the Middle East. First, the US-Israel blow up, which I discussed below. Next, riots which escalated into full-scale attacks on US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, triggered by another stunt by Quran-burning ‘pastor’ Terry Jones down in Florida.

A State Department officer was actually killed in the attack on the compound in Benghazi.

In the midst of this, the Romney campaign put out this statement …

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”So Romney jumps to politicize a genuine crisis in which a Foreign Service Officer has been killed. And the attack itself is based on a falsehood. The reference is to a statement released by the Embassy in Egypt which in fact came out before the attacks took place. The entire thing is based on a lie. Here’s our full story.

Here’s the latest entry in the Romney jerk-a-thon the Republicans are calling a presidential campaign from WAPO.

In a statement Tuesday night, Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration of sympathizing with the Libyan protesters who attacked a consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats.

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

Romney’s remarks came before the White House confirmed Wednesday morning that U.S. ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens, was among those killed in the Benghazi attack.

Romney foreign policy adviser Rich Williamson told Foreign Policy magazine Tuesday evening, before the deaths were reported, that the attacks were related to Obama’s “failure to be an effective leader for U.S. interests in the Middle East.”

Romney has often tried to sharpen the contrast between his foreign policy and Obama’s by  arguing that the president is apologetic towards America’s enemies.

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt responded a few hours later that it was Romney who was out of line. “We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” he said

I guess Romney doesn’t consider SOS Hillary Clinton to be a part of the Obama administration or something.  This is the next paragraph in the WAPO article cited above.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack “in the strongest terms,” adding that  while the United States “deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others … there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.” Wednesday morning, Obama released his own statement condemning “the outrageous attack.”

Speaking of Hillary, let’s just take a look at what James Fallows writes  at The Atlantic and a reminder of one of her best political ads of 2008.

On the longer-term temperamental politics, this is a very vivid example of what people mean when they talk about “the 3 a.m. phone call.” In these next few hours let us look very carefully at the first-reaction quick responses, and then the considered second-take positions, by the two candidates.* One or the other of them will be in charge of U.S. response to similar inevitable-surprise episodes in the next four years.

His article also reviews some of the various media responses to Romney’s stupid comments.  This one is on the Fox Propaganda Network.

Have just seen Jeffrey Goldberg’s report on an immediate response from the Romney camp. That is revealing and not encouraging. On the other hand, I am watching Fox & Friends right now to see how they are presenting things. They’ve just finished with a foreign-policy expert who urged Romney to stand down for a day or so. She says, “I am a hawk, but this is not the time to politicize the issue.”

Update-update. Here is the New York Times report on the Romney response Jeff Goldberg is referring to. Read this carefully. It is a “midnight phone call” rather than 3 am, but this tells me something:
Bracing for trouble before the start of the protests here and in Libya, the American Embassy released a statement shortly after noon that appeared to refer to Mr. Jones [the idiotic Koran-burning “pastor” Terry Jones]: “The United States Embassy in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It later denounced the “unjustified breach of our embassy.”

Apparently unaware of the timing of the first embassy statement, the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, put out a statement just before midnight Tuesday saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Mr. Romney also said he was “outraged” at the attacks on the embassy and consulate.

Here’s one other thing that I’d like to share.  It’s a Politico story on the murdered US Ambassador Chris Stevens.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about all of this for some time.  I know two things.  I’m rooting for the Israeli Opposition and our State Department.  The last thing we need is for a bunch of lying war thumping neocons to start pushing lies again and drag us into the Religious Fantastic’s wet dream of the so-called ‘end times’.  Pray that the cooler minds prevail and the others STFU. The last thing we need is shameless exploitation of religious bigotry by folks whose voting base is filled with folks who would like to rid the world of all religions but their own.


Wednesday Reads: GOP to Check Out Tampa’s UFO? And The Goat Man Chronicles, Part Two.

Good Morning

I’m not feeling very well, so today’s post will be mostly links, be sure to take a look at them…some of them are fantastic.

First, we will begin with the GOP and Tampa’s UFO. There is a strip club in Tampa, West Tampa…around where I grew up. It is near the corner of Columbus Ave and Dale Mabry….Columbus being the center of Latin cuisine in West Tampa, it is also called Boliche Boulevard, after a Spanish beef roast stuffed with ham and chorizo.

