James Brown died yesterday. “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” was also known as “The Godfather of Soul.” And both sobriquets were well-deserved, at the very least. James Brown delivered the funk long before Berry Gordy made Motown into a household word. And James Brown rocked my world by opening up new musical horizons for me around 1958 or so. That was the year I first heard “Please, Please, Please” on an all-black radio station in
RIP, James. And thank you.
Here’s a bit of good news: Court Upholds Saddam’s Death Sentence.
"From tomorrow, any day could be the day of implementation," chief judge Aref Abdul-Razzaq al-Shahin said at a news conference in
Rumor has it Iraqis are lining up for the privilege of being Saddam’s hangman. The story is behind the NYT’s TimesSelect wall, but Hey!...I believe it. Maybe there will be a lottery…
And here’s Good News and Bad News…British Soldiers Storm Iraqi Jail, Citing Torture.
BAGHDAD, Dec. 25 — Hundreds of British and Iraqi soldiers assaulted a police station in the southern city of Basra on Monday, killing seven gunmen, rescuing 127 prisoners from what the British said was almost certain execution and ultimately reducing the facility to rubble.
When the combined British and Iraqi force of 1,400 troops gained control of the station, it found the prisoners being held in conditions that a British military spokesman, Maj. Charlie Burbridge, described as “appalling.” More than 100 men were crowded into a single cell, 30 feet by 40 feet, he said, with two open toilets, two sinks and just a few blankets spread over the concrete floor.
A significant number showed signs of torture. Some had crushed hands and feet, Major Burbridge said, while others had cigarette and electrical burns and a significant number had gunshot wounds to their legs and knees.
The fetid dungeon was another example of abuses by the Iraqi security forces. The discovery highlighted the continuing struggle to combat the infiltration of the police and army by militias and criminal elements — even in a Shiite city like
Residents said that people were afraid to challenge the officers because they were backed by powerful militia groups, including the Mahdi Army, which is led by the rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr, though the extent of his control is unclear.
The good news, of course, is the effectiveness of al-Sadr’s murderous militia and accompanying death squads have been reduced, if not eliminated. The bad news is that al-Sadr himself still holds significant power. If ever anyone needed killin’…it’s that SOB al-Sadr.
I’ve been playing with the format of the blog over the last couple of days, moving to a new template (“Minima-stretched”) and fine-tuning a few other thingies. The objective is to make the blog more readable and user-friendly. Have I succeeded, or are the changes a step backwards? Enquiring minds wanna know…