rubin hurricane carter

Prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter Dies at 76

Rubin Hurricane Carter
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, left, knocks out Italian boxer Fabio Bettini in the 10th and last round of their fight at the Falais Des Sports in Paris, Feb. 23, 1965. AP

The middleweight title contender, whose murder convictions became an international symbol of racial injustice and who inspired a Bob Dylan song and an Oscar-nominated Hollywood film starring Denzel Washington, died Sunday at age 76

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter never surrendered hope of regaining his freedom, not even after he was convicted of a triple murder, then convicted again and abandoned by many prominent supporters.

For 19 long years, the prizefighter was locked in a prison cell far away from the spotlight and the adulation of the boxing ring. But when he at last won his biggest fight — for exoneration — he betrayed little bitterness. Instead, Carter dedicated much of his remaining life to helping other prisoners and exposing other injustices.

The middleweight title contender, whose murder convictions became an international symbol of racial injustice and inspired a Bob Dylan song and a Hollywood film, died Sunday. He was 76.

The New Jersey native, who had suffered from prostate cancer, died in his sleep at his home in Toronto, said John Artis, his former co-defendant and longtime friend and caregiver.

Carter “didn’t have any bitterness or anger — he kind of got above it all. That was his great strength,” said Thom Kidrin, who became friends with Carter after visiting him several times in prison.

The boxer, a former petty criminal, became an undersized 160-pound contender and earned his nickname largely on his ferocity and punching power.

Although never a world champion, Carter went 27-12-1 with 19 knockouts, memorably stopping two-division champ Emile Griffith in the first round in 1963. He also fought for a middleweight title in 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.

But his boxing career came to an abrupt end when he was imprisoned for three 1966 murders committed at a tavern in Paterson, N.J. He was convicted in 1967 and again in 1976 before being freed in 1985, when his convictions were thrown out after years of appeals. He then became a prominent public advocate for the wrongfully convicted from his new home in Canada.

His ordeal and its racial overtones were publicized in Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.

In a statement issued Sunday, Washington praised Carter’s “tireless fight to ensure justice for all.”

Carter and Artis had been driving around Carter’s hometown on the night that three white people were shot by two black men at the Lafayette Bar and Grill. They were convicted by an all-white jury largely on the testimony of two thieves who later recanted their stories.

Carter was granted a new trial and briefly freed in 1976, but he was sent back for nine more years after being convicted in a second trial.

“I wouldn’t give up,” Carter said in an interview in 2011 on PBS. “No matter that they sentenced me to three life terms in prison. I wouldn’t give up. Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people … found me guilty did not make me guilty. And because I was not guilty, I refused to act like a guilty person.”

Dylan, a boxing aficionado, became aware of Carter’s plight after reading the fighter’s autobiography. He met Carter and co-wrote “Hurricane,” which he performed on his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975. The song concludes: “That’s the story of the Hurricane/But it won’t be over till they clear his name/And give him back the time he’s done/Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been/The champion of the world.”

Muhammad Ali and Coretta Scott King spoke out on Carter’s behalf. Other celebrities also worked toward his release, joined by a network of friends and volunteers.

Carter eventually won his freedom from U.S. District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who wrote that the boxer’s prosecution had been “predicated upon an appeal to racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.”

Born on May 6, 1937, into a family of seven children, Carter struggled with a hereditary speech impediment and was sent to a juvenile reform center at 12 after an assault. He escaped and joined the Army in 1954 and learned to box while in West Germany.

After returning home, he committed a series of muggings and spent four years in various state prisons. Upon his release, he began his pro boxing career, winning 20 of his first 24 fights mostly by knockout.

At 5-foot-8, Carter was fairly short for a middleweight, but he was aggressive and threw waves of punches. His shaved head and menacing glower gave him an imposing ring presence but also contributed to a forbidding aura outside the ring. He was quoted as joking about killing police officers in a 1964 story in the Saturday Evening Post, which was later cited by Carter as a cause of his troubles with law enforcement.

