Monday, August 27, 2007


I'm watching some History Channel documentary about a group of a few hundred jews who lived in the woods in the western part of Russia during WWII, hiding from the German's and cooperating with the Russian Partisan groups.

After the defeat of the German's at Stalingrad the German's retreated throught the forest and a few of the retreating Germans stumbled on the Jewish camp and there was a short but intense firefight. A few days later the Russian Army, chasing the retreating Germans stumbled on the same camp.

What was striking to me was not the Jews, but the Russians. They came throught the forest with horse drawn artillery pieces, and horse drawn supply wagons. They had just defeated the most mechinized army in the world at the time and did it with horse drawn artillery.

The survival of the group of jews in the forest is a pretty amazing story. But to me it's not nearly as amazing as the horse drawn artillery pieces in 1943.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, August 24, 2007

More discoverys about John Lott

Until recently I just didn't know much about John Lott, I'd not really paid much attention. I knew he wrote a book arguing that guns prevent more violence than they cause, although I'd never read the book. I knew he's sued Steven Levitt, although I didn't realize how weak the lawsuit was.

I didn't know he was delusional though. I think you pretty much have to be delusional to invent a sock puppet and use if for three years to prop up your ego. In my view anybody who behaves that way is at best intellectually unreliable.

His lawsuit against Levitt is a joke. There were two parts to it, one part was something Levitt said about Lott in the book Freakonomics. The other part was something Levitt said about Lott in a private email to a colleague.

The book part is really funny. Lott is using a take off on the Freakonomics title, calling his book Freedonomics, in a obvious attempt to boost sales. That's funny.

I've since read a couple of his research articles and I'm not impressed. I'll post about them later. For the most part his work seems driven more by politics than by theory, and his models are full of implicit assumptions about independence that I don't think stand up to close scrutiny. I'll get more specific over the next week or two.

I stand by my previous statement that they guy is scary. He seems just both intellectually and emotionally empty, yet he's held positions at places like University of Chicago, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and the US Sentencing Commission. That's what makes him scary. He's unstable but has all this apparent influence.

What's sad to me is that I actually agree with his politics about gun control. Usually I think that anybody that agrees with me about something must be a smart guy. But not this time.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, August 23, 2007

288 terrorists

This is another old post I was going to write but never got around to it.

Back in 2006, On Monday, Sep 11, AG Gonzales claimed we've convicted 288 terrorists to date.

What the hell wass he talking about? What did we convict them of? Drinking bottled water in an airport?


Lifestyle and Political Blogs


This is an old post from AlterNet that I'd intended to make a post about but never got around to it.

I think the issue of the American government committing torture to be a very important one, one that shouldn't be swept under the rug.

It's not about the bad guys. It's about us. What the hell kind of people are we?


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Perverted Felon

It's a stretch, but the it looks like there's a remote possibility that the founder of Perverted Justice (the guy who Dateline uses to entrap people) will be charged with solicitation to commit a felony.

We can only hope.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Forecasting terror

Sometimes experts aren't quite as expert as we'd like to believe they are.

The website Forecasting Principles has reprinted some research results on the lack of experts ability to forecast the course of conflict situations.

Some of the findings include such observations as the unaided forecasts of experts are little better than those of novices.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cops, panhandlers, and income

I recently made a comment on a post at Steven Levitts Freakonomics blog.

He quotes some cop who wrote a book (a cop who went to Harvard, someting Levitt seems to think is signigicant).

I handed Tommy some money, he held up his hands and said, “C’mon, Eddie, you don’t have to, it’s okay.” I said, “It’s all right, you guys work, you take risks for us, you should get paid.” He took the money, but he shook his head.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I feel a little funny, since you guys pay out of your own pockets. Do you know how much we make out here, panhandling, during rush hour?’
“No, how much?”
“About a dollar a minute.”
I didn’t take my money back, but I saw his point. Charlie and Tommy made more money than us. I should have realized that earlier, as the math was not complicated — we took home less than a hundred dollars a day, while their habits were at least that. I tried not to dwell on the fact that, economically, a New York City police officer was a notch down from a bum.

