Trifecta: Gee, Officer Krupke, You’ve got Humvee, a Helo, a Drone and an M-16

At this point, the cure is worse than the disease. Sometimes the ‘cure’ is causing disease.

The police are supposed to be in place to protect citizens from crime, but more and more they act like their job is to protect the government from citizens, and to play soldier (why are the police in Ferguson dressed in uniforms that are designed for military camouflage in Iraq, when they are in a midwestern town?)

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Watching Your Blood Sugar

Watching your blood sugar:

Learn what the glycemic index is, if you haven’t already.  Google Robert Mendoza, glycemic index for starters.

Cauliflower can be creamed, buttered, and seasoned and it tastes close enough to potatoes to make up for the lack (I think doctors are wrong to be so concerned about good fats in diabetics’ diets).
Quinoa is an alternative to rice- it’s a seed, not a grain, but it works like a grain to bulk up a diet.
Berries are lower on the glycemic index than bananas (I would watch for sales, buy them frozen, and pick them myself in bulk to freeze for later)
Pumpkin and squash seeds are also lower in the glycemic index than popcorn (the amount of fiber helps offset the carbs)
I like spaghetti squash baked, fluffed out with a fork and tossed with butter and parmesan cheese, and I like it with spaghetti sauce, too.
Tofu and Nopalitos are two items you might consider adding to your diet. Nopalitos are sort of like a green bean, they come from a prickly pear cactus and do not raise blood sugar levels.
Stevia is another- a sweetener that has no effect on blood sugar at all. You have to experiment a bit, and it seems expensive but lasts a long time as only a few drops go a long way (five drops of apricot stevia and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in my quart sized mason jar of water and I have a very tasty fruit drink)
For lasagna, I have often used a large zucchini sliced in strips for the noodles.  I also matchstick slice squashes and fry them quickly for a ‘noodle’ base.  There are some noodles called shiritake noodles that don’t spike blood sugar levels at all.  I didn’t care for them, and they don’t keep a long time in the fridge (you buy them chilled, not dried), but other people love them.


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America’s Protest and Riot History

(content significantly edited because I accidentally hit post before I was done).

This is by no means remotely intended to be anything like comprehensive.  I basically just skipped around, going first by memory, and then I found a useful list and skimmed through it, just touching on whatever caught my eye.  The reasons why something may or may not have caught my attention are mostly purely arbitrary- I’ve been there, I remembered hearing about it, I didn’t remember hearing about it and was surprised, I liked the sound of the name (hardhat riot?  Disco demolition?), it just interested me for no reason I can pinpoint.  So if something isn’t mentioned here and you think it should be, tell me about it in the comments!

On a number of websites where I read about Ferguson, in the comments section somebody will inevitably descend to calling the protesters and the looters in Ferguson ‘animals.’ and will claim that only blacks riot like this, and thus the police response is totally called for.  It always makes me a little sick inside.  More than once somebody has even challenged other readers to just try to come up with one other protest where the protesters were primarily white and there was resulting violence, destruction, or looting.  This always frustrates me- I generally can’t register to comment on those sites (they usually use Disqus, which hates me), but seriously- these people have a memory about two minutes long, and a knowledge of history that doesn’t extend much further than last week.

Wapo put together a photo slide show of famous protests, riots, marches.  I don’t even think they chose the most significant ones.  I went on a search, first looking by memory, things I’ve read, stories I’ve heard (pops may have been a psychopath, and he was, but he was also a commy pinko with labor sympathies and a real knack for history), places I’ve visited.  Then I found this treasure trove listing.

I didn’t notice the Chicago ’68 protests at Wapo’s listing.

These are just screen shots of images from the 1968 Chicago protests. Click to enlarge:

chicago 4

chicago 68 3

chicago 68 2 chicago 68

Looking at them, I wondered what made this a protest, and Ferguson a ‘riot.’ I know conservatives and libertarians don’t like to admit it, but racism still is a factor. Of course, I also know that sometimes we won’t ‘admit’ it because it’s a counterfeit card that gets played far too often and it’s a false charge.  Nevertheless, Chicago, ’68 looks like a riot to me.

Of course, in the sixties we also had protests over the VietNam War, protests for the Civil Rights movements, protests and riots in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In the first half of the 20th century we had numerous race riots as well as labour protests with often violent clashes between unions and police and national guard units.

In the post-civil war era, we also had race riots, suffragette marches and protests, clashes between protestants and Catholics, between the new immigrant groups (mostly Irish and German) and those who had been here longer.

Pre-Civil war, there were protests and riots over slavery, anti-abolitionist riots, over the Fugitive Slave Law, and, again, with the Irish Catholics and the Protestants.

