Dec 052014
 

A few days ago I made the statement that all police should be equipped with body cameras, as a solution to the spate of police murders perpetrated against black men and children.  When I’m wrong, I say so.  Now we can see that, even if we have clear video, justice will STILL not be done.

1205eric-garnerHundreds of protesters took to the streets across New York City and in other cities Wednesday evening after a Staten Island grand jury said it would not indict a white police officer in the death of a black man, a decision that prompted Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to announce the opening of a federal civil rights investigation.

The grand jury declined to bring charges­ in the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Staten Island man who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in an apparent chokehold during an arrest.

The decision struck many protesters as a chilling and frustrating repetition of events in Ferguson, Mo., where a grand jury last month said it would not indict the white officer who killed Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old. The Brown case ignited waves of protests and a national debate over the treatment that African American men receive at the hands of law enforcement officers…

Inserted from <Washington Post>

There is little doubt as to what happened.  I passer by recorded it with his cell phone.

Any standard issue Mark II eyeball should be clear about that.

Chris Hayes and his panel discussed the background, the meaning, and the demonstrations.

If you can’t see it here, try the direct MSNBC link.  If that doesn’t work you can watch it on YouTube.

This reminds me of an incident that happened here in Portland in 1985.  It also shows just how blatant polics were in their lack of respect for human life and civilian authority over them

1205specialsection83Then Greg Cavic, a Shell gas-station attendant bearing a spooky resemblance to Kato Kaelin, walked over and started arguing with Stevenson. By the time police arrived, Cavic and Stevenson’s dispute had grown heated enough that Officer Bruce Pantley stepped between them. To this day, exactly what happened next remains a mystery. But the upshot was that Officer Gary Barbour put Stevenson in a "sleeper hold" for 15 seconds, and Stevenson’s heart stopped beating. None of the officers administered CPR, and Stevenson was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby emergency room.

That Barbour and Pantley overreacted was clear. So, too, was their violation of police rules that called for officers to apply CPR following use of the sleeper hold.

But the incident posed larger questions: Would the officers have reacted the same way if Stevenson had been white?

When District Attorney Michael Schrunk called a highly unusual public inquest, many questioned whether the panel would be anything more than a whitewash.

Against this backdrop of tragedy, two officers spat in the face of a city trying to grapple with these questions. On the very day Stevenson was buried, officers Richard Montee and Paul Wickersham sold as many as 30 T-shirts in the East Precinct parking lot, depicting a smoking gun and emblazoned with the slogan "Don’t Choke ‘Em, Smoke ‘Em.”

The black community was outraged… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Willamette Week>

Click through for an excellent article.

Clearly cameras will not be enough.  The prosecutors who depend on police for their career advancement need to be removed from the loop.

I did take a quick peek at the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise.  Their take is that Garner was the only guilty one.

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Dec 052014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 30. My COPD is still acting up.  Tomorrow is a grocery delivery day and an O2 delivery day.  I may be scarce.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:18 (average 5:17).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

One can only imagine Hooks Independent School District board member Chris Harris won’t be working for the district much longer after he posted the image above. The image has rightfully garnered a lot of attention, not the kind Mr. Harris was likely hoping for when he posted it.

He’s since apologized, but it may be too late:

Harris posted messages saying in part that he realizes what he posted was inappropriate and offended people. He went on to say he’s deeply sorry and not a racist.

According to Superintendent Thompson, Harris’ future with the school district  will be up to the school board members.

"They govern me. That is who I answer to," said Thompson. "They govern each other. It is in their hands."

That Republican is not a racist. The Pope is not Catholic. Bears never, ever shit in the woods.

From The New Yorker: On the heels of an initiative to provide police departments with body cameras, there is growing support for a plan to supply grand-jury members with eyes, advocates for the plan said on Wednesday.

“Body cameras are an important part of the solution,” said Harland Dorrinson, who is lobbying Washington to equip grand juries with the sense of sight. “But I strongly believe that if you take video evidence and add eyes, the combination would be unstoppable.”

Some critics of Dorrinson’s proposal say that it does not go far enough, and that in order to process information sent from their eyes grand juries would also need to be fitted with working brains.

For once I disagree with Andy. When Grand Jurors make garbage decisions, it’s because prosecutors feed them garbage.

From NY Times: A federal appeals court on Wednesday struck down a 2011 Florida law requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare benefits even if they are not suspected of drug use, a measure pushed by Gov. Rick Scott in his first term in office.

The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled that the law, one of the strictest in the country, was an unreasonable search because Florida officials had failed to show a “substantial need” to test all people who applied for welfare benefits. Applicants were required to submit to urine tests, a measure that Mr. Scott said would protect children of welfare applicants by ensuring that their parents were not buying and using drugs.

