Monday Open Thread

Showtime's Homeland is back in its element. After a shaky start this season, it slowly got back on track, and the last two episodes were Homeland at it's best.

Separated at birth: One of the two guys above is Saddam Jamal, a terrorist in real life, now with ISIS, and the other, Numan Acar, plays one on Homeland. I think they look a lot alike. If you haven't been watching Homeland, which one do you think is the real terrorist?

In the news department, the court administrator of the St. Louis Circuit County Court has issued a statement contradicting news reports that the Judge has agreed to consider releasing the Wilson/Brown grand jury records if no Indictment is returned. She hasn't even considered it. The letter is here.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

< Rudy Giulani's Shows His True Colors | Ferguson G. J. Decision : No Indictment, Violence Erupts >
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  • Chuck Hagel stepping down as SecDef. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:20:19 AM EST
    Just came across the news feed...

    Mutual agreement to resign, per (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:34:15 AM EST
    the NYT, here:

    The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel's resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary -- the sole Republican on his national security team -- to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.

    The officials described Mr. Obama's decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.

    But now "the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus," one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.


    Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel's removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list are Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense; Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army's 82nd Airborne; and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.

    Not sure I want to consider what direction we're heading.


    Going South... (none / 0) (#8)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 09:05:20 AM EST
    The officials described Mr. Obama's decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ.

    Translation: Hagel was against US involvement in Iraq back then, and he is probably scratching his head at what Obama is doing now.

    Digging deeper and deeper into Iraq and Afghanistan.

    What was that meme about hope and change?

    No hope.
    And change for the worse.


    "Operation Resolute Support," (none / 0) (#20)
    by KeysDan on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:39:39 AM EST
    aka, 'we got a new Afghan president who will let us stay, so why not,'   was, according to NYT reports, "the result of a lengthy and heated debate," between the promise Mr Obama made to end the war in Afghanistan versus the demands of the Pentagon.   The Pentagon won."  ... " The military pretty much got what it wanted."     Our resolute support will keep troops on the ground and fighting for at least another year and the US will continue using F-16s, B-l bombers, Predators, and Reaper drones.    It does sound as if the Secretary of Defense was not on board with the Pentagon.  

    That isn't what I'm gathering from it (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:13:28 AM EST
    The President continues to discount ISIL's abilities.  Hagel and Dempsey recently testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that we needed to step up our ISIL response.  Hagel has made statements that ISIL was dangerous while the White House refuses to give that sort of spoken power to the group.

    I think that Hagel is having a difficult time ironing out policy between the White House and Dempsey.  We will see soon, the buffer is gone.

    Hagel was having a very hard time speaking with confidence about our limited Iraq involvement.  It will take a firm bold hand at Sec Def to manage what DOD and the White House faces together.

    Obama needs to do this quickly and hopefully get the nomination through the Senate before the Rebuplucans take over.  They would leave us without a Sec Def in a heartbeat and this no time to have that horror go down.


    This may not play to that meme, lentinel (none / 0) (#46)
    by christinep on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:07:04 PM EST
    But, there are reports today--heard earlier on NPR--that Hagel wanted a stronger response to Syria and the ISIL situation than the President did.  That should come into view shortly ... since it has been no secret that others in the WH and Pentagon wanted stronger action than has been the case, it is not surprising that first reports on the reasons for Secretary Hagel's departure would appear to conflict with each other.  

    Wow, there are going to be some interesting (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:54:53 AM EST
    confirmation hearings this time around. So much up in the air.

    They most likely don't have time (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:07:05 PM EST
    For confirmation hearings for the new Attorney General and Secretary of Defense before the new Senate is confirmed.
    And I don't see the majority Republicans confirming anyone Obama would like.
    If they don't confirm, what will Obama do, I wonder?  Appoint an acting Attorney General and Sec. Def. for his remaining two years in office?  Or give the Republicans nominees they would like?  And which many, if not most, Democrats would not like, I'm betting.
    Could get very unpleasant.

    I was wondering the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:14:07 PM EST
    Maybe Sen. Reed would be the most easily confirm-able choice, as a member of the club.

    It will be a good indicator of whether the new GOP Senate majority is interested in governing now, or just continued obstruction.


    Reed said he isn't interested (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:09:04 PM EST
    And I wouldn't be interested, either, (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:15:41 PM EST
    if I were him.
    He's a Senator, and will likely keep getting re-elected as long as he wants to continue running.
    Why give that up for the two years left in Obama's term of office?  After those two years, then what?

    Me neither (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:39:38 PM EST
    After that, maybe VP? (none / 0) (#51)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:44:48 PM EST
    Seems like a good deal to me. But I see below he is not interested.

    Ted Cruz is promoting (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:46:56 PM EST
    Holy Joe for the job. If the Dems for one moment consider him for the job, they will prove that they are completely worthless as a political party IMO. They might as well nominate McCain or Miss Lindsey since none of the 3 Amigos has ever seen a war that they didn't like.

    Miss Lindsey might be busy . . . (none / 0) (#110)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:32:33 PM EST
    Oh dear gawd (5.00 / 1) (#115)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:57:40 PM EST
    I think I will have to check myself into a stress center until after the 2016 election, move out of the country or become a hermit. The thought of having those &@$&@&$ in the news more than they are now is just too depressing. The country is truly insane if he even comes close to the presidency.

    McCain has already amply proven (5.00 / 2) (#132)
    by Zorba on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:52:10 AM EST
    that his judgment is severely lacking (witness his choice of Sarah Palin for V.P.).  So we shouldn't be surprised that he thinks Graham should run for Pres.
    Maybe we can all visit Kdog in NYC and partake of his stash of the herb.  Lord knows, we'll probably need some to mellow out and reduce our stress.

    Only in the summer (5.00 / 1) (#139)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:47:22 PM EST
    In the winter, we should seek warmer climates and lessons on rolling papers. LOL

    And we also have smoked fish (5.00 / 2) (#194)
    by fishcamp on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 07:44:51 AM EST
    down here, but they are very difficult to roll.  

    That is very funny (none / 0) (#195)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 07:50:16 AM EST
    But if you would concentrate on catching rounder fish, they would be easier to roll. ;o)

    Not rounder but flounder (5.00 / 2) (#197)
    by CoralGables on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 08:05:51 AM EST
    and when filleted are easy to roll.

    Good one, but (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 08:31:21 AM EST
     If you start with a round fish you don't have to take the time to fillet it before you roll ... a rounder than flounder



    I'm in no way hoping for... (none / 0) (#193)
    by unitron on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 11:23:06 PM EST
    ...2 years of discussion and speculation about LG's sex life, but what are the chances of a never married person being elected President?

    If I'm not mistaken (none / 0) (#196)
    by CoralGables on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 08:02:51 AM EST
    it has happened twice.

    James Buchanan was never married (1857-1861)
    Grover Cleveland married while in office in a Woody Allen type scenario (1885-1889)

    Considering the number of presidents, and the odds of never being married at the average age presidents are elected, two is probably close to the expected number.


    SCOTU has reigned (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:18:31 PM EST
    in a President's interim appointment power.

    Yes, that's for (none / 0) (#39)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:01:59 PM EST
    an actual appointment while Congress is in recess.
    But I don't believe that says anything about having an "acting" Secretary of anything.
    If someone drops dead in office, for instance, there is usually an "acting" head until someone can be appointed actual head.  The acting head of the department is the deputy when the actual head is unavailable, and I would expect that the Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Attorney General will be fulfilling the role of acting head until new heads of the departments are nominated and confirmed.

    Both AG Holder and Def. Sec. Hagel ... (none / 0) (#53)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:48:51 PM EST
    ... have said that they will remain at their respective posts until a successor has been confirmed. And like you said, Mme. Zorba, that may be a while.

    Yes, I think so, too (none / 0) (#54)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 03:12:42 PM EST
    It may be awhile.
    I can see Holder, perhaps, holding on (no pun intended), but if Obama did, indeed, pressure Hagel to resign, I can't see Obama wanting Hagel to hang on indefinitely until the new Senate confirms the nominee, which, as we both agree, could take awhile.

    Michelle Flournoy? (none / 0) (#58)
    by christinep on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 03:37:16 PM EST
    As the names float by, I see that Michelle Flournoy is mentioned this time around (as she was previously.) Certainly seasoned; apparently, a decent working-relationship with the President ever since serving on the transition team awhile back; clearly, would represent a ceiling-breaker at the Pentagon as the AP is spouting, etc.  Any thoughts about her or others as potential successors?

    Well, both (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:54:40 PM EST
    Flournoy and Ash Carter, one of the others being mentioned, seem to have the approval of Lindsey Graham, for whatever that's worth.  But that should help during confirmation hearings.  And both of them have extensive Defense Department experience.
    See jbindc's link to the Politico article, in her comment #50.
    I just don't know if either of them would want to be considered for a post that will last only two years, depending upon who the next President is.  Even if it is Hillary Clinton, she might keep them on for awhile, but then might want to make her own choice, as is the prerogative of any President.
    Whoever gets the job, it's going to be a very difficult one, given the ongoing ISIS/ISIL/IS crisis in the Middle East.
    I wish them luck.  Isn't there an old curse that says "May you live in interesting times"?  I prefer more boring and peaceful times, myself, but unfortunately, I don't think we are going to get that anytime soon.  :-(

    With each Thanksgiving as a reminder, (none / 0) (#73)
    by christinep on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:04:59 PM EST
    my preference is growing as well for less "interesting" times ... hearth, home, friends (and doggy Celeste) are infinitely more satisfying and beautiful.

    As for the next Defense Secretary: I have no idea ... as you said, the attraction of a limited two-year period could be wanting.  Perhaps, the distinct "first" aspect could hold a special invite for Flournoy; but, other than that, maybe the number two guy--who would never expect to get such a position otherwise--would work.

    Ah well, it's always something.


