Thursday, December 22, 2005

Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
My dogs were nestled, all snug in “MY” bed,
While visions of chewie toys danced in their heads.

I in my sweat pants and Dad in his sweater,
Had just settled down to read the Great Dog Reporter,
When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter!

Off to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.
The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to the objects below.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

With a sputter of lashes—a flurry of soot,
He slid down the chimney with all of his loot.
My Dogs stood there so regal and proud,
Guarding their home with barks oh so loud.
St. Nick showed no fear and called them by name,
He knew in his heart they were gentle and tame.

He brought out his list, checking it twice.
“Well, my beauties, all year you’ve been very nice.
I have in my bag toys and much more,
Just tell me what you pups really long for.”

My dogs talked to each other—much to my surprise
and turned to Santa with tears in their eyes,
“We have chewies and balls and ropes to be tugged,
We are pampered and coddled and petted and hugged.
But for Christmas, dear Santa, we have but one care,
that all dogs be loved as much as we are.
We want no dog beaten, whipped or chained,
No dog abandoned, abused or maimed.
We want all dogs, no matter what size,
to see love reflected in their master’s eyes.”

St. Nick stopped for a moment to gather his wits,
“I have nothing to stop humans from being such twits.”
All dogs are so beautiful and are such a treasure,
Living only to be loved and give humans pleasure.
This lesson I will try to teach
Then maybe your wish will be within my reach.”

St. Nick leaned over and kissed each beautiful head.
“Now you gentle giants, go off to bed.
Think good thoughts and dream good dreams
Of running and jumping and playing in streams.”

St. Nick turned to me, his face wet with tears.
“Be proud of your babies, they are such dears.”

In an instant St. Nick disappeared in a poof,
And I heard him chuckle as he ran on the roof.
He jumped in his sleigh and to his team gave a whistle,
and off he flew like the down on a thistle.

And I heard him exclaim as the drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to All and To All Dogs a Good Life!”

Posted by rosevine69 on 12/22 at 03:07 PM
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The Boondocks


Posted by loni on 12/22 at 10:09 AM
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Boondocks

I’m not sure who watches the Boondocks on Sunday nights, I do and I now know why Riley is the “Santa Stalker”.

Posted by loni on 12/21 at 03:05 PM
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The first day of winter

Here is a post with EE

Posted by SPN on 12/21 at 10:56 AM
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New York transit strike: `Cowardly,’ mayor says

Why would millionaire owners and managers call working class people cowardly? Isn’t it the duty of individuals to work and sometimes strike for an honest wage? Isn’t it our duty to make sure that upper management greed doesn’t destroy companies?

There are those that call union organization socialist and communist. Call it what you want. I’m for any organization that fights for it’s employees rights. If management can’t seem to understand that paying it’s top executive peers hundreds of millions of dollars each year isn’t greedy while the lowest paid workers can’t afford to pay their rent each month, then we’ve got a long way to go.

I don’t have a problem with people making millions. I have a problem with millionaires PREVENTING hard workers from earning a decent wage while they get millions in stock options. Once management starts making wise decisions towards protecting the company instead finding ways to pad their own pockets, then we are on the road to recovery.

I’m sure that Pataki and Bloomberg will fire all of the workers and hire less qualified workers instead of paying a wage that the workers can live on.

December 20, 2005, 6:22 AM EST

Quotes from a union representative, elected officials and commuters on New York’s first mass transit strike in more than 25 years:

“With a $1 billion surplus, this contract between the (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and the Transport Workers Union Local 100 should have been a no-brainer. Sadly, that has not been the case.” _ Union president Roger Toussaint.

“Make no mistake, these are bullying tactics. We will not accept them.” _ MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow.

“This is not only an affront to the concept of public service; it is a cowardly attempt by Roger Toussaint and the TWU to bring the city to its knees to create leverage for their own bargaining position. We cannot give the TWU the satisfaction of causing the havoc they desperately seek to create.” _ Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“They have broken the trust of the people of New York. They have not only endangered our city and state’s economy, but they are also recklessly endangering the health and safety of each and every New Yorker.” _ Gov. George Pataki.

“I read their wages in the newspaper. They make like triple what I make. It’s a monopoly. There’s no alternative, and they know it.” _ Brooklyn commuter Stefano Kibarski, a coffee shop worker.

“I’m disappointed that it’s happening, but I try to put myself in their shoes. The only way you can get what you want is to take a stand.” _ Rockland County commuter Matthew Higgs, who says he’ll have to spend $50 a day on taxis during a subway strike.

Posted by SPN on 12/20 at 07:57 AM
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Monday, December 19, 2005

It’s about time that the silly Democrats on Capital Hill started trying to make some waves.