“The state has not demonstrated a more prevalent, unique or different drug problem among TANF applicants than in the general population,” the panel said in its unanimous decision, using an acronym for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Rick Scott is going to hate this because he founded the company getting rich off of doing the drug testing.  He claims he no longer owns it, which is true.  Now, his wife does.

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Nov 292014
 

While most of our attention has been focused on Fitzgerald, Police in Cleveland have murdered a black child, Tamir Rice.  The surveillance video covering the scene makes it crystal clear that the account of the killing by the police could not be true.  They did not even have the decency to try to save Tamir’s life.

1129TamirRiceThe Cleveland officers who shot a 12-year-old boy holding a toy gun then failed to give him first aid for nearly four minutes. The boy was finally administered first aid when a detective and FBI agent arrived at the scene.

But it was too late. The boy, Tamir Rice, died after being transported to the hospital.

According to newly surveillance video, Rice was shot by the officers within two seconds of their arrival at the scene.

A department spokesman told a local ABC station he “was unsure of the policy related to how and when officers are required to provide medical assistance.” The officers’ conduct is “under investigation.”…

Inserted from <Think Progress>

When searching from a picture of Tamir, this one above appears to be the most common, but I could not help noticing that on Republican websites, it had been altered to make his skin appear darker.

Here is the complete surveillance video of the incident.

First of all the video makes it clear that Tamir was just a child playing in a park next to a youth center.  I certainly played that way when I was a child.  Note that he respected the man in the gazebo, did not threaten him, and did not even enter that space until after the man had left.

Note that when the police arrived, the officer jumped out of the car and killed him immediately.  There was no time for police to have issued the warning that they claim they did.

Lawrence O’Donnell covered this aspect of the story in detail.

The person who translated the incoming call to what the dispatcher said should be immediately fired.  Nevertheless, failure to communicate that the caller thought it was a kid and that the gun might be a toy does not justify the failure of the responding officers to even try to investigate before killing Tamir.

There could be no way that the police are telling the truth.  My guess is that the rookie didn’t want to be a “cherry”, a term some police use to describe an officer who has never shot anyone.  Worse, he may have wanted to become a “gorilla hunter”, a term some white police officers use.

Now that you have seen the proof with your own eyes, you will know how to deal with the Republican fabrication that will surround the incident to justify this murder.

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Nov 292014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 24.  It’s evening.  I did my research this morning, while the Macy’s Parade passed under my window.  Everyone in the parade was bundled against the cold and the rain.  The wind prevented any balloons.  Of all the parades that have passed under my window, this kept moving the fastest.  My COPD is acting up as another winter storm comes in.  Snow is forecast for tomorrow.  I cleaned up the mess and took a coupled long cat naps.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:09 (average 4:07).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Oh, no. According to a press release from the Supreme Court:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a coronary catheterization procedure this morning at MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center to place a stent in her right coronary artery. The coronary blockage was discovered after Justice Ginsburg experienced discomfort during routine exercise last night and was taken to the hospital. She is resting comfortably and is expected to be discharged in the next 48 hours.

My hopes and prayers are that she regains her full health. From a selfish perspective, I can easily see Republicans holding the Court to 3 Justices and 5 Injustices rather than confirm even a anyone left of a fascist goose-stepper. That would be horrible!

From NY Times: Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency announced proposed regulations to curb emissions of ozone, which causes smog, not to mention asthma, heart disease and premature death. And you know what happened: Republicans went on the attack, claiming that the new rules would impose enormous costs.

There’s no reason to take these complaints seriously, at least in terms of substance. Polluters and their political friends have a track record of crying wolf. Again and again, they have insisted that American business — which they usually portray as endlessly innovative, able to overcome any obstacle — would curl into a quivering ball if asked to limit emissions. Again and again, the actual costs have been far lower than they predicted. In fact, almost always below the E.P.A.’s predictions.

So it’s the same old story. But why, exactly, does it always play this way? Of course, polluters will defend their right to pollute, but why can they count on Republican support? When and why did the Republican Party become the party of pollution?

For it wasn’t always thus. The Clean Air Act of 1970, the legal basis for the Obama administration’s environmental actions, passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 73 to 0, and was signed into law by Richard Nixon.

Click through for the rest of this excellent Paul Krugman editorial, in which he relates climate change denial to the growing inequality between the super-rich and us, upon whom they prey.

From Upworthy: ProPublica recently did an in-depth analysis and found that black kids between ages 15-19 are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by cops than white kids of the same age. That’s an insane statistic. That’s per capita, not total. If you are a black teenage boy, you have a 21x higher risk of being shot by police than a white teenage boy.

