Wednesday Open Thread

My blogging is light because I'm just finishing watching the last 24 episodes of Cartel de los Sapos (First Season.) In between episodes, I read about the real life persons the charaters are portraying, to see how closely the show follows their real lives In this case, it's closer than I would have thought. The first half of season two is arriving tomorrow, so I think I'll be buried in that in the evening. Thursday I leave for Aspen and Owl Farm and the NORML Legal Seminar. My topic this year: "Getting High With Someone Who Dies: Defending federal complicity charges in drug overdose cases." The penalty for is a 20 year mandatory minimum. Another law that needs to be changed.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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    Matt Taibbi has an excellent article (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Anne on Wed May 27, 2015 at 06:46:06 AM EST
    in Rolling Stone, "Why Baltimore Blew Up," that is a good companion to a David Simon post at The Marshall Project I linked to a couple weeks ago.

    From the article:

    But Baltimore remains a place where police stop pedestrians, ask them for ID and sometimes take them for rides if they give the wrong answers. "First thing they say is, 'Gimme your ID,' " says Malik Ansar, 44, who's standing on the corner of Penn and North in the days after Freddie Gray's death. "They look and say, 'Oh, you live in ZIP code 21227. What you doing way over here?' "

    Ansar points at a run-down town house behind him. "You can tell him you were born in this house right here. They don't care. They say, 'You live here now?' And you say, 'No, man, I moved outta here 17 years ago.' And they say, 'What the fk you doing here now?' "

    The way residents like Ansar describe it, if you're not at the address listed on a photo ID, you go into the paddy wagon. But if you run, it's worse. "Then, it's an ass-whipping," says a nearby bystander. "Believe me, Freddie [Gray] knew he was gonna get an ass-whipping if he got caught. . . . Everybody knows that. It may not be a real bad one, but you gonna get one."

    So most people go along, which at minimum is a huge waste of time. Ansar's friend, who goes by the name of Big T, says if you get picked up at lunchtime, you're lucky if you make it to central booking by five. You spend the whole freaking day in that hot, cramped van.

    And once you get to booking? "You're spending the night," says Big T. "It's just them saying, 'We're gonna get you.' "

    Many of these "cases" of loitering, or disorderly conduct, or whatever, never amount to anything, and if they do, get dropped as soon as anyone with half a brain and a law degree sees the charging papers. But the endless regimen of street interrogations and "long rides" serves its own moronic purpose, being a clumsy, bluntly illegal method of intimidating residents and searching whole neighborhoods without probable cause.

    The comparison may not be (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:18:33 AM EST
    a PC one but that sure sounds sort of brownshirtish doesn't it.

    Or life under a Communist regime. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:22:53 AM EST
    Is this a great country or what?</s>

    I have heard my LE relatives (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:29:41 AM EST
    discussing this tactic.  But around here it's Mexicans.

    The cops in the small San Joaquin Valley (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:43:56 AM EST
    town I live in used to do that with teenagers, pick them up, take them to the station for a while, and then release them if they had nothing to arrest them on.  This was 50 years or so ago.

    jim, I gave you a 5 (none / 0) (#6)
    by fishcamp on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:45:05 AM EST
    in the last thread regarding your idea about taking Memorial Day off from speaking about past armed forces members who died while fighting for our freedom.  You didn't respect your own idea, and continued with your same adversarial comments.  Good idea backed with bad thinking.

    In All Fairness... (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 09:06:12 AM EST
    ...I believe he waited until the next day to start his diatribe.  Apparently the dead are honored on a very tight schedule.

    A lot of the Baltimore stories (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Wed May 27, 2015 at 12:50:16 PM EST
    echo the ones from NYC that Taibbi talked about in his excellent book 'The Divide'

    That last paragraph you quoted says it all in a nutshell.


    Mr Chickenhawk... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 08:55:10 AM EST
    ...I guess you aren't willing to put up, imagine that.  The chickenhawk only knows one trick.

    But the clarify things because you seem to be confused, I worked on the flight deck of a helicopter carrier, not an aircraft carrier.

    Seems like someone with 10 years of Naval Aviation would have picked up on that since I mentioned it 3 times and included a picture of my flight deck... and of course you we in 'Naval Aviation'.

    Once more, you squawked something about me not serving.  No problem, that is what chickenhawks do, that is all you can do, claim that others are more impotent then yourself.  Yet you can't stand up when you are called out in the same way you called me out.

