Dave Stancliff AS IT STANDS blogarama.com

Friday, March 6, 2015

Famous plane crash with rock n’ roll stars revisted to clear pilot’s name

From left, American rock and roll legends Ritchie Valens, 17, Buddy Holly, 22, and J.P. 'Big Bopper' Richardson, 28, who died in a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was reviewing a petition Wednesday to reopen the investigation into the crash.

(From left, American rock and roll legends Ritchie Valens, 17, Buddy Holly, 22, and J.P. 'Big Bopper' Richardson, 28, who died in a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959. The National Transportation Safety Board said it was reviewing a petition to reopen the investigation into the crash. Mercury Records)

                                   Good Day World!

Why have U.S. Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators re-opened the iconic 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper?

The short answer is because the NTSB received a request recently from pilot L.J. Coon to reconsider the decision, according to the Mason City Globe Gazette.

But why does Mr. Coon want the case re-opened?

The original investigation 56 years ago conducted by the Civil Aeronautics Board blamed the crash on the pilot's decision to embark on an instrument-guided flight he was not certified for and, secondarily, on poor weather briefing.

According to NTSB regulations, petitions must be based on the discovery of new evidence or on a showing that the findings are erroneous and not on previously advanced positions.

So why does Mr. Coon want to bring up this tragic event?

Back in 2007 there were rumors that a gun might have been fired on board the plane and the Big Bopper might have survived the crash and died trying to seek help. Those rumors were put to rest in this article.

It seems that Mr. LJ Coon, has made his own investigation into the crash since then.

He believes that the finding of the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1959 that the accident was primarily caused by pilot error amounts to an injustice for Roger Peterson, the 21-year-old pilot who was at the controls of the Beechcraft Bonanza and who died alongside the three musicians.

Coon told the Pilot Tribune this year that “Roger would have flown out and about this airport at night, under multiple different conditions. He had to be very familiar with all directions of this airport in and out.”

Whatever comes out of this renewed spotlight on the accident, the tragedy is certain to continue to obsess rock and roll fans for years to come.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Obamacare War: Supreme Court Has Chance to End Senseless Battles

                                       Good Day World!

It’s the never-ending story.

It’s groundhog day every day.

It’s political partisanship on steroids.

It’s all about the GOP bringing down the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and damn the consequences! Since 2010, the GOP has tried – and failed – to reverse the law.

Now, it’s round two at the Supreme Court. The first time around the ACA was upheld.

This time around the Supreme Court is sharply divided. Tax subsidies that make insurance affordable for millions of Americans are at stake.

The justices are trying to determine whether the law makes people in all 50 states eligible for federal tax subsidies to cut the cost of insurance premiums.

Or, does it limit tax credits to people who live in states that created their own health insurance marketplaces?

A ruling that limits where subsidies are available would have dramatic consequences because roughly three dozen states opted against their own marketplace, or exchange, and instead rely on the U.S. Health and Human Services Department's healthcare.gov.

The new case focuses on just four words "established by the state" in a law that runs more than 900 pages. This is a classic case of nitpicking, hoping for a miracle reversal.

The Supreme Court is expected to vote on the case Friday, although the results of the ruling may not be made public until June, when the court wraps up the current session.

What's at stake:

If the Supreme Court ultimately invalidates these subsidies, more than 9 million Americans would lose nearly $30 billion in tax credits and cost-sharing reductions by 2016, according to the Urban Institute; the uninsured ranks would increase by 8.2 million Americans; and the average Obamacare premium will increase by more than 200% (!!!).

If that happens, it's going to produce a mad political scramble (in Washington and state capitals) to pick up the pieces for Americans who will paying higher health care costs due to the court's ruling.

But if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the government -- that yes, the law was always intended to award subsidies to all Americans, no matter where they live -- it could bring an end to the great Obamacare War.

Let’s hope this madness ends once and for all so those insured Americans can get on with their lives and not have to worry about a partisan battle leaving them uninsured someday.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Will cops and prosecutors get prison time for trying to set up an innocent man?

Good Day World!

Two years ago, 47-year-old disabled veteran, Douglas Dendinger, was paid $50 to serve a court summons.

That simple act almost put him in prison.

