Tag Archives: Human Rights

Finally Free: The West Memphis Three Released After 18 Years In Prison…

The West Memphis Three, then and now. Left to right, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin.

Like many of you today, I’ve been reading reports about the somewhat sudden release of The West Memphis Three all day. While it’s not hard to feel a sense of relief that finally, after 18 years in prison, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr., and Jason Baldwin are free, the news is still bittersweet.

Accused of masterminding a horrific crime that resulted in the death of three eight-year-old boys, Damien Echols spent half of his life on Death Row. In a letter published today on the Free The West Memphis Three website, Echols continues to maintain the trio’s innocence. Despite the fact that the use of the ‘Alford plea’ in their release requires that Echols, Misskelly Jr., and Baldwin acknowledge that prosecutors in the case have enough evidence against them.

Recent DNA evidence (which wasn’t available at the time of the incident and trial), has concluded that DNA found at the scene was not a match for Echols, Misskelly Jr., or Baldwin. Yet, three eight-year-old boys are still dead, and 18 years later their killer remains at large. Today, three boys leave prison, now men in their mid-30’s, half of their lives lost forever, and their collective futures uncertain at best.

The Prosecutor in the case, Scott Ellington, still believes that the three are guilty of the crime. According to Ellington, the case might be “closed” but he still believes that Echols, Misskelly Jr., and Baldwin are guilty, saying that he has “no reason to believe that there was anyone else involved in the homicide of those three children.”

Undoubtedly, some are angry that The West Memphis Three were released today, and others, like myself, are celebrating. As of this writing, the defense has named another suspect, Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the murdered boys, as a suspect. DNA evidence from a hair found in the shoelaces used to bind the boys is a match for Hobbs. Three new eyewitness accounts place Terry Hobbs with the three children at his home, shortly before the boys disappeared. An accusation that Hobbs has already denied under oath.

The judge in the case will now have to make two rulings, one regarding juror misconduct, and the other regarding the DNA from the crime scene that does not belong to Echols, Misskelly Jr., or Baldwin. It’s unclear if the accusations and DNA evidence linking Terry Hobbs to the crime will ever be prosecutable.

A case based on panic and hysteria, not actual evidence and proof, is still without closure.

Over nearly two decades, the media, countless blogs, and many high-profile celebrities and musicians, like Pearl Jam and director Peter Jackson, have helped bring awareness to the case, as well as helping to fund the WM3’s massive legal defense. Now that the West Memphis Three seemingly have another shot at life, let’s not forget they still need our help. For more information, visit the West Memphis Three site.

Cherries For A Good Cause By Parra…

Cherries for a Good Cause by Parra for Converse. Price and availability, TBD.

A portion of the proceeds from Dutch artist and designer Parra and his collaboration with Converse goes to support The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

More on Parra, here.

Dear Arizona – Happy Cinco de Mayo! Love, Danny Trejo…

Danny Trejo (aka: Machete) and his heartwarming Cinco de Mayo shout out to Arizona.

Here’s a special Cinco de Mayo edition of the new Robert Rodriguez movie Machete that includes a warning holler out to all of the desert dwelling racists fine citizens of Arizona.

Thanks! To everyone who sent this to me today.

Christmas BALLS!: Fucked Up Cover “Do They Know It’s Christmas”…

Fucked Up, Do They Know It’s Christmas, 2009.

Canadian band Fucked Up teamed up with the likes of Bob Mould, Kevin Drew, Tegan and Sara, and Yo La Tengo to rework the 1989 Band Aid Christmas classic, Do They Know It’s Christmas.

All proceeds from the sale of the single (available via iTunes) will benefit the following charitable organizations: Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (Montreal), DTES Power of Women Group (Vancouver) and Sisters in Spirit (Ottawa).

The groups are working together to end the frightening epidemic of missing and murdered native women in Canada. Since 1980, there have been 520 documented cases of missing or murdered Aboriginal women across the region.

More information via Amnesty International, here.

Stay Classy Target: Illegal Alien Costume, FAIL…!