It seems that all they want to do is to sit timidly by while The King and his Court trample over the Constitution. Remember “Checks and Balances” guys? YOU are the CHECK that provides the balance. Now get off of your lazy arses and subpoena some records.

Democrats call for investigation of NSA wiretaps

Monday, December 19, 2005; Posted: 4:55 a.m. EST (09:55 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN)—Democratic House leaders called Sunday for an independent panel to investigate the legality of a program President Bush authorized that allows warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens, according to a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

“We believe that the President must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people, but that intelligence must be produced in a manner consistent with our Constitution and our laws, and in a manner that reflects our values as a nation,” the letter says.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Minority Whip Steny Hoyer; Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Henry Waxman, the ranking member on the House Committee on Government Reform, signed the letter.

Posted by SPN on 12/19 at 02:12 PM
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I need help trying to roll back the implementation of Daylight Saving Time in NJ.

I anyone has an idea how I can start this, I’d appreciate it.

Daylight Saving Time does nothing for anyone as far as I understand it. The gov. claims that it helps save gasoline. Better fuel economy standards would do a better job of that.

The gov claims that it is for the children. It is better having our kids at the bus stop in the dark? How is that better?

Posted by SPN on 12/19 at 11:15 AM
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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Writing a Book. ( title 5150)

Here is an excerpt from the first few pages


>>>>>I know this may be the very last flight that I might ever take. The airport is congested, as usual. People busy about performing the duties of ants as prescribed by the queen. See luggage, retrieve luggage, carry luggage, get cab travel more. Greet, shake hands, exchange niceties, move along in line, and smile. Point a to point b, new point; new life, baptized, blessed, cursed, vacation, honeymoon, anniversary, death: yes death that is my favorite. Everyone in his or her own world, traveling to unknown destinations. Some may be terrorist, bankers, businessmen, housewives, or students. All the people, individuals, with some agenda and something important to do, or someone to meet are busy with excitement and happiness of a new adventure or memory in life. I have nothing important to do and this may be my very last flight I take. I am insignificant. When I am gone from this world there won’t be a stain to tattoo the history of my presence of past chaos.

I look around to see the hubs and travel destinations. Kauai, Montreal, Cozumel, Cancun, Mazatlan. I’m going to Mazatlan on flight 187. If my intentions for travel aren’t positively moronic enough the flight number spells murder in familiar police code to further make concrete of my emotional turmoil. There is a small café and flower stand, a Carl’s JR. serving starch that is deep fried in animal fat surrounding protein that will never be absorbed no matter how much a person devours. They are serving an empty promise to most of the people here it is just what they need, emptiness. Another push towards the edge of disintegration and physical failure. More excitement. It will make their traveling worthwhile. It will show them the other side of which they know very little. It will reveal to them the delights of their travel and the wonderful merriment that they saved their hard earned money for to vacation or try a new geographic location. The contrast will seem real to them and complete their experience. Just as a start and finish to an evening’s symphony, the vacation is only the intermission in the trip. The risk is the real vacation and for most, fast food is as much of a risk that they can stand.

I have packed lightly for this trip. The usual travel wear of slacks, shirts, undergarments and socks, lots of warm comfortable socks. The carries on I currently maintain close supervision over contains my laptop, medication, toiletries, extra undies, socks, and my pills. One year ago I entered a treatment center against my will for what a family member said was a dependency on alcohol, muscle relaxers, sleeping medication, and painkillers. I have no booze, just 500 Norco, 500 sleeping pills, and 750 muscle relaxers. Everything is made out to the appropriate dosage and time lines so that if discovered I can not be charged with trafficking narcotics or the intent to sell or worse even yet the confiscation of my pills. Mexico does not sell any hydrocodone pain medications, although they do provide a nice assortment of muscle relaxers that when accelerated with the right amount of alcohol will do the trick in a pinch. I have not consumed any narcotic based medication in just over a year. Before I was forced into the treatment center I had been taking the medication for severe headaches caused by an immediate rise in blood pressure due to life’s little peculiarities. The combination of painkillers and muscle relaxers worked well for the discomfort and even provided nice temporary vacations from time to time. Especially when taken with the sleeping meds and or accelerated with alcohol. Up until this very moment I have been accepting of the big shit sandwich that life has dealt me and the wanting of more and more and more but only being allowed to taste just little hints of emotional freedom. My entire life has been bondage of some kind. Emotional, physical, addiction, pain, spiritual, mostly the expectations of entitlement are what have badword me. Up until now I have been accepting that I am a damaged goods and there has been no good from the presence of my life here on this planet. I have done very little if nothing that is selfless and without the expectation of gain. Every step of my life has been a calculated shortcut towards the desired entitlement and birthright I deserved. I have not set goals. I have not set boundaries. I have not pursued education, career, personal enlightenment or growth. I am 38; a drug addict with no future and no past. I have been forgotten before I have been seen. I serve the cultural icons of excess and indulgence ignoring the sanctity of my own temple. I contribute to the general relief system of the American Capitalistic economy; where bigger is better and more is an emptiness longing for more, replaced by fear and resentment. I am the new America. I am a drug addict.

