politics


Jets Stadium TourWoody Johnson (above), who should make that helmet a permanent component of his wardrobe.

There is no dysfunction quite like that Jet dysfunction.  There are no shit rosters quite like Jet shit rosters (anyone besides myself recall a wide receiver tandem of the little engine that could, Wayne Chrebet, and Arena football player Kevin Swayne?).  There are no blown second rounders like Jet blown second rounders (Browning Nagle, Mike Nugent, Vlad Ducasse, etc.).  Don’t even talk about the 1st round, where the Jets passed on Warren Sapp and once drafted Bryan Thomas over sure Hall of Famer Ed Reed.  But understand this: former owner Leon Hess, while not a football man, was an excellent businessman, was kind and benevolent, and oversaw the drafting of the team’s only franchise quarterback, Joe Namath, in its now 50+ year history, and subsequently, the Jets only Superbowl victory, the historic first ever Superbowl win for the American Football League, which helped force the merger that led to the formation of the NFL.

Did he make mistakes?  Too many to count.  Rich Kotite, anyone?  But Hess also hired Big Bill who led the organization to its most successful decade, sans the Superbowl, in its history.  Mr. Hess, which we call him out of respect, an earned title, was a self made man with courage and character, who, to carve out an empire in oil, had to negotiate with a gun barrel to his nose, and who cared so much for his employees that when Dennis Byrd was paralyzed during play, Hess paid out the rest of Byrd’s contract in full, immediately, and took an enormous personal interest in Byrd’s recovery.  Mr. Hess ensured Byrd would receive the very best medical care, essentially bequeathed him his personal aircraft, and sat with Byrd in the hospital every day for a year.

Once when asked of it, a candid Hess told a reporter that if he knew that a player could get injured so seriously in football, he “would have never bought the team.”  Upon Byrd’s recovery, at the press conference when he was released from the hospital, the former player uttered that most famous line, probably the most pride inspiring line associated with the Jets in all history, when he said, “I came to New York from Oklahoma a young Christian man.  Today I return to Oklahoma a young Christian man and a New York Jet.”

The current owner, Woody Johnson, who gets no respectful moniker from us, should not be viewed by anyone, most especially himself, through the illusory prism that wealth and power equate to success.  Johnson & Johnson had made billions long before Woody came to be.  Unlike Mr. Hess, Woody inherited his billions, gained his various titles through nepotism, and whatever honors bestowed upon him through cronyism, the spoils of privilege.  He’s not much of a business man, so far as we can tell.  Let’s be frank.  Billions beget billions.  He’s not much of a family man either, so far as we can tell.  Johnson, when divorcing ex Sale Johnson, soon after purchasing the team, told reporters of the break up that he was looking forward to ‘spending more time with his team.’  It hasn’t worked out for the Johnson family or the team.

As you may or may not know, Woody’s eldest daughter, Casey Johnson, who once famously became embroiled in a public dispute with her own aunt over a paramour, died alone due to questionable circumstances at the age of 30.  She had been described in the press as a “reckless wildchild”, a “wayward heiress”, etc.  Tragedy strikes and is blind to bank accounts.  Do we feel bad about raising a spectre of questionability around Johnson’s personal life?  No.  And for that matter, the spectre was there long before we raised it.  He’s a public figure and is therefore subject to it, as was Joe Philbin, when his low life, rapist son drowned to death and Tony Dungy, whose son committed suicide, and we haven’t blinked once in criticizing those men, whether they were just absentee football lifer fathers, hypocrites (like Dungy, who perhaps was too wrapped up in Jesus and the scourge that is foul language to worry about his own son), or both.

http://www.tmz.com/2010/02/04/casey-johnson-death-diabetic-cause-of-death-coroner/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/philbin-tragedy-ends-horror-show/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/dungy-keeps-bashing-jets-but-will-that-bring-his-son-back-to-life/

Is it overly simplistic to blame an absentee, disinterested parent for his child’s lack of mental well being?  Is it?  You tell us.  In this case, we have discerned with Woody a pattern of failure, from his ownership of the team, to his marriage, to his family, and of course, his politics.  Woody, a staunch Republican, was heavily invested in both recent Bush campaigns, and also served as Mitt Romney’s New York campaign manager.  Do we have to ask how that went?  For all his billions, Johnson is a dimwitted loser.  Anyone with even remedial knowledge of politics knew that Romeny’s chances at claiming NY’s slice of the electoral pie were dead even before arrival.  On that bus, there are still plenty of great seats available.  What about the doomsday quotes from Woody about how he feared for America if Obama was re-elected?

“Well I think you always have to put country first,” Johnson said. “So I think it’s very, very important that for – not only us – but in particular for our kids and grandkids that this election come off with Mitt Romney and (Paul) Ryan as President and vice president.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/pinch-woody-picks-mitt-jets-article-1.1172131#ixzz2HjECuhop

You know, America seems perfectly fine to me under Obama.  I haven’t really noticed the pervasive spread of socialism and am rather glad that the war mongering ways of Bush’s patrician fantasy world are for now past.  But I am not a billionaire being taxed at a rate I deem too high.  I’m just a Crackbillionair is all.  And if Woody was such a patriot, pardon the pun, why try to cheat his beloved US Gov’t out of a cool $100M in taxes?  That’s what he agreed to pay back the gov’t, plus interest, in 2001, but in actuality, law enforcement believes it to be a great deal more.

So many superrich Americans evade taxes using offshore accounts that law enforcement cannot control the growing misconduct, according to a Senate report that provides the most detailed look ever at high-level tax schemes.

Among the billionaires cited in the report are the owner of the New York Jets football team, Robert Wood Johnson IV; the producer of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” children’s show, Haim Saban; and two Texas businessmen, Charles and Sam Wyly, who the Center for Public Integrity found in 2000 were the ninth-largest contributors to President Bush.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/01/business/01tax.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

When Woody bought the team, he had supposedly done so to impress his billionaire buddies.  He was gonna win the big game and then flash the big bling at Tavern on the Green.  How’s that working out so far?  You think his buddies are are impressed?  Do you think they were impressed when Mark Sanchez was found to be entertaining an underage girl at his home?  Or when Rex’s wife’s swinger profile hit on http://www.deadspin.com?

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/22/rex-ryans-wife-in-foot-fetish-videos/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/michelle-ryan-a-k-a-ihaveprettyfeets-swinger-profile/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/did-mark-sanchez-have-inappropriate-relationship-with-17-year-old-new-jersey-girl/

Woody was also gonna build that Jets’ mecca on the Westside, which, we’ll acknowledge would have elevated the Jets’ status from 2nd to 1st class citizens, which would’ve rebranded the team and provided Dallas Cowboy like revenue streams.  See, we think Woody cares way more about money than football and that the Jets’ Westside development project was what was really attractive to him, and not so much the Jets, despite the man’s obvious love of green Oxford ties.  We suspect little Bill knew as much, and is why he hastily tendered his resignation, scrawled on a napkin when Johnson took over (“I resign as HC of the NYJ”).

woodyweb2s-2-web

While no one doubts that Woody put a lot of energy into the Westside project at considerable costs, should we commend a man for spending $1B on a failure?  Instead, we’ll add it to the ever expanding list of Johnson failures–a failure from which the franchise has never recovered that has conscripted the team to permanent second class status by settling for another joint stadium.  Johnson blew that billion and has been penny wise and dollar foolish ever since.  Especially, his practice of forcing unwanted players and coaches on the organization.  Brett Favre, forced on Mangini, for the promotional value.  Disaster.  Mangini holdover Brian Schottenheimer, who when he was considered a hot coaching commodity, was given a big new contract by the Jets, forced on Rex Ryan.  Disaster.  Made Schottenheimer a media scapegoat and ruined his reputation.  Tebow, forced on Ryan.  Disaster.  Not our words either, or rather, ours and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Westhoff’s, who went on talk radio in Miami today to call the Tebow situation, among other things, “an absolute mess” and a “distraction” and said he doesn’t understand the rationale behind the acquisition and that he doesn’t think anyone does.

alg-woody-favre-jpgWoody Johnson with old man toy Brett Favre (above).