BuyCostumes tag line for the Illegal Alien costume: He just didn’t cross the border to get here, he crossed the galaxy! Holy Homeland Security!

To be fair to the Republican loving chain Target, the equally right-swinging Walgreens was also distributing this “Illegal Alien” costume. Late last last week, under mounting pressure from Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, both chains pulled the costume from their shelves.

As of this writing the costume, made by a company called BuySeasons, Inc., is still listed for sale on BuySeason’s retail site, BuyCostumes.

Thanks to Surly for the link.

Vivienne Westwood Has a Gypsy Heart…

Vivienne Westwood (left), Spring/Summer 2009, Milan. Westwood is wearing her own design.

Vivienne Westwood has dressed bands like the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls. She even designed a line called ““Clint Eastwood” that included some boss shoes. I’m not sure what Vivienne’s dress is made of (above), but I love it. Anyways, the 2009 Spring/Summer Westwood Collection was tame according to her enthusiasts. Still, Westwood’s 2009 Spring/Summer collection, Gypsy, inspired a fair amount of controversy.

And that Good. But why?

Vivienne Westwoods Gypsy Bear & his Grill. Spring/Summer 2009 collection, Milan.

Despite Westwood’s runway show theme of “Tolerance”, many criticized the iconic designer for using Roma Gypsies as models. This was due to fears in Milan that the gypsies are responsible for rising crime in the region. So deep is this conception, that it drove a Naples Primary School to sponsor a letter-writing campaign, denouncing the Gypsy camps.

One child’s letter even specified that “Gypsies steal children to transplant their organs”. Sadly, It takes much more energy to dispel this frightening thought from a young mind than it does to instill. Present a child (or easily led adult) with facts instead of racist inspired folklore, that child will be much less inclined to be afraid of the dark.

Vivienne Westwood Gypsy Bear Cold-Pimpin’. Spring/Summer 2009, Milan.

Yesterday, according to the BBC, the Roma Gypsy controversy in Milan ripped another page out of the history books with a proposal by Italy’s interior minister, Roberto Maroni. Maroni wants to fingerprint all residents at the Gypsy camps. Those who refuse, including children, will be expelled from the country. Maroni insisted that children be fingerprinted in order to curtail “phenomena such as begging”. The story reads like a midevil, misguided, misunderstanding gone horribly wrong.

Westwood said she believes that fashion is a “cultural and artistic force that has the power to challenge people’s prejudices”. In this case, Westwood’s tactical approach to draw attention to the region’s, until now, quiet expulsion of non-Italian immigrants, was successful. The Blogosphere has also been rife with stories about the real story behind Westwood’s Gypsies. All because of a fearless woman with a big set of balls, and a Bear.

Thanks to Telegraph UK and BBC News for the links.

Just Call Me “Pro-Life”, it’s Short for Asshole…

Pro-Life wants your baby and your vote…

A strawberry farmer turned Senate candidate has legally changed his name to “Pro-Life”. Pro-Life, formerly known as Marvin Pro-Life Richardson, hopes to replace outgoing Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho).

“I think it’s just and I think it’s proper to have Pro-Life on the ballot,” says Pro-Life. “If I save one baby’s life, it’s worth it.”

Pro-Life advocates murder charges for doctors who perform abortions. He also says that the women who undergo the procedure itself should also be charged with murder. But since Pro-Life is also a complete moron, his tactics may end up working against him:

David Ripley, executive director of Idaho Chooses Life, says he fears some voters may think Pro-Life is a position rather than a candidate and mistakenly mark their ballots both for him and for another anti-abortion candidate for the Senate, thus nullifying their choices.

Strawberries…a Conservative fruit…who knew?

Man, what is in the strawberries in Idaho? I mean, Pro-Life makes Mike Huckabee look like Dennis Kucinich. Anyways, it’s not surprising since Idaho is about as red as Cherrybomb’s bloodshot eyes this morning. Idaho’s state legislature is almost purely Republican. However, Idaho would still like you to believe that Idaho is a great place to raise a family. Just as long as you’re not gay, you carry a gun, and get to church on time. You should also probably be white and like to have lots of babies regardless of your situation. But what do I know. I never go to Idaho anymore. And I hate strawberries.