This strip club is called the 2001 Odyssey…and it is complete with a semi-detached UFO that you ascend to via the stairs in the back of the club. Photo by Google Earth.

See, I wasn’t joking. And look Google has blurred out the folks going in to the club.  Hey, when they get shots of women naked on their Street Views, do the blur those out too? I don’t think so.

Anyway…Tampa strip clubs take extra steps to cash in on RNC

Strip clubs may not be the most politically correct venue for those attending the Republican National Convention, but that doesn’t mean Tampa’s well-known adult hot spots won’t be ready for the influx of visitors.

One place is bringing in a stripper who looks like former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. There are major renovations taking place. And some nude clubs have already been giving potential customers a taste of the talent online.

“Not only can you see the dancers on the stage and in the dressing room, you can also talk to them in an online chat room,” said Don Kleinhans, owner of the 2001 Odyssey on North Dale Mabry Highway.

I remember back when the CPAC was going on earlier this year…the popular attraction was the homosexual hook-up classified ads on Craig’s List. Perhaps some of the other clubs in Tampa need to be getting their female impersonators well versed in the Palin of the Northwood’s mannerisms.

So, here are some layers of links, I guess you can think of this post like a club sandwich. (I know I’ve used that metaphor before, but damn…I am still on this diet and you have no idea how difficult it is.)

Romney Adviser: Obama Doesn’t Understand Our ‘Anglo-Saxon Heritage’

WTF does that mean?

An adviser to Mitt Romney told a London paper that Obama has not been an effective partner for Britain because he doesn’t “fully appreciate” America’s “Anglo-Saxon heritage.” The racially tinged comments come hours before Romney lands in London for a series of high level meetings and the opening of the Olympic Games.

Ha, no comment…I will just sit here and shake my head back and forth. Ass.

Wisconsin Republican: Voter ID law could help Romney win

Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) said Sunday that a voter ID law could help Mitt Romney win the state in the upcoming November election, implying that voter fraud only benefited Democrats.

“I think we believe that insofar as there are inappropriate things, people who vote inappropriately are more likely to vote Democrat,” he told Scott Keyes of Think Progress. “I think if people cheat, we believe the people who cheat are more likely to vote against us.”

Grothman’s comments echo similar sentiments expressed by Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) in June. Turzai said Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state.”

Republicans in state legislatures have pushed for more restrictive voting laws to combat alleged voter fraud.

Double Ass…

Don’t Just Blame Fox & Friends For Awful Lemonade Segment (It’s The Parents’ Fault Too)

This morning, upon entering the office, I found that Mediate’s industrial-strength eye washer (purchased back when we worried Anthony Weiner might get his own show) was in use. You see, my poor colleague Alex Alvarez had been subjected to this: one of the dumbest segments ever on a news channel. In case you missed it, Fox & Friends did an entire segment this morning in which they desperately tried to get a four year old girl to say her scripted lines about why President Obama is bad for America. In addition to insulting their own viewers to a comically extreme extent (What else do they think there fans will appreciate, political analysis from a shiny piece of tin foil?), Fox & Friends creepily used a couple of children barely old enough to spell the words “fox” or “friends” just to make a cheap political point. But, hey, lets not just put the blame on a TV show that, at this point, we know doesn’t know any better. Let’s share that blame with the people who signed the release forms. The parents!

RELATED: Fox & Friends Politicizes Little Girls’ Lemonade Business

Unfortunately, I was already familiar with the story of the Sutton family and their free market-loving lemonade stand. No, it wasn’t because I’d stopped in for a delicious refreshing drink/lecture on small business growth. It’s because FoxNews.com already did an article on this story last week. Because of course they did. I mean, why would you waste a story this important on just one platform?!

And, since it was published on the 17th, the Internet has been viciously mocking this quote (emphasis mine…as well as the several billion Tumblr users who have already reblogged and made fun of this):

“Clara Sutton, 7, and little sister Eliza, 4, started CoolBlast Lemonade in their suburban Houston neighborhood, and quickly generated business brisk enough to bring on another employee, younger brother Erik. Their father said the kids have gotten a business education right out in front of their home under the watchful eyes of their parents — but with no help from the government.

