Archive for April 27th, 2014

by lizard

Last night, a 17 year old kid was shot and killed after breaking in to the garage of a home up Grant Creek:

Police responded to a house in the 2600 block of Deer Canyon Court – in the Grant Creek neighborhood – shortly before 12:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving a report of a shooting.

On arrival, officers found the male and female residents in front of the house, with a 17-year-old male in their garage with a gunshot wound.

The male resident of the house reportedly found the intruder in his garage after an alarm went off, and shot him with a shotgun. The victim eventually died from the injuries.

However this ultimately went down, the result is a teenager died, and that’s tragic. Now cue the commentary.

I don’t know how I feel about this story. With my recent decision to purchase a handgun, I’ve brought the lethal capacity to deliver death to a would-be intruder into my home. I’m still not altogether comfortable with that, and I keep the gun in our new safe while storing the ammo separately.

I’ve also been that punk-ass kid breaking into garages.

When I was a teenager in the late 90’s, I went out on a handful of late-night excursions to prowl suburbia with a few mischievous friends. We looked for houses where residents had accidentally left open their garages. We called it “garage hopping”.

Snatching beers was primarily what motivated our hooliganism, but really we were just bored suburban brats looking to get a few rushes of adrenaline from doing something we knew we shouldn’t be doing.

We got chased one time I remember, and the guy was pissed. He got in his car and drove the streets looking for us as we hid like rabbits in the bushes. Looking back, it was incredibly stupid, and I still feel guilty about some of the idiotic shit we pulled.

With last night’s shooting death of a teenager, there is only speculation. We have no idea the circumstances that led to this deadly confrontation. My parents actually live in this neighborhood, and they said there’s been talk of multiple break-ins lately, whatever that may mean.

Here’s more from the initial report:

Police arrested and booked Markus Kaarma, the 29-year-old male resident of the house, on suspicion of deliberate homicide. No charges have yet been filed, however.

Police Sgt. Travis Welsh said it will be up to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office to determine what charges, if any, will be filed against Kaarma.

Welsh said the incident remains under investigation. There is no indication that the intruder was armed, he said.

However, “we wouldn’t arrest someone without probable cause a crime had been committed,” he added.

It’s way too early in this case to be able to say much of anything. As the case moves through the criminal justice system, individuals who work within the system will have to make decisions about whether or not this case will be prosecuted, and how. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

by lizard

A couple of stories caught my attention regarding wealthy people and the worlds they inhabit, worlds very different from the ones we little people live in.

First, the White House recently outreached the next generation of wealth, as reported in the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. The article offers a fascinating peek into the exclusive access offered to the offspring of billionaires:

On a crisp morning in late March, an elite group of 100 young philanthropists and heirs to billionaire family fortunes filed into a cozy auditorium at the White House.

Their name tags read like a catalog of the country’s wealthiest and most influential clans: Rockefeller, Pritzker, Marriott. They were there for a discreet, invitation-only summit hosted by the Obama administration to find common ground between the public sector and the so-called next-generation philanthropists, many of whom stand to inherit billions in private wealth.

“Moon shots!” one administration official said, kicking off the day on an inspirational note to embrace the White House as a partner and catalyst for putting their personal idealism into practice.

The money involved is estimated to be around 30 TRILLION dollars, nearly twice the entire GDP of America, so it’s no wonder political operatives are courting them while they’re young:

Policy experts and donors recognize that there’s no better time than now to empower young philanthropists. Professionals in the field, citing an Accenture report from 2012, estimate that more than $30 trillion in wealth will pass from baby boomers to younger generations by around 2050. At the same time, the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy (no relation to this reporter) and the nonprofit consulting group 21/64 have concluded in a recent study on philanthropic giving that heirs are becoming involved in family foundations at an earlier age — specifically in their 20s and 30s — and imprinting them with the social values of their generation.

And what are their social values? One part of this invitation-only conference was about human trafficking. I’m assuming it was about stopping it, despite the unintentional creepiness of this quote:

A freshman at Georgetown University, Mr. Gage was among the presenters at a breakout session, titled “Combating Human Trafficking,” that attracted a notable group of his peers. “The person two seats away from me was a Marriott,“ he said. “And when I told her about trafficking, right away she was like, ‘Uh, yeah, I want to do that.’ ”

If I was there, I’d be telling these youngsters about the child prostitution ring uncovered in Nebraska, known as the Franklin case. Here’s a brief summary:

The scandal centered around the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union, which was created to serve a poor black neighborhood in Omaha, Nebraska. During the 70s and 80s, its manager, a man named Larry King (not the talk show host), ran the Franklin as a Ponzi scheme and looted over $40 million, which he spent on an opulent lifestyle and Republican fundraising. King sang the National Anthem at the Republican convention in 1984 and served on several committees of the National Black Republican Council. He had a townhouse in Washington, DC, where he threw parties with many prominent guests. In August 1988, he threw a $100,000 party at the Republican convention, and appeared in a video in which he and Jack Kemp urged blacks to vote for George H. W. Bush. In November 1988, his Ponzi scheme crashed and the Franklin was shut down by the National Credit Union Association and the FBI.

All run-of-the-mill scandal stuff, and uncontroversial in the basic facts, except that as King was climbing into the upper levels of the national Republican hierarchy, Omaha was boiling over with rumors that he was also running a pedophile ring, pandering children out to rich and powerful men in Omaha, even flying the children to Washington, Los Angeles and New York for orgiastic, abusive parties with even richer and more powerful men.