    (This is the part where you squawk like a good little chcikenhawk.)

    An impotent chickenhawk. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CoralGables on Wed May 27, 2015 at 09:03:06 AM EST
    That started my day with a laugh. Well done sir.

    I won't get into his service record, ... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed May 27, 2015 at 09:37:01 AM EST
    ... since I tend to take people at their word that they served in the military whenever they claim to do so. As the son of a deceased USMC officer killed in Vietnam, I respect and honor such service.

    But he should have never wielded his own service record as a weapon to impugn the patriotism of others -- and on Memorial Day weekend, no less. I find that particular penchant of his to be abhorrent and despicable, and I'll call him out on it every time.

    (That said, those who would fabricate a past military service or otherwise inflate their service records deserve both our scorn and our contempt.)

    We've heard more than enough from our resident American Über-Patriots over the decades and my own perspective, not only has nothing good ever come from their vitriol, they've further enabled some truly monstrous and inhumane acts to be committed in our country's name. I appreciate what you did in taking him down a richly deserved few pegs.

    Mahalo and Aloha.


    I Am the Same... (none / 0) (#25)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 11:19:36 AM EST
    ...except Jim implied that I lied about mine yesterday and that did not sit well with me.

    Unfortunately the thread filled up, so I dragged it over here.

    I believe he served, but I also believe that he is being disingenuous about what he actually did.


    In some respects, I am loathe to (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Anne on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:00:15 AM EST
    get into a pie fight about you-know-who, because I get tired of so much bandwidth being wasted on these arguments that never change.

    But, what the heck, right?  The door is open, and I guess I'm going in, even though I can hear that Psycho-shower-scene soundtrack playing as I do...

    1.   I have no idea why jim won't provide more details about his service, but the bottom line is that he regards himself as a patriot for having served - not an uncommon belief for people of his age.  He makes no mention of combat or being part of any particular campaign - maybe he's embarrassed that he can't claim to have "fought" for his country - I don't know.

    2.   The problem is that he uses his own service and his own self-described patriotism as a weapon against others.  Apparently, not serving in the military means one cannot question the policies, decisions and actions of the military and those who lead it.  It's a double whammy: one strike for not having served, another for questioning/opposing.  

    3.   jim presumes that lack of military service, combined with criticism of current or previous decisions means one does not care about this country, that one is some sort of communist or other rabble-rouser, bent on destroying America.

    4.   jim's attitude seems to be that he has the right to judge the patriotism of others, which he does not.  I can't stop him from doing it - he doesn't seem to have much else in his arsenal for waging arguments - so that's his talk-to-the-hand maneuver that he hopes will end the argument with him on top.  It never works, but he keeps trying.

    5.  I think if jim did a survey, he'd find that the majority of our men and women in uniform are there for two reasons: (1) they couldn't get a job in the private sector and (2) believed the military would provide them with education and training they can one day use to one day get a job on the outside.  Then you have those who are there because it was either the service, or prison.  "I love my country" may not even be in the top 5 of reasons why most people decide to enter military service.  

    6.   The military is not Hero Nation; it is a microcosm of society. My nephew-the-Marine is training to be a mechanic, alongside many others doing the same thing.  Should I have more respect for him because he's wearing a uniform than I do for the guy at the garage down the street?  

    I have no idea why jim likes to comment here, other than he's elevated button-pushing to an art form, and seems to need the attention.  If he weren't posting such bad information most of the time, we'd ignore him, but it's hard to breeze on by his comments that are just 15 kinds of wrong.

    "I guess I'm going in." (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by oculus on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:05:27 AM EST

    If my pal Jim... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:44:32 AM EST
    did not exist, some here would need to invent him.  

    Everybody needs a heel I guess, yo no se.


    I've suspected for awhile (none / 0) (#39)
    by jondee on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:26:23 PM EST
    that he's a compensated troll.

    He's always been just a little too on-message with the Heritage Foundation-Fox-talk radio party line. Using almost all the exact same links, references, partial quotes etc they use. And if you buy that social liberal spiel, I've got a bridge for sale.

    The bous social liberal thing is so that he has just enough "liberal" cache here that his comments aren't limited the way a typical troll's would be.


    Anything's possible... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:36:09 PM EST
    but I seriously doubt it...my money is on him being here for kicks, just like the rest of us.