As New Orleans’ WWL reports, Dendinger’s two-year nightmare began on Aug. 20, 2012. He was acting on behalf of his nephew when he served Bogalusa police officer Chad Cassard with a summons to appear in court. His nephew had filed a police brutality lawsuit against Cassard.

That’s when everything went wrong.

After serving Cassard a white envelope containing the documents, Dendinger went on his way. But 20 minutes later, police showed up at his house and arrested him. He was jailed on charges of simple battery, obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness.

Dendinger was surprised and alarmed, because he knew none of those things really happened. The charges being leveled against him were all lies. Luckily (and unknown to the people setting him up), he had the whole transaction recorded on a cell phone.

Two of those charges were felonies, and a prior cocaine conviction on Dendinger’s record threatened to land him in jail for a long time as a repeat offender.

But he was confident that he would be released without cause since two prosecutors and several police officers had seen him hand over the summons peacefully.

But that’s not what happened.

A year after the incident, then-District Attorney Walter Reed brought charges against Dendinger. His case was backed by two prosecutors who asserted that Dendinger had assaulted Cassard. Seven witness statements also supported the case.

Cassard made the same claim, writing in a voluntary statement that Dendinger “slapped him in the chest” when he served the summons.

Pamela Legendre, a staff attorney who witnessed the hand-off, said she thought Dendinger had punched Cassard.

Bogalusa police chief Joe Culpepper said that Dendinger had used “violence” and “force.”

And another witness said in a deposition that Dendinger used such force when he served the summons that Cassard flew back several feet.

All lies.

The whole affair was a coordinated effort by Washington Parish, La. cops and prosecutors who falsely accused Dendinger of battery and witness intimidation.

“It wasn’t fun and games, they had a plan, the plan was really to go after him and put him away. That is scary,” Philip Kaplan, the attorney representing Dendinger in his civil rights case, told WWL.

If Dendinger’s wife and nephew had not filmed him that day in order to prove that the court papers had been served, he would have gone to prison for a long time.

Grainy video of the exchange shows Dendinger handing Cassard the summons and the former police officer walking away in the opposite direction.

Though the video aired by WWL does not show the entire encounter, what it does not show is Dendinger slapping anyone or acting aggressively during the crucial moment when he served the summons.

The video also shows that the witness who claimed that Denginger’s force pushed Cassard back several feet had his back turned as the scene unfolded.

After Reed was forced to recuse his office from the case, it was referred to the Louisiana attorney general who quickly dropped the charges against Dendinger.

Rafael Goyeneche, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Crime Commission, told WWL that after viewing the video he did not see Dendinger commit battery on Cassard and that the officers and prosecutors involved could be looking at serious ethics charges.

“I didn’t see a battery, certainly a battery committed that would warrant criminal charges being preferred,” Goyeneche said.

“It’s a felony to falsify a police report,” Goyeneche continued. “So this is a police report, and this police report was the basis for charging this individual.”

I’ll be interested to see what happens to those officers and prosecutors. Will justice prevail in the end with all of them serving jail time?

Somehow, I doubt it.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Big Butt Boom: Why Plastic Surgeons Love Kim Kardashian

Good Day World!

Back in the 1960’s, I thought a woman’s butt looked best if it was compact with curves. Women who had bountiful butts weren’t on my dating radar.

Nearly six decades later nothing has changed my mind about how the perfect butt should look. The current style of big butts made popular by Kim Kardashian, doesn’t get it for me. 

Meanwhile, plastic surgeons are cashing in on the bottom line – butt augmentation.

Recently two doctors' organizations tallied up the cosmetic procedures performed last year, and butt augmentation skyrocketed. No other procedure came close to that kind of growth.

So who is fueling the sudden growth of big butts?

If you ask a plastic surgeon they’ll tell you women entertainment stars are flashing their cabooses more, which in turn inspires their legions of female fans to get aboard the big butt train.

However, critics contend it's medical marketing that has convinced some Americans they need posterior padding at the cost of thousands of dollars and physical risks.

"Everywhere you look in the media, butts are in," said Dr. Scott Glasberg, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in a recent AP article.

I suppose you could also blame social media for fueling the big butt boom. To each his/her own, I always say. As for me, I guess I’m stuck in the past when it comes to admiring butts!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, March 2, 2015

American Tribulation: Melting Pot of Souls Never Took Hold

                                     Good Day World!