America has a long history with protests and riots, and the lines are generally blurred about which is which.   And it seems to me the peaceful ones are the anomaly.

There was the Ludlow Massacre in Colorado in 1914. Miners protesting unsafe working conditions the constriction of Company Towns, and low pay were set upon by state militia, several were shot. The camp was set on fire. 11 children and two women who had taken refuge in a cellar dug beneath their tent suffocated to death- two women survived to tell the tale.  There was spin then, too. (We visited the site many years ago, at the time a sadly neglected and unprotected site- we were even able to go down into the cellar)

Most of the rest of the information below is culled from Wikipedia:


In 1834 there were riots in New York city, largely whites and Irish immigrants targeting blacks and abolitionists.  Several homes and churches were destroyed.  The mobs were provoked by a series of lies and libels about abolitionists deliberately printed in a paper whose owner wanted all blacks deported to Africa.

I’d never heard of this one (or don’t remember it): “The Baltimore bank riot of 1835 was a violent reaction to the failure of the Bank of Maryland in 1834. The riot, which lasted from 6–9 August, was aimed at the homes and property of a number of former directors of the bank, who had been accused of financial misconduct and fraud. The Baltimore bank riot was one of the most violent and destructive events in any American city prior to the Civil War. Rioters destroyed many of the homes of the city’s wealthiest and most prominent citizens, and much valuable property was smashed or burned. The authorities were unable to control the violence and effectively surrendered the city to the mob, which was actively or passively supported by numerous bystanders.”

The leaders were jailed and the property owners sued the state of Maryland and won.

In 1844 there were riots and protests in Pennsylvania- rumours spread that Catholics were trying to remove Bible reading from public schools, Irish immigrants attacked a ‘nativist’ (anti-Irish immigration) meeting, nativists retaliated, things escalated. People died. Property was destroyed.

The Squatter’s riot in 1850 took place in Sacramento- it involved land speculation, ownership, old land grants, and squatters who wanted to keep the land.  In the end there were several misunderstandings and broken promises which led to an altercation between the two groups, injuries, and deaths.  The squatters lost in court, but they did manage to get their leader, arrested and charged with murder, elected to the state legislature while he was still in prison.  Later he was the first governor of Kansas.

1855, Louisville, Kentucky, Bloody Monday:

The Know-Nothings formed armed groups to guard the polls on election day, but the riots took place after the polls closed as the armed groups moved into Catholic neighborhoods. Germans (primarily Catholics) were also caught up. By the time it was over, more than 100 businesses, private homes and tenements had been vandalized, looted and/or burned, including a block long row of houses known as Quinn’s Row. Historians estimate the death toll at 19-22,[5] while Catholics including Bishop Martin John Spalding of Louisville, said the death toll at well over 100 with entire families consumed in the fires.

Citizens were dragged from their homes and attacked on the streets and in their place of work. Weapons, arms and later bodies of the dead, were stored in Louisville Metro Hall (the old Jefferson County Courthouse, now the Mayor’s Office), a Know-Nothing stronghold at the time. Sporadic violence and attacks had occurred in the year and months leading up to August 6, continuing for some time afterward.[6]

Only by Louisville Mayor John Barbee‘s intervention, despite being a Know-Nothing, were the bloodshed and the property destruction brought to an end, including his personal intervention that saved two Catholic churches: the new German parish of St. Martin of Tours and the Cathedral of the Assumption from destruction by the mob.

In 1857, New York City’s Mayor Wood was known for the police corruption under his watch.  Statue legislature replaced him and his police force and ordered him to step aside and deliver police assets to the new police force.  He refused.  15 captains and some 800 patrolmen supported him, and this resulted in:

The New York City Police Riot of 1857, known at the time as the Great Police Riot, was a conflict which occurred between the recently dissolved New York Municipal Police and the newly formed Metropolitan Police on June 16, 1857. Arising over Mayor Fernando Wood‘s appointment of Charles Devlin over Daniel Conover for the position of city street commissioner, amid rumors that Devlin purchased the office for $50,000 from Wood himself, Municipal police battled Metropolitan officers attempting to arrest Mayor Wood.

Washington Riot:

On June 1, 1857, a band of American Party rowdies traveled by train from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. to assist local party members in controlling the polls at a municipal election. The band included members of the Plug Uglies, Rip Raps, and Shiffler Fire Company from Philadelphia. After word of their arrival spread and rioting began at several polls, President James Buchanan called out United States Marines from the Navy Yard to quell the fighting. At one of the polls, the Marines clashed with citizens, most of them Washingtonians. They opened fire, killing ten men, only one from Baltimore. The violence drew sharp condemnation of Buchanan’s resort to military force, but resulted in no significant criminal prosecutions.

