Humbug

The_Battle_Over_the_Sea-Monkey_Fortune_-_The_New_York_Times

The Battle Over the Sea-Monkey Fortune– Jack Hitt, The New York Times

The way the lawyer William Timmons described the case, it was practically a newsreel melodrama, with a helpless widow being menaced by a heartless tycoon. The story began with the widow, whose name is Yolanda Signorelli von Braunhut. She is a onetime heir to the considerable fortune still generated by her husband Harold’s iconic invention, Amazing Live Sea-Monkeys. As her lawyer told it, she was now isolated, cash-starved, often without electricity or running water on a palatial estate on the Potomac River in southern Maryland. Having retreated to a single room in the old mansion, she was prepping for her second freezing winter, barricaded by thick quilts, her bed next to a fireplace stocked with split wood. From this bunker, Signorelli von Braunhut has been waging legal combat against Sam Harwell, chief executive of a big-time toy company whose name seems straight out of a Chuck Jones cartoon: Big Time Toys.

Von Braunhut, a former bondage film actress, had a deal to partner with Big Time Toys to jointly distribute her late husband’s invention, but now Big TIme Toys clams the sea monkeys are all theirs.

Civil war

In 1979, the Ku Klux Klan murdered members of the American Communist Workers Party at a rally in a North Carolina small town. Police looked the other way.

39 Shots – Criminal

In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember shouting at armed Klansmen and burning a confederate flag, until eventually police forced the KKK inside and the standoff ended without violence. The labor organizers felt they’d won a small victory, and planned a much bigger anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. They advertised with the slogan: “Death to the Klan” and set the date for November 3rd, 1979.

As protestors assembled, a caravan of nine cars appeared, and a man in a pick-up truck yelled: “You asked for the Klan! Now you’ve got them!” Thirty-nine shots were fired in eighty-eight seconds, and five protestors were killed. The city of Greensboro is still grappling with the complicated legacy of that day.

So far away

The Middle of Nowhere – This American Life

Stories from faraway, hard-to-get-to places, where all rules are off, nefarious things happen because no one’s looking, and there’s no one to appeal to.

One segment looks at the tiny, remote island of Nauru:

Nauru is a tiny island, population 12,000, a third of the size of Manhattan and far from anywhere, yet at the center of several of the decade’s biggest global events … the bankrupting of the Russian economy, global terrorism, North Korean defectors, the end of the world, and the late 1980s theatrical flop of a London musical based on the life of Leonardo da Vinci called Leonardo, A Portrait of Love.

At the time this segment aired in 2003, the island, once a tropical paradise, had been strip-mined for phosphates, made home to hundreds of terrorism refugees living in camps worse than Guantanamo Bay.

Wikipedia has more.

Nauru has as terrible history of Western imperialism, in which America is complicit.

James Garfield might have been one of America’s greatest presidents, but he was killed 100 days into office

How President Garfield’s death changed America – Lillian Cunningham, the Washington Post Presidential Podcast

Garfield was physically robust, and likely would have survived his shooting, but the doctors got to him instead. They poked their dirty fingers around in his wounds and killed him with infection. Garfield’s death brought antisepsis into the mainstream of medical practice in the US — it was already gaining traction in Europe — but too late for Garfield.

Garfield came up from poverty and fought for the rights of African-Americans, and against political patronage.

The Presidential podcast looks at his life and work:

Only 100 days into office, President James A. Garfield was shot down in a train station in 1881 by a disturbed office seeker. The newest episode of the Presidential podcast tells the dark story of Garfield’s murder and his medical treatment, but also illuminates some of the brightest, most overlooked aspects of his life story.

“Destiny of the Republic” author Candice Millard and Michelle Krowl, of the Library of Congress, take listeners through Garfield’s impoverished beginnings, his fierce intellect, his gregarious nature—and the way his death changed both American medicine and the civil service.

“A Huge, Huge Deal”

Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall on the news that billionaire Peter Thiel is backing Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker:

“You may not like Gawker. They’ve published stories I would have been ashamed to publish. But if the extremely wealthy, under a veil secrecy, can destroy publications they want to silence, that’s a far bigger threat to freedom of the press than most of the things we commonly worry about on that front. If this is the new weapon in the arsenal of the super rich, few publications will have the resources or the death wish to scrutinize them closely.”

A Huge, Huge Deal– Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

“The Americans” will run two more seasons, then out

‘The Americans’ Finished? Thank You for Killing My Favorite Show – James Poniewozik, The New York Times

Gives the show “the chance to end well.” Six seasons is a nice run.

How will the show end?

The timeline of the series has a big cataclysm ahead. The show is set in 1983. The USSR falls a few years later. Nobody anticipated that in real life – the USSR looked strong right up until when it broke apart. The characters on the show are starting to get disgusted with leaders in Moscow they perceive as unreliable. Of course, this has no parallel to real-life events in 2016 America.