    The number two guy (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:12:48 PM EST
    Would be Bob Work, the current Deputy Secretary of Defense.
    If Hagel bails before a new person is confirmed, Work would be running the Defense Department at that point, anyway.
    I do agree with you about the "less interesting times."  Hearth, home, friends, relatives (and our kitty).  
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving, christine.
    May you, and all of us, have peace.

    I know that having our nation not able to (none / 0) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:47:29 PM EST
    Confirm a Secretary of Defense is considered a risk to national security.  Having a deputy serving will give the joint chiefs a freakin heart attack.  It signals to the world our leaders can't even agree enough to protect the nation adequately.

    Michelle Hurd and Bill Cosby (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Dadler on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:28:16 PM EST
    Not looking good for him. (none / 0) (#56)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 03:21:54 PM EST
    My wife and I met him and his wife back in the day, they were wonderful to us.

    The Hurd story brings in not just the "ick" factor but also abuse of power, as Cosby was for all intents and purposes Hurd's employer.

    Very sad.


    Grand Jury Decision being announced 9ET? (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:27:09 PM EST
    Hopefully the folks near there have had time to think about how best to respond. Perhaps I have too much faith in people but I still expect no indictment and minimal problems.

    St. Louis Post Dispatch: (none / 0) (#88)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:58:37 PM EST
    UPDATED at 6:40 p.m. with the Rev. Al Sharpton coming to St. Louis for [Brown family] Tuesday press conference.

    Not unexpected (none / 0) (#89)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:15:01 PM EST
    The GJ delivered a no bill.

    Hopefully your second  expectation proves true also.


    No indictment (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:33:21 PM EST
    from the Ferguson Grand Jury.

    Incomprehensible ... (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:44:08 PM EST
    but not unexpected.

    However, I hope people keep their heads.  We don't need to make a bad situation worse with more violence.


    Somebody Please Post Link to Evidence Dump (none / 0) (#93)
    by RickyJim on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 09:40:14 PM EST
    Thanks.  I thought I read that it was supposed to be released online at 9PM Central Time.

    FDA rolls out Obamacare menu regs (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:37:18 AM EST

    The Food and Drug Administration will require restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations to list the total number of calories in foods and drinks they sell, the agency is expected to announce Tuesday.

    The menu labeling requirements, which come from a provision of ObamaCare, will be expanded to include entertainment venues like movie theaters, sports stadiums, amusement parks, bowling alleys and miniature golf courses that serve prepared foods.

    Vending machines will also face new calorie labeling requirements.

    Finally - something useful.

    Now, (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by lentinel on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:28:00 PM EST
    if we could get these mfs to make it mandatory to label foods if they are genetically modified, or contain ingredients that are genetically modified...

    Just what we need... (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 06:59:12 AM EST
    Corruption Hobbles Iraq's Military in Fighting ISIS
    A pattern of graft in the Iraqi government forces threatens to undermine a new American-led effort to drive out the extremists, even as President Obama is doubling the number of American troops in Iraq.

    We get all this @ only $300,000 an hour.

    A rare bargain.

    Hope someone tells me which one is the (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:28:45 AM EST
    terrorist. I vote for the man on the left.

    I'm (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:06:19 PM EST
    not sure if it was the guy on the right or on the left, but one of them just dropped me off on Broadway and 86th Street.

    The guy on the right is in a (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:04:29 AM EST
    Geico ad preceding the video of Beckham Jr.'s catch.

    are you sure it's him in the commercial? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:31:20 AM EST
    The actor lives in Germany. He was born in Turkey. (He speaks five or six languages.) His scenes were for Homeland were filmed in South Africa.

    I am absolutely unsure! (none / 0) (#17)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:35:12 AM EST
    He is really good. Liked his interaction (none / 0) (#30)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:52:48 AM EST
    with Mandy Patinkin's Saul, even though the script was a bit heavy handed.

    Last night's episode was so good. I won't spoil it, but I really don't know where it is going now. After a couple of days to let folks watch we can speculate!


    I sold Mandy Patinkin (none / 0) (#190)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:17:17 PM EST
    An exercise bike once about a hundred years ago (70s?) when  I briefly worked at Paragon sports in Manhattan.  We were both thinner.
    Very nice man.

    yea (none / 0) (#18)
    by CST on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:37:01 AM EST
    The lighting for the guy on the right is way too perfect.

    I vote for the man on the right (none / 0) (#114)
    by ZtoA on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:56:00 PM EST
    being the real terrorist. Because of the look of his nostrils. He has cruel nostrils. Of course he could be a good actor with cruel nostrils. the man on the left has 'nice' nostrils. But of course I actually DO know that nostrils do not equal intent or actions.

    McCulloch made this (none / 0) (#4)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:13:33 AM EST
    statement during an interview with the Washington Post.

    McCulloch: "Everything that the grand jury hears -- all the testimony and all the physical evidence -- will be released to the public if there is no indictment. People will be able to see everything regardless of what happens."  Link

    It appears that when he made these very definite, all encompassing promises, he lacked the one element that would actually allow him to deliver on his promise, the Judge's agreement.

    This latest development just adds more fuel to belief that McCulloch is not to be trusted in connection with the Brown GJ.

    Do you have link (none / 0) (#60)
    by Redbrow on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:04:26 PM EST
    To the judge officially rejecting any possible order to allow release testimony and evidence?

    Did you bother to read (1.00 / 1) (#70)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:33:54 PM EST
    the article that Jeralyn provided on the subject. You might want to read it instead of building straw men.

    No where in my comment did I state that the judge rejected any possibility of issuing an order to release the evidence. I'd say that it was a nice try but it really wasn't. Just your standard run of the mill, boring attempt at distorting what was actually said.


    You stated unequivocally (none / 0) (#79)
    by Redbrow on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 06:01:16 PM EST
    That McCulloch was unable to deliver on a promise and used that as proof that he could not be trusted on any matter.

    Now it turns out MO law allows him to release as promised with no need for permission from the court so your fallacy argument is irrelevant now anyway.


    CLAYTON * If the grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch's office is planning to release grand jury documents without seeking a judge's approval, a lawyer for McCulloch said Monday.

    That was always a condition (none / 0) (#81)
    by Redbrow on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 06:20:00 PM EST
    of his original promise to release material.

    My link was to support your un-linked, (none / 0) (#82)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 06:23:59 PM EST
    but completely factual, comment:
    Now it turns out MO law allows him to release as promised with no need for permission from the court

    McCullough never said that he would release (none / 0) (#63)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:13:20 PM EST
    He has said on several occasions that he would ask the judge for a court order to release the transcripts and audio.

    It was the Court Administrator who was misquoted.

    And the judge hasn't rejected anything - a motion would have to be made first and then the judge would rule at that time.


    I stand corrected (none / 0) (#64)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:14:54 PM EST
    He did say it in that one interview.  Contrary to what he said in several prior statements.

    Chalk this up to a misspeak, because he surely knows he doesn't have to power to do it.


    But then he said (none / 0) (#65)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:18:28 PM EST

    In a September radio interview, McCulloch said releasing the evidence was a done deal. "If there is no indictment, that's when I have said that I will release that information, pursuant to an order of the court," he told KTRS. "The court will issue an order that allows us to release that evidence and testimony."

    Asked again about the issue later in the interview, McCulloch was unequivocal: "There's no probably about it," he said. "It will be released ... We've asked the judge to do that and the judge has agreed that she will do that. If there is no indictment, she will authorize the release of the testimony and the physical evidence that was presented to the grand jury."

    The court did not publicly contradict McCulloch at that time. Nor has the court objected to news reports before Sunday that stated as fact that the evidence would be released.

    Official announcement (none / 0) (#68)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:25:57 PM EST
    The verdict of the GJ will be announced after 5 p.m. tonight.

    This isn't going to help matters: (none / 0) (#6)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:29:14 AM EST
    Cleveland police shoot and kill 12-yr old with BB-gun:

    On Saturday afternoon, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was sitting on a swing outside a recreation center in Cleveland, wearing a camouflage hat and hiding a BB gun in his waistband.

    The boy was playing with the gun on the playground at Cudell Recreation Center, pulling it from his pants and pointing it at people, a man told a 911 dispatcher. The toy's orange safety tip had apparently been removed, and the caller said the boy was "scaring the s-- out of everyone." He also noted that the boy was "probably a juvenile" and that the gun was "probably fake," but that message was reportedly never relayed to police.

    When two Cleveland police officers arrived at the scene, a rookie officer saw the boy beneath a gazebo, picking up the gun and tucking it into his waistband. Police said the officer ordered him to raise his hands, but he raised his shirt instead -- reaching for the gun. The officer fired twice. One shot hit the boy in the stomach.


    Tamir had been playing at the park with his sister and a friend when he was confronted by police. He never shouted or verbally threatened the officers. He never pointed the gun at them. But he did reach for it, police said.

    Authorities said the BB gun resembled a semiautomatic handgun. An orange safety marker, intended to identify a toy gun, had been removed, police said. It wasn't until after the weapon was recovered that investigators determined it was a BB gun.

    What is wrong with this country? (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:03:39 AM EST
    Where shooting and killing a 12-year old is the proper law enforcement response? This quote from the story boggles the mind:

    "But he did reach for it, police said."

    He was 12 frickin' years old you morons. A 12 year old kid's response to a cop pointing a gun at him is to show him the cop that it's a toy, not real. "See, not real." That's why he "reached" for the gun. Not rocket science. I'm not even a parent, and I get that. How do we end up with dumb and dumber as the standard for law enforcement in this country?

    And the lack of response from the public is Cleveland is just as mind numbing. I would think the entire city would have turned out and burned the police dept HQ to the ground. I certainly would understand and not blame them one bit.

    But as what passes for normal in the good ol' USA, the bootlickers will prevail and this will be "justified" and someone else in the public will die tomorrow by hand of a cop for no good reason. And that will be normal too.