‘Nobody helped them except us,’ Andrew Sutton, 35, said. ‘They did it on their own.’

Wow…that is a shit load of Asses on the curvy couch. I do love what the come back to this crap is:

Yes, nobody helped them. Nobody except their parents who bought all of their ingredients with money the children didn’t have. You know, just like the way the free market works. Don’t worry, it makes sense. The parents are “investors.”

Anyway, the man who apparently doesn’t understand irony is the girls’ father. Presumably, he’s the one who made the YouTube video that first got Fox’s attention and this is the last I’m going to mention him. Because this column isn’t just about this one parent. It’s about every parent who forces their kids to puppet political talking points that the children can’t possibly understand. Obviously, I can’t tell anyone how to use raise their children, but, just like the infamous “puppet dad” clip from last March, this kind of coaching and exploiting is just plain creepy.

Geez. Triple Fox and Friends Ass.

Ah, we get to the middle slice of toast in our club sandwich.

Gallery | Cuban crocodiles born at DC zoo

Matt Evans, supervisory biologist at the National Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center, holds a 13-day-old Cuban crocodile hatchling in Washington. Two crocodiles hatched from surprise eggs laid by a 50-something-year-old Cuban crocodile at the National Zoo in June 2012.

Matt Evans, supervisory biologist at the National Zoo’s Reptile Discovery Center, holds a 13-day-old Cuban crocodile hatchling in Washington. Two crocodiles hatched from surprise eggs laid by a 50-something-year-old Cuban crocodile at the National Zoo in June 2012.
More pictures at the link, but here is Proud Mama:
When scientists discovered mothre Dorothy had laid eggs, they took great care to incubate them for months. Only two of the eggs hatched successfully, the first Cuban crocs to do so at the zoo in nearly 25 years.
When scientists discovered mother Dorothy had laid eggs, they took great care to incubate them for months. Only two of the eggs hatched successfully, the first Cuban crocs to do so at the zoo in nearly 25 years.
Ah, that piece of toast has a bit of a bite to it, must be a nice hardy pumpernickel…yes?
Now for the other portion of the club…this is the good stuff.

The aim of this essay is to look at the ideas of various scholars and researchers in their published books and articles on Beowulf and related material. The poem in question is an Old English manuscript which has been preserved in only one copy. There is no solid date or authorship for the poem and little is known about its origin. Therefore, all statements put forward about the poem’s provenance are mere speculations. It is to be expected that different scholars have different opinions on the matter. This gives an opportunity for many debates, not to mention if additional information about the manuscript comes to light in the future. However, every reader must follow his own conviction and beliefs and measure the truth and accuracy of his mission.

As an admirer of stories as a whole, a romantic believer in adventures, a truth-seeker and a person intensely curious about our ancestors, I now put forward my own musings about the poem. The question of the truth of the narrative is an interesting one, mainly the existence of the ancestor warrior Beowulf, his battles and life. Furthermore, I believe that oral tradition was performed in the Middle-Ages in a story-telling manner and served as a popular form of entertainment for the public. More importantly, these narratives, both verse and prose, were a way to preserve the history and customs of people both alive and deceased. Even in our times we still have individuals and societies that carry out this tradition. To support my opinion I submit the Scottish singer Duncan Williamson (1928-2007) and the tribes in the islands of the South Pacific.

The probability of exaggeration in oral stories passing from generation to generation is high, so we can accept that there is a danger of that occurring Therefore, although I believe there is truth to the story in the account of the events, I draw the line with the supernaturally strong warrior Beowulf and the evil mystical beings in the poem; I assume they are fictional and the result of exaggeration.