Most of the comments seem to translate "a dollar a minute during rush hour" into 1x60x8=$480 a day instead of 1x30=$30 a day (how long is rush hour? I don't think it usually lasts an actual hour).

My comment is

Depending on how long rush hour is $1 a minute might well be less than $100 a day.

If he thinks $1 a minute during rush hour means they make more money than him than I'm not sure I'd want to trust his judgement all that strongly.

It may well be true that panhandlers make more money than cops, but you don't demonstrate that by looking at their peak earning rate, you demonstrate that by looking at their mean rate.

Also, cops in NYC make a lot more than $100 a day.

When you ask a stripper, a waitress, a drug dealer, a poker player, a panhandler how much money they make they'll typically respond with an expected maximum, not an expected value. I don't expect some random cop, whether he went to Harvard or not, to understand that. I'd think Levitt would know that though.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

John Lott gets more scary

He doesn't just rely on simple-minded economic models. He also appears to be somewhat controlling.

I didn't know much about the guy. I know he's written some books arguing against gun control. He's somewhat lawsuit happy, having sued Steven Levitt over something he said. That's about all I knew about him, I hadn't read his books, didn't have much of an opinion about him. But I saw him give a talk on C-spam and I wrote a short post on my thoughts about what he was saying.. My comments did not flatter him.

He responded to my comment. And this is where it gets interesting. He didn't just comment on my blog, he said something about it on his blog also, linking to my post. The reference to me and my blog is gone.

Here's what it said 8 days ago.
Go see it, the book is wonderfully ingenious, clearly written, and the balance of evidence and analysis makes John one of the formidable economists in the public policy arena." On the negative side you can find this: "John Lott is scary. He's on CSPAN2 right now, giving a talk on his book. What's scary about the guy is that he has no concept of the idea that human beings might be less than rational in the way they go about making life decisions. He really thinks I did put in a reply to his post on his website. It will be interesting to see if he has any response. Update: Well, there wasn't a substantive response, just some name calling.

He made that post on two different blogs. It's still there in one of them, but it's been deleted in the other one. I'm not sure what that's about.

He didn't publish the comment I made on this blog last night, I made a comment on the other blog this morning. I don't know what will happen to it.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the change in the old post on his blog is some kind of accident. If so I certianly apologize. But putting together everything I know suggest to me that's not the case.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

My choice of phrase

Hyper-rationality probably wasn't a good choice of phrase on my part. I think that the phrase simple minded rationality better conveys the concept I'm trying to get across.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

The Agitator has a short post about a recent article about drunk driving deaths. He didn't mention the part of the article that I liked.
"The number of people who died on the nation's roads actually fell last year," U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said at a news conference in this Washington suburb. "However the trend did not extend to alcohol-related crashes."

The key phrase is alcohol-related. It's one of those meaningless phrases we tend to use to drive government policy
The overall number of deaths involving drivers and motorcycle operators with any amount of alcohol in their blood was 17,602 last year. That was up from 17,590 in 2005, according to spokeswoman Heather Ann Hopkins.

Any amount of alchohol.

It could be that the reason the number of alcohol releated deaths climbed slightly is that there's an increase in the number of jurisidictions that actually report every single fatality where someone had "any amount of alcohol". Maybe the testing equipment has gotten more sensitive to "any amount of alchohol".


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, August 20, 2007

More on John Lott and hyper-rationality

I recently made a short post about John Lott after watching a CSPAN presentation he made on his recent book, Freedonomics.

I had said he seemed to be assuming that humans are hyper-rational, and that's a scary mindset for someone who had been in a position to influence US Sentencing Commission policy.

Lott responded.
I definitely am not assuming that people are hyper rational in the way that you describe. All I say is that if something becomes more costly, people do less of it. If you get a greater return from doing something, you do more of it. I do not say how much they change their behavior, just that they do. If the price of apples go up, everything else equal, you buy fewer apples. If the cost of committing crime increases (higher arrest rates or conviction rates or longer prison terms), fewer crimes will be committed. What is hyper rational about that? What is "scary" about that? I am not saying that all criminals will change their behavior, but that on net there will be a reduction in the amount of crime.