    Police and military "evolution" (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Dadler on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:39:59 AM EST
    They both believe it is the civilian's job to die first. With exceptions, of course. But the majority paradigm is now established and accepted as gospel, at least by enough people to keep it alive and gunning. That paradigm goes like this: police and military are incomparable heroes who may very well have to kill us/them (innocent civilians) even if "wrongly" to save themselves, and that is always justified because, well, that's just the way it is, or has become, or we don't know why, it just is.

    That said, did this toy gun have an orange tip? Isn't that standard? (though I'd suggest making all toy/model/whatever guns bet ALL orange and feature large obviously non-gun shapes like, say, cinnamon rolls or tricycles or large Macaws with "Not a Gun" logos printed all over their rainbow bodies. Personally, I do not understand toy guns AT ALL, or air guns that shoot plastic pellets that look like real guns, none of it. Period. I think they are horribly destructive, and always have been, to childrens' psyches. How can you possibly instill a real respect and fear of firearms when you toy them up left and right all over the place. Disgusting. And, yes, the old "cowboys and indians" toy sets from yesteryear were just as evil, IMO. Bad all around for the developing human mind. Awful.


    Here's a pic of the gun (none / 0) (#45)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:47:40 PM EST
    Very realistic (none / 0) (#62)
    by Redbrow on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:10:03 PM EST
    That is not a toy. Where were his parents or any other adult supervisor? Who gave him the gun? Why would they allow him to play with it and point it at people on a playground?

    He was twelve (none / 0) (#76)
    by toggle on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:20:55 PM EST
    Parents don't supervise twelve year olds, and twelve year olds don't play with toys like little kids do. All these stories and many commentators seem to be working under the assumption he was an innocent who didn't know that people would mistake what he had for a real gun. That's highly unlikely.

    Sad (5.00 / 1) (#78)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:54:39 PM EST
    Would like to know your source for your "fact" that 12 year olds don't play with toys like little kids do.

    You might want to share those facts with retail stores in this country.

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    The following list of toys has been identified by our customers as the top toys for 12 year old boys. Rather than relying upon vague manufacturer supplied age ..

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    Shop by Age: 12 & Up - Walmart.com
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    You might also ant to look at the guns marketed as kids guns

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    "5% Off With Coupon Code: GET5 "


    I said... (none / 0) (#101)
    by toggle on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:10:01 PM EST
    They don't play with toys like little kids do. Surely you have seen the research, the theories and the models and the like that hold that adult brain development really kicks in with adolescence? I also don't think you followed any of your links, because the "toys" geared toward 12-year-olds weren't childish in the slightest--not that I would be surprised if an online merchant would try to sell anything to anyone.

    When I was twelve I was given a real gun and turned loose with it. While you might call what I did "playing," it certainly wasn't like what an actual child would have done. The point I was making, which I will reiterate, is that a twelve year old would know full well that that gun could and probably would be mistaken for a real one.


    What in your opinion is the age when someone (5.00 / 3) (#113)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:50:45 PM EST
    ceases to be a child?

    Do you really think a 12 year old child's thought processes are so sophisticated that he would know full well that if he waved around a toy, even a realistic looking one, he was in danger of being shot by the police.

    If you follow my link to the site advertising toy guns, they are all advertised and sold as TOY guns.  They all look similar to real guns but they are toys. It is a toy no matter how realistic it may look. The child knows it is a toy. Do you really think he believes that he will be shot for waving around a toy?


    A child is a prepubescent (none / 0) (#153)
    by toggle on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 03:59:13 PM EST
    It's not just the textbook definition, it's also how the word is commonly used.

    As a sort of aside, this constant need to infanticize victims bugs the heck out of me. You can support the progressive agenda without imagining everyone as children.


    Let's examine your statement (5.00 / 2) (#167)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 05:20:04 PM EST
    Definition of child

    Biologically, a child (plural: children) is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty.[1][2] The legal definition of child generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority.[1]

    There is no finite age when a male begins puberty. Most boys don't begin until sometime between the ages of 9 and 14.

    Now you might notice that the age 12 fits almost midpoint between the ages of 9 and 14. The major landmark of puberty for males is the first ejaculation, which occurs on average at age 13.

    I seriously doubt that you can offer proof that Tamir Rice was not a child in a biological sense and he was definitely considered a child in the legal sense.

    I think of a 12 year boy as a child because it is reasonable to think that he is a child biologically and there is no question that he is a child legally.

    There is not enough bandwidth on this blog to list what bugs the heck out of me regarding conservatives like you. I have to give you credit though  for using the word victim when referring to Tamir Rice because by all definitions it was the correct word to use.


    I think the word (none / 0) (#155)
    by jondee on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:10:20 PM EST
    you're looking for is "infantilize". Genius.

    Can I hire you as an expert witness (none / 0) (#161)
    by toggle on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:39:58 PM EST
    In my suit against the authors of the autocorrect feature in my browser? With your smarts and pleasant demeanor I think we can make a case.

    Adult brain developement really (5.00 / 3) (#154)
    by jondee on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:08:49 PM EST
    "kicks in" in EARLY adolescence? Define what you mean by kicks in. I seriously doubt that you can.

    The human nervous system isn't some preprogrammed machine preset to just "kick in" at some point and automatically manifest mature human beings capable of exercising their higher reasoning powers. Your posts are certainly proof of that..

    There's a time-honored, long and, very important socialization process that humans have to undergo before they arrive at a place where people like you have any justification whatsoever in insinuating that a twelve year old playing with a toy gun somehow had it coming.

    Sorry, but you really are a f*cking cretin.      


    The frontal lobe of the human brain, ... (5.00 / 1) (#165)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 05:17:49 PM EST
    ... from which we derive our executive and cognitive functions, such as our abilities to reason, rationalize, and control / modify our emotions, are generally not fully developed until we reach our mid-twenties.

    (See Giedd, Blumenthal, et al. "Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study." Nature Neuroscience, October 1999, Vol. 2. Sorry, but there's no hyperlink to the full article.)

    And like puberty, the developmental pace of our frontal lobe can vary, depending upon our own personal genetics as well as certain external environmental factors. Further, once we've obtained cognitive maturity, and provided that we remain healthy, our frontal lobes will commence to slowly atrophy at a rate of 0.5% annually.

    (I've qualified the previous statement because according to the latest research, that rate of decline for the frontal lobe is often noticeably accelerated in persons who are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease or have suffered a serious brain trauma.)



    The victim's father stated the victim (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:11:04 AM EST
    was "large for his age."  

    A tragedy.


    Large for his age (5.00 / 2) (#158)
    by jondee on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:25:13 PM EST
    Of course he was.

    Anyone would've been intimidated.


    And it was a rookie cop. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:13:23 AM EST
    Maybe the rookies should have to wear vests with "ROOKIE" on them, much like the "Student Driver" magnets people affix to their cars so people can be warned.

    Strange that they don't (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:41:22 AM EST
    Rookie firefighters in some departments do wear identifiers.

    Trying to envision the reception a law (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:02:38 AM EST
    enforcement officer identified as a rookie would receive.

    good point (none / 0) (#42)
    by sj on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:28:42 PM EST
    But on the other hand civilians might also appreciate the fact that there is even greater danger from a particular cop.

    hmmmm.... one person's safety over the community. I'm guessing the authorities would prefer to provide for the safety of the rookie cop.


    A scarlet letter. (none / 0) (#74)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:11:53 PM EST
    There are scarlet letters (none / 0) (#85)
    by sj on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:23:05 PM EST
    everywhere. Just ask anyone brown.

    Probably at least some (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:21:16 PM EST
    scorn, teasing, laughter, contempt, disrespect, pity, rudeness....
    Pick one.

    Rookie pitchers (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by Ruby on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:51:20 PM EST
    In MLB often have to wear a pink or character-themed backpack to the bullpen.

    John Crawford's last words too (none / 0) (#24)
    by Palli on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:00:28 AM EST
    "It's not real!"

    I had a somewhat similar case. Sheriff's vice (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:06:59 AM EST
    squad (plain clothes) takes down a young adult Caucasian male in front of an open bar. He is pointing what looks like an M-16 up in the air. It is a squirt gun.

    Not somewhat similar (5.00 / 2) (#160)
    by jondee on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:37:23 PM EST
    a twelve year old in a playground vs a "young Caucasian male" - adult, I assume - who probably came out of a bar.

    I guess after awhile they all blend into each other.



    When will change come? (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Palli on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:59:15 AM EST
    Since Oct 2013 there has been an intensive D0J Investigation of the Cleveland Police Department. A Final Report on Reforms and Restructuring was expected in the nest couple of months. But now...

    The orange 1/2" tip "safety ID" can be easily broken off accidentally or intentionally. And it cannot be easily seen from a distance.

    Why are Barbie and Ken toys unrealistic replicas of the human body but Airsoft guns are super realistic replicas of guns?

    Oh, and Tamir is African American and his house is across the street from the playground.
    Police Protect and Serve WHO?


    Only themselves. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:11:14 PM EST
    Yeah, I can see the ready appeal of ... (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:23:05 PM EST
    ... a reality-based Barbie and Ken series.

    Behold "Truck Stop Barbie," with black roots, boobs sagging halfway down to her belly button, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, and dressed in a t-shirt and black leather pants that are both a size too small for the aging ingenue. Joining her for Happy Hour at the Bakersfield Bowlodrome is "Kern County Ken," an ex-con / ex-boyfriend recently paroled from Pelican Bay, with perpetual five o'clock shadow, a skull-and-bones tattoo on his bicep, a leather vest and a mid-sized beer belly hanging over the waist of his jeans.