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/favre-perversions-exposed-in-detail-audio-and-penis-pics/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/favre-also-hit-on-jets-team-masseuse-her-husband-calls-favre-fucking-scumbag/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/favres-wife-ill-bang-the-bible/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/favre-admitted-sterger-voicemails-to-nfl/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/favres-sis-in-mississippi-meth-lab-bust/

http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/id/53942/mike-westhoff-tebow-situation-a-mess

We though the new personnel guy was gonna be Tom Gamble for a minute, or Dave Caldwell.  Hoped it would be Giants’ executive Marc Ross, all guys the Jets have courted.  and by the Jets, we of course mean the outside consulting firm the Jets have hired to run their GM search, because despite Johnson owning his own near billion dollar football organization, he has not one reasonably knowledgeable football man trustworthy enough to make a solid hire.

Originally, the Jets hoped to have a hire in place by the time Rex and ihaveprettyfeet returned from their Bahamas jaunt, someone to begin to spin the stench off the joke, the perennial catastrophe that is the Jets, and to divert attention away from the fact that the Jets organization was so unprepared to face the media that they ignored their compulsory obligation to make the coach and owner available to the press within 7 days of their season’s end.

So last week it was the Caldwells and Gambles, and then this week they have supposedly interviewed six people in the last 2 days alone.  Including the Dolphins Assistant GM, who we’re certain is underqualified.  But a qualified GM would never accept preconditions on the job, such as the shot gun marriage with Rex which Johnson is forcing whomever the new fool to accept.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/jets/2013/01/jets-expand-gm-search-will-interview-steelers-executive-omar-khan-and-dolphins-assistan

The expanded search, which now includes way more interviewees than what is a normal when replacing a GM for other teams, is representative of the fact that the Jets are grossly incompetent, clueless, and fucked.  I mean, who but the Jets, would have a hiring search that included Tom Heckert, the GM of a club that lost 40+ games in 3 years in Cleveland, or even worse, personnel people from the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL?  Now I don’t like Wes Welker at all, but when he said that shit about the Patriots “putting their best foot forward” against the Jets, ‘toe the line’ or whatever, we can’t blame him.  The Jets are a joke, continually perpetuated by their own organization, so how can anyone be angry when people joke about them?  In fact, we are pretty sure that the only reason that Belichik came down so hard on Welker was because he feared not doing so would provide the Jets extra motivation.  In short, he fined Welker in order to have a better shot at success in a football game.

The original title for this piece was to be, “NYJ: Woody Johnson, Billionaire Moron, Despicable Human Being, and Gross Incompetent, Should Sell the NYJ”.  But since all of that is dreadfully obvious, truths we hold self evident, we instead opted for a Welkerism.

Same old Jets?  We wish we could somehow return to such a comfortable level of incompetence, one we had come to accept.  Instead, we are mired in incompetence that we can only describe as mind boggling, prolific, and sublime.  After Dennis Byrd returned to Oklahoma, the Jets, as a kindness to their fans, should have disbanded, letting us all root for the Giants.

In loving memory of Dr. Jet.  Now if he would only stop haunting my house.

Crackbillionair (http://crackbilionair.wordpress.com)

1352910431291_Xfinity_DavesOldPorn_1280x640_Overlay_590_295The great David Attell (above), starring in the little known Showtime show, “Dave’s Old Porn.”

When we tuned in to Howard 100 on Wednesday of last week, we weren’t sure the show would even be new, with the show’s seemingly always expanding vacation breaks.  When we heard that it was, we figured it was to be a one day work week, since Howard stopped doing new Thursday shows with his last contract.  So when we tuned in Thursday we were doubly delighted, both at the prospect of a fresh show, and at the very interesting SNL cast member Fred Armisen, who guested, with a new season of Portlandia about to debut.  Armisen meets both major criteria for an excellent guest.  He’s funny and honest.  It made for interesting radio to hear Armisen candidly discuss having to borrow money while in his 30’s from disappointed parents, his failed marriage to Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss (who told a magazine recently that Armisen’s greatest impression and least employed one is that of a “normal person”), his relationship with Lorne Michaels, and how he is a life long Stern fan who, as a boy, would listen to the show in the mornings with his South American mom.

Better still was Armisen’s willingness to do the Wrap Up Show, which, let’s face it, is greatly enhanced by any outside help it can get.  When Armisen was asked to weigh in on Ronnie’s practice of hopping up on the sink and washing his asshole, his genuine discomfort was priceless.  The holidays are a great time to hear recounted by Howard, whether he is complaining about his Christmas gifts (always classic), or describing his disdain for travel and ill ease when on vacation (also classic).  So when Armisen discussed a row boat he had gotten Lorne Michaels as a present which started Howard on a ‘Howard is unappreciated by the staff who’d be nothing without him’ rant, it gave us Howard at his best: angry Howard.  It was also great to hear Armisen back Howard’s belief that going to Italy is stupid, saying that essentially Howard is right when he says that people go away to a foreign place and immediately begin to watch foreign TV while they plan where they can get their familiar tasting coffee, longing for the comforts of home, like of course, “good toilets.”

The show seems to always hum when celebrity guests are fans of the show, which was also the case on Friday–the rarest of indulgences–when super fan Natalie Maines and long time guest Dave Attell, visited the program.  It seems like it was centuries ago when Howard did a Friday show, and that Robin was absent, who often lends a much needed soft balance, actually enhanced the program, for our money.

In part that is a real credit to these guests, Stern show veterans, who don’t need the buffer that Robin sometimes provides to the reticent.  Natalie Maines, who we do not appreciate as an artist, is an absolutely compelling guest, both because of free speech issues and because she is geeked up on the show.  Natalie Maines is a true lesson in the cautionary nature of free speech, vilified for criticizing perhaps the nation’s worst ever president, and though the Dixie Chicks were right and only exercising their 1st amendment right, it’s also true they have never recovered, and will never recover.

Now obviously it isn’t very smart to disrespect a Republican, Texan president when you are essentially a countrified novelty act, alienating a lot of your fan base.  We doubt, for instance, that Eddie Veder or Dave Grohl would have suffered similarly had they have made similar remarks.  The thing about Natalie Maines that one must always respect is her willingness to speak the truth, which remains undiminished despite her career travails.  It was outstanding to hear her criticisms of Lisa G, who we have absolutely no use for, and which were nothing if not true.  Lisa G is awful.  She is a dried up, chaste spinster, a hack, annoying and overly opportunistic but who lacks the talent to justify it.  Shuli’s and some other staffers’ bitterness at Lisa for cashing in on the show with her tea party/cookie party nonsense is totally warranted.  At least the block parties and other comedy tours offer some entertainment value.  We have to say that we have appreciated, in Howard’s quest for brevity, the consolidation of the show’s daily timeline, insofar as it has diminished Lisa’s boring bit.  Consequently, we have been pleased by John Leiberman’s expanding role because he is a good sport who is good for the show, and funny, which Lisa is not.  Does anyone recall Lisa with that put on bit where she considered sleeping with Ronnie?  Absurd.  First off, Lisa is an old maid.  Secondly, Ronnie?  Perhaps the most unattractive person at all of Sirius–impish, old, foul mouthed, uncouth and grotesque.  When Natalie Maines called out Lisa for trying to get Back Office Radio off the air, Lisa, on the spot, said something to the effect of, ‘well, they make fun of me.’  Maine’s response summed up Lisa’s sorry existence perfectly.  She said, “why don’t you take it like a man?”

