Manfort’s sentence is not too lenient

The fact that other people who commit less serious crimes get harsher sentences doesn’t necessarily mean Manafort’s sentence was not harsh enough.

Manafort, only one of the many criminals in Trump’s circle, was sentenced to only 47 months in jail by a conservative judge who went way below the sentencing guidelines. manafort-mug-verticalManafort still has another sentencing hearing coming up with another judge who can slap more time onto the end of that sentence, so he’s probably going to die in jail one way or another.

But let’s use this time to talk about sentences in America. I don’t think Manafort’s sentence is too lenient. I think most other sentences are too harsh.

We put too many people in jail for too long in America, and especially for nonviolent crimes. America has more people in jail than any other country, including countries that are run by dictators. It costs us a huge amount of money (that the for-profit jails love) and doesn’t prevent recidivism.

There are other options. Home monitoring, community service, long periods of supervised probation.

Somehow the rest of the world seems to understand this.

Sentences for nonviolent crimes should have less prison time. Manafort’s sentence should be the norm instead of the aberration.

Why Cohen is telling the truth (this time)

GOP: Cohen is a convicted liar! You can’t believe a word he says!

Us: And what was the lie he told in the past that got him convicted?

GOP: Well, um, the lie that said Trump was completely innocent.

Us: Thank you.

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I’ve represented some pretty sleazy clients who realized life would be better for them if they came clean and spoke truthfully.

It didn’t mean they were no longer sleazy.

Cohen has no reason to lie and every reason to tell the truth, but that doesn’t make him a good guy.

When Cohen first testified and lied under oath, the GOP praised him and supported him. Now that he’s been convicted of doing so and has no reason to lie any more and lots of reasons to tell the truth, the GOP is attacking him as a terrible liar

Proving once more that these people stand for nothing except whatever is in their own personal interest.

The Best of Peter Tork

While other young boys wanted to be spacemen or firefighters, I wanted to be in a band just like the Monkees. I’d write music and have wacky adventures. That was my fantasy.

I taught myself how to play a passable guitar and piano and later was in a number of bands (playing bass), writing and performing my own songs. Never had that many wacky adventures, though…

About a year ago, I teamed up with popular culture historian Mark Arnold and wrote a book about the Monkees’ music, which was published by Bear Manor Media.Monkees cover

So you can guess that Peter Tork’s death yesterday was a blow to my childhood. It wasn’t completely unexpected — he had stayed out of public for the last year for undisclosed medical reasons. Still, it hits you.

I can go into detail about his career but there are plenty of places where you can read that. I’ll just point out that Peter was the most talented musician of the group, and was very frustrated by the fact that he thought he had been hired to be in a television band but they didn’t allow him to play on any of the records (at first). Later, his keyboard playing especially made a big difference to the songs (see “Daydream Believer,” “Randy Scouse Git” and “The Girl I Knew Somewhere” and notice how important the keys are to those songs).

He was not the best singer and not the best songwriter. Still, he wrote a few really great songs for the Monkees. Let’s review:

FOR PETE’S SAKE was the song he wrote that got used as the closing theme to the show the second year. Peter plays the distinctive guitar riff that opens the song. You all know this one:  “In this generation…”

CAN YOU DIG IT? was a wonderful hippie anthem that was part of the Monkees’ film “Head.”

Also from “Head” is LONG TITLE: DO I HAVE TO DO THIS ALL OVER AGAIN? (and now you get the title of our book, too). Peter gets to sing on this one!

Later, during one of the Monkees reunions, he wrote GETTIN’ IN, an 80s pop ballad that would have fit right in with “Ghostbusters” and “Pop Musik” had it been released as a single.

Around this same time, he had a great song called MGBGT, but there’s only live versions of the Monkees performing it.

He wrote more, but these are my favorites.

So here’s to Peter! (And if you want to read more about the Monkees’ music, I have a suggestion…)