    And right now, they're both asking "State Street Skipper," a working girl who's taking a short break between tricks, if she knows where to score a good eight-ball while Barbie's best friend "Midge," the retired Army drill sergeant-turned-bartender, is yelling at all three to take their business outside because she's trying to run a respectable joint.

    Yep, I'd have bought those dolls for my daughters at Xmas. ;-D


    I would be interested in the (none / 0) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:25:53 AM EST
    police department providing the actual dispatcher's call to the police. If as they claim, the dispatcher failed to include the information that the 911 caller stated he believed the gun was probably fake (I've read caller said this twice). I would like to know why this information was not included. Are there any procedures in place that require pertinent information be provided?

    I'd like to know why the caller (none / 0) (#43)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:43:16 PM EST
    thought the gun was prob fake. I saw a picture of it and did not know it was a bb gun. For some reason I though bb guns looked more like fake rifles so you could learn to hunt . . .

    You'd (none / 0) (#44)
    by lentinel on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:43:50 PM EST
    think that someone might have tried to approach or at least call to the kid that he was scaring people and to put the gun on the ground. Anything.

    If the caller thought it was a fake gun, even just probably a fake gun, it seems to me that it would have been worth a try before calling in the cops.

    But, I wasn't there.
    Not looking to cast blame - just wondering if this tragedy could have been prevented.

    The other day Jeralyn posted about the Next Generation of Mujahideen - all these little kids with guns - taught to want to kill.
    Of course that is reality with real guns - and the other is fantasy - but my mind went to all those toy guns that little kids have - including toy submachine guns - and those video games - killing galore.
    And I remember the "cowboys and Indians" games...


    lentinel good point, (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by fishcamp on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:21:28 PM EST
    and when we were speaking about the Muslims in France the other day, I think we were both right.  Generally the "good" Muslims do regular shopping and live normal lives, as you pointed out.  But my friends over there say there are ISIS recruiters looking for the disgruntled, Arab speaking young men, to recruit.  Remember, back in the day we would go to an Arabian restaurant to eat that type of food.  Not sure how popular those restaurants are these days.  When I filmed ski racing in Sarajevo, we used to love to go to Muslim town for dinner, and shopping, but that all ended with the bombs.  Crazy world.

    I was in Sarajevo after the war ... (none / 0) (#72)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 05:04:18 PM EST
    as part of a congressionally-sponsored trip. It was a truly heartbreaking experience to bear witness to what had just occurred there. The entire city had been practically shot to pieces. There was a whole area just outside the Olympic Park that was one big, brand-new graveyard. One amazing site we visited was this long tunnel the Bosnian Muslims had built by hand under Sarajevo Airport's runway, which was deep enough to withstand Serbian shelling and proved to be the besieged capital's only lifeline to the outside world for the better part of two years. I hope they've preserved it. Sarajevo is one city I'd love to see again, now that they've cleared the rubble and rebuilt.

    Help (none / 0) (#9)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 09:35:58 AM EST
    A friend wants me to go see Mockinjay with her. I have not seen the other Hunger Game movies or read any of the books.
    I would like advise on whether or not I would enjoy this particular movie without knowing any of the back story or would I be totally confused by the plot.

    You'll understand it ... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 01:24:49 PM EST
    but you will miss the nuances, such as they are.

    The second one is on Netflix streaming.  And the first one is available for cheap rental from iTunes, YouTube, etc.

    So you could catch up fairly easily, if you have the time.


    No time to catch up on others (none / 0) (#87)
    by MO Blue on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:35:13 PM EST
    Before I see it on Friday.

    If my curiosity is aroused, I might see 1 and 2 after I see Mockingjay.

    Thanks for info.


    My daughter turned me on to these (5.00 / 1) (#116)
    by ZtoA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:01:37 AM EST
    movies. I bought the DVDs of part 1 and 2. Have watched them many times. I love the art direction in the movies. I also watched them once with my mom, who was (/is) a activist and feminist in the 60s and 70s. She hates violence too. But she did love these movies.

    I so wish, sometimes, that I could actually go to a movie theater and watch a movie with a crowd. But that is just not going to happen. I am looking forward to this going to DVD. The art direction on these movies is simply - great. Great artistic eyes. And I like the acting and plot(s).  I enjoy the role reversal and especially how all the kids, boys and girls, also like the role reversals, and don't even think of them as 'reversals'.


    I guess you could try, Haven't seen it yet but (4.00 / 1) (#29)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:48:20 AM EST
    this part of the story probably stands on its own well enough. I think you'd get a lot more out of it though if you saw her evolution.

    My co-worker (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 09:41:26 AM EST
    Tells me she didn't feel she missed anything by not seeing the first movie.

    I saw the original film and really liked it. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:49:50 PM EST
    But I've had no desire to see its sequels. I think "The Hunger Games" is a film that can stand on its own. I had no idea that the original book was part of a trilogy before Younger Daughter told me. (And of course, only Hollywood could milk four films out of a trilogy.)

    For all the sequels that Hollywood studios have churned out over the decades in sometimes knee-jerk response to the boffo box office of a particular movie, there are really only a very select few which can stand as equal or even superior to the original.

    Each chapter of "The Godfather" trilogy was in and of itself a great film, even though the third installment does suffer somewhat in comparison to the superior quality of the first two. So, too, were the first three "Star Wars" films. (But George Lucas lost me with the Jar-Jar Binks movie in 1999, so I never saw the last two.)

    But then there's the original "Rocky," a truly wonderful 1976 film that in my opinion was subsequently robbed of its potential greatness by the opportunistic release of "Rocky II, III, IV, V" and "Rocky Balboa," all of which exploited the first film's premise to the point of self-parody.

    For that reason, I tend to avoid sequels and will probably skip "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I." I like the original too much, to risk sullying my memory of it with what's likely to be -- at least to me, anyway -- an underwritten and overblown knock-off. At any rate, I'll wait to hear others' opinions about it before I'll even consider going to see it.



    I generally agree with you regarding (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 02:47:24 PM EST
    movie sequels, but I think it is different in the cases where the movies are already based on a series of books. Unless of course the book series is itself "an underwritten and overblown knock-off."!

    LOL! That, I wouldn't know. (none / 0) (#57)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 03:30:40 PM EST
    Younger Daughter has read all three and liked them all, while Elder Daughter thought the final book "Mockingjay" was weak. I've read none of them. But upon my viewing of the first film, I'd say that those books were clearly written with teens and young adults ages 16-24 in mind, a period of life in which the hypocrisies of our elders are often most glaringly apparent.

    (For those of us who've learned to rationalize human behavior as we've aged, which I daresay is most of humankind, our likely reaction to the innate contradictions of our contemporaries would be to merely shrug our shoulders and look around our immediate vicinity for the remote, rather than resolve to overthrow the tyranny of our oppressors. We'll apparently only undertake that task when a black man is elected president, and then only if the Koch Bros. and their friends underwrite in whole the operating costs of our political resistance.)

    The Los Angeles Times just posted an article about the less-than-expected box office performance of "Mockingjay," in which the writer wonders aloud whether the studios bosses overestimated their product's appeal to young moviegoers by splitting the third and final book into two parts. (If a nine-figure opening weekend is considered unstatisfactory, then may we all be so mediocre.)

    As that paper's resident film critic Kenneth Turan noted, "Though everyone tries her or his hardest to make it otherwise, ['Mockingjay'] is by definition a place-holder film that exists not so much for itself but to smooth the transition from its hugely successful predecessors to a presumably glorious finale one year hence."

    If I do end up seeing it, I'll be sure to first watch "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" before doing so.



    I haven't read them either (none / 0) (#59)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 03:39:41 PM EST
    Have to rely on my nieces and nephews. They loved them, but I think more on an 'inhale the plot' level than real literary merit :-)  I've only seen the movies...first two were good in a Saturday afternoon viewing way, interesting plot and characters. Not going on my top 100 list anytime soon, but good enough for a rainy day.

    I'll put my snob hat on and add that I have noticed a disturbing trend among some culture bloggers to treat YA fiction as if it is meant for full fledged adults. I guess 34 is the new 24.


    I think the second one (none / 0) (#38)
    by CST on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:58:37 PM EST
    is worth watching.  Personally it was my favorite of the books/movies so far.  I was not as big a fan of the third book, and the fact that they have split the worst book into two movies to milk the profits is not particularly encouraging - I also think the less than stellar reviews of the third film are probably related to that.  But if you liked the first hunger games you will probably enjoy the second one.

    How would she know? (none / 0) (#83)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:17:40 PM EST
    Caution advised, based on personal experience (none / 0) (#16)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:33:22 AM EST
    seeing only the final movie of "Lord of the Rings"!

    I saw (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:41:57 AM EST
    all Lord of the Rings movies, and read the books - but even I found those movies hard to follow.

    The hunger games is probably easier.


    My sincere condolences for ... (none / 0) (#69)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 04:29:51 PM EST
    ... having had to endure 200 minutes of what must have been virtual cinematic incoherence. You really needed to see the first two films for the third to be meaningful.

    I remember seeing THE TWO TOWERS ... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 08:42:34 PM EST
    and have the profound feeling that no one in the audience had any idea what was going.  But they still were loving it.

    Of course, as a huge Tolkien fan, I was sitting there parsing all the errors and interpretive lapses.


    I don't doubt that a bit :) (none / 0) (#98)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:41:19 PM EST
    Long long books, long long movies.  Josh loved the movies.  We have the director's cut versions.  It is over 10 hours of dwarves, elves, hobbits, Wizards, orcs, Uruk-hai, and the occassional man.

    The Hunger Games were much easier reads.


    I'd watch or read in order (none / 0) (#84)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 07:20:08 PM EST
    I've read them all at the request of my daughter and saw Mockingjay this weekend. Liked the books better than the movies so far but this one was pretty good and I thought maybe better than the first 2.

    Wilson Wedding (none / 0) (#19)
    by Uncle Chip on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:37:08 AM EST
    Darren Wilson takes a bride

    Marries another police officer during his hiatus.