Carter boxed regularly on television at Madison Square Garden and overseas in London, Paris and Johannesburg. Although his career appeared to be on a downswing before he was implicated in the murders, the 29-year-old fighter was hoping for a second middleweight title shot.

Carter defied his prison guards from the first day of his incarceration and spent time in solitary confinement because of it.

“When I walked into prison, I refused to wear their stripes,” Carter said. “I refused to eat their food. I refused to work their jobs, and I would have refused to breathe the prison’s air if I could have done so.”

Carter eventually wrote and spoke eloquently about his plight, publishing his autobiography, “The Sixteenth Round,” in 1974. Benefit concerts were held for his legal defense featuring Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Roberta Flack.

Although many of his celebrity friends abandoned the cause after his second conviction and an allegation of assault during his brief release, other advocates worked tirelessly on his behalf, culminating in Sarokin’s ruling and two subsequent failed prosecutorial appeals to have the convictions reinstated. Each year on the anniversary Sarokin’s decision, Carter called the judge to thank him.

After his release, Carter moved to Toronto, where he served as the executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted from 1993 to 2005. He received two honorary doctorates for his work.

Canadian director Norman Jewison made Carter’s story into a biographical film. Washington worked closely with Carter to capture the boxer’s transformation and redemption.

“He’s all love,” Washington said while onstage with Carter at the 2000 ceremony where he won a Golden Globe. “He lost about 7,300 days of his life, and he’s love.”

The makers of “The Hurricane,” however, were widely criticized for factual inaccuracies and glossing over other parts of Carter’s story, including his criminal past and a reputation for a violent temper. Giardello sued the film’s producers for its depiction of a racist fix in his victory over Carter, who had long acknowledged that Giardello deserved the win.

Artis said Carter will be cremated and didn’t want a funeral or any memorial. Artis has been taking care of him since 2011.

“He was a champion of the underdog,” he said. “He was like the David against the Goliath of the justice system.”

Kidrin spoke with Carter on Wednesday.

“He said, ‘You know, look, death’s coming. I’m ready for it. But it’s really going to have to take me because I’m positive to the end.’”

 

South Korea ferry

Transcript Reveals Confusion Over Ferry Evacuation

JINDO, South Korea (AP) — The South Korean ferry that sank was crippled by confusion and indecision well after it began listing, a radio transcript released Sunday showed, suggesting the chaotic situation may have added to a death toll that could eventually exceed 300.

About 30 minutes after the Sewol began tilting, a crew member asked a marine traffic controller whether passengers would be rescued if they abandoned ship off South Korea’s southern coast. The crew member posed the question three times in succession.

That followed several statements from the ship that people aboard could not move and another in which someone declared that it was “impossible to broadcast” instructions.

Many people followed the captain’s initial order to stay below deck, where it is feared they remain trapped. Fifty-nine bodies have been recovered, and about 240 people are still missing.

“Even if it’s impossible to broadcast, please go out and let the passengers wear life jackets and put on more clothing,” an unidentified official at Jindo Vessel Traffic Services Center urged at 9:24 a.m. Wednesday, 29 minutes after the ferry first reported trouble, according to the transcript released by South Korea’s coast guard.

“If this ferry evacuates passengers, will you be able to rescue them?” the unidentified crew member asked.

“At least make them wear life rings and make them escape!” the traffic-center official responded.

“If this ferry evacuates passengers, will they be rescued right away?” the crew member asked again.

“Don’t let them go bare — at least make them wear life rings and make them escape!” the traffic official repeated. “The rescue of human lives from the Sewol ferry … the captain should make his own decision and evacuate them. We don’t know the situation very well. The captain should make the final decision and decide whether you’re going to evacuate passengers or not.”

“I’m not talking about that,” the crew member said. “I asked, if they evacuate now, can they be rescued right away?”