I’ll leave it at that for now, though the rabbit hole on this one goes deep. Instead there are recent allegations cropping up of powerful Hollywood men involved in drugging and raping underage boys. The main allegations center on Bryan Singer, most known for directing one of the X-Men movies. Here’s the gist:

Singer stands accused of luring the plaintiff to private gatherings at the M&C Estate in Encino, Calif., and the Paul Mitchell Estate in Hawaii; there, he allegedly plied the then-17-year-old Egan with cocaine, alcohol, weed, and professional enticements, such as modeling gigs, commercial appearances, and the chance to act in an X-Men movie. The suit says that Singer was one of several powerful Hollywood men who preyed on fresh-faced kids with dreams of making it big. Also accused of frequenting the parties were Marc Rector-Collins, former chairman of the Digital Entertainment Network (where Neuman works), and Chad Shackley, a DEN co-founder. (Rector-Collins, a registered sex offender in Florida, pleaded guilty in 2004 to charges of transporting minors across state lines to have sex.) Egan and other underage actors were added to the DEN payroll, receiving $1,500 a week for “legitimate work” and $600 a week for more nebulous services, the suit claims. A few of the ghastlier allegations:

  • At one point, when Egan resisted sexual contact, Rector-Collins allegedly threatened him with a firearm and then locked him in a gun safe in the master bedroom closet.
  • A nude, intoxicated Egan was allegedly passed between Singer and Rector-Collins in a hot tub and subjected to various sex acts. When he refused to perform oral sex on Singer, the older man allegedly forced Egan’s head underwater until he submitted and then forcibly sodomized him.
  • The adults at the M&C Estate allegedly “strenuously pressured” the teenaged boys to ingest “copious amounts” of alcohol and drugs, and “surreptitiously administered” what they didn’t coerce. The boys were told that their predators “controlled Hollywood” and would crush their acting dreams if left unhappy. Egan claims that he in particular was warned that he and his family would be “eliminated” if he spoke up and that his phone was being monitored.

Asked why the plaintiff was bringing charges now, 15 years after the alleged harassment, Egan’s lawyer Jeff Herman denied that the timing had anything to do with the release of Singer’s latest movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past, on May 23. The statute of limitations in Hawaii runs out on April 24, he noted. (The suits were originally filed in Hawaii rather than California because the Aloha State “temporarily suspends the statute of limitations on sex abuse claims brought in civil cases.”) And in a press conference Monday, Egan furnished more explanation: According to the Daily News, Egan told reporters that he’d found a trauma therapist and a lawyer he trusted to “protect” him, and he wanted to bring his tormentors to justice. “I wouldn’t wish it on any of my worst enemies, to go through what I went through as a child,” he said. Also, Egan says that when he and his mother originally brought the abuse to the L.A. Police Department in 1999, they did nothing.

The timing may also have to do with a documentary in the works about sex abuse in Hollywood.

That the L.A. Police department would do nothing about allegations involving wealthy, powerful people is easy to believe, because when you’re wealthy, you can viciously beat your girlfriend, hitting her 117 times during a 30 minute beating as seen on security camera footage and avoid doing any time in jail:

Indian-origin internet advertising mogul Gurbaksh Chahal has escaped jail despite beating and kicking his girlfriend 117 times, according to a media report.

Chahal, 31, pleaded misdemeanor, domestic violence and battery charges last week, dodging 45 felony counts for the videotaped 30-minute beating of his girlfriend, The Huffington Post reported.

The CEO of RadiumOne – a Silicon Valley company that focusses on real-time advertising across web, mobile and Facebook – faces no jail time.

If you’re wealthy you can also rape your 3 year old daughter and only get probation because a judge thinks you wouldn’t ‘fare well in prison’.

These are some horrifying examples of how class warfare is as much a matter of who doesn’t go to prison as who does, like poor minorities disproportionally incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses, an issue Obama put some lipstick on recently.

Since there may be a few cells in American prisons freed up by Obama’s election-year window dressing, there are plenty of wealthy criminals who deserve to be locked up that should take their place.

by lizard

Information insurgent is not a term I’d choose for myself, but that is what it sometimes feels like. The crush of newspeak can lead to one feeling under siege.

Twitter is a goddamn curse. It’s like taking a cold shower under Niagara Falls. If I feel under siege, I’m the idiot who opened wide the door, to mix metaphors. Just getting close to the feed you get the spray of headlines and sometimes genuine wit from the deluge of chatter that pours and pours.

I have an extensive library of poetry I barely visit anymore. I’m always with screens, not books. I literally un-velcro my phone holster sometimes when the phone isn’t there and shake my head. Hashtag first world problems.

I finally went to the shelves tonight and summoned Spicer. On first crack of the spine, this:

Jim-almost-James tells me he likes Tolkien
“He doesn’t water down good and evil,” they say. “He sees them.”
Everything that is in the pawnshop is for sale. Truth
Is a drinking fountain.
I can’t describe good
But once tried to in a poem about a starfish
Or your watery eyes
Seeing nothing but what they told you. Mordor
Is so black that eye can’t fathom
The fact of it.
The carefulness of believing in my words, your watery eyes, my

I love Jack Spicer. He’s one of those poets I feel compelled to tell other poets about if they haven’t heard of him.

Another poet I love: William Carlos Williams, and not for his most well known poem, which is actually an excerpt from the long poem Spring and All and goes like this:

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

In addition to this anthologized gem, Williams also wrote stuff like this:

“It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

Despite the constant distraction of goddamn Twitter, I have had some chances to write things down. Lately that’s been song lyrics, not poems.

Below the fold are some lyrics I’m currently working on. For what it’s worth.

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