    The nerve of this man. How dare he! (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:24:17 PM EST
    Thomas Jefferson wannabe disbarred (none / 0) (#36)
    by Reconstructionist on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 12:41:47 PM EST
    Some good news (none / 0) (#55)
    by CST on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 03:16:22 PM EST
    on the energy front (link):

    "According to a study by the investment banking firm Lazard, the cost of utility-scale solar energy is as low as 5.6 cents a kilowatt-hour, and wind is as low as 1.4 cents. In comparison, natural gas comes at 6.1 cents a kilowatt-hour on the low end and coal at 6.6 cents. Without subsidies, the firm's analysis shows, solar costs about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour at the low end, with wind at 3.7 cents."

    Of course that may be true ONLY if (none / 0) (#126)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:06:49 AM EST
    you are willing to do without power when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine.

    Mr. Mir noted there were hidden costs that needed to be taken into account for both renewable energy and fossil fuels. Solar and wind farms, for example, produce power intermittently -- when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing -- and that requires utilities to have power available on call from other sources that can respond to fluctuations in demand.

    The costs are not hidden. If you demand power 100% of the time then a complete standby overlay power generation network that will provide the same amount of power must be built, maintained and paid for. And there's no magic here. It is the customer, the end user, Joe and Jane Six Pack, who has to pay for this.

    And then we have this very important detail.

    .....solar costs about 7.2 cents a kilowatt-hour at the low end, with wind at 3.7 cents."

    I wonder what the numbers are at the high end??


    so the comparable numbers (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by CST on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:49:07 AM EST
    for conventional energy were also "low-end" numbers.  Maybe they have a larger range, maybe they don't - that information wasn't provided, but it is comparing apples to apples.  Also to deal with the power "shortages" when the wind isn't blowing you have multiple sources of energy, and can use conventional sources to fill the gaps.  You are still burning far fewer fossil fuels than if you use them all the time.  You cannot really be suggesting that having other energy sources available is the same cost to the user as actually using them.

    In any event, multiple financially viable sources of energy is an overwhelming positive for the country both from an ecological and from a security standpoint.  The numbers on wind in particular are very encouraging, especially considering the vast amounts of "wind reserves" we have.

    Even in states like Oklahoma, where there are no renewable energy requirements - they are starting to buy more power from renewable sources because it's cheaper, so Joe and Jane six pack will not be paying more for increased wind power, even with a backup supply necessary.  I really can't fathom why you would be opposed to that.


    I am saying the costs will be higher than (none / 0) (#141)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 01:01:40 PM EST
    some may think.

    You cannot really be suggesting that having other energy sources available is the same cost to the user as actually using them.

    See what I wrote to Mondriggan on that point.

    I have nothing against wind/solar. In fact, while redoing the palatial retirement palace I looked closely at both. Neither was practical. Today solar looks like a break even at about 17 years IF I assume the purchased equipment's EOL (end of life) is 20 years. That's a shaky deal.


    I'm not super familiar (none / 0) (#142)
    by CST on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 01:13:27 PM EST
    with wind on a residential scale, but IMO that is the truly promising number.  Probably harder to justify for a house.  Solar is still breaking even or slightly more expensive than conventional sources.  That being said, while in the long term traditional sources may become more expensive as we use them less, renewable sources are becoming much cheaper as we use them more.

    Meanwhile, looks like Cape Wind (once it's finally built) will get a whole bunch of neighbors:  

    "The Interior Department said it will allow a dozen developers to bid on access to more than 742,000 acres off the coast of Massachusetts starting Jan. 29."


    Sorry but it doesn't work like that (none / 0) (#149)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 03:16:16 PM EST
    although I wish it did.

    Think of your utility company as a tub. It has many small holes drilled in the bottom and water is running out of the holes. The tub is filled with water and has hose A attached to a faucet that is putting in, say, 20% of the water needed. A second hose, hose B,  is attached to another faucet that is maxed out at providing 80% of the water needed.

    The solar/wind is the A hose. Conventional is B.

    Now the A hose is turned off. The water running out of the holes in the bottom loses pressure. The B hose can only provide 80%.

    You must either replace the 20% or the system will fail.

    If you make the solar/wind numbers larger and the conventional smaller the problem doesn't go away.

    To provide the necessary reliability demanded for 24/7 service the standby system must always be able to replace 100% of the solar/wind power lost.

    And if the wind doesn't blow then a standby wind system is no good. If the sun doesn't shine then a standby solar system doesn't work.

    As long as solar/wind does not meet the reliability standards we have established they will never compete with conventional on price because the conventional never goes away.

    Perhaps an educational program designed and pushed by the EPA convincing people they should pay more and have less will help.


    Nobody is extolling (none / 0) (#152)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 03:42:45 PM EST
    solar/wind power as a 100% replacement, and as CST noted, the existing capacity should be enough for those times when solar/wind isn't enough.

    Of course, the EPA suggests that people conserve energy, where in the world is that telling them that they deserve less then they're getting now?


    I don't think that you (none / 0) (#164)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 05:11:00 PM EST
    are now the spokesperson for the Green movement.

    100% replacement is exactly what many they push.

    Did you read and understand my tub example??

    Did you read and understand my notes on the purchase of electricity in the spot market?

    The "existing capacity" you speak of doesn't exist like a jar of jam on a shelf. It must come from generating systems that are up and working and ready to go on line. Do you know of any place where this can be done or is planned to be done?

    Yes, I am a supporter of alternate energy systems. Solar/wind provides some interesting scenarios for small systems. They do not do so for real life utility systems.

    Let me try again to explain using a real life example.

    You are a utility for a small town. You contract to purchase X amount of power from a power generator. For X amount your price is 7 cents/kwh.

    Now, because many of your end users have installed solar power units you only use  X - 15%. Now the supplier exercise the volume agreement and increases your price to 9 cents and bills you for the difference.

    You, to make up the difference, increase your price to the end user 2 cents/kwh.


    There aint no such thing as a free lunch. - Robert Heinlein circa 1952.



    Quoting Heinlein (5.00 / 1) (#168)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 05:23:25 PM EST
    doesn't change the facts, one of which that the Greens in this country are in a minority.

    The "existing capacity" you speak of doesn't exist like a jar of jam on a shelf. It must come from generating systems that are up and working and ready to go on line. Do you know of any place where this can be done or is planned to be done?

    I'm obviously talking about the generating capacity already in place:  Systems that are generating electricity and already on-line.

    Yes, I am a supporter of alternate energy systems. Solar/wind provides some interesting scenarios for small systems. They do not do so for real life utility systems.

    I think the ones in Germany are real life utility systems.

    Why aren't they running into problems that you detail?

    Possibly because they don't exist, outside of your arm-waving?

    It will be another milestone in Germany's costly attempt to remake its electricity system, an ambitious project that has already produced striking results: Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources. Many smaller countries are beating that, but Germany is by far the largest industrial power to reach that level in the modern era. It is more than twice the percentage in the United States.

    The link is in a recent comment of mine.  I don't expect you to read it because it goes against your preconceived notions about the problems with solar/wind power.

    Thanks for the discussion.


    Not really (none / 0) (#187)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:59:38 PM EST
    I'm obviously talking about the generating capacity already in place:  Systems that are generating electricity and already on-line.

    My point is and was that the existing capacity must be kept up and operating. It is not like a jar of jam on s shelf. You just can't flip a switch and a generation plant comes immediately on line. That's not politics that is just facts.

    I think the ones in Germany are real life utility systems.

    Germany is a bust. Read about it here.

    First, let's take a statistical tour of the German electricity sector in 2012, one that reveals the poor performance and intrinsic shortcomings of the most popular renewable technologies. (Most of these figures come from Germany's BdeW utility consortium, an industry source that gathers data from all of Germany's electric utilities, here and here.)

    Renewable power is growing, but too slowly to take up the slack from nuclear shutdowns and also reduce fossil-fueled generation. The portion of German electricity generated by renewables rose from 20.3 percent in 2011 to 21.9 percent in 2012. Unfortunately, that was largely offset by a drop in nuclear's share of generation due to the post-Fukushima shutdowns of reactors, from 17.7 percent in 2011 to 16.1 percent in 2012. Fossil-fueled generation edged up from 352 to 356 terawatt-hours (trillion watt-hours, TWh) and its share of total electricity production barely budged: 57. 8 percent in 2011 compared to 57.6 percent in 2012.
    Worse, that fossil-fueled electricity got dirtier because of the "merit-order effect": renewable power preferentially displaces expensive natural gas from the grid rather than cheaper coal.

    Natural gas-fired generation decreased, but coal-fired plants, which generate more pollution and greenhouse gases, increased their output by 14.5 TWh--more than the increase in renewable generation--and coal's share of electricity production rose from 43.1 percent to 44.7 percent. Germany's greenhouse emissions therefore rose 1.6 percent in 2012, the increase mostly coming from CO2 emissions by coal-burning power plants--up 3.4 percent for anthracite and 5.1 percent for lignite.

    Look, I have no pre conceived anything. My background is engineering. My business experience was in the utilities. If solar/wind actually offered the future you seem to think it does I would be thrilled. But it doesn't. So far it is not competitive unless subsidized with tax payer dollars.

    Our concentration should be on nuclear for the next generation and our research should be focused on fusion.

    BTW - Heinlein was an engineer and a navy veteran... and a very smart man.


    That dog won't hunt (none / 0) (#130)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:40:42 AM EST

    Nonetheless, he said, executives were surprised to see how far solar prices had fallen. "Renewables had two issues: One, they were too expensive, and they weren't dispatchable. They're not too expensive anymore."

    As compared to what?? (none / 0) (#138)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:39:07 PM EST
    Please refer to the fact that a standby system must be provided. Current local utility sell prices for TVA supplied electric power is around .10/KWH. That places the TVA wholesale price at around 7 cents/KWH.