Of course what he says here is true. But that doesn't mean it has relevance to actually making government policy choices. And that's where the scary part comes in, he uses his simplistic assumptions and arguments to make policy.

His apple example is an example of the dangers of his hyper-rationality. "Everything else being equal" is his argument. That pretty much negates the relevance to policy determination of anything he's saying. The world is not linear, just because something might be true if everything else is held constant does not mean it's going to be true when everything else isn't actually equal, and we know it's not going to be equal.

Let's think about drug policy as an example. Everything else being equal, if we raise the price of drugs to the recreational users then they'll use less. Right?

No, that's not true. It's not true because many of the policies we use to try to raise the price of drugs tend to raise the search costs. When you're buying an illegal substance the search cost of acquisition is a big deal. You have to actually find the product and that might take all day. Maybe even a couple of if your usually supplier just got arrested.

If the search cost component of a purchase is high then the buyer will tend to want to buy in bulk. If he knows he can easily find some tomorrow then he'll just buy what he wants for a day today. But if he doesn't know he'll want to buy in bulk and stockpile.

Him having a stockpile means two things. 1. He'll probably sell some to his friends. 2. He's more likely to engage in binge usage.

It's not clear one way or another whether increasing the cost of drugs by making them harder to get will actually decrease drug usage. It might. But if you follow the line of thought above it's also clear it might not. It will tend to increase binge usage however, which almost certainly tends to make the effects of drug usage worse.

This is just an example of how simplistic arguments based on simplistic economic models of hyper-rationality lead to bad policy.

I'd never read anything by Lott before. I knew he'd written some anti-gun law stuff, but I didn't really know much about him other than that. After seeing his CSPAN presentation and seeing his comment on my blog post I went to his site and read some of his op-ed stuff linked to from there.

He has an op-ed about murder rates in Philadelphia that illustrate further how simplistic economic thinking can lead to bad policy.

Philadelphia was experienced high homicides and low homicide clearance rates. The city was arguing that they needed strong gun control to reduce the homicides. I think that's just silly, and I agree with Lott when he says it's silly. But Lott's proposed solution to the perceived problem is just as bad. He thinks they need to hire more cops.

On the other side of the spectrum, House Speaker John Perzel (R., Phila.) wants more police, with the state picking up half the cost of any new hires.

So why are Philadelphia's crime rates increasing so dramatically? To put it bluntly, the city isn't doing a very good job at law enforcement. While the arrest rate for violent crimes such as murder has fallen across the state, arrest rates have plummeted in Philadelphia. Criminals are simply not being caught. The drop has been stunning. While 81 percent of murderers were arrested in 2000, just 61 percent were arrested in 2005. And the rate has continued falling this year.

Over the next four years, Perzel's police program, if enacted, could help fund as many as 1,345 officers in Philadelphia - a 20 percent increase from today. Up to 10,000 police could be hired statewide. Hiring more police is one proven way to reverse much of the recent decline in arrest rates, though one must be careful to ensure that the money isn't diverted by localities into other activities. Perzel also seems serious about avoiding many problems that plagued President Clinton's police program, where buying items such as computers were counted as hiring police or the money was spent planting trees or doing other non-police work.

The idea that increasing arrest rates for homocides will automatically reduce the homocide rate is something right out of the economic model of deterrence. The idea being that if you increase the probabilty of arrest you'll increase the expected cost of the crime and reduce the number of the crimes committed.

But there's actually a possibility it will have exactly the opposite effect. Why are these murders being committed? Are they over turf wars for illegal drug distribution?

If that's the case then more cops will tend to increase the immediate profits from owning drug turf. And criminals tend to have a high discount rate, putting more weight on the immediate benifet and not much wieght on the costs they might have to pay later.

If turf control becomes more valuable it may well increase the incentive for killing potential competitor drug dealers.

So, depending on what is driving the homocides, increasing clearnace rates might cause a decrease in homocides or it might not.

But it's very likely that stopping the drug war and having fewer cops will cause a decrease in Philidelphia homocides.

But of course Lott doesn't want to consider that. The model gets to complicated to fit into an op-ed.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Exercise and intelligence

Althouse has a post about whether exercise helps enhance intelligence.

