Tuesday Open Thread

Long day in Court today, which means an open thread for you. All topics welcome.

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    Maldives -- the other side of paradise (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Uncle Chip on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 08:20:50 AM EST
    In case you think you are (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 09:27:16 AM EST
    havong a bad day.  Try tuning into to the House "hearing" on the Secret Service and imagine being that poor woman.

    Not making excuses.  It was a major clusterf&ck.  actually more than one.  Still, how much fun can it be to be the whipping person of a bunch of ridiculous canting windbags who only care to the extent of the airtime it gives them.

    I will try (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:10:45 AM EST
    to remember this as the last couple of weeks have been pretty rough around my house

    Hope (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:19:51 AM EST
    the next couple are better

    Thanks (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:38:26 AM EST
    Me too

    Hope you're coming out the other side (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:42:14 AM EST
    and beginning to get back to normal.

    Whether it's a work thing or a family thing, I am not a big fan of crisis - never been much of an adrenaline junkie! - or even of waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

    I laugh about how boring my life is, but in reality, it's not so much boring I go for, but calm.  Some people think they are the same, but they're definitely not.  


    Not yet (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:38:54 AM EST
    But dealing with 21 year old boys is not for the faint of heart.

    Will keep you and your family in (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:54:07 AM EST
    my thoughts...

    Remember how we thought it was so hard when our kids were little?  How we thought it was just so stressful to be the mother of a 2-year old or a 5-year old?  I mean, it was hard, and it was stressful, for that time, but God, little did we know that one day, those baby/toddler years would seem so easy.  

    Years later, when my girls were teenagers, I realized that as trying as those younger phases of life were, at least we knew where they were and what they were doing...there's more terror in being a parent of a young adult than I ever dreamed.


    Thanks (none / 0) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:11:34 PM EST
    Yeah, the toddler years were quite a challenge but in a different way. :)

    ... and was both invincible and omnipotent. What could possibly go wrong? Well, lots of things, actually. I simply had yet to attain the life's experience that was necessary to realize it.

    Looking back at my life between ages 18 to 25 with some sense of perspective, I was remarkably headstrong but emotionally immature. I had so much (over-)confidence in my own abilities and charm that I had a very hard time accepting "No!" as an answer, which eventually led to a major meltdown on my part when personal rejection actually had the last laugh. (That's how I ended up in Hawaii. At age 25, I literally ran away from home.)

    I often wonder how my own mother ever put up with me during my insufferable years, but she did. So please hang in there, and have faith in your own incomparable abilities as a parent. Your boy's presently navigating uncharted waters as a young man, and I can definitely assure you that for some of us, it takes a while to gain our sea legs. Just because the law says that at 21 years of age, you're legally an adult, doesn't necessarily mean that you really ARE an adult.

    But just like in his early adolescence, I'm sure he'll eventually find himself and this phase too shall pass. And before you know it, he'll no doubt become someone of which you can be proud.

    I'm thinking good thoughts for you today. Aloha.


    Bahdges??? Bahdges??? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Uncle Chip on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 08:01:56 AM EST
    We don't got to show you no steeenking bahdges....

    Ferguson police still refusing to wear ID and ...

    The practice violates FPD rules.

    Rules??? Rules??? (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 09:05:27 AM EST
    We don't follow no stinkin' rules///

    They have been (none / 0) (#5)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 09:30:47 AM EST
    officially warned, in writing, by the AG of the U.S to not do that.  If there is more trouble and that is a factor there is gonna be some 'splainin to do.   And not to the feckless MO government.

    Twice warned in writing...and counting (none / 0) (#14)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:28:33 AM EST
    I can't really blame them when individuals (none / 0) (#55)
    by leftwig on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:33:09 PM EST
    are encouragaging violence against or threatening to kill police officers in the FPD.  Some cheered the recent reports of shootings of officers, so yeah, I can see why wearing around a name tag might not be in the best interest of me and my familiy.  As long as a badge number is displayed, that should be sufficient until things calm down.  Are badge numbers being displayed at all times in the FPD?  I don't know.

    Oh, boo hoo... (none / 0) (#57)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:47:55 PM EST
    if you can't blame them, I will: they brought this on themselves, so pardon me if I can't shed any tears for them now that the shoe's on the other foot.  How do they like being afraid to just go about their business?  

    If they're now afraid of retaliation, perhaps they should quit and find something else to do.