    The question then becomes this. Who will build a standby system and sell its power to the utility only when the utility needs it?  And what will the sell it for?? Obviously they won't sell it for the same price as if it was a volume purchase. Please understand that the cost of generation has huge overhead costs that don't go away when no one is buying the power.

    So what would obviously happen is that the wind/solar producer would either purchase power, when needed, from the spot market, that is available power from other producers and/or utilities. Now, be aware that there is a practical limit as to how far power can be transmitted so "available" becomes a real number and an important factor. Perhaps you remember Southern Cal Edison's problems a few years back. Their lack of generating power due to NIMBY of some customers led to rolling black outs and big big price problems.

    So any discussion of solar/wind generation costs must include the standby power cost. Otherwise it is a fictional exercise in "feel good."

    I wish there was but there is no practical way of storing electric power in the capacities needed to run even a single home.


    So now the problem (none / 0) (#140)
    by CST on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:59:26 PM EST
    is that conventional sources will become too expensive if we don't use them enough?

    I don't think that's the world we are currently living in, or close to living in.  At what percent of the total energy cost will economies of scale stop applying?  75% 50%? 25%?

    We have an extremely long way to go before it comes close to no longer being a "volume purchase".  By the time we get to that, it won't have as much of an impact on price because it will affect a smaller portion of the supply.  Also, by then we may have developed a practical way of storing electric power in larger capacities.  Just because we can't do it yet doesn't mean we won't ever be able to.


    Your answer (none / 0) (#144)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 01:52:09 PM EST
    So now the problem is that conventional sources will become too expensive if we don't use them enough?

    I didn't say that. What I said is that assuming you want power at all times then when the solar/wind generating fails you must have a standby source and if the goal is to have power as reliable as we have it today then the standby source must be able to provide as much power as the main, or regular, source, we have today.

    If you own the system then the cost is what the cost is. If you purchase the power then the price is whatever the seller is willing to sell it for.

    Power on the spot market is like buying oil on the spot market. First you must be located where the seller can service you. Secondly the seller must have power available.  

    Given those two requirements are met a transaction can occur.

    If interested do some study of  SoCalEdison and Enron to see the complexes, danger, etc.

    So the gating factor is not just the cost of generating electric power via solar/wind, it must also include the COST of a standby system/source and MOST of all, the AVAILABILITY of a standby system.


    Why would the solar/wind provider (none / 0) (#143)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 01:25:05 PM EST
    be tasked with the problem of delivering power on a 24/7 basis in the first place?

    Your whole premise doesn't make sense.  

    The conventional generating capacity won't go away overnight, but won't be needed as much during peak times of solar/wind activity.  If you're now discovering that solar wind isn't 24/7 reliable, which was mentioned in the part I excepted from, welcome to the club.  

    Nobody is saying here that the present stage of technology allows for entire dependence of our power based on solar/wind, but the only losers I see in the short-term are the oil/gas companies and the people who invest in them.


    And your answer is (none / 0) (#146)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 02:34:12 PM EST
    Why would the solar/wind provider be tasked with the problem of delivering power on a 24/7 basis in the first place?

    I see that I have tried to address a complex issue without defining some terms.

    First, my comments, following the initial comment by CST are based on utility sized systems. Small systems for homes/businesses are a different subject and have different  advantages and problems. I would be glad to discuss them separately.

    The end user is a residence or business/school, etc.

    The utility is the entity that distributes the power the end user.

    Some utilities own their own power generating systems. Some purchase power from companies that only sell to utilities. Some utilities sell to other utilities and some utilities purchase from other utilities.

    But it is the end user who will demand that the utility deliver power on a 24/7 basis. The end user will not really care where it comes from although some may prefer "green power."

    "The conventional generating capacity won't go away overnight, but won't be needed as much during peak times of solar/wind activity."

    The problem is this. It is a Yes/No. Either the existing stand by network will be capable of generating the power needed when the solar/wind sources cannot or the network will fail and the end user will be "in the dark." And that is a complex algorithm but I have stated the end game.

    "but the only losers I see in the short-term are the oil/gas companies and the people who invest in them. "

    The problem is this. The use of solar/wind as power generation in a utility network demands a standby system that can provide 100% of the power lost IF the solar/wind source fails. That means that the stand by system must always be at 100% capability and must grow at the same rate as the solar/wind source.

    The loser will be the end user. Energy companies will just pass on their cost increases.


    capacity (none / 0) (#150)
    by CST on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 03:23:29 PM EST
    does not cost the same amount as production.  It is not a yes/no.  Being capable of, and actually converting coal/oil/gas to energy are two very different things.  And it's not like we'll have to build a back-up system from scratch.  It's already there.  

    Also, while wind power is not dispatchable it is predictable based on weather patterns.  So production of energy from other sources can be adjusted according to demand.


    There is a global trend (none / 0) (#151)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 03:36:04 PM EST
    we can choose to join it, or get left behind:

    Germany's relentless push into renewable energy has implications far beyond its shores. By creating huge demand for wind turbines and especially for solar panels, it has helped lure big Chinese manufacturers into the market, and that combination is driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible just a few years ago.

    Electric utility executives all over the world are watching nervously as technologies they once dismissed as irrelevant begin to threaten their long-established business plans. Fights are erupting across the United States over the future rules for renewable power. Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset.

    On the other hand (none / 0) (#185)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:30:10 PM EST
    Through much of 2012, the Energiewende, Germany's pioneering effort to construct an energy system around renewables while simultaneously phasing out nuclear power and cutting carbon emissions, was on a roll. Plunging prices and eye-popping production figures for wind and solar power seemed to fulfill all the visionary prognostications. Germany shrugged off the shuttering of nearly half its nuclear plants without a backward glance: not only did it not suffer the predicted power shortages, it boosted electricity exports. Renewable power pushed market prices down and threatened to drive gas- and coal-burning power plants into bankruptcy. The press and the green blogosphere celebrated passed benchmark after shattered milepost, including the day in May when, according to Treehugger.com's headline, "

    Half of Germany Was Running on Solar Power."
    But statistics on Germany's electricity sector for the whole of 2012 are now in, and when you look beyond the cherry-picked hype, the results are dismal and disquieting. Despite massive construction of new capacity, electricity output from renewables, especially from wind and solar, grew at a sluggish rate. Germany is indeed avoiding blackouts--by opening new coal- and gas-fired plants. Renewable electricity is proving so unreliable and chaotic that it is starting to undermine the stability of the European grid and provoke international incidents. The spiraling cost of the renewables surge has sparked a backlash, including government proposals to slash subsidies and deployment rates. Worst of all, the Energiewende made no progress at all in clearing the German grid of fossil fuels or abating greenhouse emissions--nor is it likely to for at least a decade longer.

    Facts be facts


    That's from last year (none / 0) (#186)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:55:06 PM EST
    so I don't see how it contradicts what is in the more recent NYT article I excerpted from.  

    Here's a response to the article.

    Throughout the article, Boisvert characterizes the performance of wind and solar power as variously "terrible," "unreliable," and, in case you weren't adequately alarmed, "of catastrophic unreliability."

    In fact, the amount of solar irradiance and wind energy for a given date and location are fairly predictable. Boisvert bases his claim that solar power "varies wildly" largely on the uncontested fact that the sun sets at night. But this is why engineers use the adjective "intermittent" to describe solar (and wind) power, not "unreliable." What Boisvert ignores is that peak power use occurs in the middle of the day, precisely when solar power is at its greatest.

    From this doom-and-gloom perspective, Boisvert asks, "how will a Germany run largely on wind and solar generators survive the long periods when they shut down completely in the dead of winter?" Part of the answer is that wind power actually peaks in "the dead of winter"--not in the summer as Boisvert apparently believes.

    Unaware of the complementary properties of wind and solar (wind energy is also highest at night when solar energy is at its nadir), Boisvert states that Germany is being forced to build what he calls a "second grid." "To escape long blackouts many times a year," Boisvert writes, "Germany is planning to back up every gigawatt of wind and solar average capacity with another gigawatt of gas or coal."

    I asked Claudia Kemfert, one of Germany's top energy economists, what she makes of this claim. "That is not true," Kemfert responded in an e-mail. Kemfert, the head of the department of energy, transportation, and the environment at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin, and an external expert to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explained, "It is one of the myths conventional power companies argue to overestimate costs and to undermine the acceptance of the Energiewende."

    And this, from the NYT article:

    In Germany, where solar panels supply 7 percent of power and wind turbines about 10 percent, wholesale power prices have crashed during what were once the most profitable times of day. "We were late entering into the renewables market -- possibly too late," Peter Terium, chief executive of the giant utility RWE, admitted this spring as he announced a $3.8 billion annual loss.

    Technological Innovation

    As renewable energy sources start to cause gyrations in power supplies and prices, experts contend that clever new market rules could keep the costs reasonable.

    Some of the innovations they recommend are already in use to some extent -- pioneered in the United States, with Germany avidly studying them. They include regular payments to persuade utilities to keep some fossil-fuel power plants on standby for times when renewable sources lag.

    "It's like a retainer you pay your lawyer to keep her around in case you need her," said Jay Apt, an electricity expert at Carnegie Mellon University.

    Germany thru 2013 (none / 0) (#189)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:14:57 PM EST
    The more common version of the myth is debunked with simple reference to Germany's official statistics for electricity generation. And what they tell us is quite simple. Germany does not get half of its electricity from solar panels, instead the figure is around ten times lower. Last year only 4.5% of Germany's gross electricity generation came from solar panels, far short of 50%.

    And if you want to think that half of Germany's electricity comes from something green you will be disappointed. 46% of generation comes from coal. And just over half of coal powered electricity in Germany comes from burning lignite, perhaps the most polluting way to generate electricity on the planet.