I don't think it does. But it does improve stamina, and it increased physical stamina does help improve your ability to concentrate for long periods of time. So I think it's easy to think that exersize has helped enhance your intelligence.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs


I'm watching a news report about some runway airplane accident that totally destroyed a China Air flight with 165 passengers.

MSNBC refers to it as a deadly accident.

Nobody died.

Well, at least the newsreader is cute. That's what's important in journalism today.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, August 17, 2007

Drug war and police corruption

The drug war is a cash cow for government agencies who can get their hands on seized money and property. It corrupts. Not just at the level of individual cops, but it corrupts organizations. The police department in Austin, Texas has recently provided us with an example of how that kind of insidious corruption manifests itself.

Like many organizations the city government in Austin has policies about tuition reimbursement for employees who are pursuing part-time degree programs. Like most such organizations, but governments and private companies, the reimbursement is not 100% of the costs, they provide the bulk of the costs but expect the student to cover at least part of the costs. Unless you happen to be a senior cop who is a favorite of a police chief who has his hands on some external source of money seized as spoils of the drug war. Then you're special.

The Austin Police Department paid the college tuition, including one $13,000 fee, for at least two hand-picked senior officials to earn graduate degrees, far exceeding what most officers and other employees who go back to school receive through the city's reimbursement program.

Let's make sure we know who these special people are
Cmdr. Julie O'Brien was refunded the $13,000 she spent to earn a master's degree in organizational leadership and ethics from St. Edward's University in 2005 — a reimbursement made with money the department seized in criminal cases, which might have violated guidelines about how such dollars should be spent.

The department also picked up the bill for former Assistant Police Chief Michael McDonald, who is now an assistant city manager supervising the city's public safety agencies, to attend the same program four years ago.
O'Brien and McDonald said they entered the university program after former Police Chief Stan Knee offered to pay their tuitions in full.

This is just the beginning of what's going to come to light as a result of the local newspaper putting pressure on the police department to engage in a little public disclosure
O'Brien's tuition payment is now part of an investigation into how the Police Department has spent money seized in criminal cases during the past five years. Police Chief Art Acevedo began the investigation last week, several weeks after the American-Statesman submitted a request under Texas open records laws for an accounting of how those dollars had been spent.

A bunch of slime.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Math geeks think they're special

Some math professors from England were running a free summer school program in mathematics in the hills of Turkey. For some reason they ran afoul of the local political types and got shut down because of some zoning violation. Then they tried teaching in tents, and that got shut down. It's hard to tell for sure but it looks like the math teachers got a little defiant with the local mayor. That's almost never a good idea.

The school shut down and the head guy is charged with a criminal violation of running an unlicensed school. They've recently reopened but the guy is still facing charges.

Math blogs all over are up in arms about this government attack on the teaching of mathematics.

I guess they think teaching math is special. Governments all over regulate all sorts of commercial activity (and teaching is a commercial activity even if you're doing it for free). A guy in Jackson MS was recently arrested for being an unlicensed auto mechanic. Where's the petition for that guy?


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Patriot Act

Gee, what a surprise, the Patriot Act has almost nothing to do with fighting terrorism.

A commenter says
It was fairly obvious from the beginning that the Patriot Act was a laundry list of sheizit that Louis Freeh had been asking for for most of Clinton's presidency.

How else could you get 600+ pages of new and modified laws together in about 3 minutes?

Of course, we were at war, so it was forgiveable that our congress and president would pass it.

No, it's not forgiveable. War does not excuse incompetence.

It was clear on its face that the Patriot Act was un-American and anti-freedom from the very git-go.

We knew Bush was lying when Cheney said that we knew where the WMD's are. Not that we knew that he had them, but we knew where they are. If that was true then we didn't need to invade. So it was clearly a lie.

Once you realize they lied about that, anybody should realize they lied about the need for the Patriot Act also.

There's no excuse for any American who supported any of this crap. None.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The hypocrisy of the catholic church is just amazing. To call them hypocrites might be too polite.