    Though if you're right, his shadowy sponsor is getting hustled, and good for Jim if that's the case...whoever would pay people to infiltrate internet comment sections deserves to get took;)


    Work from home. Make (none / 0) (#42)
    by oculus on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:43:13 PM EST
    $..,... Per month!

    Learn how... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:46:50 PM EST
    for 36 easy payments of 19.99! Void where prohibited;)

    Hey... (none / 0) (#49)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 04:49:13 PM EST
    ...there is an app called Fiverr, where you can hire 'contractors' to do anything office like fort $5 and hour.

    My friend uses them all the time to do S at his job that he doesn't want to do.  They get around minimum wage because they are not employees, but contractors.



    Maybe I'm giving too much credit (none / 0) (#44)
    by jondee on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:47:49 PM EST
    but I think a person would have to be getting paid to talk like they truly believe man-made greenhouse gases are an international scientific "hoax".

    I propose an indefinite boycott (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:13:39 AM EST
    of any comments or response to comments by Jim.  He's not going to change, so why give him the attention he so desperately craves?

    Jim, you accused me of stalking you.  From now on, no matter how insulting you are towards me or any other commentator here, you'll get nothing from me but a deafening silence.


    I'd often wondered (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by CoralGables on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:33:36 AM EST
    why you waded into his indecorous world of muck. Good to know you're now muck free.

    I Don't Know Mordiggian... (none / 0) (#30)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 01:14:02 PM EST
    ...I have tried to do it myself and failed many times.  Most of us have.

    But we are the occasional smokers, you are putting away 3 packs before lunch.  More power to you, but I am very skeptical only because I can't do it myself.


    Just reading an interesting thing (none / 0) (#20)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:30:13 AM EST
    interesting (none / 0) (#23)
    by CST on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:49:22 AM EST
    That they talk about the decline of ROTC programs as well.  My grandfather, one of the most left-wing people I've ever known (and a WW2 vet), was a big proponent for increasing ROTC programs, as he feared the political polarization of the armed forces.

    And then I consider his two sons and Vietnam.  The older son (significantly older) tried to volunteer and was rejected for medical reasons.  His younger son starved himself down to 80lbs to avoid the draft.  By the time my generation came around military service was the farthest thing from consideration, despite sept 11th happening shortly before my 17th birthday.


    Mulligan (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:05:23 AM EST
    I put this into the last thread, but too late for anyone to comment.  A performance artist has inspired a number of people across the South to hold ceremonies on Memorial Day for burning Confederate flags, which of course took place.

    This might be the most perfect "troll" of fools and bigots I have ever seen, since that flag stands for two fairly despicable things, treason and slavery.  No patriotic American would feel anything but pleasure watching this hated symbol burn.

    Predictably the fools and bigots were outraged at being exposed.  In the link you will find my comment and the hilarious response.

    Well... (none / 0) (#27)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 12:24:58 PM EST
    ...since it's Fox News and TPM states:
    A total of 13 ceremonies were held on Memorial Day. While not every ceremony involved the burning of the flag, in each, the flag was buried in a series of WSMV called "funerals."

    So less than 13 flags were burned.

    Personally I don't care.  I find it extremely odd that the flag that represented treasonous people who tried to divide the country, and lost, is now held up as some kind of glory days symbol.

    Why not go back a century and fly the Union Jack if they are going to go all nostalgic.  It makes no sense to fly a flag that represents shame, and a 'country' that does not exist.  But it's America and they can fly the Jolly Roger for all I care.

    When I see it, I think racist aholes who can't get past the fact that they lost a war they started even with slave labor, much like Nazis.  But then I am a yankee living in the south and I find all the confederacy non-sense, and there is a lot of it, very disturbing.  

    If it were me I would want to forget my ancestors (here in Texas), not only stole land from Mexico at the end of a gun barrel, they enslaved people to work it, and then started a war to protect it that they lost because of it.


    I tried to read all the comments. (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Wed May 27, 2015 at 12:45:31 PM EST
    But who knew such people track the CSM?  The Juneteenth commemoration comment is restorative.

    Am sort of surprised no one's (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Anne on Wed May 27, 2015 at 11:13:20 AM EST
    brought up the other case the Supreme Court has agreed to hear: settling the meaning of "one man - one vote."

