Ferguson and Law Enforcement Around the Web

The Grand Jury Got it Right with Darren Wilson:

That doesn’t mean that many of black America’s concerns about these kinds of incidents aren’t genuine. It doesn’t mean that police departments like the one in Ferguson aren’t a major problem. It only means that this incident should be judged on the evidence, not the politics or the past or what goes on elsewhere.

No person should be shot by authorities for stealing some cigarillos. Too often, cops in this country use excessive force rather than prudently avoid violence. Just the other day, a 12-year-old boy playing with a BB gun was shot dead in Cleveland. We have a need for criminal justice reform and law enforcement reform. After reading through the grand jury testimony in the Wilson case, it’s obvious there are far more egregious cases that deserve the attention.


The Grand Jury Got It Wrong:

There is plenty of room for reasonable doubt as to whether Wilson broke the law when he shot and killed Brown, and there is considerable evidence that he did—surely enough to supply probable cause, the standard for charging someone with a crime. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch managed to obscure the latter point by staging what amounted to a trial behind closed doors—a trial without a judge or an adversarial process. Assuming the jurors were acting in good faith (and there is no reason to think they weren’t), the only explanation for their decision is that they lost sight of the task at hand and considered the evidence as if they were being asked to convict Wilson rather than approve charges that would have led to a real trial.

It is not hard to see how the grand jurors could have made that mistake. McCulloch said he would present all of the evidence collected so far—everything a trial jury would see and hear. The jurors convened on 23 days, hearing testimony that takes up nearly 5,000 pages of transcript, not including the various recorded interviews played for them. Instead of making the case for an indictment, as they ordinarily would do, the prosecutors running the show often seemed to be reinforcing Wilson’s defense…


Hands up, don’t shoot was a lie, but:

Officer Wilson began to run through his options, and ruled out his chemical spray because Brown’s hands were in front of his face (rendering the spray unlikely to hit his eyes and work), and the vehicle confines would likely result in Wilson getting the spray into his eyes as well. Wilson’s ASP baton was behind his right hip and trapped against the SUV’s seat, and even if he could deploy it, there wasn’t room to deploy and swing it with any force.  He couldn’t use the flashlight on the passenger seat as an impact weapon either, for the same reason. There simply wasn’t enough room to swing it (p. 213-214).

Wilson decides that his only viable option is his gun…

I thought what we were told was that Brown was the one who managed to pull out the gun.  But it was Wilson- who was still in the car, and had already called back-up.

Wilson finally decides that he has to go for his handgun, the Sig P229 in .40 Smith & Wesson.

Rand Paul blames politicians:

In the search for culpability for the tragedy in Ferguson, I mostly blame politicians. Michael Brown’s death and the suffocation of Eric Garner in New York for selling untaxed cigarettes indicate something is wrong with criminal justice in America. The War on Drugs has created a culture of violence and put police in a nearly impossible situation.

In Ferguson, the precipitating crime was not drugs, but theft. But the War on Drugs has created a tension in some communities that too often results in tragedy. One need only witness the baby in Georgia, who had a concussive grenade explode in her face during a late-night, no-knock drug raid (in which no drugs were found) to understand the feelings of many minorities — the feeling that they are being unfairly targeted.

Three out of four people in jail for drugs are people of color. In the African American community, folks rightly ask why are our sons disproportionately incarcerated, killed, and maimed?


Frederick Wilson II acknowledges that law enforcement and the system treat blacks disparately to whites, but….:

While referring to a separate incident from Brown’s, he refers to another shooting in which a black man charged two cops and was shot as a result.

“Why would you think it’s a good idea to run up on two cops when they tell you to stop [and] put down whatever you got? I’m gonna keep coming at them, then they gonna shoot me. Now as black people, we supposed to be mad and Ohmygod, Ohmygod, we need to go out there and march! No we don’t. No we don’t. No we don’t. Stop doin’ crime.”

Fredrick Wilson II, while acknowledging that the “justice system isn’t fair” and “they come down harder on us,” also adds that “just because they gave you more time than they might have gave the white person, if you hadn’t have done the crime in the first place, you wouldn’t have got any time, so stop using it as a d*** excuse.”