BTW, Back Office Radio is actually very entertaining, especially as it comes on a day of the week when there’s no other live programming.  And say what you want about Will or Jason, who we normally don’t love but who has grown on us, they are not opportunistic.  They are happy to be there, and as Jason described last week when challenged to put down his pipe, loathe to disappoint Howard.  You don’t see them trying to capitalize on Howard’s name every which way, or combining shameless money grabs with cheap pandering, like the nonsense about having Howard take the picture for the cover of a book.  Was anything at all more transparent?  In truth, we feel that Howard probably feels a bit sorry for Lisa, and so he is willing to let slide some things that he won’t tolerate from others.

After Artie’s departure, we had felt that the show was foundering a little bit, as Howard and Robin regrouped and readjusted to a show that had one less significant contributor.  We worried a bit for the show’s long term prospects, but soon we saw that it was foolish to doubt Howard, and that the show was as good as always.  Though in our opinion, the more is usually the merrier when we are talking about adding funny people to the mix.  We always like when a person we approve of is sitting in, like for example, Jimmy Kimmel, and so we look forward to those few days a year.  As we also do, of course, with the great George Tekkai, and the often great David Arquette, who brings in an interesting dynamic by his inability to not know when to shut up.  We thought that when Shuli sat in for those days this fall that he was funny and wasn’t overbearing, and wondered if he wasn’t maybe on tap to be a low cost replacement in Artie’s chair.  We guess the chemistry was lacking though, because Shuli hasn’t been back.

Of course, we absolutely love Sour Shoes.  His appearances as in house musical talent have been stellar.  Not just his musical talent either, but the voices and quirks, as well as the very interesting history/background, which Howard loves to probe.  The guy basically comes upon nominal contact with a female, has not been on a date since the 90’s, and lapses into baby talk or Bababooey talk while flipping burgers at Wendy’s.  What could be better?  Sour Shoes would provide a lot of bang for minimal buck, which is obviously important to Sirius, which frankly, has seemed to skimp on talent and on the Stern Show, which is why we suspect that Howard is really down to 3 days a week.  Howard was adamant last year that he had not and would not accept a pay cut, and technically, a reduced schedule at the same rate does not constitute one.  We can also tell that the entire show really appreciates Sour Shoes’ presence there.  To hear Fred be so complimentary of Sour Shoes, or Sal just gush about him, really tells us that he is not only valued but has the right chemistry for the gig.  It’s a shame that Sirius has created acrimony with Howard, denying him his bonus, denying Fred and his daughter access to the One Direction concert, when obviously Fred is not the type to make untoward demands of his employers.  Gary recently talked about how when they all got to Sirius, there was a lot of good will, promise, and optimism, and that “now it’s long gone.”  We really hope Howard is there for a long time to come, but also feel that Howard and his people, that talent in general, needs to be respected, honored, and paid accordingly, and we’ve seen a trend away from that, with Howard being a prime example of management’s lack of respect for talent (another obvious example would be the very despicable NHL lockout).

Below is a link to the uber talented Sour Shoes in another radio appearance, this time with Mike Francesa.  Take a look:

Friday’s other guest, Dave Attell, one of the flat out funniest dark comics anywhere, would be an amazing, if higher profile and more expensive option.  It was great to hear Attell, whom we’ve always loved, and it was also excellent to hear Attell and Howard talk, uninterrupted by Robin, who does not need to play buffer for a comedic genius like Attell.  As great as Howard is mad, he is also great when he takes a fatherly tone with people, in a sort of advisory capacity, as he often does with Sal, as he did with Jason about cannabis, and as he did with Attell regarding his career and finances.  We have to apologize to Attell, as even as big fans of his, we were unaware of his Dave’s Old Porn, which we’ve now quickly sought to become acquainted with.  Whether Attell is joking about his masturbation frequency or methods (‘on an old IBM mission control’), discussing his discomfort with first class flying, citing a “certain level of douchebaggery” among first class travelers, or just being candid about his life and the state of comedy, we were enthralled.  As huge Doug Stanhope fans, we were very interested to hear Attell tell us that Stanhope, and another favorite, Louis CK, are the best in the business.  We also thought it extremely humble of Attell, a comedy lifer, to critique his own comedy, saying that he’s definitely “not great, could be better.”  It too was nice to hear him say nice things about Kathy Griffin, another favorite of ours.

We know that Attell would be a perfect fit on the show in a permanent role, and in fact, would enhance an already great product tremendously.  With Attell traveling with Artie (“The Anti Social Comedy Tour”) though, and so humble and careful not to offend fellow comics, we aren’t sure how comfortable he’d be with what could be perceived by some as taking Artie’s job, though he’d have to be comfortable with the pay, especially since he is losing money on Showtime.  And let’s face it.  Artie has obviously moved on with another national radio show, and it would be very petty of him to stand in the away of Attell, who, frankly is a much better comic than Artie, no disrespect, whether off the cuff or as a standup.  Especially since Artie has no one to blame but himself that he no longer works on the greatest radio show in history.

We’ll conclude with a kind word for Jason and his bid to go straight for a month without herb.  Your predicament has inspired me to do the same, and I too, will have a party when my time is through.

In Solidarity,

Crack (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

“I ended up that day finally at the federal lockup in Brooklyn.  The lights went on at 6 O’ Clock the next morning and within ten minutes I was approached for any drug I wanted.  Heroin, coke.  I’m supposed to be able to prevent it, but meanwhile, in a place where you’re strip searched 6, 9 times before getting to your bed, it’s okay for them to have it.”

                                                                                                     — Peter Gatien

“You go to any rock concert, for example, at either The Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden and you are gonna have hundreds if not thousands of people using drugs and you’re not gonna see the management of The Meadowlands or Madison Square Garden indicted.”

“There was a young prosecutor, very little experience.  Her name was Michelle Adelman.  I mean, she was obsessed with Peter.  She had a big picture of Peter behind her desk in her office.  I remember going in there one time and saying, ‘This is not healthy.  Get a life.  This is just a case.'”

“…regardless of how prominent the individual is, I had never seen such a scorched earth mentality.”

                                                                                                    –Ben Brafman

“The motto was get Gatien at all costs.”