    From the NYT:

    The court's ruling, expected in 2016, could be immensely consequential. Should the court agree with the two Texas voters who brought the case, its ruling would shift political power from cities to rural areas, a move that would benefit Republicans.

    The court has never resolved whether voting districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters. Counting all people amplifies the voting power of places with large numbers of residents who cannot vote legally, including immigrants who are here legally but are not citizens, illegal immigrants, children and prisoners. Those places tend to be urban and to vote Democratic.

    A ruling that districts must be based on equal numbers of voters would move political power away from cities, with their many immigrants and children, and toward older and more homogeneous rural areas.

    My feeling is that those elected to Congress are elected to represent everyone who lives in his or her district, not just those who are eligible to vote.

    Charlie Pierce

    You really have to admire how they've [the Supreme Court] done it. First, they turn our elections into a plutocrat's playground (Citizens United, McCutcheon). Then they uphold in the main voter-suppression tactics designed by the candidates the newly corrupt system produces out in the states (Crawford). Then, they gut any remedy that the people against whom these new laws discriminate have in federal court (Shelby County.) And now, it appears, the day of Jubilee having been declared, the circle may be closing for good.


    There's a reason Paul runs (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jondee on Wed May 27, 2015 at 02:22:55 PM EST
    as a Republican..

    What does he have to say about Republican's organized efforts to make it harder for people to vote? Is that another issue he skims over while circling back to the Patriot Act?

    There's also a reason that (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Anne on Wed May 27, 2015 at 02:38:42 PM EST
    Charlie Pierce has established the "5-minute rule" for both Rand and Ron Paul:

    The Five Minute Rule regarding the public pronouncements of any member of the extended Paul family is well-known around this shebeen, but to recap for people who may have joined this blog in progress, the Five Minute Rule states the following: while listening to any member of the extended Paul family, things will make sense for exactly five minutes. However, invariably, exactly at the five-minute mark, any Paul will say something either so unmoored from reality, or just so overwhelmingly insufferable, that you will think yourself the victim of an elaborate con that you ever saw anything of merit in what they were saying.

    That 10-hour "filibuster" must have made Lewis Carroll green with envy.


    Gov. John Kasich (R), (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:02:37 PM EST
    has officially announced that he will officially announce a bid for the Presidency in July. I'm guessing all the other dates between now and then were already taken by future GOP presidential candidates.

    Are any of these cats... (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by kdog on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:38:41 PM EST
    really running for president?  Or are they just running for future Fox News/right wing speaking circuit gigs?

    I mean surely they all can't be serious.


    Never underestimate (none / 0) (#46)
    by Zorba on Wed May 27, 2015 at 04:09:57 PM EST
    the power of the ego, which these people have in full abundance.
    OTOH, speaking circuit money is also good.   ;-)
    Most politicians (and so-called "business people" like Fiorina and Trump) live in an exclusive little bubble.  Few, if any, people that they normally surround themselves with tell them that they are full of it.  So they begin to believe that their pronouncements are golden, and that the sun shines out of their @sses.

    So, I guess God (none / 0) (#38)
    by nycstray on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:25:56 PM EST
    got back to him on that . . .   :P

    Nebraska abolishes the death penalty (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Peter G on Wed May 27, 2015 at 04:20:29 PM EST
    By a vote of 30-19, the Legislature (with no votes to spare) overrides the governor's veto. Which state is next?

    MotherJones (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 27, 2015 at 07:59:39 AM EST
    The Rise and Fall of Twitter's Most Infamous Right-Wing Troll

    The guy at Little Green Footballs, who's name also happens to be Charles Johnson, has been all over this.  Some funny stuff  there.

    Update, 5/26/2015: On Monday, Twitter permanently suspended Chuck Johnson's Twitter account, as well as another account, @citizentrolling, he set up in response to the initial suspension. The suspension came in response to a tweet Johnson sent out asking for help "taking out" activist civil rights activist DeRay McKesson. (Johnson has said he was merely referring to his reporting and was not making a physical threat.) You can read his lawyer's letter to Twitter demanding immediate reinstatement here. Read the original piece below:

    In case you are wondering where, (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 27, 2015 at 08:19:30 AM EST
    you know....

    His other recent antics have included suing for access to Mike Brown's juvenile records, making the unproven claim that the Ferguson police shooting victim had once been charged in a second-degree murder.⁠ Citing police sources, he accused "street thug" Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after being put in a chokehold by a New York City police officer, of domestic abuse.