Norse mythology depicts the end of days as Ragnarök, an Old Norse term translatable as "twilight of the Gods."

The American empire is seething with unrest, racial divides, and political partisanship on steroids. These times should be called “The Twilight of Democracy,” or “Days of Vengeance.”

National protests over the killing of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (both black men) by white police officers touched off rioting, looting, and a deeper divide between blacks and whites.

When a black man murdered two NYPD officers in retaliation for those shootings, supporters of law enforcement nationally were livid. It was like a knife was inserted between the races.

Just hours after they were shot point blank while eating lunch, another cop was murdered in Florida by a black man. Again, it was judged on heated racial accusations.

I grew up during the 1950s. It was not a good time for race relations. Segregation was the law of the land. As I got older –during the 1960s - I saw blacks gaining their rights and starting to assume an equal place in our society.

Democracy looked like it was starting to work to me. But as the 70’s, 80s, and 90s slipped by a deterioration set in, pulling our society apart again. Race and politics entered the new millennium like a hammer blow against hope and peace for race relations.

How is it that our society devolved so rapidly – in less than a century? Where did we go wrong? Why is America so polarized?

Having lived for over six decades – an unwilling witness to these destructive changes – I am at loss for answers. I can’t look back at my youth and claim it was during the “good old days” because of the blatant racial divide that existed then.

Sadly, the “great experiment” of Democracy – a melting pot of souls – has withered to what it is today. A dream that never fully came to fruition.

What will the new year – 2015 - bring? Unless improved race relations become more of a priority on all sides, the end result will be predictable.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

   

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Courage, Conviction Got Boris Nemtsov Killed by Putin

                                        Good Day World!

Most Americans have never heard of Boris Nemtsov.

His recent murder changed that. Millions of Americans – not to mention the rest of the world – are now aware he was a political reformer in Russia.

As history attests, political reformers don’t do well under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime.

The fact that Nemstsov got away with defying Putin for so long is a miracle in itself. The two have known each other for many years.

Amidst the chaos of the 1990s, president Boris Yeltsin had marked out Nemtsov, then a young, reform-minded deputy prime minister, as a possible successor, but ultimately ceded the presidency to a little known ex-KGB officer: Vladimir Putin.

Somehow Nemtsov survived all of these years; probably because of his strong relationships with many powerful Russian oligarchs.

That changed abruptly when Nemtsov was ambushed, and shot from behind while walking across a bridge with his girlfriend of three years.

Only hours before the attack, Nemtsov had given one of his last interviews, criticizing Putin, comparing his rule to the Nazi Third Reich and promising an uprising from the streets.

"We need to work as quickly as possible to show the Russians that there is an alternative, that Putin's policy leads to degradation and a suicide of the state. There is less and less time to wake up," Nemtsov told a correspondent for the Polish edition of Newsweek.

Nemtsov's friends said his latest effort was to expose the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, where NATO, Kiev and Western governments say Russia has sent soldiers and weapons to support an armed uprising there.

Boris Nemtsov had been preoccupied for weeks with details of an opposition march planned for today. Little did he know that Putin had other plans for him. And make no mistake, it was Putin who was behind his death.

Now he’s claiming someone else committed the dastardly deed. Typical Putin propaganda.

On Nemtsov’s last day he went to the radio station facilities of Echo Moskvy, one of Moscow's last independent minded media outlets, where he did an on air radio interview right before his last dinner.

Following news of Nemtsov's death, Echo Moskvy editor in chief Alexei Venediktov tweeted a photo of himself and Nemtsov.

"Today ahead of broadcasting, Boris asked me 'aren't you afraid of having me on air?' It wasn't me who should have been afraid" Venediktov said. (Compiled from Reuters reports)

After his death, organizers canceled the rally and instead called for a demonstration to mourn him on today in central Moscow. The city gave quick approval, in contrast to its usual slow and grudging permission for opposition rallies.

I applaud Boris Nemtsov’s courage and his conviction. He was a nationalist who cared about the Russian people, unlike that ex-KGB bastard Putin!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, February 28, 2015

GOP: Get over your Obama Derangement Syndrome

Good Day World!

From conservative commentators like Mark Levin to rank-and-file Republicans, the belief that Obama doesn't love America is not new.

It’s a myth that the Republican base used to try and defeat Obama the first time around.