    What you and many others are doing is confusing the cost of solar power and wind turbines with the actual cost of deploying.


    Capacity does not exist (none / 0) (#166)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 05:18:59 PM EST
    like a jar of jam on a shelf. You can't just flip a switch and have it available. So the back up system must not only be there, it must be built to produce and actually produce the needed power when needed.

    As for load predictions, yes. That is done all the time. But, as I noted above, you can't just flip a switch and bring the power on UNLESS you are up and running.

    And that costs money.  Lots of it.

    And that is one of the main reasons why power using solar and wind, in the real world, is so expensive.


    Again, when you add solar/wind into the mix (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:01:26 PM EST
    You don't have to built a new power plants to supplement the solar/wind mix WHEN THERE ARE PERFECTLY GOOD POWER PLANTS THAT CAN BE USED IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE FOR THAT PURPOSE.

    What's wrong with your thinking?  You seem to believe that all the current generating capacity would have to be scrapped and everything has to start at ground zero if you go towards solar/wind/

    That is very crazy, not just very stupid.

    No charge, as you like to say.


    One more time (none / 0) (#191)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:28:15 PM EST
    You cannot just shut the plants down and wait until you have a sudden need. They cannot be mothballed and just turned back on with the flip of a switch. To be available they must be up, running and producing power.


    And thanks for the insult. I knew you would get there when you realized you didn't understand the subject enough to discuss it.

    Funny thing though. I'm more "green" than you are.

    Have a nice night!


    Power plants are designed to (none / 0) (#192)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 11:06:19 PM EST
    run at less than full capacity, so you run them on low during the peak solar/wind productions times, then bring them up to power when you know you'll need them.

    Or, as the NYT article pointed out, you could pay the power plants to be on standby, much as a lawyer is on retainer even when you don't need him/her right away.

    You sure are obtuse.  You have a number of underlying assumptions that don't hold up when logically analyzed in the light of day.  Don't blame me for your deficiencies.


    I'll try again. (none / 0) (#200)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 09:48:45 AM EST
    Understand. The utility network has X amount of power available produced by its own solar/wind and conventional.

    Example: Solar/wind is producing 20%. Solar/wind fails. Power available is now X-20%. The lost amount must be replaced within milliseconds or the power grid will go down to prevent damage to itself and end user equipment.

    IF the utility has the ability to connect to a standby source of power then that standby source must, within milliseconds, replace the power lost.

    It doesn't matter if the standby source is not running at 100% capacity as long as it is producing enough to replace the lost amount.

    IF the standby source is running at less than the capacity that will replace the lost power, and if it has the capability, then additional power can be generated and brought on line. This will require a significant amount of time and the utility will suffer a major shut down. Depending on the size of the utility and the connectivity between various other utilities a rolling black out and/or complete network shut down may occur.

    The above can be modified to say that the utility is obtaining its power from a company that is in business just to provide power to utilities. Nothing changes in the example of lost power.

    And solar/wind do not have the ability to provide the reliability required of our power grids. Good forecasts can help in determining how much and when the standby is needed, but it doesn't go away. And the more solar/wind you deploy, the higher the cost of standby becomes.

    In fact, at 100% of solar/wind deployment the standby systems must be able to provide 100% unless we are willing to accept that large portions of our homes, businesses, factories, etc., can go without power or provide their own standby power.

    That means that, no matter what, the cost of providing standby power must be factored into the cost of installing and deploying solar/wind.

    And that is why the cost of the solar panel or the wind turbine is only a small portion of the cost.

    Now, I have tried to explain why solar/wind doesn't work for large installations and why Germany, and Spain for that matter, has encountered huge problems.

    I'm done here. Have a nice day.


    again though (5.00 / 1) (#202)
    by CST on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 11:00:18 AM EST
    it's not that solar and wind fail - they just don't produce as much at certain times.  Those times are both predictable and fairly reliable.  So you can determine - in advance - when you will need that additional power.  There are in fact very reliable estimates for that.  And that means you don't need to have 100% on standby at all times - you can determine what you will need - in advance - based on the time of day/weather patterns.

    We are no longer shocked by solar eclipses and the like, we know when this stuff is coming - the sun does not just suddenly stop shining, and wind does not suddenly stop blowing.

    Also, all this research you want to do to improve fossil fuel/nuclear production could also be directed at researching better energy storage.  The fact that it doesn't exist today does not mean that it won't exist in the future.


    As my father, a science educator (none / 0) (#203)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 11:19:12 AM EST
    Has reminded me for 4 decades, fusion has always been at the 'break-even" point since the early 1960s.  

    You can try all you want (none / 0) (#201)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 09:50:22 AM EST
    But we're letting the rest of the world eat our lunch when it comes to using renewable power, and all your sophistry and pseudo-explainations can't change that fact.

    No Indictment! (none / 0) (#94)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:14:26 PM EST
    Move along folks.  Nothing to see here.  This is the new normal.  Policy.  Just following procedure.

    Why'd they wait so long to announce?  Look at a weather map.  It's in the mid thirties down there.

    Charlie Pierce bites off a comment; (none / 0) (#95)
    by Anne on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:19:36 PM EST
    maybe tomorrow he'll tell us how he really feels...

    Jesus Mary, this Bob McCulloch guy may be the single greasiest public servant I've ever encountered. I've never seen a DA who was so damned proud of himself for putting a grand jury on automatic pilot. (See, "Ham sandwich, indictment of.") And I've never seen such a perfect mixture of condescension and willful nonfeasance in my many years of watching how law enforcement in this country operates. This, after all, is a guy who once personally wrangled a grand jury to discover the identity of a whistleblower. This is a guy who once lied through his teeth about another police shooting, this one involving a car that allegedly "charged" a couple of officers, much as Michael Brown allegedly "charged" Darren Wilson. The kindest evaluation of McCulloch's record is that he is a very active prosecutor with a very clear sense of what he can make a grand jury do, if he chooses to do so, which he did not in this case, for reasons that are far from unclear. In the most high-profile case of his career, prosecutor Bob McCulloch insisted he was just a feather in the wind, just gathering evidence so the grand jury could make up its own mind, not directing it at all. And then, Monday night, he hummina-hummina'ed for seven full minutes before announcing the least shocking news of the day. Darren Wilson did not commit a crime by shooting Michael Brown dead in broad daylight in the middle of the street. But Bob McCulloch, public servant, knows what the real problem with this investigation was.

    "The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about, following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media."

    Social media. He actually fcking said that.

    Nothing good will come of this. Nothing at all.

    Yowza, Charlie!


    McCulloch didn't say anything explanatory at all (none / 0) (#97)
    by ruffian on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 10:37:54 PM EST
    And the grand jury doesn't have to explain their decision. to me it is an abdication of responsibility. In essence, "I can't charge. Why not? Well, read the evidence for yourself!"

    No answers - why was he justified in shooting? Did McCulloch even try to answer that?



    To me, Mr. McCulloch did an excellent job (5.00 / 3) (#102)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:12:26 PM EST
    describing the charges his office asked the grand jury to consider, how the case was presented to the grand jury, what the gj's responsibility was, and what it considered in making it's decisions. Mr. McCulloch did not personally present the case to the grand jury. The evidence, sworn testomony, media interviews of witnesses and more is bring released to the media and presumably will be available to all who would like to see it. He took questions. He can't speak for the grand jury except as to whether they returned an indictment. Very professional presentation.

    I thought there were (subtle?) (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:42:52 PM EST
    undertones of blame towards everyone but 'the good guys' as he was 'explaining?' at the beginning. I tried to listen for awhile, but just found him too distasteful, so I bailed and figured I would read it later.

    That may be true, and I truly value the rules (none / 0) (#117)
    by ZtoA on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:06:45 AM EST
    of the law and think they are valid and valuable....

    But, in the end, justice was not served here - IMO of course. Following this site has schooled me on the fact that sometimes (not always) the law does not yield justice (or at least what "I" think is justice) and then, slowly, painfully slowly, the laws change. This jury may have accurately reflected the letter of the law. But in the sweep of time, I'm not so sure if it did.


    If he was not in the room and (none / 0) (#120)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:25:27 AM EST
    won't talk about the reasoning that went on, leaving everyone to sift through the evidence and draw their own conclusions, why the 45 minute, after -dark, presentation? I don't know what good that was supposed to do.

    Although I have not examined the transcripts (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:44:28 AM EST
    and evidence and doubt Mr. McCulloch had either, I think the actual prosecutors probably wrote most of what McCulloch stated and were attempting to educate the press and public how thorough the investigation was and that what we've been reading and hearing since the incident was incomplete and not necessarily consistent with the physical evidence.

    I think McCulloch's remarks were (none / 0) (#124)
    by Anne on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:14:28 AM EST
    gratuitous, actually; I don't think it was necessary for him to explain why the GJ was right, which it pretty much seemed like he was trying to do.

    Can't wait for the next person involved in a major crime in the greater St. Louis area to demand as thorough and lengthy an investigation by a grand jury as was undertaken in this matter.  


    In my experience, the investigation of an officer- (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:21:41 AM EST
    any homicide case is pretty thorough.

    Maybe the presentatio did that in more detail than (none / 0) (#128)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:36:33 AM EST
    I remember from watching. It seemed like it was at the same broad overview level we already know. Seems like they put their least like-able guy forward with the most vague presentation. I just did not find it effective. Obviously others feel differently, so peace!

    Interesting. (none / 0) (#134)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 11:36:35 AM EST
    There was a lot of new information there for me (none / 0) (#135)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 11:42:13 AM EST
    I thought most of what was discussed earlier was speculation.  And photos of the injuries the police officer sustained were not available.  As to whether or not he had been assaulted was often dismissed, obviously he had been.