    Don't get me wrong: I am not advocating violence by anyone against anyone, and I'm reasonably certain there probably are some good, decent cops who shouldn't have to be paying the price for the actions of their fellow officers.  But don't ask me to feel sorry for them now that the chickens are coming home to roost.


    I'll admit when I'm wrong. I was sure Ernst (none / 0) (#8)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:40:17 AM EST
    would only find support with the bigoted fearful farmers of Steve King's district. I was wrong.

    DSM Register Poll: Ernst 44% Braley 38%

    Evidently the majority of statewide poll takers support her despite (or maybe because of):

    • her claims of personal secret knowledge about where Iraq hid their vast stores of WMD;
    • her claims that hordes of brown terrorists are pouring over our borders;
    • her claims that Obama is going to take our guns Any Day Now;
    • her claims that Obamacare is ruining the farm economy - in 2008;
    • her claims that the UN is taking away Iowa farmland and moving farmers into FEMA camps; etc.

    When I saw that it was a DSM poll, (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:50:27 AM EST
    all I could think was, well, of course - why wouldn't a poll sponsored by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) produce these kinds of results?

    But maybe you meant the DMR (Des Moines Register) poll, not the DSM poll...

    Although it may be a distinction without a difference.


    When I saw "Steve King's district" (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:56:38 AM EST
    all I could think of was the author of "Carrie." Couldn't figure out how he would be included in a political discussion...

    Ditto :) (none / 0) (#33)
    by nycstray on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:35:19 PM EST
    It's not just the Des Moines Register (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:09:37 AM EST
    It's several large models (and others who aren't mentioned in the article)...

    The models are also now in agreement -- unlike last week -- that Iowa's open seat tilts in state Sen. Joni Ernst's (R) favor albeit narrowly.  Election Lab shows Ernst with an 83 percent probability of winning but that looks like the outlier as Leo has it at 61 percent and FiveThirtyEight at 56 percent. (The Real Clear Politics poll of polls has Ernst up by two points over Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.)

    Don't like this as DSM are my very initials... (none / 0) (#18)
    by fishcamp on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:35:14 AM EST
    but thankfully that is not my name.

    Hey, you're right, my mistake. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Farmboy on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:42:42 PM EST
    This abbreviation for Des Moines must not be DSM, if you say so.

    Thanks for correcting my mistake.


    Wasn't trying to make a big deal of it, (none / 0) (#47)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:53:43 PM EST
    it's just that the "DSM" caught my eye, and I thought it was kind of darkly amusing to suppose that a "DSM" poll would produce results showing that a candidate who seems entirely cuckoo is leading that poll.

    Maybe nothing should surprise me anymore, but I seriously have no fking clue what would make someone - anyone - think this Ernst character is fit for public office - I just don't get it.


    Maybe because (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:03:06 PM EST
    Braley has acted like a doofus on the campaign trail.

    Braley's gaffes have been widely chronicled: complaining about the lack of towel service in the House gym during the 2013 government shutdown, a tussle with his vacation property neighbors over wandering chickens, and his disastrous Texas trial lawyer speech where he famously stated, "If you help me win this race, you may have someone with your background, your experience, your voice. Someone who's been literally fighting tort reform for 30 years, in a visible and public way, on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or you might have a farmer from Iowa, who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee."

    The liquor cart speech, which insulted farmers, non-lawyers and Grassley supporters, was a true "47 percent moment," which may ultimately spell the political death of Braley. Emily Schul Theis of The National Journal recently wrote, "The ambitious lawyer-turned-congressman has become the Democratic version of Mitt Romney, and with the election approaching, he's working overtime to combat the image before it's the only thing that defines him." Jennifer Duffy, of Cook's Political Report, said, "The problem hasn't been the campaign or even the message, but rather the candidate."

    He also hasn't exactly had it easy in previous elections, even though he ended up winning.

    However, Braley had difficulty beating unknown candidate Ben Lange in 2010. Lange nearly upset the sitting Congressman, who only won by a scant 4,000 votes out of more than 200,000 cast. Braley's district, which is more heavily Democratic, seems to have had a hard time fully embracing him.

    If she wins (none / 0) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:57:10 AM EST
    it sure will embolden the tea party that's for sure.