The traffic official then said patrol boats would arrive in 10 minutes, though another civilian ship was already nearby and had told controllers that it would rescue anyone who went overboard.

The ferry sank with 476 people on board, many of them students from a single high school. The cause of the disaster is not yet known, but prosecutors have said the ship made a sharp turn before it began to list. Several crew members, including the captain, have been arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning passengers.

More than 170 people survived the sinking of the Sewol, which had been on its way from the South Korean port city of Incheon to the southern island of Jeju. The captain took more than half an hour to issue an evacuation order, which several passengers have said they never heard.

The confirmed death toll jumped over the weekend after divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel and quickly discovered more than a dozen bodies. They had been hampered for days by strong currents, bad weather and low visibility.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that another body was recovered early Monday near the sunken ship.

Families of the missing are staying on Jindo Island, where information sheets taped to the walls of a gymnasium offered details to help identify any corpses, including gender, height, length of hair and clothing.

It was too little for Lee Joung-hwa, a friend of a crew member who is among the missing.

“If only they could have made some kind of image of the person’s face. Who can tell who this person is just by height and weight?” Lee said.

A woman with a blue baseball cap shouted at government officials who were seated nearby, working at their desks. “I can’t live like this! I’m so anxious!” she yelled. “How can I trust the police?”

Anguished families, fearful they might be left without even their loved ones’ bodies, vented rage Sunday over the government’s handling of the crisis.

About 100 relatives attempted a long protest march to the presidential Blue House in Seoul, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) to the north, saying they wanted to voice their complaints to President Park Geun-hye. They walked for about six hours before police officers in neon jackets blocked a main road.

“The government is the killer,” they shouted as they pushed against a police barricade.

“We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done,” said Lee Woon-geun, father of 17-year-old missing passenger Lee Jung-in. “They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others.”

Earlier Sunday, relatives of the missing blocked the car of Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and demanded a meeting with Park as Chung made a visit to Jindo. Chung later returned to the gymnasium, but met only with a number of representatives of the family members in a side office.

On Sunday evening, dozens of relatives who gathered at the port in Jindo surrounded the fisheries minister, Lee Ju-young. They shouted, swore, yelled threats and pushed him as he was on his way to a meeting with other officials.

Relatives are desperate to retrieve bodies before they decompose beyond recognition, Lee Woon-geun said.

“After four or five days, the body starts to decay. When it’s decayed, if you try to hold a hand, it might fall off,” he said. “I miss my son. I’m really afraid I might not get to find his body.”

The Sewol’s captain, Lee Joon-seok, 68, was arrested Saturday, along with one of the ship’s three helmsmen and the 25-year-old third mate. The third mate was steering at the time of the accident, in a challenging area where she had not steered before, and the captain said he was not on the bridge at the time.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said the third mate has refused to tell investigators why she made the sharp turn. Prosecutors have not named the third mate, but a fellow crew member identified her as Park Han-kyul.

As he was taken from court in Mokpo on Saturday, the captain explained his decision to wait before ordering an evacuation.

“At the time, the current was very strong, the temperature of the ocean water was cold,” Lee told reporters, describing his fear that passengers, even if they were wearing life jackets, could drift away “and face many other difficulties.”

He said rescue boats had not yet arrived, and there were no civilian vessels nearby.

animals

What’s This? Oh Nothing, Just a Llama Frolicking to DMX

The perfection of this video is gonna make us lose our minds, up in here, up in here

This is by FAR the most important thing that has ever happened on the Internet. Ever. It’s got two incredible ingredients: an adorable, prancing llama and the sweet, sweet melodies of DMX. They blend together to create the most magical concoction.

If you weren’t convinced that Vine really needed to exist, this has to change your mind.

Oh, yeah, make sure to turn the sound on.

You’re welcome.