Also, in 2010, federal prosecutors took 162,000 cases to a grand jury. You know how many DIDN’T go to trial? Eleven.

Mike Brown’s family will never get a state criminal trial to get justice for their son. And the testimony that denied them that right technically doesn’t make any sense. Seriously, go read it.

Police have a hard job. What they do is something I couldn’t ever do. But you know what they rarely have? Accountability. In this case, the prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, always gets indictments — unless it’s a cop. He’s had five cop-involved killing cases and zero indictments. Again, five cases against police haven’t made it to trial at all. He could get an indictment if he wanted one.

Click through for much more information about this police murder and prosecutor cover up. On a related topic, the criminal acts of Wilson does not invalidate the excellent public service delivered my most police officers. Similarly, the acts of a few thugs and criminals, who are using the protests as an occasion to destroy and loot, does not invalidate the message of the protestors, the vast majority of whom are non-violent.

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Nov 262014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, Day 21.  This is my only article.  I have to leave early and meet my ride to prison several miles away to avoid the Ferguson protests.  Tomorrow the cooking begins.

Excellent meeting.  Exhausted.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:24 (average 5:58).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

12Scores

That was a last minute shock! :-(

Standings:

12Standings

There are only two weeks left before our playoffs begin.  Can I toast the toester?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: From NPR station KCUR:

Although gay and lesbian couples are getting married in at least 24 Kansas counties, Gov. Sam Brownback won’t allow any state recognition of the unions.

Brownback said Thursday that he won’t offer any of the benefits heterosexual couples get, such as name changes on a driver’s license or employee benefits for gay and lesbian state workers.

“There is still considerable legal ambiguity on the topic of same-sex marriage,” said Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokeswoman. “Once that ambiguity is gone, the governor will direct state agencies to comply with applicable laws.”

When the Supreme Court refused to extend the temporary stay, he said [pseudo-Christians delinked]:

I swore an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Kansas. I will review this ruling with the attorney general and see how best we continue those efforts.

In other words: Marriage discrimination now, marriage discrimination tomorrow, marriage discrimination forever!

Is it realistic to think he is impeachable? This is the Theocracy that the idiots who elected him want.

From NY Times: Months of anger and frustration, in the end, led only to more anger and frustration.

Shops were looted and burned on Ferguson’s main street. There were smoke bombs, tear gas, thrown rocks and random gunshots. In Ferguson, the aftermath of the shooting death of Michael Brown was almost as bitter and hollow as his killing itself.

Brien Redmon, 31, stood in the cold watching a burning police car and sporadic looting after the announcement that there would be no indictments for Mr. Brown’s death at 18.

While I cannot support rioting, I understand the outrage. Even here, a major demonstration is planned. I lave to leave early and meat my ride to prison five miles away from my home, because the march will be under my window. I almost wish I weren’t going.

From Upworthy: How we treat individuals with disabilities is often colored by how we perceive them and the judgments we make upon first meeting someone with a disability. For this woman, that includes being thought of as a 2-year-old when she’s actually a college student who’s smart as a whip and just happens to have a physical disability. It doesn’t make her less than "normal."

 

One word: Kudos

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Nov 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 194.  This is the only article, because I’m completely worn out, after a long difficult week.  I spent most of the day resting, but I’ve reached the point where I’m too tired to sleep well.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:54 (average 5:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Eric M. Frein, the fugitive accused of killing one state trooper and seriously wounding another in an ambush, was captured Thursday and brought back to the barracks near Scranton, Pa., where his seven-week flight from the law began.

Mr. Frein surrendered to federal marshals who found him hiding out in an abandoned airport in the Poconos Mountains, ending an intense manhunt that began Sept. 12, officials said in a news conference late Thursday. The marshals turned him over to the Pennsylvania State Police, who placed him in the slain trooper’s handcuffs and patrol car.

I’m no fan of this Eric Frein. I even gave him the dishonor of of a parade. Now that he is in custody, I can already see the move to convict him in the minds of all potential jurors to prepare him for execution. Even the extreme right media, like Faux Noise, has stopped singing his praises. I object to this, because even a Republican terrorist has a right to a fair trial.  Now that he is no longer a threat, his life should be preserved. I know more than one prisoner, who has done far worse and will never breathe free air, that have found some redemption in helping other prisoners. Taking vengeance on this man brings us all down to his level.

From The New Yorker: President Obama is coming under increasing pressure to apologize for a controversial remark that he made on Tuesday, in which he said that the nation’s Ebola policy should be based on facts rather than fear.

While the anti-fear tenor of Mr. Obama’s comment was offensive enough to some, the President made matters worse by suggesting that science would play the leading role in guiding the nation’s Ebola protocols—a role that many Americans believe should be played by fear.