    Lately, there has been (none / 0) (#37)
    by christinep on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:58:24 PM EST
    some suggestion that a kind of fear setting in that earlier dominated the 2002 and 2004 cycle.  In general--and as particularly noted on TPM--the thinking is that sudden, apparent "polling" shifts in states such as Iowa may reflect a fear-terror mentality provoked by ISIL. It may take a few weeks to fully surface and/or resolve itself.  

    In the meantime, consider that the foreign policy/fear theme seems to have been adapted in a few key states by Repub Senate contenders -- e.g., Tillis is supposed to be up with an ad in North Caroline relating to Syria and the Colorado Senate race has recently been marred by Repub claims harking back to 9/11 conspiracy theories with a claim that Senator Udall adhered to such disproven theories. (As for Colorado:  (1) The Rovian type claim against Udall has been quickly disproven and, last night, the RNC and others distanced themselves from it.  (2) Polling shifted in the past 10 days against Udall ... given the history of under-polling Dems in this state, tho, many believe that the extensive Democratic ground-game will prove to be squeakingly effective.)  Again, what is striking is the entry of "terrorist fear" into new advertising by some Repubs.  The terror-fear encore in advertising is also coupled with the portrayal of the President as the "reluctant warrior" and as the <fill in the blank> Democratic Senatorial candidate supporting weak defense, etc.

    We'll see, of course, whether the Repubs new-found ad line will grow or not in the coming weeks ....      


    ALL of officer Darren Wilson (none / 0) (#13)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:27:24 AM EST
    pending cases are on hold. Here did not show up for a hearing in the case of Christopher Brooks (2013 arrest) whose lawyer contends was beaten by Wilson.  No "Use of Force" report appears to exist for that arrest either. (Incident Report not referenced.) Lawyer is seeking the case to be dismissed.
    One FOIA request I am aware of for Wilson's arrest records has not been fulfilled; but I bet DoJ is on it-although Wilson apparently doesn't like paperwork.

    Well, it appears (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:58:03 PM EST
    can write when he wants to.  Again though it is several minutes before other POs arrive.

    I wish I could get paid for not doing paperwork my job requires.


    correction should read He [Wilson] did not show (none / 0) (#15)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:30:13 AM EST
    Of COURSE he didn't show (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:35:04 AM EST
    He's currently in hiding.

    So are his "Use of Force" reports (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:43:41 AM EST
    Might be a problem (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:51:46 AM EST
    Or not, since Brooks has only just recently (after the Michael Brown shooting) claimed (through his attorney) force was used. If no force was actually used, would a report have to be filed? Does seem to be a pattern in Ferguson, though, of not having these reports (although, is one incident [Brown], maybe two [Brooks] a "pattern"?)

    And here's the incident report in the case.


    Key sentence in your comment (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:43:36 PM EST
    Does seem to be a pattern in Ferguson,

    Hard to determine what reports are missing when their reporting is so shoddy and they use every means in their power (like excessive fees) to kept from releasing pertinent information.


    I agree (none / 0) (#35)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:46:00 PM EST
    But in the case of Brooks, the assumption is now being made that there should have been one in the first place.

    This from USA today (none / 0) (#38)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:01:50 PM EST
    It wasn't clear whether Brooks made the allegation against Wilson before or after Brown was killed.

    From the Boston Globe:

    It wasn't clear whether Brooks made the allegation against Wilson before or after Brown was killed, and the prosecutor's office provided no immediate comment.

    Similar statements have appeared in all news reports that I have read.

    Prosecutor's office could clarify. But lack of transparency is seems to be the choice made by those in power.


    You mean the prosecutor's office that (none / 0) (#40)
    by Anne on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:05:37 PM EST
    is led by the District Attorney who wouldn't recuse himself from the Brown case, even though he had personal family history that might render him biased in favor of Wilson?  That prosecutor's office?

    Golly, I can't imagine what could be keeping him from being forthcoming about the timing of Brooks' charges.  


    Your own hometown paper (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:37:00 PM EST
    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported it this way yesterday:

    Brooks declined to comment after Monday's hearing, but he has been anticipating a dismissal since last month, when he predicted in a Facebook post that the charges would be dropped. He also claimed Wilson "beat my ass in my front yard while I was handcuffed then gave me 6 felonies."

    Brooks also said that he had been "at war" with Ferguson and Dellwood police "since I moved to the county." The post was later deleted but not before being shared on social media.

    Do not think that Facebook has been established (none / 0) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:04:44 PM EST
    as the only vehicle used to lodge complainants against the police.