Stupid red fruit…

Find Your Baby Daddy, Without Maury…

Happy Father’s Day…from the kids that might not be yours…

Oh man, Maury Povitch is gonna be pissed when he finds out about Identigene. That’s because Identigene is a Do-It-At-Home D.N.A. paternity test. Maury’s whole daytime trash-talk show shtick is pretty much based on providing paternity results to people in the lower evolutionary parts of the United States. How will he pay for Connie Chung’s singing lessons now? Damn you Identigene!

Putting your mind at ease, or making sure that a potential parent acts responsibly has never been more convenient, confidential, affordable or accurate. With the GeneSwab Home DNA Testing Kit you’ll collect DNA specimens from the privacy of your home.

Gathering specimens from the privacy of your own home? Finally a product I can really use! But where can I find my own D.N.A specimens? I washed the laundry already and that stubborn jizz stain I should have saved is gone. What do I do now, Identigene?

Bardot of Gum. Still dead sexy and maybe full of D.N.A.

DNA can be extracted from: Sweaty t-shirts, Undergarments, Semen stains, Vaginal Stains, Paper or plastic cup, Glass, Ear wax, Fingernail clippings, Socks, Urine, Licked stamps, Cheek swabs, Hair with roots, Dried blood, Whole blood, Chewed gum, Dental floss, Cigarette butts, Used tissue, Dried skin, Used razor, Other biological specimens. Place the specimen (s) into an envelope or plastic bag. If the special specimen is moist do not place into a plastic bag until the item has completely dried.

Wow! Finding a special specimen sounds easy, but I’m still not convinced that Identigene is right for me. But I really hate paying child support to my Ex. Especially since I’m sure she was also screwing my best friend, my Dad and that guy who asks for change at the 7-11. Stupid whore…:

“I’m separated from my spouse and have been paying child support for two children for five years. With IDENTIGENE, I was able to do DNA tests on both children. When the results came back, I was devastated. The Paternity Analysis Report read that the probability of paternity was 0% for both children. The court dismissed the child support and freed me of all responsibilities. Thanks again IDENTIGENE” – Pedro Hernandez.

And while Pedro might be happy with Identigene, the test isn’t cheap. The Legal Itentigene D.N.A. test will run you a cool $399. The Discreet Paternity Test (whatever that means) will hump your wallet dry for $645. Knowing who your baby daddy is from the comfort of your own jizz stained couch and cashing those checks for 18 years? Priceless

Birthday Brawl: Henry Rollins vs. Peter Gabriel

Henry Rollins

Okay. I would never pit Henry Rollins (who somehow turned 47 today) against Peter Gabriel (who turns 58) but they both share a birthday so there you go. Letting them go at it for real would be like sending Henry after your college music professor because he said you were flat in class the other day. But I will put them up against each other in other matters that really matter. Because isn’t that what really matters. Let’s go…:


Rollins: The Chase
Gabriel: Uh…nope

Advantage: Gabriel

Peter Gabriel


Gabriel: Was in Genesis. Rather amazing solo career. Combined record sales of Gabriel’s days with Genesis and his post-Duke days are probably in the neighborhood of 200,000,000.

Rollins: Was in Black Flag. Fronts the Rollins Band.


Advantage: Rollins (editors note: If Phil Collins is involved, his participation cancels out anything else. Even the awesome Gabriel/Genesis factor. And Henry was in Black Flag, for chrissake. BLACK FLAG)


Gabriel: Wrote the infamous “Biko” as a tribute to activist Stephen Biko. Gabriel has been a tireless champion for Human Rights for much of his life.


Rollins: Sets the road to Freedom of Speech on fire every time he opens his mouth.henry-rollins-angry.jpg

Advantage: Tie (I’m so not getting in the middle of that).

So no winner in this epic battle. But wait till next time. The next Birthday Royale is gonna be a bloodbath.

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