“If you already know they gonna come down harder on you, that should be more of an incentive to stop doing crime,” he added.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1638051/fredrick-wilson-ii-facebook-sensation-tells-black-people-take-some-personal-responsi-d-bility/#tsMchY987EB57fYe.99

Whether Brown’s hands were up or not, whether he was culpable or not, doesn’t matter to a lot of protestors.  For some that’s because the truth itself is irrelevant, but to others it’s because *this* truth is a bigger truth with more consequences for more people, and Brown is just a catalyst or a metaphor:

To some, it doesn’t matters whether Brown’s hands literally were raised, because his death has come to symbolize a much bigger movement.

“He wasn’t shot because of the placement of his hands; he was shot because he was a big, black, scary man,” said James Cox, 28, a food server who protested this week in Oakland, California.

While it is true that black on black violence is also a problem, and blacks are more likely to be the victims of homicides committed by other blacks, that doesn’t means there’s no point in paying attention to the fact that they are also more likely to be  killed by cops who will not answer for it:

And this speaks to the core of why so many Ferguson protestors are justifiably upset. It reasonably appears that in the midst of unarmed black men—or any unarmed suspects for that matter—being shot and killed by those entrusted with their protection, law enforcement officials are rarely held accountable. Not only that, but elected officials don’t seem to believe there is even a problem. This naturally leads many to conclude those in power do not believe them or worse—even care about them.

As Ronnie Natch a peaceful Ferguson protestor put it: “This was a chance to vent about the national treatment of black men across the country… We want to show up at the front door every day and say, through words, that this shooting is not going to be swept under the rug …There have just been too many deaths.”

All lives matter. Until we can genuinely attempt to understand the experiences of others—rather than label those with whom we disagree as complainers, Marxists, or racists—we cannot move forward.


It’s not just cops, it’s an issue with government in general.  This story about the ATF running undercover operations where they trash their rentals and don’t pay their bills is just mind-boggling.


Meanwhile, people on all sides of the issue are people, fellow human beings.


There are beautiful stories coming out of the mess as well- like this one, where armed black men from the neighborhood gathered around a white-owned business to protect it from looters.


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Christmas Poinsettia to Colour, Cut and Paste.

Christmas Poinsettia Plant the common room
From The Instructor, Volume 29 By Frederick A. Owen, 1919

Colour, cut, paste the flower in the pot. Make several and put them up in a row along the bottom of a window, or along a bookcase, or the mantle. Keep some white and make some red and practice patterns. Put glitter on them, or not.

Have fun!

Christmas Poinsettia Plant

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The Boy’s Thanksgiving Post

Today is a great day! A day of remembrance! Exactly one year ago at 10:45 a.m. I successfully detonated 5 pounds of Pyrodex Black Powder in my cute face, it was an accident, and to be quite honest, was a great acne treatment (although not recommended by certified cosmetologists). And so in loving memory of my eyebrows, I have dedicated this day to be a day of eating good food. “They can take my eyebrows!!! They can take my facial skin!!! But they shall never take my holiday spirit!!”

Anyways. Thanks for reading, and have a good thanksgiving!

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Sniffles, Sobs, and Books

Everybody was here for Thanksgiving, including Jenny’s beau from far and away. Almost everybody is here the day after Thanksgiving, except Pip and the FYG, who both have to work and then Pip heads north.

There were some tears in the kitchen because Equuschick is moving in a few days. To make us feel better, I set the girls to going through the bookcase of myths and fairy tales and nursery rhymes and told them to take whatever they wanted.

To make up for missing out, Pip gets first dibs on the picture books when we go through those.

The HG took several nursery rhyme books, individual fairy tale books, and a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses illustrated by Tasha Tudor.

The Equuschick took some other fairy tale collections from Norway, Ireland, and northern climes, and a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa.

Jenny took the Lang fairy tale books, and a copy of A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Jesse Wilcox Smith.

I detect a theme here.  And I think I may have to buy Pip her own copy of Child’s Garden of Verses.

Updated to note: I’m purging books, both to make room for Christmas stuff, and to just do some downsizing. I’m only halfway through that book-case, and I have found two more copies of A Child’s Garden of Verses.

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Vintage Christmas Tree Illustration

vintage christmas tree illustration

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Thanksgiving Food Labels

vintage turkey labels watermark

pumpkin labels the common room
I am using these, attached to picks, to identify some of the foods for our Thanksgiving table.  I have a pumpkin pie that is vegan (I’d share the recipe, but I’m not thrilled with it, but The Cherub and a grandbaby with egg allergies can eat it), and the jello salads need to be clearly labeled as well.  I just took two of the previous colouring pages and will be using those. I also just wanted them to be black and white, because I don’t have any colour ink in my printer.

