Documentary Review: Into the Abyss

 

October 24, 2001, Michael Perry and Jason Burkett went to the home of an acquaintance, Adam Stotler, to finagle their way into staying the night with the intention of stealing the Camaro in the garage. Adam’s mother, Sandra, told them he wasn’t home so Perry and Burkett murdered her. After dumping the body in a nearby lake, they returned to find Highland Ranch now locked. They waited at the gate until Adam arrived, then lured him and his friend, Jeremy Richardson, into the woods where they murdered them to get the remote to gain access back into the community so they could steal the Camaro. Sandra was 50 years old, Jeremy 18, and Adam 17.

In his documentary about the murders, Into the Abyss: A Tale of Life, a Tale of Death, Werner Herzog is upfront about his stance on the punishment handed to Perry. Interviewing Perry from behind bulletproof glass in a Livingston, TX, penitentiary, Herzog tells him, “[D]estiny, in a way, has dealt you a very bad deck of cards. It does not exonerate you and when I talk to you, it does not necessarily mean that I have to like you, but…you are a human being and I think human beings should not be executed.” Were decrying capital punishment Herzog’s aim, he does not go about it by minimizing the crimes of Perry and Burkett. The film journeys where the title promises it will.

Sandra Stotler, Adam Stotler.
Conveying the enormity of the crimes is achieved not by dwelling on the gruesome details of the act itself, though Herzog doesn’t shy from showing police footage of the crime scene where we see a rug placed to hide a pool of blood on the floor, though the wall and door frame are spattered. Most haunting is the kitchen counter across from a TV left on for days. Cookie dough sits in scoops on a sheet, an eggshell next to it, a cookbook cracked open nearby—it was a normal day. The interviews following this footage make apparent the actual toll of the murders. Lisa Stotler-Balloun, daughter and sister of the victims, tells how after Sandra’s body was found and Adam was still missing, she was alerted her brother had been admitted to the hospital, only to find out it was Michael Perry using Adam’s ID after he murdered him. She got rid of her phone. “All it ever brought me was bad news.” After agreeing Jesus probably wouldn’t have supported the death penalty, it’s no surprise she then questions His judgment on the matter.

More Covid-19 Insanity

 

This is one of the most bizarre and ridiculous displays of Covid-19 fear that I have seen. In order to protect students who sang or played in the band, Wenatchee School District High School put children in pods. They were intended to lessen the exposure to the virus. The fact that children are the least likely to contract or pass on the virus is irrelevant. Heaven help the kid with a sousaphone or anyone who is claustrophobic. Here is how this decision was explained:

‘Wenatchee has a history of ingenuity and creative problem-solving. The music pods are an innovative mitigation solution to allow music to continue safety in our schools despite the coronavirus pandemic,’ Diana Haglund, communications director for the Wenatchee School District, told the Washington Examiner. ‘Wenatchee has award-winning music programs from our nationally-recognized Mariachi, to our acclaimed Golden Apple Marching band and our outstanding choir. Based on restrictive Washington State Department of Health Theatre and Performing Arts COVID 19 requirements, Wenatchee music teachers developed a creative mitigation method using music pods to safely allow choir and music practice to resume at Wenatchee High School.’

‘Knapsacks Packed and Ready to Move Forward’: The Diary of Christopher Adams, 18th Mississippi Infantry

 

The grave of Christopher Adams in Rose Hill Cemetery, Meridian, Mississippi. (Findagrave.com)
In August 1927, Mrs. Henrietta Adams, age 76, filled out an application with the Lauderdale County Chancery Clerk to obtain a Confederate widow’s pension from the state of Mississippi. Her husband, Christopher Adams, had died in 1907, but his service as a soldier in the Confederate army made her eligible for the benefit.

Widows that sought a pension from the state were required to show proof that their husbands had served in the Civil War, and to meet this requirement, Mrs. Adams brought to the courthouse the diary kept by her spouse during the conflict. The Chancery Clerk looked over the manuscript and made a transcription of the first few pages of its contents, which he included with the pension application.