The myth has only taken root with far right conservatives who tried to sell the lie once again - only to lose again to Obama.

The majority of Americans refuted the myth in both elections. That doesn’t mean those extremist members on the far right have learned their lesson.

Oh hell, no! 

Take former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who recently said that President Obama doesn't love you, me or America.

He said that the President has been under the influence of communists since he was 9 years old, and that Obama is likely a socialist or an anti-communist.

During a speech at a posh Manhattan Dinner party for likely Presidential candidate Scott Walker recently, Rudy said: "I do not believe — and I know this is a horrible thing to say — but I do not believe that this President loves America."

Basically by the end of the week Giuliani was doing everything short of asking for another copy of Obama's birth certificate and asking for his whereabouts on the morning of 9-11.

Giuliani's comments are no different than Steve Scalise hanging out with Klan members. The GOP knows who their base is.

Apparently, prominent Republicans haven’t figured out this kind of hate dialogue alienates young voters, minority voters and independents.

If Republicans can't get over their Obama derangement syndrome it’ll just make it that much easier for Hillary to say "Obama isn't on the ballot!" and define herself.

The more the GOP makes this race about Obama, the easier it'll be for Hillary Clinton to draw contrasts between herself and his administration.

It’s time for the Republican base – the Obama haters – to step aside and give up the myth. Voters know better.

If the Republicans really want to win the 2016 election, they’re going to have to quit spreading hate and start offering concrete ideas to help America move forward.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Report Confirms What Most Americans Already Know: Pot is Safer Than Alcohol & a Host of Other Drugs

20090513_9999_15

Good Day World!

The knowledge that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and a host of other drugs is not news in the real world.

Hasn’t been for decades.

Anyone with a lick of common sense has known that for a long time. But no one in government (DEA, etc.etc) would admit that. The “Killer Weed” image had to be maintained. After all, a lot of money was at stake at all levels of government.

The DEA – with recent backing from the Supreme Court – has managed to keep marijuana listed as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered to have the highest potential for abuse and be the "most dangerous" of all the drugs.”

I’ve got some news for those pot-hating folks in power:

Scientists are finally getting on board about the reality of marijuana’s safety versus any of the other nasty drugs out there.

For the first time, researchers measured the potential harm of all the drugs listed in the DEA’s list in a more quantitative way — that is, by comparing a lethal dose to how much of the substance is typically consumed socially.

Their findings showed the dangers of marijuana "may have been overestimated in the past", while the risk of alcohol has been "commonly underestimated," researchers said.

The report, published in Scientific Reports at the end of January, compared the potential of death from the typical, recreational use of 10 drugs: marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, diazepam, amphetamine and methadone.

Marijuana was, by far, found to be the safest, even when compared to alcohol and cigarettes.

The bottom line is everyone was surprised to see the major differences in riskiness between marijuana and the other substances.

The irony must not be lost here: alcohol and tobacco are legal although they are deadly compared to pot. The DEA just ignores that fact.

It's hypocritical for a nation to allow massive alcohol marketing and sales while banning marijuana.

It’s illogical to list marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Perhaps, after this report,the Supreme Court will revisit the issue and do the right thing; drop pot off the BAD LIST.

It’s time for the pot-haters scattered throughout our government to face reality and go with the majority of Americans when it comes to decriminalizing the plant.

Time for me to walk on down the road….

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The buzz on drones and why I distrust them!

Good Day World!

With the invention of drones, we crossed into two new frontiers:

1) One road revolutionized killing, making it risk-free and remote;

and

2) the other road led to beneficial civilian applications.

Both roads have arrived at a junction that worries me.

At their intersection there’s a carry-over – a blending if you will – of military spying abilities leaking into civilian use.  Worse yet, the civilian capability to kill on a small or large basis is now a reality.

It was ten years ago this month, on February 4, 2002, that the CIA first used an unmanned Predator drone in a targeted killing. The strike was in Paktia province in Afghanistan, near the city of Khost. The intended target was Osama bin Laden.

However, it wasn’t bin Laden’s time to go. That would happen years later when a US SEAL Team took him out in Pakistan.

BRIEF HISTORY NOTE:

Military application of drones has been around for over 100 years.