Terry Jones: the Python, the owl and the pussycat

Terry Jones in his sitting room

Not really an opera lover … Terry Jones in his sitting room. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

Terry Jones doesn’t rate the poetry of Edward Lear. “The Pobble Who Has No Toes? I think it’s lazy nonsense. The one where the man ends up blowing up his entire family? Rather distasteful. And the limericks are a bit feeble. I think he used nonsense to cover up the fact he didn’t have anything to say. ”

So when the actor, director and former Python was asked by the Royal Opera House to write a libretto based on the Victorian rhymer’s The Owl and the Pussycat, to be staged on and by London’s rivers and canals as part of the Cultural Olympiad, he struggled. “I mean, the word ‘runcible‘ – it doesn’t mean anything. I think nonsense should have some meaning. Michael Palin‘s lyrics are better than Lear’s.” Worse, the poem seemed devoid of drama. “They just sail in a pea-green boat with plenty of money and honey, and they get married and dance by the light of the moon. The only drama is, ‘What shall we do for a ring?’ and that’s solved by having a wood in which a piggy-wig stood.”

Jones, now 70, is a veteran at turning animal-based nonsense into comedy gold, however (think of the Pythons’ fish-slapping dance). So how did he tackle the libretto? By doing what everyone else does when they revive a franchise – writing a prequel. Like Batman Begins, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jones’s version of The Owl and the Pussycat takes us to the story’s roots, when the psychic wounds were delivered that made the owl and the pussycat flee an unfeeling society into exile, to a land where – talons and claws crossed – they would not be judged for their taboo-breaking trans-species relationship. “What interested me was how they got together. There must have been some tension. So this is the prequel, and at the end of the opera they jump into the pea-green boat and set sail.”

I love the painting of him…playing the piano nude!

Colbert Pays Hilarious Tribute To Fox News’ Shepard Smith

“Nation, as you know, I am a long-time fan of Fox News,” the host began. “It’s my one-stop shop for news, opinions, and ads for walk-in bathtubs. […] Some criticize Fox News as a stable of old white angry men. That’s ridiculous. Michelle Malkin is a young, Asian angry woman.”

“But even amongst Fox’s exotic Noah’s Ark of white people, one beautiful unicorn stands out,” Colbert continued. “Anchor and Mantis-American Shepard Smith. He’s no cookie-cutter newsman. He’s got his own style. For example, watch how Bret Baier reported on a February campaign stop by Mitt Romney.” The comedian then played a clip of Baier reporting with characteristic conciseness.

In contrast, Colbert showed an edited clip of Smith “cut through those same facts to find the real angle.” The clip shows Smith talking with Fox’s Carl Cameron, who was in Ohio with Romney talking to a crowd behind him. Smith interrupted Cameron’s report to say, “I’m sorry, Carl, I’m looking at [Romney] over your right shoulder there. Do you think he’s aware he’s wearing mom jeans? He’s wearing mom jeans, Carl. It’s 2012.”

“Shep was the only one on Dungaree-Gate,” Colbert said. “It was the biggest scoop since David Brinkley told the story of J. Edgar Hoover wearing mom everything.”

Video at the link…

And finally, thanks and big h/t to Kathy aka Delphyne who sent me this link: ‘Goat Man’ Is A Hunter: Utah Officials

Oh yes, it is a follow-up:

State wildlife officials have identified the man who has been spotted dressed in a goat suit among a herd of wild goats in the mountains of northern Utah.

Phil Douglass of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said Monday the mystery man is a 57-year-old hunter from Southern California.

Douglass told the Standard-Examiner that the hunter called officials and provided enough information to put their curiosity to rest. Douglass says he didn’t ask for a name.

The man told Douglass he was preparing for an archery hunt of mountain goats next year and testing a goat suit. Douglass says the hunter came to Utah because he heard it was easier to get near goats for training.

The man described his suit as a hooded painter’s uniform and a fleece.

Last week, conservation officials said that “Goat Man” might be in danger of being shot by hunters or attacked by real goats. But this week, they’ve changed their tune after Douglass met the man.

“I’m satisfied that this was a person preparing for a hunt and did it with knowledge and experience,” Douglass told The Standard. “Hunters do some amazingly creative things to be successful.”

Well, that is it for this morning…the Nyquil is really kicking in now. I have some cartoons for the evening reads. So be sure to catch that post later. Ciao!


Friday Night Open Thread: Trayvon Martin Case Updates

Good Evening! The big news today is that Minkoff Minx is back home and resting after her surgery. She even managed to send off an e-mail to the rest of the administrators, so she might even be reading this–if so, hi there, Minx!