    His tweet was essentially (none / 0) (#13)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed May 27, 2015 at 09:10:51 AM EST
    "Will no one rid us of this meddlesome activist?"

    Like King Henry (none / 0) (#34)
    by jondee on Wed May 27, 2015 at 02:44:26 PM EST
    talking about Thomas Beckett..

    And in doing so, (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Peter G on Wed May 27, 2015 at 04:17:31 PM EST
    soliciting Becket's murder.

    His site was such a magnet (none / 0) (#35)
    by jondee on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:00:19 PM EST
    for people with that rw dirty trickster mentality, that he had to give a couple of his beside-themselves regulars the boot after Obama was elected and comments were made at the site that bordered on physical threats.

    ... a few years ago by FIFA, soccer's governing body, to award the 2018 World Cup to Vladimir Putin's Russia and the 2022 event to very tiny but stupid and obscenely rich Qatar, then-U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch apparently opened an investigation into the practices of soccer's governing body, FIFA.

    That investigation culminated today in pre-dawn raids by Swiss police on FIFA headquarters in Zurich and by the FBI on FIFA's offices in Brooklyn, and the subsequent arrest of nine prominent FIFA officials and five marketing and banking executives who had been indicted on charges of bribery and corruption, as announced by now-Attorney General Lynch this morning in Washington.

    While FIFA spokesman Walter de Gregorio issued a statement following the arrests which insisted that the organization's decisions on the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were "final" and would not be revisited, most sports analysts aren't quite so sure now. This morning's events likely calls into question FIFA President Sepp Blatter's chances for re-election to a fifth term, which had once been considered a lock.

    Allegations of systemic bribery and widespread corruption had long been staples regarding the activities of soccer's governing body. Most certainly, the world's most popular spectator sport has been shaken to its very core as a result of Ms. Lynch's investigation. This should get very interesting, regardless of whether or not you're a soccer fan.

    Stay tuned.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Zorba on Wed May 27, 2015 at 10:29:50 AM EST
    Jeralyn has posted a thread, right below this one, entirely devoted to the FIFA investigations and indictments.

    And that beacon of liberal humanism (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:06:52 PM EST
    and human rights, China, hosted the Olympics.

    How did that come about?


    One Dove (none / 0) (#26)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed May 27, 2015 at 11:22:44 AM EST

    happy Wednesday

    Senator Rand Paul (R. KY) (none / 0) (#31)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 27, 2015 at 01:45:27 PM EST
    appeared on the Daily Show last night, pushing his book "Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America."   Jon Stewart had an introductory piece on the Patriot Act and, then, discussed the law with Rand, particularly, Paul's mini-filibuster--the first question being is it true that you can not go to the bathroom.  Paul answered, yes, and called to memory the excretory procedures taken in the past by Strom Thurmond, the infamous senator from South Carolina.

    When the conversations went from the Patriot Act to inconsistencies and disingenuousness in Paul's selective government over-reach admonitions (e.g., Patriot Act, too much; Abortion/gay marriage, not enough), Paul cycled back to the Patriot Act, to the dismay of Stewart.  Jon threw up his hands, giving up, apparently,  on the success of interviewing a weasel.

    Paul, on the so called religious freedom movement, sympathized with the Christian bakers and other "Christian businesses,"  noting that many religious conservatives were afraid that their opinions would not longer be allowed even in their own churches.  

    Although Stewart responded that no one is saying that, Paul just insisted that "it is out there."  Jon missed the opportunity to remind Paul of his book's title, and expect that his uniting of Americans might include providing leadership, not to mention, truth.  

    Nothing wrong with (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Wed May 27, 2015 at 03:50:18 PM EST
    forced ultrasounds.  They are cool, says Scott Walker.  Not ready to pine over Mittens, but a big concern in his case was, if elected, would he have enough time to govern what with all his visits to see his money in Switzerland and the Caymans.  With Walker, the worry is one of inadequate gray matter.

    "Look Ladies (none / 0) (#50)
    by Repack Rider on Wed May 27, 2015 at 04:52:13 PM EST
    ...It's no different than a recreational proctology exam, but with something a little bigger.  Who doesn't like a good one of those?  I'm doing it for your sake, and you're welcome.  Vote for me."