Royal Family

Check Out Queen Elizabeth’s Fancy New Birthday Portrait

Queen Elizabeth II
This portrait of Queen Elizabeth II taken and made available on April 20, 2014, by British photographer David Bailey has been released to mark her 88th birthday on Monday April 21, 2014. The photograph was taken at Buckingham Palace in March and was commissioned on behalf of the British Government's GREAT Britain campaign. David Bailey—AP

The photographer sought to capture her 'kind eyes with a mischievous glint'

A new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has been released in honor of her 88th birthday, which falls on Monday, April 21. And if we may be so bold, she’s looking pretty great.

British photographer David Bailey took the simple black-and-white portrait at Buckingham Palace, the BBC reports. Bailey said he’s always been a big fan of the Queen.

“She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint,” Bailey said. “I’ve always liked strong women, and she is a very strong woman.”

Well, anyway — happy birthday, Queen Elizabeth! Most people hope to be treated like queens on their birthdays, but you already are one! Good job.

society

Watch Clippers Star Blake Griffin Dump Water All Over a Warriors Fan

Innocent mistake or act of vengeance?

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When the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin fouled out Saturday during his team’s first playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, he was, naturally, pretty unhappy. It appears he just might have taken out some of that frustration on a Warriors fans.

After watching the replay of the foul, Griffin threw his hands in the air — you know, that universal sign for “What the f–k man?” But he just so happened to be holding a cup of water, so he doused a Warriors fan standing behind him.

As Sports Illustrated points out, the man and his friend — both dressed in Warriors t-shirts — had cheered Griffin’s ejection, so he could have done this on purpose. But the fan, 22-year-old Will Meldman, suspects it was an accident.

Honestly, I think it fell out of his hand,” Meldman told Yahoo Sports. “He fouled out and he was frustrated, so it just fell out of his hand. It just slipped out.”

But Meldman’s friend, who was seated beside him the entire game, totally thinks Griffin’s move was intentional. We’ll never know for sure, so let’s all just keep watching the clip over and over:

 

 

Appreciation

Here Are 10 Things to Stream on Netflix for 4/20

From the funny to the awe-inspiring to the nostalgic: here's what to watch today

It’s 420, the national counterculture event that happens ever year on April 20th for marijuana users to celebrate their activity. Here’s a list of movies you might enjoy streaming today.

The Inexplicable Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson Science is awesome, so just sit back and let Neil deGrasse Tyson talk at you about the wonders of our universe.

Too Cute! This show is seriously nothing more than a bunch of cute puppies and kittens and other baby animals running around being cute. That’s it. You’re welcome.

Freaks and Geeks All of it. The whole season. Seriously, why not?

Blue Planet: Natural History of the Oceans Because isn’t the ocean just, like, so crazy when you think about it? Plus, huge bonus: this is narrated by David Attenborough, who is arguably the most pleasant-sounding human of all time.

Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive The Parks and Recreation actor’s latest stand-up special is hilarious, so prepare for some uncontrollable, pain-inducing laughter.

Good Burger Allow yourself to drift back to a simpler time: the 1990s.

The Twilight Zone Built for marathoning, this show will present you with endless questions you usually don’t take the time to ponder.

Coneheads Remember this movie? It’s about people whose heads are shaped like cones. Don’t over-think it.

Bob’s Burgers If you don’t already watch this show, now is a really great time to start. And if you already do watch it, go ahead and watch some old episodes again. You won’t regret it.

Marley Yeah, there’s a Bob Marley documentary on Netflix.

 

Bizarre

Did Apple Maps Just Find the Loch Ness Monster?

A mysterious image found on Apple Maps is "likely" evidence of the fabled Loch Ness monster in the Scottish Highlands, says a bunch of monster enthusiasts. Others note the picture resembles the wake of a boat

Apple is known for inventing the iPhone and revolutionizing personal technology, but now it is famous for solving one of the enduring mysteries of man’s encounters with the uncanny: it has found the Loch Ness monster.

