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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Brendan DeMelle discuss the plight of one of the best known of the political prisoners of the Bush era, Paul Minor, in this piece in the Huffington Post:
Paul Minor did his best to comfort Sylvia, his wife of 41 years, during his brief February 20th visit. He tried to feed her, to talk with her, and to care for her the way he wished he could on every one of her final days in hospice care. Sylvia is in the last stages of terminal brain cancer, which has now spread to both of her lungs, her bones and her spine. Sometimes her mind is sharp and her conversation lucid, but there are bad days; her mind shuts down when her pain becomes too excruciating to endure. Unfortunately Minor’s visit occurred on one of Sylvia’s bad days… After three short hours with Sylvia, Minor’s prison guards whisked him back to the Pensacola federal prison camp. When the Minors’ daughter Kathryn spoke to her mom the next day during a lucid moment, Sylvia had no memory of Paul’s visit.
Minor’s abbreviated visit to his wife’s bedside was only the latest bitter moment for an American hero. Karl Rove’s crooked henchmen at the U.S. Justice Department have turned this dignified gentleman’s life into a horrible ordeal that is a disgrace to American democracy. One of the nation’s top trial lawyers, Minor stands convicted on partisan political charges ginned up by Rove’s right wing toadies at the Department of Justice. Paul Minor is serving the second year of a breathtaking 11-year sentence for non-violent, white collar crimes he did not commit.
Minor’s “crime” consisted of making campaign donations to Democratic candidates for judgeships in Mississippi, setting back plans hatched by Karl Rove and Hailey Barbour (then RNC chair and now governor of Mississippi) to take control of the state’s judiciary by flooding the electoral process with dollars from G.O.P.-loyal out-of-state business interests. The details of his case were surveyed here and here. His appeal is slated to be argued in New Orleans on April Fool’s Day.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”