I have several updates on the Trayvon Martin case. The city of Sanford is preparing for the aftermath of the special prosecutor Angela Corey’s decision on whether or not she will order the arrest of George Zimmerman.

Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett said on Thursday that the city’s emergency management team has met regularly with the U.S Department of Justice to construct a plan. Officials said extra police officers and fire department officials are on standby. Neighboring agencies have also been asked to assist, if needed.

“You always prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Triplett said. “We’re planning for the ‘what-if’ case scenario, and that would be to make sure that all of our citizens get the protection they pay their taxes for.”

The grand jury ordered by Governor Rick Scott is scheduled for next Tuesday, April 10, so Corey is expected to decide soon.

If she finds probable cause, Corey could direct-file the charges anytime or present evidence to a Seminole County grand jury, which was tentatively scheduled to meet on Tuesday. The grand jury could indict, ask to hear more evidence, or decline to indict.

Since the Stand Your Ground Law has been invoked by Zimmerman, even if charges are filed, a judge could review the case and grant immunity, thus dismissing the charges.

Corey previously stated that she may not need the grand jury. I’ll be honest: I just have a gut feeling that she will decline to charge Zimmerman. I hope I’m wrong, but Corey is known for charging juvenile offenders very harshly and trying them as adults. Last year, she charged a 12-year-old boy with first degree murder and ordered him tried as an adult in the death of his two-year-old brother. HuffPo reports that Corey

is known for her tough tactics aimed at locking up criminals for long sentences and making it difficult to negotiate light plea bargains.

Furthermore, 57-year-old Angela Corey has handled hundreds of homicide cases involving the justifiable use of deadly force – experience that could prove invaluable.

Angela Corey

On the other hand, they also report that Corey is exceedingly close to the Sheriff’s office and police. One colleague told HuffPo that she is “too close” to them.

Hal Uhrig

George Zimmerman has a new attorney who is a former police officer, now a criminal defense attorney, who has experience with the media. But that experience did not serve him well today when he suggested in a TV interview that Zimmerman may have suffered from “shaken baby syndrome” after Trayvon Martin supposedly bashed his head on the sidewalk. Except that the new attorney is now claiming his client’s head was bashed into the “ground.” (Just a side note: neither of Zimmerman’s attorneys has actually met him in person yet. They’ve only talked with him on the phone.)

Hal Uhrig, a lawyer and former Gainesville, Florida, police officer who recently joined Zimmerman’s defense team, cited in a TV interview the brain damage that can seriously injure or kill an infant.

His point, which has been made before, was that Zimmerman contends he shot Martin in self defense and feared for his life after the 17-year-old attacked him and began pounding his head into the concrete pavement of a gated community on a rainy evening in Sanford on February 26.

But Uhrig’s choice of words, and use of a recognized sign of child abuse to defend a 28-year-old man who killed a kid, seemed likely to raise more than just a few eyebrows.

“We’re familiar with the Shaken Baby Syndrome,” said Uhrig on the CBS This Morning program. “You shake a baby, the brain shakes around inside the skull. You can die when someone’s pounding your head into the ground.”

Shaken baby syndrome can occur in very young infants because their skulls are still soft, they aren’t yet in control of their neck and limbs, and their heads are very large in proportion to their bodies. Adults can obviously suffer serious head trauma leading to internal bleeding and death, but if EMT’s believed that had happened to Zimmerman they would have insisted he be transported to a hospital.

One of Uhrig’s first actions after taking the job was to get rid of Zimmerman’s “friend” Joe Oliver (now being called a “media adviser”), who made innumerable embarrassing media appearances in which presented a number of inconsistent explanations of what supposedly happened the night of the shooting.

A group of about 40 Florida college students have organized a 3-day march from Daytona Beach to Sanford (41 miles), Florida to demand racial equality in honor of Trayvon Martin. The march is “modeled after the historic 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.”

They call themselves the Dream Defenders. The march began earlier today.

The campaign began at Daisy Stocking Park and will conclude on April 9 at Sanford City Hall. During the march, students will be stopping every two hours and receiving training. They will also work on developing a strategy to launch a larger youth movement to address racial inequalities. Their first stop is the Volusia Regional Juvenile Detention Center for a prayer vigil and speakout. You can track the group as they march on their website.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office and police officers in Daytona Beach, DeLand and Orange City are coordinating and will be helping with traffic control to make sure the students are safe while crossing busy highways.