                                    –John Dabrowski (P.I. & former Nassau County Cop)

We understand Peter Gatien’s criticism of Billy Corben’s 2011 documentary, Limelight.  The legendary club owner was hoping that the film would be less of a monument to him than a cautionary tale of governmental overreach, or so he told the New York Times in September of 2011.  We’re not sure if Corben meant it to be, but the early minutes of the movie nearly present Gatien as both the finder and the founder of the club scene.  We would think, even in a movie about The Limelight, that Corben has some obligation to at least mention the genesis of the club scene.  The creator of the modern dance hall/dance club genre was Bill Graham, a holocaust survivor and transplanted New Yorker to San Francisco.  Graham had observed the radical success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest author Ken Kesey and his crew, The Merry Pranksters, with their Acid Test parties, held during the mid 60’s at roving locations in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and later, Mexico, when Kesey became a fugitive from the law for violating his probation (he was arrested for possessing approximately 3 grams of marijuana).  Graham rented out San Francisco’s old Fillmore Auditorium in 1968.  The Fillmore was depicted in the Hunter S. Thompson book and subsequent movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in a most memorable scene, when Thompson, played by Johnny Depp, drops part of a hit of LSD, paper form, onto the sleeve of his coat in the Fillmore’s bathroom, where another club patron seizes on that opportunity, and proceeds to suck the acid off of his sleeve.

Bill Graham, who was born Wolodia Grajonca, was unpopular with some of the celebrities of the Haight-Ashbury counter culture movement, like the Pranksters, because he didn’t deem them worthy of free admission.  Graham, who earned a business degree from City College, understood invariably that The Fillmore was a business.  He was an excellent businessman who also gained prominence as the manager of Jefferson Airplane.  When some Haight-Ashbury residents pressured the police to crack down on his establishment because of the notorious hippie element, Graham bought a suit of clothes, slicked his hair, and went door to door to all neighborhood businesses, to explain to local businessmen how much opportunity for revenue that hippie element created for the neighborhood.  When asked how he was able to persuade the local community not to pursue their complaints about The Fillmore, he replied, “Pressure.”

Bill Graham is well chronicled in The Haight-Ashbury: A History, by Rolling Stone reporter Charles Perry.  Perhaps the best work to date on Graham, if less comprehensive, is Tom Wolfe’s amazing nonfiction novel, The Electric Koolaid Acid Test.

We were also left unimpressed with Corben’s depiction of the beginning of Ecstasy culture in NYC.  We’d characterize crediting “Lord Michael” for essentially bringing MDMA to New York as a convenient truth for the purposes of this film.  While MDMA was first created by German scientists trying to develop an appetite suppressant for plump housewives, it was America who put the chemical on the map, thanks to our good friend Dr. Shulgin, in large part.  Ecstasy scenes in California and Texas were thriving throughout the 1980’s and a great deal of their Ecstasy made its way to NY, though Lord Michael seems to be the only chump to get himself on the map for transporting a substance, and in small numbers mind you, that was not yet illegal.  But Lord Michael’s tales of bringing in several thousand hits from England, if we can agree that such piddly “smuggling” is small potatoes, is an argument which would refute Gatien’s criticism about the essence of the film.

We love Corben’s body of work, which includes Cocaine Cowboys and the lesser known Square Groupers, a compelling collection of stories from 70’s era marijuana traffickers.  We’d have to applaud Corben for Limelight as well–especially for Limelight–because this was an establishment very near and dear to our hearts, and because any governmental over-reach is too much.  In fact, we feel no need to be as diplomatic as star club owner Peter Gatien.  This movie is about tyranny to us in a very obvious sense, and the subject of that tyranny is our very demographic–the liberal intelligentsia.

The Limelight’s venue (above), which had to rankle conservative types because it was a former church, though officially deconsecrated.

What’s most germane to this story is that Rudolf Giuliani, whom Gatien supported in his bid to become mayor, whose first wife was also his cousin, made a target of Gatien when Nicholas Marinelli supposedly died the night after supposedly purchasing drugs at The Limelight.  Marinelli, from a privileged background, whose family had the personal ear of then NJ governor Thomas Kean, called Giuliani personally about Gatien, who then unleashed the DEA upon Gatien, an easy target because of his success, notoriety, and villainous eye patch.  We also do not think it helped Gatien’s cause the way the club was portrayed in the 1992 movie, The Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel as a dirty cop who went to the club to score drugs (frankly we are surprised Limelight made no mention of that, though Corben may not have had permission to use that movie for this film.)

If you read that as a joke, it’s not how we meant it, though we get how preposterous that should be to you.  There is no greater danger to our liberty than inbred mayoral scum doing favors for mush mouthed cronies along political back channels that seek to destroy the lives of people according to their looks, lifestyle, and progressive attitudes.  And oh, by the way, Marinelli committed suicide, and the official cause of death is listed as death by asphyxiation.  But the government was not about to let a good scapegoat be obscured by mere, actual FACTS.  In making the case against Peter Gatien, the state was also putting a sinister face on Ecstasy, a “new” and little known drug, giving our great nation a leg up in the Machiavellian propaganda machine that is the war on drugs.

While on the topic of facts, how about USADA Linda Lacewell’s oh so ignorant claim that Ecstasy commonly contained heroin and PCP?  Frankly, that may be our “favorite” bit of drug war propaganda of all time.  Ecstasy databases like DanceSafe, EData, and even the woefully disgraceful PillReports  have thousands of lab results including chemical compositions, Reagent test results, and failing those, user reports.  When one searches those databases by chemical, or should they even go report by report, dating back to the 1st published information on specific Ecstasy, there is approximately 1 pill per 1000 (0.1% of all Ecstasy) suspected to contain PCP.  We’d estimate an even smaller percentage suspected to have heroin.  Granted, the Ecstasy information available is still flagging, but only because the establishment prefers us to believe what they want us to believe as opposed to what’s true.  A person like Linda Lacewell, a Draconian moron of her ilk, would like us to believe that there are serial killers out there whose modus operandi is death by Ecstasy, preying on people by giving them heroin or PCP, which, are not even deadly drugs necessarily.  When pressed however, Lacewell and those from the same school of drug war propaganda, attempted to connect MDMA with cardiac arrest, before the weak declaration that MDMA causes…heat exhaustion.  Ecstasy has been classified as non lethal, and benign by main stream medicine.  Please recall Peter Jennings’ ABC special called Ecstasy in which Jennings declared on national television that a person could use MDMA sporadically throughout their entire life while suffering zero long term effects.

Now, can an Ecstasy pill contain heroin?  Absolutely.  Have they?  More myth than fact, and we’ve never seen a legitimate composition report of a pill sold as Ecstasy that contained heroin, in 2 decades of analysis, but it is possible.  It’s also possible that the Jets can win the Superbowl.  But can we all appreciate the chances of it happening are about the same as a snowball’s chance in hell?  For we are not able to call it a reasonable assertion that heroin and PCP routinely make up Ecstasy with statistical significance based on scientific data.  Then again, how much scientific data is really being consulted by men who marry their blood relatives?  How much scientific data was used in consultation with the Salem Witch Trials?  And how often really, does this government tell, we the people, the truth as opposed to crude distortions?

On Giuliani’s marriage to his second cousin, which lasted 14 years, FYI, before being annulled, in grand Roman Catholic style reminiscent of the warrior popes of the middle ages, which were just about on Giuliani’s same wavelength:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Stossel/story?id=2395516&page=1#.UJsZf442UqY

http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=famous

http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/entertainment-celebcousinpairs/7/

http://www.realchange.org/giuliani.htm

Or Google it yourself.  There are only 722,000 search results that pop up when one searches “Giuliani married cousin.”  We thought it a very interesting use of device the way that Corben pulled the story of Gatien’s drug case together.  Raconteur indeed.  At the very outset of that portion of the movie that gets into the drug charges levied against Gatien, the first round of charges that is, Brafman, the best criminal attorney in the country, bar none, who has won acquittals for Gatien, Sean Combs, a laundry list of mafioso, as well as sweetheart plea arrangements for Daphne Abdela (“The Baby Faced Killer”) and Chris Paciello (who participated in the home invasion murder of Staten Island housewife Judy Shemtov), in addition to other star clients like Michael Jackson and Plaxico Burress, released a statement saying that Gatien ‘at no time in his 20+ year career owning clubs ever condoned drug use.’

