Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rap News 7: #Revolution

Hat Tip to Anonymous, who left this link to a fab vid that ridicules dozens of AmeriKKKan sacred cows, including Bono.

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Documentary: Columbus Day Legacy

Columbus Day Legacy
Examine the quintessential American issues of free speech and ethnic pride against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day Parade controversy in Denver, Colorado.

Since its incarnation in 1992, the 500th Anniversary of America's "discovery," the Italian-American community in Denver has publicly and wholeheartedly celebrated its revered holiday, much to the dismay of many local Native Americans. The film conveys the strong sense of community that each of these groups hold.

The history of the annual parade in Denver is peppered with both verbal and physical violence, as well as numerous instances in which city leaders have had to reconcile issues of political correctness and freedom assembly.

Tensions rise as Denver's Native American and Italian-American communities publicly fight over race, history and what it means to be an "American."

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Monday, March 14, 2011

In Social Media Postings, a Trove for Investigators

Hat Tip, AK48.

Loose lips still sink ships. Don't help the pigs make the links.

In Social Media Postings, a Trove for Investigators
As Twitter, Facebook and other forms of public electronic communication embed themselves in people’s lives, the postings, rants and messages that appear online are emerging as a new trove for the police and prosecutors to sift through after crimes. Such sites are often the first place they go.

The phenomenon arose again this week, when investigators went online to make sense of a stabbing in an East New York, Brooklyn, apartment. A few clicks away, some of the clues were there for the world to see.

In the hours leading up to the crime, Kayla Henriques, 18, was feuding on Facebook with a friend, Kamisha Richards, 22. The focal point of the argument was a misspent $20, which Ms. Richards had apparently lent to Ms. Henriques for baby food and diapers. In a public exchange of messages on Facebook, Ms. Richards told Ms. Henriques at one point that she would have the last laugh. Ms. Henriques replied, “We will see.”

Ms. Henriques was later charged with murdering Ms. Richards.

Though social media postings have emerged only recently as an element of prosecutions, those in the legal arena are fast learning that Facebook, MySpace and Twitter can help to pin down the whereabouts of suspects and shed light on motives.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Guru's trial over Arizona sweat lodge deaths starts

Stealing ceremony can get you killed. Don't pay to pray.

Guru's trial over Arizona sweat lodge deaths starts
By Tim Gaynor | Reuters – Tue, 1 Mar, 2011 8:56 PM EST

CAMP VERDE, Ariz (Reuters) - An Arizona jury on Tuesday heard how participants in a sweat lodge became delirious and passed out in scorching heat at a seminar hosted by self-help guru James Arthur Ray where three people died of heat-related causes.

Ray is charged with three counts of manslaughter in the deaths of three participants in his October 2009 personal growth seminar, near scenic Sedona, Arizona, a popular destination for New Age retreats.

The 56 participants in Ray's "spiritual warrior" retreat were crammed into a four-foot tall sweat lodge, packed with superheated rocks.

In an opening statement for the prosecution, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk said instead of finding "enlightenment," the three participants "found death" at the five-day retreat, for which they paid nearly $10,000 each.

Polk played an audio tape made at the retreat, where Ray warned participants they should expect "the most intense heat" they had ever experienced.

"You will feel as if you are going to die. I guarantee that," he said in the recording. "... You will have to get to a point where you surrender, where it's OK to die."

Polk said the jury would hear testimony about one sweat lodge participant who screamed he was having a heart attack, and passed out as he tried to crawl outside for fresh air.

Other participants were in distress, vomiting or delirious during the sauna-like cleansing, Polk said. One man slipped and burned himself on hot rocks, which left his arm with "chunks of flesh falling off," the prosecutor said.

"Despite of all this chaos, Mr. Ray did not stop the ceremony," Polk said. "Mr. Ray continued to bring in more superheated rocks, more water and more ... steam."


Luis Li, an attorney for the California-based motivational speaker on trial, in opening arguments said participants were sent waivers months before joining the ceremony at the Angel Valley Retreat Center, so they knew what the seminar involved.

"I am here to say they died as a result of a tragic accident, not a crime," he told jurors.

The attorney added that participants were "all adults," and could make decisions for themselves.

"They were doctors, dentists, regular folks," Li said. "Nobody was coerced."

On the day in question, 21 participants in the seminar were taken for treatment to nearby hospitals, where James Shore, 40, and Kirby Brown, 38, were pronounced dead. Liz Neuman, 49, died several days later in hospital.

Television news images of the sweat dome showed a windowless structure, covered in black roofing material.

Sweat or medicine lodges -- smaller domed or oblong structures warmed with heated stones -- have traditionally been used in ceremonies by some Native American cultures.

Li said doctors initially reported that they suspected toxins from treated wood involved in construction of the dome could have been involved, and accused the prosecution of failing to pursue the possibility.

The trial continues this week and is expected to last three to four months.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Greg McCune)