    His comment on Facebook does not address whether or not he made the allegation against Wilson before or after Brown was killed, or does it change the fact that the prosecutor's office has provided no immediate comment on the subject.

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch states that he made a comment. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not state that this was the first time Brooks made the allegation. Only that he made an allegation on Facebook.

    Here are other things that they said in the article.

    The Post-Dispatch has requested records from Ferguson of criminal investigations conducted by Wilson or involving him but has not yet received them.

    Wilson has not been seen publicly since Brown's death and is currently on paid administrative leave. He testified Sept. 16 in front of a different St. Louis County grand jury, the one investigating the shooting of Brown.

    Asked why Wilson would testify in front of one grand jury and not another, Zotos suggested, "Well, it served his purpose. Today, it doesn't serve his purpose."


    And yet (none / 0) (#52)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:08:08 PM EST
    There is no evidence that has come forth so far that says he DID complain about it at the time - the only thing we DO know for sure is that he posted it on Facebook AFTER the Michael Brown shooting. Even his own attorney has not said so- and you can bet that if he complained at the time, his attorney would be all over the news with this.

    Everything else at this point is pure conjecture.


    Your statement of lack of evidence is not (none / 0) (#56)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:38:04 PM EST
    convincing since there is no evidence has been presented either way.

    We do know that the prosecutor's office was offered the opportunity to respond to the question of whether or not Brooks made this allegation prior to Brown's death

    We do know that the prosecutor's office has chosen not to clarify the issue at this time.

    While we are talking about pure conjecture, the following statement in your comment is a prime example of "pure conjecture:"

    ... you can bet that if he complained at the time, his attorney would be all over the news with this.

    It is every bit as probable that the prosecutor's office would be "all over the news" claiming that this allegation was not made until after Brown's death.


    Sure it is (none / 0) (#58)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:50:09 PM EST
    But the only thing we have is Brooks' Facebook posting and now his attorney saying they have "other reports".  I know this is defense site, but defense attorneys aren't exactly bound by the truth when talking to the press, so his words should be taken with a huge grain of salt.  If he has other reports that show what Mr. Brooks alleges, then I'm sure we will see those presented at a hearing or trial (and please note, the other man with Mr. Brooks - Erik Johnson - has also been charged but has not been arrested, and is certainly not chiming it at this time to corroborate Mr. Brooks' claim).

    Which brings me back to my original point - this is all conjecture and spin at this point.  Until we actually see some, you know, proof of use of force, (since it is Mr. Brooks who will need to present it if he wants to make that claim), then speculating about it based on other events, alleged and real, and what facts we think we already know, is not a useful exercise.


    lack of transparency (none / 0) (#49)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:57:45 PM EST
    driven by self-serving institutional malice

    And (none / 0) (#30)
    by jbindc on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:12:15 PM EST
    Brooks' attorney is doing his job - trying to zealously defend his client, and it looks like he just got a gift thrown in his hands with Officer Wilson's alleged actions in the last month.  He should be exploiting that and looking into what his client claims.

    On the other hand, it's kind of shocking to read well educated people on this blog (a criminal defense site), who don't seem to understand that there is no way Wilson's attorney is going to let him get under oath for a similar allegation while an ongoing investigation is still proceeding.  It would be ineffective assistance of counsel at best (and Wilson's Sixth Amendment rights would likely be violated), and malpractice at worst.


    I am not a lawyer (none / 0) (#42)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:16:42 PM EST
    I am not surprised that Wilson, under legal counsel presumably, did not attend.  But I am dismayed that these considerations are for his individual & personal legal protection while he is still on Ferguson government payroll.
    Although he was an invited as a witness to the closed grand jury, his initial failure to account for his police actions as the officer at the scene on August 9 was never in the best interests of his employer and the Ferguson residents. The exceptional privilege of cops to alternate between the judicial protections for individual persons and the customary responsibilities of their job is convenient.

    Brooks Incident Report (none / 0) (#41)
    by Uncle Chip on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:14:25 PM EST
    An interesting statement by Wilson in the Brooks Incident Report:

    "I requested them to walk towards me, both subjects complied"

    So Wilson's standard MO is to tell any subjects he is going to arrest to "walk towards him". It is something that he is no doubt used to and expects of his arrestees.

    And yet when MB "walked towards him" he filled him with lead and for a "crime" far less than dealing dope.