    In the released testimony there was new (none / 0) (#136)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:05:04 PM EST
    information, but I didn't hear anything in the oral presentation that was new. The speculation for the last weeks, based on public interviews from witnesses, was that there was a scuffle of some sort at the truck. I do not find it new information that Wilson had some sort of injury from that.

    I guess I will say what would have been a better presentation last night, for me anyway: a brief announcement of the finding, preferably without McCulloch, but definitely without his attitude and editorializing, release of the GJ records, and a presser scheduled for today or tomorrow after reporters had time to digest the information.


    I would have preferred the announcement (none / 0) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:23:01 PM EST
    To have taken place this morning.  The majority of human beings seem to process stress better starting in the morning.  Making a stressful announcement at night when problem solving energy and coping energy is running low was IMO a horrible error.

    Imagine the hue and cry if announcing the gj (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 02:27:38 PM EST
    decision was delayed. Manipulation. No transparency. McColloch usurping the public's right to know. And on and on. It is pretty surprising McColloch is continually relected.

    It isn't like they immediately (5.00 / 1) (#157)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:22:34 PM EST
    Released it.  The decision was final at around noon.

    McColloch said he then met w/the Brown (5.00 / 2) (#159)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:32:59 PM EST
    family to give them advance notice b/4 his 8 pm CST announcement. Governor Nixon was notified and elected to fly to St . Louis. Given protestors matched on the I-44, probably, in retrospect, delaying the announcement was good in the respect rush hour traffic should have dissipated by then.  I think McColloch would have been criticized no matter what time he chose for the announcement.

    He also said (5.00 / 1) (#162)
    by Ruby on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 04:56:16 PM EST
    It was to allow for the kids to get out of school and people to get home from work.

    Makes sense. (none / 0) (#163)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 05:00:32 PM EST
    You are probably right about that (none / 0) (#198)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Nov 26, 2014 at 08:15:15 AM EST
    No matter what was done he was going to be criticized.

    It WAS delayed (none / 0) (#169)
    by sj on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:01:00 PM EST
    Imagine the hue and cry if announcing the gj  (5.00 / 2) (#145)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 01:27:38 PM MDT

    decision was delayed. Manipulation. No transparency. McColloch usurping the public's right to know. And on and on. It is pretty surprising McColloch is continually relected.

    The grand jury's deliberations concluded around lunchtime on Monday and McCulloch scheduled his announcement for 8:30PM and started late.

    You knew that right? Because you had read the linked articles provided three hours earlier than this statement?


    Never mind, I just religned my view (none / 0) (#170)
    by sj on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:04:31 PM EST
    and I see you were responding to MT. So ignore my previous comment.

    until this AM?

    Sorry, meant to write "Do you think..." (none / 0) (#148)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 02:39:02 PM EST
    Not challenge, a question.

    NO Justice (none / 0) (#108)
    by Palli on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:29:57 PM EST
    bmaz (https://twitter.com/bmaz and emptywheel.net) said in a tweet hours ago:

    "In 30 years of criminal law, I do not think I have ever seen a more craven travesty & malignant contortion of justice."


    Although I generally agreed with what he said... (none / 0) (#104)
    by toggle on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:16:59 PM EST
    I thought it was pretty stupid for him to go out and talk about the grand jury's decision as if it was the only one they could have made (even if it was). He didn't have to go full on Angela Corey (actually the assistants) and enthusiastically believe in a prosecution, but he came off as an advocate for the cop and that rubbed me the wrong way.

    He pointed out the grand jury could weigh Wilson's (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:21:23 PM EST
    testimony and prior statements in light of the fact he was the person facing possible criminal charges.

    Seldom Charlie Pierce is wrong but here (none / 0) (#118)
    by Palli on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 12:51:28 AM EST
    "[McCulouh] is a very active prosecutor with a very clear sense of what he can make a grand jury do, if he chooses to do so, which he did not in this case, for reasons that are far from unclear." emphasis mine

    McCullouh chose to make the GJ do this, deliberately and with malice. McCullouh christened the copKKK.


    Your final paragraph is a diatribe, (5.00 / 2) (#119)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 01:33:15 AM EST
    presumably representing your personal opinion.

    why not? (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by sj on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 11:19:33 AM EST
    presumably representing your personal opinion.
    That's what everyone is doing.

    For example, you stated your opinion that Mr. McCulloch did an excellent job. And no one got in your face about it being only an opinion. That's how it should be.


    The Ham Sandwich is innocent. (none / 0) (#121)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:42:23 AM EST
    The grand jury's options were limited to (5.00 / 1) (#123)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:49:19 AM EST
    determining whether or not there was probable cause to believe a crime was committed and whether Wilson committed any of those.crimes.

    McCulloch blames us'nsl (none / 0) (#103)
    by Uncle Chip on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:16:09 PM EST
    It's our fault -- we made his job of obfuscating the facts and confusing the jury so difficult:

    Prosecutor Lays Blame on Media

    Before St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that there would be no indictment for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, he spent a few minutes railing against the media for its role in the process leading up to Monday night's announcement.

    "The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about," he said, "following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media."

    Here's how reporters responded on Twitter as he spoke:

    It was a brief comment by McCulloch. (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:27:05 PM EST
    Of course, here at TL, there has been much moaning about CNN et al. re this case

    The media shares the blame (none / 0) (#127)
    by jbindc on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 10:34:48 AM EST
    Instead of just reporting on the incident, and reporting on the protests afterward, they all had "people on the ground" and 24/7 coverage. It should have been 1 item in a list of news stories. That always is going to bring out the bad element who just want to get on TV, and takes away from the protestors' message, and frankly, does little to endear sympathy from people who were marginally tuned in to this story from the start.

    Add in the fact that only a handful of witnesses felt the need to go on TV - initially at the scene, and then afterwards, getting a free trip to NY, and sitting on the couch with the anchors - has misled many people as to what the facts are in this case (including some here).  The problem is, there were many others who, at the time, chose not go public, but as we now find out, were actually much more credible to the GJ, and that their testimony was much more in line with the officer's (and the physical evidence).  Of course, since they didn't do a media tour, the narrative had already been set, and now people will not believe anything that goes against that narrative.


    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has posted the photos (none / 0) (#112)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 24, 2014 at 11:48:22 PM EST
    of Officer Wilson.and the transcripts.

    Hey, the Jacksonville woman (none / 0) (#171)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:06:44 PM EST
    that got arrested for firing a warning shot at her ex-husband got a plea deal instead of a second trial. She will 'only' end up serving almost 3 years in prison. Plus 2 years of house arrest.

    Justice!!!! /snark.

    Note the misleading sub-head:

    The agreement will shorten Marissa Alexander's prison sentence from 20 years to 65 days.

    Ah, no, it shortens it to 3 years.  It is 65 days because of all the time she has already spent in jail.

    What are you trying to do to me Ruffian? (none / 0) (#178)
    by vml68 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:48:53 PM EST
    As it is when I read some of these stories, I mutter to myself, "Please don't let this have happened in FL"

    Btw, don't know if you saw the link I posted the other day. I figured you would appreciate it since you are a "Golden" lover.

    Watching the clip multiple times helps my brain deal with some of the madness out there.


    Haven't clicked yet, predicting it is (5.00 / 1) (#180)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:45:00 PM EST
    the one with the Golden running amok at the obedience trial. Had lots of friends send me that link. It is so funny!!! My dogs would be exactly like that.

    OK, I am done reading the papers today (none / 0) (#172)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:14:20 PM EST
    This is NOT an accident. An accidental death is when you fall off a ladder or slip on some ice or a banana peel. We have to come up with a whole new category for 'toddler finds handgun and shoots mom in head'.

    Absolutely insane! (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by vml68 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:38:43 PM EST
    Who keeps a loaded gun under the couch, specially when you have a toddler/kids around?

    After last night (none / 0) (#173)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:20:13 PM EST
    when they "let it burn" the authorities in Ferguson now have the public demanding a police state.  

    What could go wrong?

    I suspected something like that (none / 0) (#175)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:34:30 PM EST
    I only stayed up until midnight or so, when two cars and 3 buildings were on fire....and only one firetruck was at one of the buildings, about 30 minutes after it started burning. I could only surmise they did not want firefighters to get attacked, but  I thought at least they would do something about the police cars on fire since they were close to the station and easily protectable with all the officers that were around there. Seemed like those fires could have easily gotten out of control. I'm sure there is a strategy being employed there, but heck if I understand it.

    I think the (5.00 / 1) (#177)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:42:34 PM EST
    let it burn meme is more about the limited police presence.  There was not a lot of police in general.  
    They were criticized for over reacting so maybe that was just a mistake.  But whatever the reason they now have it protected.
    They are out in force now.
     In spite of all the smoke no one was injured last night.  That's probably going to change.

    Demonstrations in 37 states tonight.  Lincoln tunnel shut down.


    You are not counting the woman that (none / 0) (#181)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:48:35 PM EST
    accidentally shot herself in the head with the gun she bought to protect herself against rioting in Ferguson.

    Oh, you think I am joking? Click here.  NOT in Florida, I hasten to add.


    It did not bother me to see the police (5.00 / 1) (#179)
    by vml68 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 06:51:31 PM EST
    cars burn. But, I wish they could/would have protected the local businesses/stores that were destroyed.

    This is one of the nicer stories coming (5.00 / 1) (#182)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 08:57:49 PM EST
    out of Ferguson. You might enjoy reading it.

    Ferguson burger joint unscathed during violence - USA Today

    9 hours ago - FERGUSON, Mo. -- The Ferguson Burger Bar, which chose not to board its windows in the wake of unrest in the town, went unscathed Monday ... link

    Your link did not work for me. (none / 0) (#183)
    by vml68 on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:22:25 PM EST
    But, I googled the story.

    Glad you were able to access story (none / 0) (#184)
    by MO Blue on Tue Nov 25, 2014 at 09:25:23 PM EST
    Linking when using my iPad is still or miss for me.