Hold the thought.  Because when informant, murderous scum like Michael Alig and Sean Kirkham brag to the Feds that Gatien personally binged at drug parties that he organized, the law, having caught Gatien in an apparent lie when he wasn’t even under oath, expanded their charges to include ones that claimed that Gatien used such parties as a reward for his employees for allegedly excelling in his alleged criminal Ecstasy drug distribution operation.  Brafman had a responsibility, pre-trial, to counter the massive public relations blows coming at Gatien, rapid fire, from the inbred mayor, the NYPD, the DEA, and the federal government.  If Brafman was indeed correct in his exchange with ADA Adelman (“this is just a case”), then we may conclude that tactics like the pile on effect–creating a litany of tack on charges that give the appearance of guilt–is standard operating practice for “the people” (*cringe*).  Trustworthy prosecutors (oxymoron) may charge people with multiple counts where truly applicable, but the pile on effect does, as Gatien said, run counter to a most basic right of the actual people, which is the presumption of innocence.  For is it not more difficult to maintain the presumption of innocence when a person is facing 5 charges as opposed to 1 or 2?

What about Gatien’s specific remarks about the charges that connected his sporadic drug use to racketeering?  Isn’t he right when he says that a jury of working class, middle class people, tasked to deliberate on his freedom, will be pre-prejudiced by the fact that on occasion he binged on cocaine while frequenting prostitutes, if they were in fact prostitutes?  How is Peter Gatien, multi-millionaire/captain of industry/playboy/hotel drug partier, going to get an unprejudiced jury of his peers, in a drug case, when somebody like that has no peers?  Peter Gatien as the original Peerless Price.  Precisely why it was so imperative that Gatien retain Brafman in the first place.  An attorney like Brafman can create peers from the unlikeliest jury pools, and only one steadfast juror who follows the judge’s instructions closely, is needed to render a not guilty verdict.  As Brafman said in Limelight, after inquiring as to a possible plea arrangement, the best option was to represent Gatien in court and take their chances with the jury system.  Brafman:

“I went down to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and said, ‘this is like, crazy.  If we wanted to resolve the case, what would be the sentencing guidelines that you would think was appropriate?’  They looked at me and said ’11 years.’  They assessed Peter Gatien criminal responsibility for every pill sold by anyone that they seized in the course of the investigation.  They multiplied out the math and it came to 11 years.  I looked at them like they were nuts to suggest that Peter Gatien, who was running 4 venues at the same time, could be criminally responsible for what went on at any given moment at any one of the venues was something that I thought I could win in a court room.”

Super heavyweight criminal attorney Ben Brafman (above).

To keep suit with the very logical Brafman, should any crime be committed in a club, the club owner is not automatically criminally responsible for conspiracy to commit such a crime.  The nuisance abatement laws in NYC which permitted the police to shut any business’s doors in which there were 3 incidents in one year, if applied to strictly to clubs, would see every club shuttered.  Let’s be completely honest.  There are thousands of drug deals going down on any given night in any major venue, club, concert, festival, and so on.  The irony is, The Limelight was not nearly the drug supermarket, “a drug buyer’s paradise”, that it would become after Gatien had relinquished ownership.  Drug use should be an indicator more as to what is likely in a free society, not an indictment on that society, and never an indictment against the operator of the venue, unless truly warranted.

Sean Kirkham, in fact, conspired with the authorities (who, by the way, were so unreliable and were guaranteed to be ruined on the stand by Brafman that the prosecution could not allow their testimony) for the purposes of creating the charges against Gatien.  As Gatien explained, “the only way to prevent those drug deals from happening on those nights was to not open the doors.”  How do you, after all, prevent the DEA from running their own drug ops at any given place at any given time?  One has to consider exactly why then, do the nuisance abatement laws exist if not as a tool for tyranny, which is defined as an arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic use of authority.  But then, Sean Kirkham re-flipped, and claimed that prosecutor Eric Friedberg, who was brought in to buoy the government’s case as it headed to trial, because Adelman and her little crony were essentially amateurs not fit to duel Ben Brafman, was someone with whom he had had a homosexual relationship.  Friedberg, who was the chief of the Federal Narcotics Bureau.  LOFL.  Though probably not a guy who hooked up with a gay club kid who dabbled in counterfeiting, a clown nontheless, so that was a nice laugh which came around the one hour mark of the film.  But when the trial began, it was Michelle Adelman, who in the opening statement, admitted to the jury that the government had exactly zero evidence linking Gatien financially to any of the crimes he was charged with.

So why then would a person conspire to distribute Ecstasy and throw parties to reward his Ecstasy salesman, if not for profit?  Because Gatien had an overwhelming interest in seeing club patrons high?  High people do not spend money.  But that’s besides the point, really, because not only couldn’t the government make any sense as to what Gatien’s possible motives could be, but also, by the time of the trial in 1998, there was exactly one major witness left to their case trying to implicate Gatien, the infamous Michael Caruso (“Lord Michael”), whom Ben Brafman not only exposed for the scumbag he was on cross examination, but also, raised the spectre of possibility that Caruso was a murderer, when Caruso broke down in tears on the stand, begging the court to believe that the questionable circumstances surrounding Caruso’s roommate’s suicide were indeed true, and to believe him that he did not participate in that roommate’s death.  The government’s case was essentially blown in the course of that cross, if not by Adelman herself during the opening statement, which is precisely the reason why Brafman is known as the best attorney in the world at cross examining witnesses.  Brafman, who has made an extraordinary career at criminal defense, is practiced at exposing liars, breaking down snitches by the dozen in your average mafia case.  And it all begs the question, as Village Voice reporter Frank Owen (who authored The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture) put it in the film, “then what the hell are we doing here?”

But you had an overzealous prosecution emboldened by a hell bent, inbred mayor, who had essentially struck out with their over-riding strategy, which was, as Gatien said, ‘to break him and make him plead’, and now had to take its chances with a couple of sketchy, unscrupulous criminals, against the Ben Brafman because there was no backup plan (*at that time*).  Brafman should have won a dismissal, but we’re sure he was happy to settle for not guilty on all counts.  But at the end of the day, those not guilty verdicts read by the Gatien jury in 1998 were not by any means the end of the government’s persecution of Peter Gatien.  Also, it was where Corben’s film takes a stunning turn in complexity.

One of Michael Caruso’s allegations, shoddy as they may be, gave us pause for consideration.  Caruso alleged, and though it was not even illegal at the time, to have once given Gatien 20 hits of Ecstasy, as a “display of respect.”  It was not necessary for Brafman to disprove that statement, and, it could very well have been true.  Gatien was an imperfect man, a real human being, and we thought the film did an excellent job of presenting a very complicated figure in Gatien, in a way that did not sanctify him.  Gatien said he had never used drugs in his clubs, ever.  Okay.  So maybe he got some drugs at the “massive drug supermarket” that was The Limelight, or Tunnel, or Palladium, or Club USA.  Again, he’s not under oath when he makes a statement like that, and it’s not unreasonable to think that he may have gotten drugs from Caruso.  I mean, who didn’t get E at a club like that at some point, if you are in the scene?