Across the country, Democratic candidates have sought to distance themselves from the President’s incendiary statement, especially in states like North Carolina, where science and facts have record-low approval ratings.

Andy sadly notes that when Republicans mount absurd, racist attacks, many Democratic candidates cower in shameful fear. Grow a pair of Obamaballs!

From Daily Kos: Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945, elected as our President four times back when that sort of thing was legal (http://en.wikipedia.org/…).  As such, he led us out of the Great Depression with his New Deal reforms, and he eventually led us into World War II. 

Again, please note:  This is the Democratic President whose reforms allowed us to recover from the Great Depression.  I think that may make him the foremost economic expert of all time.

In 1944, at a time when you might think his State of the Union address would focus only on our ongoing fight in World War II, the "deadliest military conflict in history"

(http://en.wikipedia.org/…), astonishingly FDR spoke of much more.  He addressed the vital nature of America’s economic security, and proposed a new Economic Bill of Rights.  These rights are so vital that they resonate today as we face losing them, and I hope their consideration will strengthen your resolve to vote.

 

He had it right way back then. Think where we could be had Republicans not put transferring our wealth to the 0.1% in the way of FDR’s moral goals and adopted seditious tactics.

Cartoon:

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And YOURS!

Get Out the VOTE!!!

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Oct 012014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 163.  It’s a busy day, and I have much to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:46 (average 5:43).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own fantasy football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

4Scores

Standings:

4Standings

Since my best players have returned from a bye week, I hope to do better.

Short Takes:

From Rolling Stone (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): [T]he enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP. Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and aim to spend another $290 million to elect Republicans in this year’s midterms. So far in this cycle, Koch-backed entities have bought 44,000 political ads to boost Republican efforts to take back the Senate.

What is less clear is where all that money comes from. Koch Industries is headquartered in a squat, smoked-glass building that rises above the prairie on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas. The building, like the brothers’ fiercely private firm, is literally and figuratively a black box. Koch touts only one top-line financial figure: $115 billion in annual revenue, as estimated by Forbes. By that metric, it is larger than IBM, Honda or Hewlett-Packard and is America’s second-largest private company after agribusiness colossus Cargill. The company’s stock response to inquiries from reporters: "We are privately held and don’t disclose this information."

But Koch Industries is not entirely opaque. The company’s troubled legal history – including a trail of congressional investigations, Department of Justice consent decrees, civil lawsuits and felony convictions – augmented by internal company documents, leaked State Department cables, Freedom of Information disclosures and company whistle­-blowers, combine to cast an unwelcome spotlight on the toxic empire whose profits finance the modern GOP…

Click through for the rest of this inclusive exposé on the evil brothers Republicans love to … nevermind.

From Slate (Hat-Tip Daily Kos): Many of the police officers present during protests that followed the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, did not wear nametags and refused to identify themselves to members of the public when asked, a practice that is prohbited by law in some places and by department policy in many others. Per a Department of Justice letter sent to Ferguson police on Tuesday, Ferguson officers are in fact required to wear identification by the department’s own regulations. The DOJ instructed officers to begin following this requirement immediately. From Reuters: 

… the Justice Department said its investigators had observed Ferguson police officers not wearing, or obscuring, their name tags on their uniforms, a violation of the police department’s rules.

"The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity," the letter said.

The Justice Department then reiterated the identification requirement in a second letter to Ferguson police (whose main purpose was demanding that officers stop wearing "I Am Darren Wilson" solidarity bracelets):

It further was reported to us that some officers affirmatively displaying these bracelets had black tape over their name plates. The practice of not wearing, or obscuring, name plates violates your own department’s policies, which we advised you earlier this week when we requested that you end the practice imrnediately.

The second letter is dated Friday.

Indict the pigs! (I use this not a generic term for police officers, but an insult to these racists, who should not be wearing the uniform.)

From NY Times: The Supreme Court on Monday blocked an appeals court ruling that would have restored seven days of early voting in Ohio.

The Supreme Court’s order was three sentences long and contained no reasoning. But it disclosed an ideological split, with the court’s four more liberal members noting that they would have denied the request for a stay of the lower court’s order extending early voting. Dale Ho, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the court’s action “will deprive many Ohioans of the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election as this case continues to make its way through the courts.”

The ruling, which reflected a partisan breakdown in many court decisions nationwide on voting issues, saw the five Republican-appointed justices uphold the voting restrictions enacted by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature in February. The new limits removed the first week of Ohio’s 35-day early voting period, in the process eliminating the only week that permitted same-day registration, a feature most often used by minorities.

The Fascist Five Injustices of SCROTUS (Republican Constitutional VD) just took another bite out of Democracy. Only Democrats can occupy the White House until these totalitarian bastards are gone!

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