It seems that the catholic church, a large operator of gambling games nationwide (church bingo) has a history of organized opposition to casino gambling in Massachusetts. They claim it's been for "moral reasons" rather than just a boldfaced attempt to limit competition.

But they've somehow lost their political influence with all the little problems with priests and little boys. Not quite the pretense of moral authority they once were.

Pretense is all they've ever been, and now that they've lost that we can only hope they just dry up and blow away.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

John Lott is scary

He's on CSPAN2 right now, giving talk on his book Freedonomics.

What's scary about the guy is that he has no concept of the idea that human beings might be less than rational in the way they go about making life decisions. He really thinks everybody is hyper-rational. And, he's the chief economist for the US Sentencing Committee.

No wonder our prisons are overflowing.


Update: More on this here.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another cop who likes 15 year old girls.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

DWI and cops

A newspaper series on cops who drink and drive and the special treatment they can expect.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Gunner Palace

The DVD opens with a GI in combat gear playing a Jimi Hendrix riff of The Star Spangled Bannar. Where did I hear that before?

Filmed in Bagdad in 2003, four months after Bush announced that major combat operations had ended.

An interesting documentary, but nothing you didn't already know. It was probably worthwhile 4 years ago. Today it didn't really hold my interest.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, August 10, 2007

Jesus loves you, with some conditions

He won't love you if you can't keep up.
BANQUETE, Texas — The director of a Christian boot camp and an employee were arrested Friday for allegedly dragging a 15-year-old girl behind a van after she fell behind the group during a morning run, authorities said.

Charles Eugene Flowers and Stephanie Bassitt of San Antonio-based Love Demonstrated Ministries, a 32-day boot camp, were arrested on aggravated assault charges for the alleged June 12 incident.

The two are accused of tying the girl to the van with a rope then dragging her, according to an arrest affidavit filed Wednesday by the Nueces County Sheriff's Department.

Both remained in Nueces County Jail late Friday on $100,000 bond each.

A call to Love Demonstrated Ministries was not immediately returned Friday. No listing was found for Bassitt. An answering machine at a listing for Flowers cut off during an attempt to leave a message Friday.

Flowers, the camp's director, allegedly ordered Bassitt to run alongside the girl after she fell behind, the affidavit said. When the girl stopped running, Bassitt allegedly yelled at her and pinned her to the ground while Flowers tied the rope to her, according to the affidavit.

The girl's mother gave investigators photos of her daughter's injuries that were taken at a hospital where the girl was treated and a sworn statement from a witness who claimed to see the girl being dragged on her stomach at least three times.

I know where that camp is, it's just outside of Corpus Christi and it's like an armed camp, with fences and barricades at the gate. It's a camp for wayward girls.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Protecting the Church

The primary mission of the Catholic Church seems to be to protect the Catholic Church. How any decent person can associate themselves with such slime is just beyond my ability to understand.
"More than anything else, they are fixated on avoiding depositions and courtroom testimony where they'll be treated like regular citizens instead of royalty, and where they'll have to explain decades of secrecy and recklessness and corruption,"


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Criminalize life, institutionalize stupidity

In Katy, Texas a good hunk of July was spent cleaning up after the over-reaction to school officials of a 6th grade girl writing a boy's name on a wall with a marking pen. She didn't use a 4 inch brush and bucket of paint, she used a regular, ordinary writing device. Like a pencil but with permanent ink.

The initial response by the school administration was to try to charge her with a felony charge of property destruction because the pen had permanent ink.

They've since gotten a little closer to an actual sane response, but I doubt they'll ever completely reach sanity.

It's basically simply a crimeto be 12 years old in Texas. And we wonder why our prisons are all full.

The Houston Chronicle covers it here and here and here and here and here.

I'm fairly sure that if I was a student today I'd never be able to graduate from high school.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I've posted about To Catch a Predator and Dateline before. Most of the slime on that show is from the journalists.

Rolling Stone and Ted Rall seem to follow the same line of thinking.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

It you take vicodin in Florida you should really just leave the state

Some prosecutors should just be in prison, there's nothing else society can do with them.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Officers and senior officers

Ed Brayton has a post about some soldier in Iraq who was holding some sort of atheist prayer meeting that was disrupted by a nutcase Major doing the work of god.