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…is a studio album this time. Ah, but who was in the studio? Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Curly Russel and Buddy Rich, though on a couple of tracks of the album there are different players on piano, bass, and drums, with Al Haig, Tommy Potter, and Max Roach replacing Monk, Russel, and Rich. […]

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A product of the pandemic, the first of our twin EPs. (“Spooky Action at a Distance” EP to follow soon.) Recorded by us, on locations in California and South Korea, herein are songs about a George Lazenby cargo cult, a hoedown on the Seoul metro, what you do when you discover your doppelgänger, and what […]

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(Part I and Part II here and here.) I read only a handful of books in 2020, but what I did read provided savory experiences that took me all over the world. The richest discovery I made last year was Gerald Durrell’s Corfu trilogy, of which I read My Family and Other Animals and Birds, […]

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Ive been thinking about this for a while, The discussion of the Maligned movies sparked me to post this… According to the Metacritic database there are only 8 perfect movies ever made… The list by the Metacritic is the usual suspects – and without looking you could probably guess 5 or 6 of them just […]

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…features Lester Young on tenor sax playing with the Oscar Peterson Trio. The trio consists of Peterson on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar, Ray Brown on bass and J.C. Heard on drums. Buddy Rich by the way was an admirer of Heard’s. Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio (Full Album) – YouTube Preview Open

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The Waco Siege: What Happened When the Feds Laid Siege to the Branch Davidian Compound

 

“The record of the Waco incident documents mistakes. What the record from Waco does not evidence, however, is any improper motive or intent on the part of law enforcement.”

The siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, is an important event in American history because it directly led to one of the biggest terrorist attacks on American soil – the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. It’s not necessary to defend this act of terrorism to understand why the entire freedom movement of the time was so incensed by it. Indeed, it stood as a symbol of federal overreach and the corruption of the Clinton Administration.

It’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the siege of Waco, just as it is important to do so with the siege of Ruby Ridge or the attack on the American consolate in Benghazi. With every event, it is important to stick to the facts and what can be extrapolated from them to make the strongest argument about what went wrong and why, and what could be done differently in the future.

Let’s Quit Fooling Around with the Minimum Wage

 

I propose that Amazon, Google, Walmart, Home Depot, Apple, Nike and any other large national corporation must pay their employees $300-an-hour, to include their janitorial staff. This would include the hot dog vendor at Dallas Mavericks games. Mark Cuban can afford it.

This would allow mom and pop businesses that will have to pay a government-mandated wage of $15-an-hour a chance to compete against the big guys. After all, that $200 hammer at Home Depot will not look as attractive as a $15 hammer at Pop’s Hardware store.

An Overdue Farewell to a Country Superstar

 

Country music fans of a certain generation probably consider 2020 to have been a pretty bad year. Other people on Ricochet have written about the passing of some of the giants, such as Charley Pride, Charlie Daniels, Joe Diffie, and Kenny Rogers. But only a few days ago I found out that K.T. Oslin died on December 21st last year. I suppose between Christmas and the never ending coverage of election and COVID news, there wasn’t much mention of K.T. Oslin’s passing.

Although K.T. had been in show business for a while (acting and writing songs for other people), she did not became a household name until she was 45 years old when her song “80’s Ladies” made her a star. It wasn’t a whole lot of years later that she retired from performing due to health problems. So although she did not make very many albums, they sure were good ones. Since there were so few albums, I reckon I’m going to go over my favorite tracks from each one and I invite fans to talk about their favorites in the comments.

Today on the show looks like the minimum wage is DOA, expanding vaccine distribution in Georgia, Mr. Potato Head has to change his pronouns or gender or something we aren’t sure, even progressives are starting to turn on teachers unions and the woke love to hate America.

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the Senate parliamentarian ruling that a minimum wage increase may not be included as part of the reconciliation process on a COVID relief bill. Jim updates the lingering problems as vaccines are being administered far slower than they are being produced. And they’re getting nervous as the last Senate Republican who could save the Neera Tanden nomination agrees to a one-on-one meeting with her.

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…features the Benny Goodman Orchestra- including Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa and Count Basie, among other greats. This concert was recorded live on January 16th, 1938 but the recording was not released until 1950. It was one of the first live concert recordings and the first jazz LP, first to jazz recording to sell over a […]

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Today on the show the pork in the covid spending bill, can’t say women are smart anymore, vaccine rates by state, Governor Kemp gives the latest on the vaccine and the Georgia’s economy and the lie picked around the media from Smith College.

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This is, I suppose, about as off-the-wall as a question can be, but my memory has once again failed me. Many many years ago I read a story, surely science fiction, wherein the author posited that the number of pleasing musical score had to be a finite number. As I recall, there was something in […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy hearing HHS nominee Xavier Becerra squirm as he insists he never sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, just the federal government for giving a contraception mandate exemption to the nuns. They also peel back the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and discuss the growing number of Democrats coming out to denounce him. And they hammer Amnesty International for removing its “prisoner of conscience” label for Russian political figure Alexei Navalny over comments Navalny made 15 years ago.