On the assumption that I might not be the only person in America today who doesn’t have colored ink and realized mid morning that she needed to label the food, I share them here:

vintage pumpkin turkey labels

vintage turkey labelspumpkin labels

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Kitchen Tip: Cans

2014-11-26 18.22.10Turn your can upside down and open it from the bottom. toss the lid. Pour contents into your bowl. Now, holding the can over the bowl, use your can opener to open the top of the can, and the contents will slide out. Sometimes you need to push the lid down to push the contents out.

You can’t do this with all cans, because not all cans have the sort of lids you can open with a can opener at either end. It doesn’t work as well with some types of fillings- the moister, stickier, and not as thick cans of pumpkin, for instance, still need to be scraped clean and opening them upside down doesn’t make a significant difference.

But… for cans of thick coconut milk, Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk and for tomato paste, this works pretty well.

I didn’t scrape anything out of this can of coconut milk- didn’t use a spoon or a spatula- just opened, poured, flipped, opened, and pushed:

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I didn’t even open the opposite lid all the way. By the time the can opener had gone about 3/4 of the circuit, the contents just glided out.

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Clean as a whistle, no spatula required.

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1946 Thanksgiving Political Cartoon


by American political cartoonist Carey Orr-

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Lemon Beet Gelatin Salad

2014-11-26 17.16.17Yes.  This is a jello salad.  Yes, it’s probably very 1950′s and weird, but I really enjoy its tangy, tart, slightly spicy if you add enough horseradish, flavour.


Beet Salad
* 1 can (16 ounces) diced or julienned beets (or use whole canned or frozen beets and slice them)
* 1 package (6 ozs) lemon flavored gelatin
* 1  1/2 C. cold water
* 2 TBSPs finely chopped onion
* 1 to 2 TBSPs prepared horseradish (I use 2 or 3)
* 4 tsps vinegar
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 1/2 C. diced celery
* 1/4 C. artichoke hearts

Drain beets, reserving the beet juice; add water to the liquid equal to two cups. Place in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in gelatin until dissolved. Add cold water, onion, horse radish, vinegar and salt. Chill ’til partially set. Stir in the beets, celery and artichoke hearts. Pour into an 8 inch square dish. Chill until firm, about three hours. Cut salad into squares.

I like to garnish each square with a dollop of horseradish or mayo and a bit of green leaf- either celery or a bit of an artichoke heart, or a green olive.

This is mainly because, since it’s a purply-pink jello salad, it fools people into expecting something sweet and dessertish.

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If there are green olives or pieces of artichoke on top, it’s a little hard to miss the fact that it’s a side dish and not a dessert.

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It’s very piquant. We only make an 8 inch square pan because only about two or three of us like this, and I have it for lunch every day for about a week after Thanksgiving. I start craving it about the first of November.

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Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2014-11-26 14.47.39Pretzel Salad

I don’t know why this is called a ‘salad.’ It’s really so sweet that one of the Progeny has requested it instead of birthday cake. It’s a little complicated in that it takes several steps, but you can make the layers on different days, spending just a little bit of time each day.*

You need:
2 cups crushed pretzels
1 1/3 cup melted butter
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 cup of sugar
1 large carton of whipped cream
6 ounces of strawberry jello powder
2 1/2 cups of boiling water
1 large package of frozen strawberries (or two small- you need about 16-20 ounces)
1 cup crushed pineapple

Bottom Layer: Mix the melted butter, crushed pretzels and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Spread this evenly on the bottom of a 9X13 pan, pressing down. Bake this at 350 degrees for ten minutes. This is the bottom layer and it needs to be completely cool before you add the next layer. It will keep overnight in the fridge.

Middle Layer: Cream the remaining sugar and cream cheese together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream. Spread this over the cooled crust. Chill- this will be better if you let it firm up a bit before adding the top layer.

Top Layer: Dissolve jell-o in boiling water. Add frozen strawberries and pineapple. Stir. Let stand until it makes a thickened syrup. Pour this over the cream cheese layer. Chill overnight.

Slice to serve. It’s very pretty and festive looking, and it tastes so yummy.


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*Or…. you can spread the labour around.  The Boy crushed the pretzels.  Jenny made and baked the crust.  I whipped the center layer.  Jenny spread it over the cooled crust.  The boy mixed the jello.  I sliced the frozen strawberries and mixed in the pineapple, and Jenny stirred them into the jello and poured it over the top and put the pans in the fridge.

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