Sunday, January 30, 2011
The Mona Lisa Curse
Saturday, January 29, 2011
If you haven't already heard about it repeatedly, today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Shuttle Challenger disaster. January 28, 1986 - routine by all accounts and then shocking. Shocking I suppose because like most everyone, I took the Shuttle program somewhat for granted. We had such a success rate over the years that the idea of one blowing up seemed remote. But that assumption is what gets us in trouble every time, taking things for granted. After the first several Shuttle launches, I admit to not paying a whole lot of attention when another one went up. It all settled into routine. So of course, it would never occur to me that one would actually blow up - and blow up the way it did. So on that day, that January 28th it was time for a reality check.
Like everyone else I knew, I stood frozen over the TV as the footage of the explosion was played over and over again. Horrifying and spectacular by the surrealism of it all. Reminded of the Hindenburg disaster and the footage from that - the enormous dirigible exploding in the sky and the terror-stricken reporter screaming "Oh, the humanity!" Yes indeed. . . the humanity.
So here is a clip from that day as a reminder.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Randall Dale Adams
Randall Dale Adams
In 1989, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Ex parte Adams (768 S.W.2d 281) overturned Adams' conviction on the grounds ofmalfeasance by the prosecutor Douglas D. Mulder and perjurious inconsistencies in the testimony of another key witness, Emily Miller.The appeals court found that prosecutor Mulder withheld a statement by Emily Miller to the police that cast doubt on her credibility, and allowed her to give perjured testimony. Further, the court found that after Adams' attorney discovered the statement late in Adams' trial, Mulder falsely told the court that he did not know the witness' whereabouts. The case remained in limbo. In 1981, Mulder returned to practice private law in Dallas, and the new prosecution then dropped charges in 1989. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said, and Adams agreed, that "conviction was unfair mainly because of prosecutor Doug Mulder." Adams now works as an anti-death penaltyactivist.Exoneration
Lawsuit over the story
|“||The man you see before you is here by the grace of God. The fact that it took 12 and a half years and a movie to prove my innocence should scare the hell out of everyone in this room and, if it doesn’t, then that scares the hell out of me.|
Biography - Nora Wall
Biography - Pablo (Paul) McCabe
Rape accusation, conviction, and appeal
Arrest and trial
doubts about the conviction
Reaction of Kevin Myers, July 1999
Reaction of Sisters of Mercy
Court of Criminal Appeal,
- It would be easy to demonise the two young women, but Nora Wall will have none of it. Regina Walsh had spent time in St. Declan’s Psychiatric Unit, after a suicide attempt, immediately prior to making the allegations. Regina and Patricia were vulnerable people, she maintains, and she in particular commends Patricia for having the courage to eventually admit that she had lied. It had a particular poignancy, because Patricia was her “first baby”, reared since 13 months of age in Coisceim. After the miscarriage of justice was declared, Nora extended her hand to Patricia and told her that she was “still her first baby”, which caused Patricia to fall into her arms and cry uncontrollably.
Court of Criminal Appeal, 1 December 2005
- had been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness and admitted to a psychiatric hospital and undergone treatment;
- had a recollection of events that arose as the result of "flashbacks" and had no full memory or recall of those events;
- had previously made a false allegation that she was raped; and
- had previously falsely alleged that she had been assaulted.
- prior to the trial, a direction had been made that she not be called as a witness as she was regarded as being unreliable;
- she had made allegations against her late uncle and another man over an alleged rape, and that the High Court had made findings adverse to her credibility and reliability;
- the police officer who had taken her statement in respect of the complainant was the same police officer who investigated the earlier false complaints made by her against her uncle and against the other man;
- the DPP and the Chief State Solicitor had the carriage of the proceedings in the High Court in which the adverse findings against her had been made;
- subsequent to the conviction and sentence of Nora Wall, Phelan disclosed to another nun, Sister Mona Kileen, that she had lied in her statement and that she had given false evidence against the applicant;
- there was a strong risk of collusion between Phelan and the complainant Walsh.
- Evidence of Patricia Phelan
Criticism of the handling of the case
Mr Justice Paul Carney
The Gardaí (police) and the Chief State Solicitors Office
- Nora Wall was the first woman in the history of the State to be convicted of rape;
- She was the first person in Ireland to receive a life sentence for rape;
- It was the only case in the history of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions that a witness was called contrary to the instructions of the DPP;
- Regina Walsh said she had recalled the rapes after experiencing "flashbacks". This seems to be the only occasion a conviction was obtained on Repressed memory evidence in Ireland. (However in the USA "Repressed memory syndrome" has a long and contentious history).
Explanations for Miscarriage of Justice
States of Fear
RAY CHARLES: LOOKING BACK
As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.
"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.
In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."
Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.
Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.
Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."
His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."
But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.
A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.
Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.
He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."
"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."
Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.
In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."
Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."
Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."
Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.
Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."
Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."
Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."
Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.
"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.
Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.
To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.
"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."
Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."
Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.
Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."
Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."
- ► 2012 (216)
- THE WARSAW GHETTO
- VINTAGE ADVERTS 16 THAT WOULD BE BANNED TODAY
- THE MONA LISA CURSE
- THE CHALLENGER DISASTER
- GHOSTS OF OLD LONDON
- RANDALL DALE ADAMS
- NORA WALL
- STEVEN TRUSCOTT
- LEGENDS AND LEGACIES: DON KING
- THERE WAS KOREA TO THINK ABOUT
- AMERICAN GRAFFITI
- MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI
- STATE OF THE UNION FDR 1944
- I PUT A SPELL ON YOU
- MARVIN GAYE LETS GET IT ON
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- ELLE DARK'S 1950's TIME MACHINE
- THE CLOAKROOM 1961
- THE CHESS STORY
- JOHN DILLINGER - DOCUMENTARY
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- OLD 666
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