Monday, November 7, 2011

Conrad Murray is Guilty: What do you think?

A verdict has been reached in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray. See the live stream of the verdict reading below. - Courtesy of CNN.COM

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: What's the beef?

Unless you have been under a rock lately, you might have heard a little something about a movement called, "Occupy Wall Street" This movement has shaped itself into a whirlwind of a spectacle around the world.  It began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. 

These protesters are resiliently embarking upon a month of protesting against the "corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations." see Occupy Wall Street Website 

The idea that a group of people are using old school "No Justice, No Peace" style protesting to make a point, is quite frankly refreshing. I'm excited about the aspect that good ole democracy could possibly be back in business.  Fighting the system, not by playing by their rules (which never really works), but by attacking the "Man" with vigilante yummy goodness. Ah....America. 

The movement aims to expose how the "richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future." see Occupy Wall Street Website
I get it. They are pissed. But what is their agenda? What will get them to stop?  
At least that is what perked my interest to investigate. Here is what I found.

"We have no agenda other than to provide people with information about the events and actions happening in their area in solidarity and support of those that currently Occupy Wall St. Our political and social beliefs will remain neutral for this cause; this is not about us, this is about the movement. The only thing we will promote openly is peaceful demonstrations."

See Occupy Together Website.

What a bummer. No list of demands? No helicopter? No bag of money being dropped at an undisclosed location? What a let down. This is what I thought at first. I was confused. But then I realized, isn't that always how change starts? With a whisper. With acknowledgment. With anger. You have to let people know what your angry about to have a leader take notice and want to grab all those budding followers that are egging for direction and focus. The question is who will take the bate in the 2012 election? Or will anyone? I think all the coverage these protesters are grabbing it is making them very hard to ignore. It will be interesting in the coming months what with the weather getting colder outside and hotter inside the election walls to see how this all pans out. For now, in the interest of offering information, I will post a few links for additional information on the Occupy Movement. 

Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Together 
Occupy Everything 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Top 25 Most Dangerous Cities: L.A. is Number 158!

Good News! We didn't make the list. Good thing it is not based on crimes like driving under the influence or celebrity paparazzi attacks, then we might have been in trouble. Check out the whole article on

1. St. Louis, MO (This worries me since one of my best friends lives there) 
2. Camden, NJ
3. Detroit, MI
4. Flint, MI
5. Oakland, CA
6. Richmond, CA

7. Cleveland, OH
8. Compton, CA
9. Gary, IN
10. Birmingham, AL
11. Baltimore, MD
12. Memphis, TN
13. New Orleans, LA
14. Jackson, MS
15. Little Rock, AR
16. Baton Rouge, LA
17. Buffalo, NY
18. New Haven, CT
19. Hartford, CT
20. Dayton, OH
21. Kansas City, MO
22. Washington, DC
23. Newark, NJ
24. Cincinnati, OH
25. Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Trial of Conrad Murray: The Short Version

Ok, So I know I have totally missed the boat in my coverage of the Trial of Conrad Murray. You would think I would have been more present in my discussion of this given that it causes me to be at least 10 minutes later in the morning with it's venue being in my backyard. #dtla baby! 

Anyway, here are some major points to get you caught up if you haven't been paying attention. 