I have already eaten so I pass at the offer for a fun house ride special for 6.99 at the Carl’s JR. across from the florist. I do decide for a double espresso at the Starbucks that has even managed to weasel their way into the commute of international travel. That will be 6.25, please. Keep the change. I find an appropriate spot to watch the other travelers and their relentless pursuit of busyness. I am with my old friends, Caffeine and Nicotine. I am alone except for another smoker that has just quenched his but into an alcoholic beverage looking to be a Bloody Mary. I am always alone, but that’s okay because it is comfortable. Alone, I don’t have to make merry chit-chat with strangers about the weather or where I’m going or why. I don’t have to act or put on a show of excitement and anticipation, I can relax inside my uncomfortable skin. For most people the very feeling of their skin not feeling comfortable would be cause for endless sessions with Dr. Something, shopping sprees, deserts enveloped in whipped cream, or risky sexual encounters. For most the feeling of pain and discomfort caused by the cracking skin and blood seeping from the scabs and scars of the past would be cause for suicide. I have learned to live with these feelings, to embrace the pain and discomfort that I have felt over nearly 3 decades of despair. When I feel the pain I know that I am alive. I know that I have not started to fade from the shadow that I live in. The pain softens the anger and resentment that has built within me over the past 38 years. I feel. I feel something and in feeling something I find some compassion for life outside of my body. The pain helps me to see the thorn on the rose and appreciate the blood red color of the blossom. The pain is all around me. It is in every breath I take, every movement, every thought, and every shadow. It is everywhere. The pain.

Posted by bbeard on 12/18 at 01:21 PM
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Friday, December 16, 2005

This surprised the poop out of me!

I would have never thought that this administration would approve the torture ban. Now, we’ve got to find out just who is being flown around the world in the ‘extraordinary rendition plane Gulfstream N379P.

White House backs torture ban law
Guantanamo inmate and guards
US interrogation policies have been under scrutiny since 2001
President George Bush has withdrawn his opposition to legislation banning cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of terrorist suspects.

He said it would show the world that the US did not use torture.

Sponsored by Republican Senator John McCain, the law on torture has been the subject of months of negotiations between Congress and the White House.

Mr Bush had threatened to veto the measure, saying it would constrain the military and intelligence agencies.

We’ve been happy to work with him to achieve a common objective - and that is to make it clear to the world that this government does not torture
President Bush

Bush bows to pressure
Defining torture
But when both the Senate and the House of Representatives came out overwhelmingly in favour of the legislation, Mr Bush did not have much choice, says the BBC’s Adam Brookes - even though it is a blow to presidential authority

Posted by SPN on 12/16 at 01:20 PM
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FBI Grills Student Over “PLO” Doodle

SACRAMENTO, CA, 12/15/05) - The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) and the Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV) today questioned why Elk Grove School District officials allegedly allowed FBI agents to interrogate a 16-year-old student without first notifying his parents.

The FBI interview concerned a doodle of the word “PLO” (referring to the Palestine Liberation Organization) that the student had scribbled on a binder two years earlier.

Administrators at Calvine High School apparently violated a school board policy that requires a student’s parents be informed whenever a law enforcement officer requests an interview on school premises. The boy’s family suspects that the teacher who had initially confronted the student about the drawing reported him to the FBI, chilling his right to freedom of speech at school.

On September 27, 2005, the student was pulled out of class and taken to a room in which two men identifying themselves as FBI agents were waiting to speak with him. The agents asked the student to recount an incident that had occurred two years earlier in a math class. He told the agents that his teacher had reprimanded him for having scrawled the letters “PLO” on his binder. The teacher said that anyone who supported the PLO was a terrorist.

The FBI allegedly asked how the student knew about the PLO, whether he was familiar with the investigation of several Muslims in Lodi, whether he had ever traveled to Palestine, and whether he had pictures of terrorists on his cell phone. (In fact, the student had only a picture of a mosque as his phone’s background display.) The entire experience left the student badly shaken, and he has since been hesitant about expressing his political views in any context.