One of the commenters asked what would have happened if an officer senior to the major had been at the atheist meeting. Personally I think that's just very unlikely, senior officers in the military don't become senior officers by being public atheists, but it reminded me of something that happened long ago when I was in the Navy.

The event that I'm reminded of has nothing to do with atheists or God but does have to do with a mid-level officer and a few more senior officers who thought he was a jerk.

It was 1968, I was an E3, a tincan deck sailor just returned from a WESPAC cruise on the gunline waiting for a military hop from Miramar Marine Air Base (just N. of San Diego) to Memphis Naval Air Station. I was going to Baton Rouge on a leave and was going to take the free military flight to Memphis, then hitchhike to Harrison, Arkansas, where I'd left my car with my parents, then drive to Baton Rouge for a wedding. I was getting married. I was going to drive back to San Diego and my soon to be wife was going to fly out to San Diego a couple of weeks after.

You had to be in uniform to take a military hop, so my status as a tincan sailor recently returned from Vietnam was evident, from a combination of my age (an obvious 19) and the ship insignia and campaign ribbons on my jumper. Military hops to those on leave were made on a space available, with somewhat of a first-come first-serve. There was also an allowance made for a senior rank to bump a junior rank. People with non-leave travel orders also had priority over leave papers.

I'd been waiting for about 6 hours. Another seaman had been waiting about 5 hours. He too was a tincan sailor recently returned from a WESPAC (a different tincan). There was a two-star admiral (08) two 4-stripe captains (06) who'd been waiting a couple of hours. They weren't on leave, they were on business. The plane we were waiting on had 5 seats, we were full.

About 10 minutes before boarding a Lt. Commander (04) arrived with leave papers. He didn't appear to be a sea-going sailor, he had no Vietnam related ribbons on his chest, which was fairly unusual in 1968.

Anyway, he bumped the other seaman. The other 3 more senior officers actually frowned when they saw it.

Once on board there were 4 seats sitting 2x2 facing each other and a 5th seat behind them. I took the odd seat and the 4 officers took the seats together.

The LCDR asked the other 3 if they wanted to play bridge. He had a deck of cards.

The ADM turned to me and said, "Do you play bridge, sailor?"

"No, sir, I don't".

Then he said, "Do you play pinochle?"

"Yes, sir, I do".

He turned to the two Captains and said, "let's play pinochle", the he said to the LCDR, "Why don't you leave the cards here and trade seats with the sailor so we can play some pinochle".

So I spent the flight as the ADM's partner in a pinochle game, nobody ever mentioned the sailor who'd been bumped and left back on the ground in California.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Trailer Park Boys

I ran across the DVD's for this on Netflix. The reason I'd never heard of it before is that it's a Canadian TV show.

It's not as good as My name is Earl but it's pretty good.

I was expecting a show about rednecks, and it's close, but Canadian rednecks are a little different from Southern rednecks, so it's not exactly right. But I still love the characters, every one of them is a misfit with pretty much no place in society outside the trailer park. Or in jail.

"Ricky can handsle one thought at a time. You throw two or three at him and he's gonna fucking train wreck."


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Another cop goes free

I thought I'd posted before about the cop in Dearborn, Michigan who called 911 because he thought he was going to OD from too much pot in his brownies, but I can't find the post so maybe I'd not posted about it.

It's just as well, it seems that the Police Departement in Dearborn decided that using a gun and badge to stealing pot from citizens for your own consumption isn't really a crime. At least not if you're a cop it's not a crime.

They're all low-life scum.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

If you stomp on a flag the cops will stomp on the constitution

Cops all over Florida seem to be a little confused about the concept of us being a nation of laws.

It's not constitutional to arrest someone for defacing a flag, but Florida cops are willing to just keep arresting and releasing. It's like they can't tell the difference between professional policing and professional bass fishing.

We need to put more cops in jail cells.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Don't insult a cop

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, August 04, 2007

That's some brink

There appears to be some concern that the power grid in Iraq might have some problems in the future
Iraq's power grid is on the brink of collapse because of insurgent sabotage of infrastructure, rising demand, fuel shortages and provinces that are unplugging local power stations from the national grid, officials said Saturday.