So, the cast of this play are as follows: 
  • Defendant Conrad Murray, 58-year-old cardiologist, personal physician to Michael Jackson
  • Judge Michael Pastor
  • Prosecutor David Walgren (L.A. DA's office)
  • Prosecutor Deborah Brazil (L.A. DA's office)
  • Defense Attorney Edward Chernoff
  • Defense Attorney Nareg Gourjian
  • Defense Attorney Michael Flanagan
So far, Act I and II have gone something like this: 
  • Los Angeles County coroner ruled Michael Jackson died of "acute propofol intoxication."
  • Conrad Murray is charged with one count of involuntary manslaughter. He could face four years in prison and lose his medical license.
  • To convict on involuntary manslaughter, the district attorney must prove that Murray was recklessly doing something illegal (or doing something legal but in an illegal way) that was likely to and did in fact kill Michael Jackson. The DA does not need to show that Murray intended to kill Jackson, just that he acted recklessly. 
  • Legal experts say that administering the powerful anesthetic propofol in a home setting simply to fall asleep could definitely count as reckless and a gross violation of medical norms. Although propofol can legally be prescribed by most doctors, it's used in hospitals during surgeries or in rare cases to help dying hospice patients, but NOT to treat insomnia.
  • Murray is contending that he left MJ alone for only 2 minutes for a bathroom break. Other experts have stated that MJ must have been alone for a longer period of time and that he must have injected himself with the fatal dose. 
  • Prosecutors contend Murray is criminally liable for Jackson's June 25, 2009 death because he recklessly administered the propofol, a potent surgical anesthetic drug, and was negligent in properly monitoring Jackson.
Conrad Murray has stated that he will not take the witness stand. If Murray decides not to take the stand then 
closing arguments will probably take place tomorrow, Thursday. 

We may be very close to a resolution. FYI, The jury consists of seven men and five women. Six white, five Hispanic and one African American.

I will post more details as I get them.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Crackdown on Crack Sentencing

For years there has been an upset in the legal community regarding the unequal treatment of sentencing amongst defendants caught with crack cocaine v. powder cocaine. The fact is that the punishment for consuming or selling crack cocaine is 100 times worse than that for powder cocaine. 
Many have linked the disparity to a deliberate prosecution to "round-up" those in the African American community. The stereotype has been that Americans plagued with a lesser economic disposition are more liable to use the less expensive crack cocaine than it's more expensive counterpart, powder cocaine. "What was clear was that the rules disproportionately affected African-Americans, leading civil rights leaders and other public officials to level harsh criticism against the criminal justice system. That's why in 2010 Congress passed and the Barack Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act which lowered the sentencing ratio of crack to powder crimes from 100:1 to 18:1." See "Inmates Set for Release After Changes in Crack Sentencing" by Gabriel Roxas
I will admit it is slightly embarrassing that we are using legal time to discuss the fairness of sentencing for drug dealers and crackheads but someones got to fight for them too, I guess. Also, the concern that should touch everyone at home is that the prisons are wasting capital on housing these offenders. There is even a advocacy group for this. see The Sentencing Project
Under the new Fair Sentencing Act, thousands of federal prisoners nationwide are now eligible for early release after changes in the way sentences for crack cocaine are calculated. The overall effect will be spread out over years, but almost 2,000 federal prisoners will be eligible for release on Tuesday. It could take longer for paperwork to go through and allow the inmates to walk free.
Now the U.S. Sentencing Commission is applying that law to past cocaine convictions. Officials estimate about 12,000 inmates could eventually benefit.

Getting Off My Ass...Halloween Relief

Getting some steam under my ass to start writing again. To be honest, I have been so consumed with life and the choices that I have before me that the additional stress has not allowed me the clarity to write in this blog. Forgive me.

I find myself wanting to do this:
(see right)

When I should be facing my stress head-on, like a joust.

So, Halloween is my favorite holiday. I know last year I had the Halloween party for the kids at the house which was followed by a post with pictures of family fun. See "Halloween Fun Party: For the Little Monsters" and "Halloween Party Maddness And The Fall of Super Mom"  and read again about last year's antics. 

This year the NuNu took one look at the decorations for the party and proceeded to tell me to place them back in the garage. What a bummer. What a relief. I'm disappointed that she was scared by the decorations but I can't lie, I was relieved that I didn't have to orchestrate a Halloween party. I have just been too on edge lately to deal with any of that.

Instead, we dressed her in her Princess costume and took her to meet the princesses at Disneyland. She enjoyed every minute, including seeing the Mickey Parade for the first time. priceless.

Easy peezy. Now, to get through Thanksgiving.