Archive for freedom

Bill Maher Gushes to Pussy Riot: 'You Guys Are Gangsta'


Image: Wikipedia

Congratulations to Bill Maher for having Pussy Riot on his show!

A repost from RawStory:

Bill Maher gushes to Pussy Riot: ‘You guys are gangsta’ (via Raw Story )

Real Time host Bill Maher was effusive toward members of the Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot during an interview Friday, praising their resolve throughout both government resistance and imprisonment. “The great thing about what happened to…

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George Zimmerman Now Can't Even Draw Flies



In the immortal words of B.B. King, "The thrill is gone. The thrill is gone away." And that's good news when it comes to George Zimmerman.

George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watchman and killer of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, failed to draw many fans at an Orlando gun show on Saturday, according to the NY Daily News. What can you say? Maybe the fascination with this killer has worn off. I wonder how OJ would have done at this event?

NY Daily News:

Over the course of six hours, fewer than 20 people at the gun show asked for a free autographed photo of Zimmerman, who was situated in a rear office of The Arms Room gun store in Orlando. The gun show, originally booked at Orlando’s Majestic Events Center, had been cancelled after word that Zimmerman would appear, however the promoters were able to secure another venue.


So, here's hoping sanity has returned to the public. Fascination with fads, like Fizzies and Lickamade are passing fancies. Now we can try adding George Z to that list.


Blood, Fire and Ice: Kiev's Deadly Winter Floodlights the East-West Divide



Photo by Artem SLIPACHUK, The Day dot com

This post was written by our guest contributor, "hardybear" of the wonderful Free Range Talk site:

Kiev, glory of the banks of the River Dnipro and the shining city of the Ukraine, is now one more Protest-to-Near-War zone in a global political climate that showcases violence and further schismatic, fatality-frenzied divides in the oldest civilizations we collectively share.

While the world's eyes are on the Games in Sochi, the iron chest of Putin is puffed out in a stern egoist posture of Amicable Host. Unopened Olympic Rings and a stingingly harsh Men's Hockey loss are seemingly no more annoying than simul-cams of the Ukranian 'Pal of Putin' President Viktor Yanukovych's epic fail to find a non-nuclear solution in Kiev. To the tragic tune of over 70 dead yesterday alone. The most lethal day since the Ukraine separated from the USSR in 1992.

For now. In less than a long weekend, Vladimir will unsmilingly wave off the World and turn his fist to the Ukraine. After  centuries decades of their Russian-Soviet-Russian love-tyranny relationship, one suspects that he will Impale as many humans opposed to his worldview as possible in his dear Western-obsessed Kyiv.

Protesters worked to reinforce barricades in Kiev on Friday. Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times.

In 1980 locals were as eager to meet a young American as I was to learn everything possible about the USSR, and Kiev was a great city to start the stint in. It went beyond young Ukranians wanting to purchase the Levi's off my arse, they wanted to sing and dance to Stones and Beatles tunes and to know every last detail about life and democracy in France and America. When I realized last month that a childhood friend from Vermont and his family were not going to be able to leave their home of nearly a decade in Ukraine and lived less than a half mile away from the protest zone, I reached out and was stunned to hear that they were in the thick of things, being Helpers in unimaginable chaos.

When the following email came along early Thursday morning from the chum's Ukranian wife, what was happening in Kiev on the tee vee suddenly became a reality under our safe, snow-laden country roof. [Names abbreviated for privacy reasons.]

[The government] Just published the message that in a few hours they will announce State of emergency. They will switch off mobile service and internet. SO if we are OFF line just stay in touch over the phone. We just came back from the main square. 5 dead bodies were lying under the tent. People say that we should hide and walk behind anything because there is a sniper on the roof that kills people. By the time we came back I was 15 dead. We stayed some time at Mikhailovskiy cathedral helping to sort medicine that people bring every second. Bags of syringes, IV, things for surgery, etc. J---- just left to pick up E---- from school.

We'll be in touch.

Antigovernment protesters man a barricade in Kiev on Friday. Baz Ratner:Reuters

Antigovernment protesters man a barricade in Kiev on Friday. Baz Ratner:Reuters

I am thrilled to report that today their family remains safe, if all too close to the action. Other neighbors, friends and 'passionate about democracy' pals were not so fortunate, and thanks to some quickly made acquaintances, we followed other eye-witness reports out of the city yesterday and today mourn many, as you can witness in the photo tribute below.

The historic Podil Quarter, one of Kiev's most charming areas to find a European café and luxe-ly breakfast on strong java and the dense local cheesecake called Syrnyk, was a popular place for families to gather in quieter times. Perhaps 19-year old Ustyn Holdnyuk had met his father there before his last day on earth, February 20, 2014. From the Facebook timeline of a noted champion of the cause in Kiev, Borys Gudziak, excerpts from a story titled "Blue Helmet".


A strong man in his 50s with pale wax-like face-mask and red, fixed at one point eyes, was sitting on his knees next to the body covered by a bloody sheet… He didn’t have any force even to half-open it.

