In May 1993, three eight-year old boys, one sexually mutilated, were found murdered in a wooded area near West Memphis, Arkansas. A year later, a jury convicted three local teenagers on the theory that they committed the murders as part of a Satanic ritual. The oldest defendant, Damien Echols -- who was 18-years-old at the time of the crime -- was sentenced to death.
Since that time, two acclaimed HBO documentaries ("Paradise Lost I" and "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations") and a book ("The Devil's Knot") have detailed the media frenzy surrounding the case and the lack of credible evidence against the three defendants.
The case has been called a modern-day Salem witch hunt, in which young, long-haired outcasts were wrongly condemned to quell a community's fear and anger. Many artists and musicians have felt a tinge of solidarity with these perennial poor white trash losers, and have signed on in support of the boys and their legal defense.
Comedian Margaret Cho has become interested and is helping distribute Damien Echol's new autobiography for which she wrote the forward, available on her website
Margeret Cho - wm3Interview
Listen (MP3 ) of Lorri Davis (Damien's wife), and Mara Leveritt, author of Devil's Knot, The True Story of the West Memphis Three,
also : click pic for Margeret Cho's Video Interview with wm3.org creators
video clipMargaret interviews Grove Pashley, Kathy Bakken, and Burk Sauls from www.wm3.org, about the West Memphis Three.
Among the other notable people who've got behind their case are Henry Rollins who put together a benefit album that featured covers of his old Black Flag unit from folks like Ryan Adams, Rancid and Iggy Pop.
Chuck D & Henry Rollins - Rise Above.mp3
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam got together with the Supersuckers to do a cover of X's "Poor Girl" that was released on a different benefit complilation for the West Memphis Three. Also on that disc was the Long Beach Dub All Stars with Joe Strummer and Tippa Irie doing a cover of Jimmy Cliff's "Harder They Come".
Eddie Vedder & The Supersuckers - Poor Girl ( X cover )
Joe Strummer and Tippa Irie w/ Long Beach Dub Allstars - The Harder They Come (Jimmy Cliff Cover)
Chuck Prophet's - West Memphis Moon
This is a song from Prophet's latest album, inspired by the trial of the West Memphis Three. Chuck recently helped organize a benefit in SF for their defense fund, that with the help of folks like Jello Biafra, Jonathan Richman, Mark Kozelek and others raised $6000. Chuck is planning to be at the UC Hastings downtown campus at 198 McCallister on October 18th at 3:30 pm for a special presentation on the case.
Lawyers Dennis Riordan and Donald Horgan, now Mr. Echols' present counsel, will discuss new developments in the case, the constitutional issues, the procedural hurdles to obtaining a new trial in federal habeas corpus proceedings, and the DNA testing that may help establish Mr. Echols' innocence. The program will feature excerpts from the HBO documentaries.
I'll post whatever I learn at this event in the coming days...
meanwhile here's a notice about an upcoming Cowpunk themed San Francisco benefit for the 3 at Thee Parkside on Nov 12th
---------- meanwhile, drowning in a sea of polls ------------------
For some reason, I've been enamored with polls lately. Maybe it's the voyeuristic aspect of knowing what other people think, of being "in the know" with little or no effort on my part. All I have to do is pull up the data, and I don't have to get into any long winded partisan arguments or uncomfortable conversations with starngers. I just let The Pew Research Center, Zogby, Gallup and other organizations go out an do all the dirty research work for me.
One of the latest polls of our polarized nation I read about was sponsored by CBS news. It showed that 70 percent of Republicans surveyed think the money spent and loss of life in Iraq was worth it for removing Saddam Hussein and whatever "goals" have been accomplished thus far...While only 30 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats say the same.
Another interesting survey is one of 150,000 US government workers, which show important trends in employee job satisfaction and where opportunities for boosting productivity and better practices and communication lie.
Not surprisingly the group of tax payer funded workers that think the most of themselves and their mission are those spaced out dreamer characters at NASA. Sadly the newly created Department of Homeland security with a much more earth bound mission has the lowest job satisfaction rating of any government agency. Only 20% of DHS workers rate their department as a good place to work and see their workplace as a successfully performing agency. The DHS workers answered questions in the multi agency survey that finished in the bottom 10% of employee rankings a startling 96% of the time. For example only 3% of Homeland Security Dept employees thought that personnel advancement decisions "were based on merit". When asked if "creativity and innovation" were rewarded, nearly half "disagreed or strongly disagreed".
An Analysis of Employee Attitudes at Federal Departments & Agencies
first a couple tunes dedicated to the most "unsatisfying" federal deaprtment and it's haggard minions...
Bjork & PJ Harvey - I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Devo - I Can't Get No Satisfaction
The New York Observer has a great story by Ben Smith & Lizzy Ratner detailing
The Trouble With Harriet
How Intellectuals Resent Bush's Lawyer; and even Judge Bork calls her a: ‘Slap in Face to Conservative Movement’
hey if you have joined the podcast nation, check out archives from Mother Jones Radio, also heard Sundays on Air America, like last weeks program in mp3 right here
howz about some mucho hyped melodic death metal to balance things out for those of you who need a little more darkness with your breakfast cereal
The Darkest Hour - With A Thousand Words To Say But One
try a track from their Victory Records release Undoing Ruin
( and if ya like that...there's plenty more here.)
stay gold pony boys and girls
I gotta go and shut down the bars...