Vanessa Baden, a 2007 alumna of Florida State, flew in from Los Angeles to attend the march on behalf of Dream Defenders. She said the purpose of the march is to call for the arrest of George Zimmerman and the investigation of the process of law enforcement following the shooting of Trayvon Martin.

“What we’re not trying to do is try Zimmerman in the court of public opinion. We get that there’s a process in this,” Baden said. “We’ll be patient with the process if they allow the process to begin.”

The group expects other college students to join the march along the way. Good for them. I know darn well if Martin Luther King were still alive, he would be there too.

Unfortunately, a group of “armed neo-Nazis” is already in Sanford, supposedly to help in riot control after Angela Corey makes her decision.

Neo-Nazis are currently conducting heavily armed patrols in and around Sanford, Florida and are “prepared” for violence in the case of a race riot. The patrols are to protect “white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety” in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting last month, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. “We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it,” he says. “We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over.”

Because nothing diffuses racial tension like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge community.

Lots of audio “experts” are still analyzing Zimmerman’s initial 911 tape to see if he used word “coons” in a whispered utterance. CNN’s expert claims Zimmerman said “fucking cold.” Another expert says it was “fucking punks.”

In addition, I found this slowed down tape of the 911 call by a witness. It was posted by a self-described “audio person.” You can hear screams for help in the background, then a gunshot, and another sound after the shot. It sounded like a scream after the gunshot to me.

NBC has fired a producer who edited the Zimmerman 911 tape and played the edited version on the Today Show as if it were the original.

The person was fired on Thursday, according to two people with direct knowledge of the disciplinary action who declined to be identified discussing internal company matters. They also declined to name the fired producer. A spokeswoman for NBC News declined to comment.

The action came in the wake of an internal investigation by NBC News into the production of the segment, which strung together audio clips in such a way that made George Zimmerman’s shooting of Mr. Martin sound racially motivated. Ever since the Feb. 26 shooting, there has been a continuing debate about whether race was a factor in the incident.

The segment in question was shown on the “Today” show on March 27. It included audio of Mr. Zimmerman saying, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”

But Mr. Zimmerman’s comments had been taken grossly out of context by NBC. On the phone with a 911 dispatcher, he actually said of Mr. Martin, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.” Then the dispatcher asked, “O.K., and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic?” Only then did Mr. Zimmerman say, “He looks black.”

Obviously, the editing was misleading, but I actually think the real 911 tape sounds worse and more racially biased. JMNSHO.

Family and friends of George Zimmerman are starting a website to raise funds for his defense and his living expenses. The reporter, Frances Robles says that Zimmerman has suffered “weeks of withering media coverage lambasting him and his supporters…” I’d say the lambasting of Trayvon Martin has been even more “withering,” but of course he no longer has “living expenses,” because George Zimmerman shot and killed him. But what do I know? Poor George….

Robles also notes that Zimmerman has attract some troubling supporters

such as white supremacists and the Rev. Terry Jones, the Gainesville pastor who announced last year plans to burn the Quran and now plans to hold a rally for Zimmerman. Gun ownership advocacy groups have also announced intentions to contribute $10,000 towards Zimmerman’s defense.

But one of Martin’s attorneys points out that

“It’s a PR strategy, a propaganda campaign,” said Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Trayvon’s parents. “His friends and family are doing him a big disservice by race-baiting. They are trying to divide a jury. Frank Taaffe, Joe Oliver, everybody gets up there and says, ‘George Zimmerman is not a racist.’ That’s not what we’re talking about.

“We’re talking about whether he was justified in taking Trayvon Martin’s life.”

I agree with Jackson that the racism issue is a red herring. It’s up to the FBI to decide whether this was a hate crime or not. But Zimmerman needs to be arrested and charged. Then he can plead his case for self-defense to a judge and jury instead of the media.

Feel free to discuss any topic on this thread. I decided to focus on the Martin case because there was so much news coming out today on it, and it has otherwise been a pretty slow news day because of the upcoming christian holiday.