Or so claim Loch Ness theorists, who point to a satellite image on Apple maps that shows a mysterious shape in the Scottish body of water where the famous monster is said to dwell, reports the Daily Mail.

The image appears to show a large ripple in the water, similar to the wake of a boat. But monster conspiracists see something else altogether. After a comprehensive analysis, enthusiasts at the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club have concluded that the figure is “likely” the fabled beast:

“It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing. You can see some boats moored at the shore, but there isn’t one here. We’ve shown it to boat experts and they don’t know what it is,” Club president Gary Campbell told the Mail. “Whatever this is, it is under the water and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie.”

The image was spotted by two people who noticed it at the end of last year on their phones, who said they were just perusing Apple maps when they found the mysterious image. The map image can only be seen on some iPads and iPhones and beamed by the Apple satellite map app.

So next time you’re on Apple maps, keep an eye out for the Yeti in your backyard.

[Daily Mail]

Marijuana

Whoopi Pens Column About How Much She Loves Weed

Tribeca Film Festival 2013 Portrait Studio - Day 1
Whoopi Goldberg at the Tribeca Film Festival 2013 portrait studio on April 17, 2013 in New York City. Larry Busacca—Getty Images

Writing for The Denver Post, Whoopi Goldberg describes her love affair with her vaporizer pen, which offers relief from severe headaches caused by her glaucoma and allows her to control the amount of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—she ingests

In a column for The Denver Post titled “My vape pen and I, a love story,” published Thursday, Whoopi Goldberg extols the virtues of marijuana and describes her close relationship with her vaporizer pen.

“The vape pen has changed my life. No, I’m not exaggerating. In fact, her name is Sippy. Yes, she’s a she. And yes, I named her Sippy because I take tiny, little sips — sassy sips, even — from her. And with each sip comes relief — from pressure, pain, stress, discomfort,” Goldberg writes. Her column appeared in the Colorado paper’s marijuana section, The Cannabist.

The vaporizer pen, she says, offers relief from severe headaches caused by her glaucoma and allows her to control the amount of THC—the active ingredient in marijuana—she ingests. She says she’s discrete when using the implement in places where medicinal marijuana is not legal.

Goldberg, who quit smoking cigarettes two years ago, says she tried smoking joints but found it too harsh—that’s when her daughter turned her on to the vaporizer.

“I took a sip. It was beautiful. And my pen and I have been together ever since.”

animals

Kittens Survive Accidentally Being Boxed Up and Shipped

It remains a mystery how two kittens wound up in a box full of fiberglass equipment shipped from Hollywood to Chula Vista, California. They are being nursed back to health at San Diego Humane Society

Two feisty black kittens with their umbilical cords still attached survived a 130-mile journey packed up in a sealed box full of fiberglass equipment earlier this week.

A Cox Communications warehouse worker found the siblings while unloading a delivery in Chula Vista, California that had recently arrived from Hollywood. The kittens were quickly shuttled to the San Diego Humane Society, where they are being nursed back to health. “We’re actually one of the only around the clock kitten nurseries in the country,” says Humane Society worker Kelly Schry.

While no one knows for sure how the kitties wound up on the semi, Humane Society Nurse Jenny Bonomini offered a plausible explanation to KGTV: “What we think happened was the mom had the babies and she put them in a safe spot … and she left. Then they got boxed up and they got shipped.”

Now named Mouse and Wifi, the fluffy kitties will be moved to a foster home in a few weeks, spayed and neutered, then put up for adoption. We’re pretty sure they won’t be orphans for long.

Food & Drink

Watch a Guy Eat 100 Peeps in about 2 Minutes

Happy Easter?

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In the most uncomfortable 2:10 of your day, watch this guy scarf down 100 pink and yellow Peeps shaped like chicks in a YouTube video produced by Matt Stonie, a competitive eater also known for inhaling four Chipotle burritos in three minutes. Then, if you celebrate Easter, see whether you feel like eating the Peeps in your basket on Sunday. (h/t Digg)

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