The first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was built during and shortly after World War I. Leading the way, using A. M. Low's radio control techniques, was the Ruston Proctor Aerial Target of 1916.

CIVILIAN USE OF DRONES

Some say the federal government should be principally responsible for regulating drones, nongovernmental actors, and privacy; others have suggested a blended approach, with states taking center stage and the national government cast in a supporting role.

The way I see it there has to be some regulation. Here’s a link:

How to Use Your Drone Legally in the United States

Civilian drones are here to stay. Marketing efforts are taking off faster than these small drones can fly!

Founded in 2009 by an engineer with a childhood love of radio-controlled model planes, DJI Technology Co. has become the world's biggest supplier of civilian drones — possibly the first Chinese company to achieve that status in any consumer industry.

This sudden proliferation of drones brings a new assault on Americans civil liberties – such as privacy – and opens the door to more dire consequences when the wrong people use them for illegal purposes.

The domestic use of drones is raising concerns about privacy as well as potential Fourth Amendment violations. Last March, 24 civil rights and privacy organizations submitted a formal petition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to suspend their use until a legal framework is established to determine when, if ever, they can be used in the United States.

“The thought of government drones buzzing overhead and constantly monitoring the activities of law-abiding citizens runs contrary to the notion of what it means to live in a free society,” Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said at a Judiciary Committee hearing on whether legislation on drones was needed to protect civil liberties.

DRONING ON…

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Public figures caught ‘disremembering’ things is becoming common

Good Day World!

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about various public figures who disremember things, misstate things, and who downright lie about things.

The most recent example is Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, who apologized Monday for misstating that he served in the military's special forces.

In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: "While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military.

He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement."

Meanwhile, conservatives have tenaciously sunk their fangs into the juicy scandal that is engulfing NBC News anchor Brian Williams.

The fact that he has admitted (and apologized for) some false statements he made several years ago regarding his experiences covering the war in Iraq is troubling and particularly so for people who make their living on their reputation for honesty.

However, the degree to which the right has gone overboard with their overt hostility is a spectacle that is worth watching for the sheer entertainment value.

Although it's not as if they wouldn't be showering their hatred on Williams and the rest of the so-called "lamestream" media even if their weren't some budding scandal. For its part, Fox News has been exhibiting a Benghazi-like obsession with their relentless coverage of the story.

What's missing from all of this is any sense of perspective or context.

Has Fox given equal time to the false assertions by their own Geraldo Rivera who excused his lies as being the fault of the"fog of war?"

Of course not. Neither do they make a distinction between the lies advanced by mis-remembering a distant event in the past in order to enhance one's own personal image, and the lies perpetrated deliberately by national leaders (i.e. George Bush, Dick Cheney, etc.) that resulted in the violent deaths of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent, non-combatant Iraqis.

Well, if that's the standard they are embracing, then let them apply it to Bill O'Reilly as well. Back in 2006, O'Reilly took an extended book promotion tour to Kuwait where he visited with soldiers and signed copies of his book.

Reports at the time described how "service members asked O'Reilly about his own tour of duty in Kuwait during Desert Storm."

That might have been an interesting story except for the fact that O'Reilly never did a tour of duty in Kuwait during Desert Storm, or anywhere else since he never served in the military!

More recently, O'Reilly told his radio listeners about how he would have coaxed information out of an enemy soldier based on his personal experiences in combat:

"I tell you what, I've been in combat. I've seen it. I've been close to it. And if my unit is in danger and I got a captured guy and the guy knows where the enemy is and I'm looking him in the eye, the guy better tell me. That's all I'm gonna tell you. If it's life or death, he's going first."

As noted above, and contrary to his statement, O'Reilly has never been in combat. Consequently, he has never commanded a unit or had to contemplate how he would deal with an enemy prisoner.

His pretend bluster and machismo is all just a bunch of fantasizing of himself as a hero. So how is that any different than the offenses for which Williams is being pilloried?

There are, however, some very real differences between Williams and O'Reilly. Williams has been found to be less than truthful on this one occasion.

O'Reilly has lied repeatedly over his career at Fox News with plenty of documentation to prove it.

What's more O'Reilly has demonstrated himself to be an arrogant, rude, bully who shoves his usually inane opinion down the throats of his guests and his viewers. That's something that cannot be attributed to Williams.

Time for me to walk on down the road…