    Attorneys will no doubt take note while the rabble on the internet will ignore it.


    interesting (none / 0) (#48)
    by Palli on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:54:48 PM EST
    So much of bad policing is about humiliation.
    Demanding the compliant actions of the targeted persons can be done in many ways. A police officer is actually asking a person to act against their own nature instincts, especially under recognizably unjust, discriminatory or erratic law enforcement.

    A terrorizing police force, as it seems FPD is for a majority of the residents, should have been recognized by honest Missourians long ago.

    Working against powerful odds, lawyers working for Arch City Defenders documented unjust activities that have continued to be ignored and discounted for years. http://www.archcitydefenders.org/whitepaper.pdf


    Police out of control (none / 0) (#53)
    by MO Blue on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:22:20 PM EST
    They continue to refuse to follow their own regulations and ignore two separate orders by the DOJ to comply with name tag regulations.

    Reported Sunday by NYT:

    A gaggle of journalists standing near the protest spotted a police officer who was not wearing a name tag. When a cameraman asked his name, the officer refused to give it and left the area. The Department of Justice last week ordered all officers patrolling Ferguson to display their names.

    Interesting article on Sunni-Shia Schism (none / 0) (#16)
    by Slado on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:33:33 AM EST
    Council on Foreign Relations.

    Interesting notes:

    Didn't know Sunni was such a majority
    Didn't' really know why they split
    Didn't know it goes all the way back to the beginning of the faith

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by squeaky on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:36:15 AM EST
    But for centuries Sunni and Shia have lived together, intermarried etc...  it takes a power-hungry leader to exploit the story in order to bring shia and sunni to war.

    Interesting that Saladin (none / 0) (#25)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:54:27 AM EST
    who was in some ways the jihadist's jihadist and scourge of the Crusaders during the middle ages, had the still-reverenced-by-Orthodox-Jews Moses Maimonides as his personal physician..

    The meme that aside from historical influences there's something inherently vicious and fanatical about Islam is probably no more true about Islam than it is about Hinduism.


    I recently read (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by CST on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:14:35 PM EST
    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.  One of the things that struck me about that book, was how convinced the author seemed to be that there could never be a unified, peaceful Germany.  That there was something inherent in German culture that made them predisposed to fascism and violence.  The author also found any suggestion of a politically or economically unified western European block laughable.

    Needless to say, that part of the book did not age well.  Hopefully the same will be true of those  statements about Islam.


    Jung and Nietzche (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:26:16 PM EST
    talked about a pagan, blond-beast under that thin veneer of Christianity and Enlightenment..

    I think Jung was referring more to Europeans in general though..

    It's obvious that there are unhinged people - sometimes in high places - with a perverse love of death and destruction. Hitler and his sycophants and people like General Curtis Lemay and the rest of the Bircher wing of the Joint Chiefs who literally wanted to start WWIII over Cuba "going communist".



    Jung wrote about a Wotan complex (none / 0) (#54)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 02:27:39 PM EST
    Coming into play after Germany was defeated in WWI.

    The author frequently refers to the (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:18:49 PM EST
    philosophers read by the various Nazi party hierarchy. I am still  pondering the affinity for Richard Wagner, who was exiled during the 1848 revolution.

    Great Book About Saladin (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 11:59:00 AM EST
    Evan Connell writes beautifully (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by jondee on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 12:04:43 PM EST
    about the Crusades and those two in particular in a couple of his books.

    btw, Scott and SUO, (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by fishcamp on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:02:59 PM EST
    when fish are in schools they sometimes take debate.

    There Are Some Who Dispute Reston's Scholarship (none / 0) (#43)
    by squeaky on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 01:18:35 PM EST
    From Amazon reviews (1)
    Reston's book is absurdly slanted, and he never misses an opportunity to criticize the Crusaders or praise the Muslim forces. His bias is not even consistent, as an act by the Crusaders is bad, but the same act by the Muslims good. Every bad act by the Crusaders is wicked. Every bad act by the Muslim forces is justified.

    A historian is entitled to an opinion, and while there may have been good and bad on both sides, I do not believe that means an author has to write with a kind of "everybody was equally good and bad" equivalency. But, a historian should at least recognize the complexities involved with a topic like the Crusades, recognize that there was good and bad on both sides, and at least attempt a fair characterization of those complexities rather than a cartoonish caricature.

    Regarding historical accuracy, I don't claim to be an expert on this period ....

    Oh and Richard the Lionheart is most definitely gay.

    Great read!!