“It’s outrageous that the FBI dragged this student out of class to interrogate him about a two-year-old doodle on a notebook,” said Shirin Sinnar, an attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights. “The FBI should not be interviewing kids about their political views, and schools should not be short-circuiting the involvement of parents in such a frightening situation.”

“The practice of interrogating minors, without their parents present, is totally unacceptable and stresses the importance of better training for agents,” said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra. “Unfortunately, this disturbing incident will only serve to undermine efforts to build better relations between law enforcement agencies and the Muslim community.”

Elkarra asked that those responsible for the incident be disciplined.

To obtain a copy of the letter that LCCR and CAIR sent to the Elk Grove School Board, contact Alexandra Gross, LCCR Communications Coordinator, at 415-543-9444. Contact Basim Elkarra at (916) 441-6269, or E-Mail:

- END -

Posted by cricket on 12/16 at 01:17 PM
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The Black Apprentice

New Jersey in the house!

Did anyone watch the show?
Is he an overachiever or what?

Randal, 34, is the founder, president and CEO of his fifth venture “BCT Partners,” a multi-million dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm based in Newark, N.J., that works with corporations, government agencies, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Hightstown, N.J., he holds five academic degrees in engineering, business and technology including a B.S. from Rutgers University, an M.S. from the University of Oxford in England as a Rhodes Scholar, and an M.S., M.B.A. and Ph.D. from MIT.

A former college championship track and field athlete, he has received numerous awards for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur and technologist including the National Society of Black Engineers “National Member of the Year.” A Leadership New Jersey Fellow and Next Generation Leadership Fellow, Randal has been featured by Black Enterprise magazine and Ebony magazine in their “30 Leaders of the Future” issue. He is a proud member of First Baptist Church in Somerset, N.J., where he resides and is happily married to his wife Zahara.

Posted by SerQet on 12/16 at 01:14 PM
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

I can’t believe that Bush…

I can’t believe that Bush actually admitted tht the pre-war intelligence was faulty!

I just know that his staunch supporters are just about pissed off when all they could yell about for the past few years is how accurate the information was.

If Bush keeps up admitting his humility in the face of all of the liars in his administration, I might turn into a staunch supporter too!

Posted by SPN on 12/15 at 12:54 PM
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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

For the third time in less than a month

For the third time in less than a month, my weblog has managed to crash the server’s MySQL server.
Submitted by stephen nuttall on Tue, 2005-12-13 14:40.

I guess you all have been very persistent in visiting the site. So much that traffic from a few IP addresses have swamped the server’s resources which caused my account to be suspended.

Hopefully, this new installation of Drupal will get things going pretty quickly. I’ll try my darndest to add all of the previous comments and posts to the site as quickly as I can.

Thanks for your patience.

BTW, you might need to register again if you want to post immediately.


Posted by SPN on 12/13 at 12:53 PM
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Monday, December 12, 2005


I had what appears to have been an enormous surge in traffic over the weekend.  It caused the server’s DB to fail and corrupt the latest backup from Friday.

We are back online.  I might need to remove some features for a while until I can determine where the major hits were coming from.

If you posted something since Friday, please post it again.

Thanks for believing in me!

Posted by SPN on 12/12 at 03:35 PM
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Thursday, December 08, 2005

A victory for Mumia

A court rules that Mumia Abu-Jamal can appeal his murder conviction on three separate grounds.  (As reported in Salon Magazine.)

By Dave Lindorff

Dec. 08, 2005 | In a major development in the 24-year-old death penalty case of Philadelphia journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, a panel of three judges of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday that Abu-Jamal can appeal his murder conviction on three separate grounds.

The court put the case, which has been in legal limbo for several years, on a “fast track,” with the defense brief on the three claims scheduled to be filed Jan. 17.

The decision caught both the defense and the Philadelphia district attorney’s office by surprise, because the appellate court had been compelled to consider only one possible avenue of appeal by Abu-Jamal. Pending before the same court is the district attorney’s appeal of the 2001 lifting of Abu-Jamal’s death sentence. 

“Today we achieved a great victory in the campaign to win a new trial and the eventual freedom of Mumia,” said a jubilant Robert Bryan, of San Francisco, who took over as lead attorney in Abu-Jamal’s case in 2004.

Bryan said all three claims accepted for argument by the 3rd Circuit panel “are of enormous constitutional significance and go to the very essence of Mumia’s right to a fair trial, due process of law, and equal protection of the law under the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.”

A spokeswoman for Philadelphia district attorney Lynn Abraham said her office had no comment on the court’s announcement.