The implication, whether true or false, does “dirty” Gatien, and frankly, one of the things that drives us here on this page and in our other projects and in life is to legitimize the use of psychedelics, so a Gatien or his patrons, people like me, do not face damage to their reputation for using them.  But we aren’t there yet.  We aren’t even close.  So there is Gatien, the deceptive drug user, but also, Gatien, the irresponsible business man.  In watching this film, who out there feels that Gatien’s explanations about how much it cost to run his empire were valid?  I do believe they were true but at the same time, not valid, if that can make sense.  Hiring teams of artists, architects, and decorators to constantly transform and remake the club, from party to party, is not the way to run a successful club.  We hate to malign Gatien, but we are compelled to be honest.  Every successful non Vegas club we’ve ever seen has put on the show with minimum frills, save for the act.  You must spend on the music and the sound, and not necessarily on the decor.  Gatien’s style was garish which happened to work well in Atlanta where he had a campy dance floor built over a shark tank and whatnot, and for the 80’s and 90’s in NYC we see why a similar approach helped attract patrons.  But at the end of the day, you are there for the music.

Bill Graham understood the importance of keeping costs down, something that Gatien doesn’t get.  Had he gotten it, he would not have had to sell his clubs for what amounted to a song, even in the face of mounting a 5 year defense against the federal government.  To do $25M in revenue a year for ten years or whatever the numbers were, is ridiculous, and very hard to sell to me when it’s done and there’s no money that it wasn’t wasteful.  Also, hard to sell to the owner of Circa in Toronto, which Gatien ran for a while, before the ownership tired of his wasteful spending practices.  And why was NYC’s King of Clubs relegated to Toronto in the first place, having hit a home run against the government in his drug case?

Well, that’s because Gatien, a Canadian citizen, never naturalized as an American citizen, despite having an American wife and children.  One of whom produced this film (Jen Gatien, DeerJen Productions).  So when Gatien was convicted of tax fraud, which Brafman and Gatien admitted he was guilty of, the US government, still with a healthy hard on for Peter Gatien some 5 years after Brafman beat them clean in court, exercised the right to deport Gatien, as President Bush, another Republican who does not know who inspector Javert is (we loved the story relayed in the film by former mayor Ed Koch, who told Giuliani “Rudy, you are pursuing people like inspector Javert with an intensity that is not acceptable”, to which Giuliani replied, “Who’s Javert?”) gave some quid pro quo to America’s mayor, who we again remind you, is inbred trash.  (After 9/11, the Patriot Act was passed, which allows the government to deport non citizens guilty of fraud.)

Gatien somehow did not see this coming?  The government’s war of attrition took a turn in the Al Capone-esque direction, when they couldn’t get Gatien for drugs and racketeering, and frankly, he needed to be beyond reproach having had such a large bullseye drawn on his back, a “scorched earth policy” the likes of which his attorney had never before seen.  Then again, when the government crawls up your ass for ten or twelve years, they are eventually going to find something that stinks.  Who among us has never broken the law?  Then again, are we all out there committing fraud, which in this case, was a willful misrepresentation of his business’s tax records?  Would we be stupid enough to do so after seeing our freedom already so vehemently threatened?

The government aimed to get him and they got him, and what difference did it make to them really if it didn’t happen on the first try?  Well, the difference it made was that it strengthened their resolve and fortified their approach to where there wouldn’t have to be a trial next time around.  They would still find a way to see Gatien go to federal prison and then unceremoniously deport him from the United States.

Though the prosecution admitted that they had no evidence that Gatien had profited from the sale of drugs in his clubs, they hardly needed proof to levy the accusation.  It was like this: ‘while we don’t have proof, um, the guy wears an eye patch, for the love of God and country.’  The refute was like this: ‘why would Peter Gatien, grossing a zillion dollars a year, risk his freedom and the life as he knew it in order to make a few extra dollars selling Ecstasy?’

Indeed.  So why would he run a tax scam for a few extra dollars then?  Is the answer a study in complexity, a testament to human fallibility, or an indicator that the government was right all along that Gatien was indeed a criminal?  We think it was two out of three.  We don’t think Gatien a criminal.  We think, in the end, that this film was such a profile of tyranny, of the arbitrary wielding of might, wreckless and whimsical and incompetent and blatantly sinister and yet successful, all at once.  Gatien is perhaps too close to the matter to assess Corben’s film properly.  Or, rather, Gatien had a hand in the making of the film, and that in his assessment, the best way to see it to success was to be critical of his portrayal.  For why would a man assail the work of his own daughter publicly, if not for a ruse that could lead to financial prosperity?

In the end, the government was not about to get beaten again by the Gatien/Brafman dream team.  They have to live with getting beaten by Brafman when they are foolish enough to take him to court, but not by Gatien, who in the end, does get to go down as a criminal in the version of the story as they choose to tell it.  Because he “allowed” people to do drugs in a place when we live in a society where people are doing drugs anyway, everywhere, and who do not need our permission.

In the end, Gatien is a phenomenal interview and Brafman a legendary one, and Corben a genius at bringing their story together, and the government’s, the grandest of long cons, a coup d’etat by which they broke a man at a trial they lost so that he wouldn’t have the power to fight another fight.  And Gatien, banished, in exile in Toronto, essentially because despite the tremendous opportunities in America, he never loved America enough to join it, always leery of the mechanisms at play which generated those opportunities.  With good reason.

We say to Peter Gatien, “THANK YOU!”  That the money is no great loss. Can’t take it with you.  Gatien not only provided establishments for people like me, but also, for all the people, no matter their color, their sexuality, their age, their dress, what they looked like or spoke like or whether they were from Brooklyn or Jupiter.  We hope he truly takes heart in his freedom as he says, and that he isn’t the lonely Canadian outcast, a media distortion to this day.  Gatien was a wild success in his industry and in life who conquered NY and embarrassed the government.  He may no longer be peerless, but it is only a precious few who has withstood what he has and came out as well, alive to tell.

From a child of The Limelight.

Crackbillionair (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

We don’t do much on politics except drug politics.  Yet here we are.  So this must be important.  The other day when driving behind a car with the red Rutgers “R”, a flood of negativity rushed in.  We had recently read, in full, the pleas for leniency made to the court by the parents of Dharun Ravi.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/05/dharun_ravi_sentencing_impact.html

His mom says he has suffered enough.  He can’t eat, she says.  He has no social life.  The media made him a monster, she says.  The whole case is a media distortion, she says.  She says that there has never been any truth.  None.  Her son loves his family dog and his baby brother, she says.  She says that on the 2 or 3 weekends before Tyler Clementi took his own life, her son came home to be with his family.  These were the linchpins of her argument as to the glowing character of her son.

And of course, she says he doesn’t have a hateful bone in his body.  Of course he doesn’t.  He’s a great guy, right?  The father says the same.  The father also says they are not a closed household and that they celebrate diversity, the whole American way nonsense, as anyone could’ve easily predicted he would.  What is he gonna say?

Actually, if it was my son for whom I was applying for leniency, I would not hesitate to fall on my sword.  Yes, we were hateful and please please save him because this is all our fault.  We obviously failed to bring up a productive member of society.  Don’t punish him for that.