I'm not sure what that means. Being on the brink of collapse implies that it hasn't yet collapsed. But those same people are saying
Electricity Ministry spokesman Aziz al-Shimari said power generation nationally is only meeting half the demand, and there had been four nationwide blackouts over the past two days. The shortages across the country are the worst since the summer of 2003, shortly after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, he said.

Power supplies in Baghdad have been sporadic all summer and now are down to just a few hours a day, if that. The water supply in the capital has also been severely curtailed by power blackouts and cuts that have affected pumping and filtration stations.

The truth is that the power grid in Iraq did collapse, when we invaded Iraq and ousted Saddam. It's not on the brink of collapse, it already happened. And we havn't been able to rebuild it.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cops and paperwork

It's okay for cops to refuse to take action in order to avoid paperwork.

But it's not okay to tell a "civilian" that's why he's not going to do anything.


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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Stun gun kills

Sometimes non-lethal force is somewhat lethal. Here's the part I found interesting
Bystanders said officers from Birmingham's South Precinct and the University of Alabama at Birmingham were on the scene to confront a man.

Witnesses said the man was sitting on the corner and wore little clothing. He was told by police to stay down, but kept getting up.

Birmingham homicide detective Sgt. Corey Hardiman said police had drawn stun guns.

They were on the scene to confront?

Rather than confrontation being a tool to acheive some objective it's the objective itself? That's what the story says. And it's written by someone who actually makes a living writing stuff.

I don't know.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Cops and prostitutes

The agitator has some film clips of this (former) SWAT team member being a tough guy. Now that he can't threaten them with arrest I wonder what hookers will be charging him?
A Dallas police officer who was featured on the TV show Dallas SWAT was fired Tuesday after internal investigators concluded that he had sex in a Garland motel room with a prostitute while working an off-duty job in February.

Senior Cpl. Johnny Baker, 43 and a 17-year department veteran, has denied any wrongdoing, including paying for sexual favors.

Update: Here's some comments on the Dallas SWAT from a viewer of the reality TV show that the above nutcase was often featured in.

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Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Goon Squad

Complain about an energy company polluting the air and water, get a visit from Federal Goons. America.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Steal This Movie

Jimi Hendricks playing the Star Spangled Banner as the introductory credits roll sets the tone and the time setting of this movie.

It's the story of Abbie Hoffman. I was in the Navy during the Chicago Police Riots of 1968, and was a college student during Hoffman's trial, so I remember most of the stuff and thought I'd enjoy the movie. It was interesting, I'm not sure I really enjoyed it though.

It basically played like a badly put together documentary, not really much of a story. Before this movie my impression was that Abbie Hoffman was much more pro Abbie Hoffman than he was anti war. After watching this movie that's no longer just an impression, now I'm sure of it. I don't think that's the message that the movie maker intended to convey however.

btw, I was fairly strongly anti war then and am now. I was just never impressed by Abbie Hoffman and I'm still not.


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It's just evil

If this story isn't enough to tell us all that the War on Drugs is just evil then I think there's no hope for us as a civilized society. We're doomed.

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Some guy that had been on the bridge that collapsed was interviewed on TV. He hadn't been hurt at all and began rescuing those who had been, or where trapped inside vehicles right away, before any rescue crews arrived.

He said he wasn't sure of the time but that he continued assisting rescue crews, EMT's and fireman, for about an hour before somebody in charge decided that they had to clear the area of all but official rescue people.

Basically the people in charge were not able to figure out how to utilize able bodied volunteers who weren't on the payroll. It's not like the fire department all had extensive training on how to rescue people from a bridge that fell in the water and everyone had an exact role to play.

No, the people running the rescue were just incompetent boobs who's fall back position is "I'm in charge, I'm the expert, you aren't, go away."

If nothing else they could have used the volunteers to coffee runs. Or maybe send them off to round up generators and search lights.

That's how we know the people running the show are really totally incompetent. They had to shut down rescue operations when it got dark because they couldn't figure out how to find generators and search lights.

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