Back in December 2001, U.S. District Judge William Yohn overturned Abu-Jamal’s death sentence, saying that the jury verdict form used in Abu-Jamal’s trial had been flawed and that the judge’s instructions to the jury had been confusing. That decision was immediately appealed by the district attorney’s office. At the same time, Yohn had rejected all 20 of Abu-Jamal’s claims concerning constitutional errors in his trial and state appeal process, certifying only one of those claims for appeal to the 3rd Circuit.

Under federal court rules, an appeals court is not required to consider any appeal from a defendant in a capital, or death penalty, case unless that appeal has been certified by a lower court judge.

The only appeal certified by Yohn for appeal was a claim by Abu-Jamal that the jury selection in his case had been racially biased because the prosecutor rejected 10 or 11 of 15 qualified black jurors, using peremptory challenges, for which no reason had to be given. The jury that ultimately convicted Abu-Jamal had only two black members, in a city that is 44 percent black.

The appellate court has agreed to hear defense arguments on the jury bias issue, which is known as a Batson claim.

But the 3rd Circuit also agreed to consider appeals on two other grounds. The first is a claim, rejected by Yohn and not certified for appeal, that the prosecutor in the case, Joseph McGill, had improperly attempted to reduce jurors’ sense of responsibility during the so-called guilt phase of the trial, by telling them that any guilty verdict would be vetted later. As McGill put it in his trial summation, “If you find the defendant guilty, of course there would be appeal after appeal and perhaps there could be a reversal of the case, or whatever, so that may not be final.” In other Pennsylvania cases, including one prosecuted by McGill, the 3rd Circuit has overturned capital-case convictions on the basis of the same wording used in trial summations.

The other uncertified defense appeal accepted for argument by the 3rd Circuit was a claim that the trial judge, the late Albert Sabo, was biased during the Post-Conviction Relief Act hearing. That hearing, which was held in 1995-96 to consider the validity of the facts presented at trial, as well as new evidence brought in by the defense, was controversial. At the time, the Philadelphia Inquirer stated in an editorial that the judge was displaying overt bias against Abu-Jamal.

Any one of the three claims, if upheld by the 3rd Circuit next year, could lead to a new trial for Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of the 1981 slaying of white police officer Daniel Faulkner. The most likely first action on upholding an appeal claim, however, would be an order sending the issue back to Judge Yohn for reconsideration, not an order for a new trial. A finding of bias on the part of Sabo could also lead to a reopening of the post-conviction hearing in a state court, legal experts say.

For Abu-Jamal, who has been in jail since December 9, 1981, and on Pennsylvania’s death row since July 1982, the latest turn of events represents a major breakthrough. Up to now, no court at any level has accepted his arguments that his conviction was flawed. Judge Yohn’s rejection of all the claims regarding the guilt phase of the 1982 trial had appeared to limit Abu-Jamal’s options considerably.

Now Abu-Jamal has three avenues to challenge that conviction, two of which could lead directly to a new trial, and a third that could lead to a reconsideration of evidence or presentation of new evidence.

Meanwhile, the district attorney’s appeal of the lifting of Abu-Jamal’s death penalty is also moving forward, with a brief on that appeal scheduled to be filed with the 3rd Circuit panel on Feb. 16. If the lifting of his death sentence is upheld by the 3rd Circuit, and there is no order for a new trial, the district attorney will have 180 days to decide whether to leave Abu-Jamal sentenced to life without parole or to request a new trial on just the sentencing issue, in an effort to get a jury to impose a new death sentence. The appeals court could also overturn Yohn and order the death penalty reinstated.

None of that is likely to happen, however, while the court is hearing and ruling on appeals of the conviction itself.

There has been considerable turmoil in Abu-Jamal’s case in recent years. In 1999, as his appeal was being considered by Judge Yohn, Abu-Jamal fired his attorneys, Leonard Weinglass and Daniel Williams. The cause of the dispute was a book, “Executing Justice,” written by Williams, which was critical of both his client and of some of his supporters.

Abu-Jamal then hired two attorneys, Eliot Grossman and Marlene Kamish, neither of whom had any appellate experience in death penalty cases. They drove away many of his supporters with demands that they support Abu-Jamal’s claim of absolute innocence, and their efforts to introduce into the case a man, Arnold Beverly, who claimed to be the “real killer” of Faulkner.

Abu-Jamal eventually dropped Grossman and Kamish from his case, the Beverly claim was abandoned, and Bryan was hired.

With the latest decision, a case that during the late 1990s aroused passions across the nation and around the globe, both among Abu-Jamal supporters and among police organizations and their supporters, is likely to be back in the headlines.

-- By Dave Lindorff

Posted by Nuttshell on 12/08 at 03:26 PM
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