But Mr. Ravi is intent on having the court know that the Ravis are “good people.” As easy as it would be to call such nonsense laughable, who really knows?  Maybe they are.  Not Dharun, of course.  Clearly he is most despicable.  A destructive member of society.  If you can not agree with us on that then just X this out.  But maybe they are good and life is just complicated, as they say.

This next bit is not so complicated.  A jury read about 300 guilty verdicts against him.  We can’t go count for count, but bias intimidation counts are essentially hate crimes, are they not?  Now one does not have to hold hate in his heart in order to commit hateful acts.  And these were hateful acts, under taken repetitively.  Also, one can hold much hate inside and not act on that hate.  The Ravis want to make this about Dharun Ravi not being hateful.

That doesn’t even matter.  It is completely irrelevant.  If Tyler Clementi was not gay would Dharun Ravi have webcammed his trysts?  Please.  So that nonsense ends right there.  The other nonsense is that Dharun Ravi didn’t make Tyler Clementi commit suicide.  We beg to differ.

Dharun Ravi did not get charged with murder.  That is a fact.  If he is not responsible for Clementi’s death, who is?  Well, Rutgers.  Obviously.  How do you leave kids together who express these apprehensions, on record, to the U.?  They will get theirs, for sure, and we’ll leave that for another day.

Dharun Ravi is also responsible.  One does not get to say, ‘well, I told Rutgers I didn’t wanna live with him’ and offer that for absolution.  Although, Ravi’s parents are quick, and many liberals whom I thought were of our own ilk, are quick as well to point out that Ravi didn’t make Clementi commit suicide.  I guess not.  He just made the action that caused the suicide.  Pure semantics.  He wasn’t on trial for murder or manslaughter or whatever anyway.  He did the crimes he is guilty of.  There was no reasonable doubt created.

How about the part of the pleas for leniency where they say ‘remember that Dharun Ravi didn’t make Tyler commit suicide’?  That’s gall.  Right.  Because that is what you believe if you are the parents of a monster.  It’s all the victim’s fault, right?  Guess what?  Since then, high schoolers who prompted a bullying related suicide in NJ have been charged with manslaughter.  The perception of this type of situation changed after the Ravi incident, because it is so so so so serious.  And Ravi has gotten off easy.

In that regard, the blame game, the Ravis understand the American system quite well.  But in the most important ways, they do not.  The dad, a well written man, says the judge should not send a kid to prison, ruining 2 people’s lives on account of this sad situation.  Fine.  We don’t have that much problem with Ravi’s exceedingly lenient sentence of 30 days in jail.  Jails are no place for 19-20 year old kids, for the most part.  Although, the gov’t does throw one hell of an expensive proceeding just to give a kid a 30 day bid.

We actually would have to applaud Judge Berman for not bowing to the inherent pressure in the sentencing guidelines.  When a judge refuses to be just a rubber stamp, the system works more fairly.  Judges should have a wealth of common sense accumulated, and should use it.  Judges who apologize as they hand out sentences are worthless.  Any dummy could do that.

But the people who argue that Dharun Ravi should not be deported when the court is within its right to do so are not considering this case from the right side.  The side of Tyler Clementi’s family.  I do not know if they even want Ravi to be deported.  We don’t mean ‘their side’ as the deport him side, but rather, from the victim’s side.  We all could have a kid in the unenviable position of a Tyler Clementi.  But let’s be real.  For someone to be a Dharun Ravi, a great lot has to go very wrong.  We all will not have children in the position of a Dharun Ravi, because who’s kids are as cold, mean, and unenlightened?  And who act on it?

Dharun Ravi’s mom says her son has no social life.  That he never even gets out of the house for a sandwich, that he has lost 20 lbs. since this all began and she longs for the day when he will eat like a normal kid.  What a gut wrenching tale of woe.  Stupid questions: who wants to be friends with a person like that?  So Tyler Clementi’s parents must’ve really gotten the short end of the stick, huh?

Dharun Ravi is not an American citizen.  He does not deserve any more protection from the law.  At what point can we cast aside youthful indiscretion as an excuse for heinous acts?  Can’t we in this case, or is this not serious enough?

If it is not enough, we want to know why not.  We can’t see how this kid deserves to have a life here.  He doesn’t deserve a heavy handed sentence, as that may be excessively cruel.  But America is far too good for this kid.  That is something that should reverberate loudly from these crimes.

Crack (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Above are three videos about unlawful cannabis related arrests, the first two, victims’ tales, and the third, NYS Assemblymen Hakeem Jeffries, who lends perspective to what amounts to classic entrapment, thousands of cases per year, that are rubber stamped by the judicial system.  Perhaps most disturbing is that both victims, who were both arrested and cuffed and put through the system, did not smoke or possess any cannabis at all.  The racial aspect must also be found disturbing by any rational mind.  Lesser quantity cannabis crimes are exclusively sought by the NYPD, and every other PD in America, only in black and Latino neighborhoods, only in lower socio-economic sectors.

A lot to say here, and we don’t wish to muck it up with the usual avalanche of machine gun fire, as spraying ammo will surely dilute this most important cause.  The first reaction for anyone cannabis friendly at yesterday’s news of Governor Cuomo’s plan to decriminalize lesser quantities had to be a joyous one, for selfish reasons.  But let’s be real.  We white people, off in the burbs, or in the smart part of town, are far removed from the front lines where people actually get arrested for cannabis.  Can we not smoke all the live long day, on the street, without so much as one cop rolling by…for weeks on end?

God bless Governor Cuomo and all but the man is only saving himself and the state the expense of one hell of a class action lawsuit.  So 83% of the illegal arrests are comprised of black and Latin peoples.  We are surprised that number is so low.  Because all the arrests are going down on Malcolm X Boulevard, not on John Calvin Boulevard.  How did the other 17%, whites, Chinese and other, get swept up?  Why, they went to the ghetto so they must have been there to buy herb, of course.

And so operates your big city PD.  Lying, racial profiling, full blooded racist tyranny, every way you can possibly slice it.  So this new measure of Cuomo’s isn’t about cannabis at all, really, as much as it is about racial profiling.  To save the city from racist cops, we must reduce the purview of racist cops.  We must give them less license to stop people.  For anything.  And we’ll happily start with cannabis, thank you very much.  And it does get the movement a step closer to where it needs to be, but this here news is about racism, not weed.  Though the esteemed Assemblyman makes an excellent point about how the act of carrying the weed becomes an arrestable offense when you take it out of your pocket on the order of the police.

A friend of ours, and one of the smartest criminal lawyers we know, M. Chris Fabricant, author of Busted!, which is of biblical proportions, or should be, to anyone in the scene, once told me what to do if I was ever getting arrested and the advice has stuck and resonates the much more seeing these http://www.drugpolicy.org videos.  Chris told us that our only hope, the only hope, when in this situation, is to put your hands up high where everyone can see them and declare, on the top of your lungs, “I DO NOT CONSENT TO AN UNLAWFUL SEARCH!”  To say it over and over and make sure that someone hears you.  A decent judge is going to consider giving you a pass for an unlawful search and seizure.  By not taking the drugs out yourself, you have not shown the drug in public, which is the actual offense, since lesser quantities are already down to ticketable offenses, carrying small fines as penalties.