At last, he opened a bloody sheet by its corner, recognized his son, and covered his face immediately. He turned his head aside where eleven bodies were lying, also covered by white sheets with blood traces. Small pieces of paper with something written by red felt-tip pen were attached to those sheets at the level of the faces.
A big blue spot were seen among all this red painting on a white background… This was a military helmet painted in blue UN color. Covered by blood, it had a bullet hole on the left side at the level of the temple.


Ustyn Holdnyuk, 19 y.o., student from Zbarazh, small town in Ternopil region, Western Ukraine, was supposed to meet his father at 11 a.m. at October St. That’s what they agreed upon at 9 in the morning.

Ustyn was Maidan defender since November. They agreed that his father will bring him home, he needed some rest. But Ustyn didn’t survive those two hours before meeting his father.


Fallen in Kiev ... and one Blue Helmet. Image, Facebook

“I told him: “Take care there, don’t expose yourself, the road is ahead”, said Holodnyuk. “He smiled saying: “Dad, don’t worry! I have a magic UN helmet and nothing will happen to me”. Those were his last words I heard from him”.


R.I.P. Ustyn. Image, Facebook

R.I.P. Ustyn. Image, Facebook

Volodymyr, Ustyn’s father, takes the helmet from the floor and is looking at the fresh lood of his son inside and outside the helmet, brings it closer to his face as if he wants to feel the smell and the warmth of his son, trying to say something, but his attempts are cutting short with the words “blue helmets”…

Former policeman, serving his whole life to his country, he’s trying to muffle… But he can’t…

Ustyn did not have any chance to survive, as well as even other lying next to him at the floor of Ukraina hotel, equipped for a temporary morgue, according to Olga Bohomolets, doctor in chief of the mobile hospital of Maidan self-defence.

“Sniper or snipers were professionals, she says. All their victims were shot in heart or head. All are killed with 7,62 mm bullets [Dragunov sniper rifle]. They were shot to defeat”.
As a citizen, Ustyn’s father was supporting his son’s striving to be on Maidan, says Volodymyr. As his father, he was against.

Original text by Sergei Loiko
Translation by Iryna Ozymok
Facebook 2014

An enlightening interview from Thursday with Gudziak himself, wherein he gives an excellent brief history of the culture and conflict. In two brief parts.

It was mediocre news to hear around Noon EST Friday that the protesters and the Ukranian government have reached a "political reform deal" and have broached the bone of 'early' elections, three European Union ministries and councils helped broker the new truce, according to the New York Times.

KIEV, Ukraine — The embattled president of Ukraine and leaders of the opposition signed a political deal on Friday aimed at ending a spiral of lethal violence with early elections and a reduction in presidential powers, but Russia declined to endorse the accord and many protesters said nothing short of the president’s resignation would get them off the street.

Stay tuned. And please keep this story alive and these brave, relateable people in your hearts and minds.


Video- President Barack Obama's moving tribute to Nelson Mandela in full



Video Mid Day Distraction- Where there’s a dog, there’s a way


Via Sullivan.


Walk On The Wild Side With Lou Reed


Lou Reed

This week we lost Lou Reed. Many remember the name, but all remember his music. His career included stints with the Velvet Underground and as a solo artist. But one song stands out to me more than all the rest. It's the 1972 song, Walk On The Wild Side from Reed's album, TRANSFORMER. It was produced by legendary great David Bowie.

The song is about transvestites who come to New York City and become prostitutes.  And Reed's inspiration was real life. The "girls" were "Holly," "Candy," and "Jackie." They are based on Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling, and Jackie Curtis-- three real drag queens who appeared in Andy Warhol's 1972 movie Women In Revolt. And each verse introduces a new character, all real and all cronies at the infamous Andy Warhol Factory, where Lou often hung out.

"Take a walk on the wild side" is what these rental transvestites would say to potential customers.

If the public understood what he was writing about, it would have certainly been banned.  Remember, this was 1972. Rob and Laura Petrie weren't even allowed to sleep in the same bed though married. A female character on TV wasn't allowed to be divorced. Yes the times were a lot different then. There was a lot more to the song than "And the colored girls say, Doo, doo-doo Doo, doo-doo Doo, doo-doo.

In a 1972 interview with Disc and Music Echo,

Reed described Walk On The Wild Side as an "outright gay song," saying it was "from me to them, but they're carefully worded so the straights can miss out on the implications and enjoy them without being offended. I suppose though the album is going to offend some people." '

This came out at a time when audiences were intrigued by cross-dressing and homosexuality in music. "Glam Rock," where the performers wore feminine clothes, was big, and artists like David Bowie and Elton John were attracting fans both gay and straight.

He was certainly ahead of his time with his socially conscience awareness and his anecdotal tunes. He knew he was pushing the envelope and yet he was able to get away with it overall. From Songfacts:

This [Walk On The Wild Side] was not banned by the notoriously conservative BBC or by many US radio stations because censors did not understand phrases like "giving head." Depending on the regional US market, the song was, however, edited for what we now call political correctness. Reed leads into the female vocalists' "Doo, doo-doo" hook with the words, "And the colored girls say," but some stations played a version that replaced the phrase with, "And the girls all say."

So while we pause to pay tribute to an amazing artist, why not watch and listen to this great version by Lou R himself.