But again, let’s be real.  Is the judge throwing out many illegal searches that go down on Malcolm X Boulevard?  The second video, of the man who happened to be walking with a guy who had weed in his shoe, said it correctly when he said that really, we have no rights at all.  Even if you do have weed in your shoe, what has tipped the authorities so that they may bum rush you on a public street?  The only possible signs would be racially stereotyped.  Baggy clothes, off tilt baseball hat, skin color, and the worst of all, just because you happened to be where you are at.  Being in the “high intensity crime zone” in itself is essentially reason enough to stop a person.  Until they change the law.

We have to thank Ethan Nadelmann, Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, for bringing our attention to these videos, and for being the hot button man on topics such as these now for many, many years.  While we have not yet met the man ourselves, our good friends Sasha and Ann Shulgin have sung his praises, along with MAPS founder Rick Dobin, and we’d consider the two men the leaders in the fight against the war on drugs.  They put the truth out there and that’s hard to refute.  Everyone in the community should follow Mr. Nadelmann on Twitter in the very least, and join MAPS at your earliest convenience.

Be Active, Smart, and Careful!

Crackbillionair (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Aravane Rezai (above) celebrated her 24th birthday Monday by losing to world #18, Maria Sharapova, 6-2, 6-2.  What had been an excellent start for the world #22 and French #2, an early break and a 2-0 lead, quickly turned sour for the birthday girl, who commenced to get steamrolled by Sharapova from there on a sunny day at Indian Wells.  For Rezai, who has only won 2 tour level matches this year, with one of those coming 2 days prior against Shuai Zhang, and the other coming in her very first match in 2011 at Medibank in Sydney some 2 months ago, we don’t think she minded too much that her ticket got punched here so early and in such decisive fashion.

For Rezai, it seems she is apt to settle for incremental progress, having taken a bagel in her first round defeat in Melbourne to Zahlavova Strycova, and eventually losing 7-5 in the third, and having been pushed all over the court by Alla Kudryatseva 6-2, 6-1 in the first round a few weeks back in Monterrey.  Why has the world #22 played only 6 matches this year, and why would a nationalistic young woman skip out on Federation Cup, especially when French #1 Marion Bartoli, already in a rift with the French team, was a definite no go.  Why is there a rift between captain Nicolas Escude and Bartoli?  Why, over Bartoli’s controlling father, mad Doctor Walter Bartoli, of course, and the fact that to Escude, he has made Bartoli an “and one” player, a diva who places herself above the team.  Escude says that Dr. Bartoli never lets Marion out of his sight, occupies her every moment, that he demands to be on the court at all times, and even “decides the hour that she will eat.”

We’ll say this then: he’s letting her eat too much.  But as it turns out, Dr. Bartoli, though controlling an unorthodox, is by no means the tennis father villain that the elder Rezai has become.  Rezai, of French and Iranian descent, has represented Iran in the Women’s Islamic Games, and while she has done her best to remain neutral politically in recent months, she has become infamous in Iran where she was featured in a promotional video for the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in his latest bid for president.  Ahmadinejad’s victory touched off a firestorm of unrest, “violent protests” and “has drawn virulent criticism in some Iranian circles”.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/sports/tennis/22iht-srside.html

 Rezai has taken to ducking the tour some these days, taking an otherwise inexplicable 6 weeks off after the debacle in Melbourne, which she admits, was in part due to distractions.  That her father and boyfriend had some sort of altercation involving the Australian authorities on the morning of the match, and that the WTA has subsequently banned her father from tour events indefinitely, didn’t exactly come as a surprise to us, considering that Rezai’s father once had a famous screaming match with a coach at Roland Garros.

The French Federation has been so disenchanted with Rezai’s family problems and volatile entourage that they once went so far as to deny Rezai, one of the few promising French women at the time, direct entrance into the French Open, and forced her to qualify.  So Rezai is especially careful in choosing her words when apologizing to her exceedingly honest Fed Cup captain Escude for her absence from a squad that featured Alize Cornet and Virginie Razzano in singles, and still almost pulled off a stunning upset of the Russians in February.  Instead, France got out 2-0 and then lost 3-2, letting Russia out of jail and giving the Russian women their first ever victory from a 2-0 deficit.

Aravane Rezai: In Australia, I had some problems with my family. These are problems that happen in all families. I decided to take a break after this little family problem. For me it was a big earthquake in the head. So I decided not to play Fed Cup and the Open GDF-Suez. I want to apologize to the girls of the France team for not having been with them. They know what situation I’m dealing with. I really enjoyed representing my country, but being only 20% was impossible. I thank the captain (Editor’s note: Nicolas Escude) have respected my choice. My apologies also to GDF-SUEZ, which has always supported me as a partner. But this break was important to me, and it will allow me to come back stronger. I intend to return to the tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, if I have a wild card, or otherwise in Indian Wells.

http://www.womenstennisblog.com/2011/02/10/aravane-rezai-talks-familyfather-problems-for-the-first-time/

When pressed further, Rezai claimed there was no big deal down under, and that her problems are normal ones that all families go through.  She claims none of the press reports are true.  She says she’d have spoken out earlier, but:

 the WTA, my managers and the organization advised me not to do so because they thought I was not ready psychologically.

Does that sound like no big deal to you?  What about her “big earthquake in the head”?  We will not comment on the rumors, but we aren’t afraid to re-state what those rumors are.  The whispers on tour, and they are loud, are that Rezai is left traumatized by abuse at her father’s hands.  Not surprising.

A teen and then twenty-something year old girl used as an Irani political pawn, now who must literally duck and cover from angry nationalists?  Who injects their kid into that type of situation?  What does a French national like Rezai’s father even care that much about Ahmadinejad’s campaign?

The WTA, among others, we’d think, are currently investigating abuse claims.

Crack (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

 

Harvard’s own Caroline Giuliani (above).

Caroline Giuliani, daughter of ex-mayor and failed presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani, and long time WPIX news anchor Donna Hanover, was arrested today in New York City after allegedly shoplifting from a Sephora on East 86th St. in Manhattan.

The daughter of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after she was accused of shoplifting at an upscale makeup store on the upper East Side, police sources said.

Caroline Giuliani, 20, was caught at Sephora about 3:30 p.m., sources said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2010/08/04/2010-08-04_caroline_giuliani_daughter_of_former_nyc_mayor_rudy_giuliani_busted_in_alleged_s.html

Caroline Giuliani, the daughter of former NYC mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and Donna Hanover, was arrested for allegedly shoplifting at an East 86th Street Sephora. The Post reports that the Harvard student “was taken to Manhattan’s 19th Precinct stationhouse for processing” while the Daily News says the 20-year-old “was caught at Sephora about 3:30 p.m., sources said. Surveillance video is being reviewed by police.” A few years ago, it was reported that Caroline Giuliani was going by the name “Caroline Hanover.”

http://gothamist.com/2010/08/04/caroline_giuliani_arrested_for_shop.php

Normally, I’d say that if a person with obvious means is guilty of such a crime, that it’s a cry for attention, and that jail is unnecessary.  I’m not going to be a hypocrite and differ from that, even though I know what her father would say if this happened and the crime was allegedly committed by one of yours or my kids.

Caroline Giuliani’s is the 2nd high profile local shop lift to make our page.

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/bobby-gonzalez-former-manhattan-seton-hall-coach-arrested-for-shoplifting/

http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/bobby-gonzalez-pleads-not-guilty-to-shoplifting-in-new-jersey/

Giuliani last made news in 2008 when she campaigned for Obama.  Says a lot about her dear old dad. 

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this for you.

Keep Your Nose Clean,

Crack (http://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

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