The Lager Beer Riot:

The Lager Beer Riot occurred in Chicago, Illinois in 1855 after Mayor Levi Boone, great-nephew of Daniel Boone, renewed enforcement of an old local ordinance mandating that taverns be closed on Sundays and led the city council to raise the cost of a liquor license from $50 per year to $300 per year, renewable quarterly.[1] This move was seen as targeting German immigrants. On April 21, after several tavern owners were arrested for selling beer on Sunday, protesters clashed with police near the Cook County Court House. Waves of angry immigrants stormed the downtown area and the mayor ordered the swing bridges opened to stop further waves of protestors from crossing the river. This left some trapped on the bridges, police then fired shots at protesters stuck on the Clark Street Bridge over the Chicago River.[2] A policeman named George W. Hunt was shot in the arm by a rioter named Peter Martin. Martin was killed by police, and Hunt’s arm had to be amputated.


In the 1920s there were the Tulsa Race riots- whites attacked black communities and burned them to the ground.  It’s a sickening thing to read about- and it wasn’t an isolated event.

In 1937 in Chicago:,

‘On Memorial Day, May 30, 1937, police opened fire on a parade of striking steel workers and their families at the gate of the Republic Steel Company, in South Chicago. Fifty people were shot, of whom 10 later died; 100 others were beaten with clubs.’

In 1938 there was the Hilo Massacre in Hawaii.

The Hilo Massacre, also known as Bloody Monday,[1] was an incident that occurred on 1 August 1938, in Hilo, Hawaii, when over 70 police officers attempted to disband 200 unarmed protesters during a strike, injuring 50 of the demonstrators. In their attempts to disband the crowd, officers tear gassed, hosed and finally fired their riot guns, leading to 50 injuries, but no deaths.

I’m not sure why it’s called a massacre when there were no deaths.  The police officer in charge had the men exchange their ammunition for birdshot in an effort to avoid any fatalities, but some either did not hear or didn’t comply, and still there were no fatalities.

This one’s a little hard to believe, but it’s a great illustration of the shifting values of a nation- in the 1940s there were nylon riots because of a shortage of nylon stockings- panty-hose.  In Pittsburg 40,000 women actually stood in line for hours trying to get in a department store to buy a limited supply of nylons.  Fights broke out, police had to break them up.  There were riots and demonstrations and accusations that the owner of the patent (DuPont) was stocking up on them to keep the prices artificially inflated. I couldn’t tell what sort of injuries, if any, there were. I’d pull somebody’s hair in order NOT to have to wear panty-hose, so it’s hard to imagine a culture where the opposite is true.

Less amusing are the Peeksill Riots in New York, protesting communist singer Paul Robeson- he was an avowed communist or at least a supporter of known communists and it was the Cold War era, but the Associated Press certainly fanned the flames:

…he had appeared at the Soviet-sponsored World Peace Conference in Paris. Referring to the growing tensions between the USA and the USSR, he stated:

We in America do not forget that it was the backs of white workers from Europe and on the backs of millions of Blacks that the wealth of America was built. And we are resolved to share it equally. We reject any hysterical raving that urges us to make war on anyone. Our will to fight for peace is strong…We shall support peace and friendship among all nations, with Soviet Russia and the People’s Republics.[5][6]

What came over the wires to news agencies via the AP in the United States was as follows,

We colonial peoples have contributed to the building of the United States and are determined to share its wealth. We denounce the policy of the United States government which is similar to Hitler and Goebbels…. It is unthinkable that American Negros would go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations against the Soviet Union which in one generation has lifted our people to full human dignity.[7]

Research by historians would later show through time records that the AP had put the dispatch on the wires as Robeson was starting his speech.

During those riots:

The first black combat pilot and decorated World War I veteran, Eugene Bullard was knocked to the ground and beaten by the mob, which included white members of state and local law enforcement. The beating was captured on film and can be seen in the 1970s documentary The Tallest Tree in Our Forest and the Oscar winning Sidney Poitier narrated documentary Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist. Despite recorded evidence of the beating, no one was ever prosecuted for the assault.


Following the Peekskill Riots, Democratic House Representative John E. Rankin of Mississippi condemned Robeson on the house floor. When Republican New York Congressman Jacob Javits spoke to the United States House of Representatives, deploring the Peekskill riots as a violation of constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and free assembly,[25] Rankin replied angrily. “It was not surprising to hear the gentlemen from New York defend the Communist enclave,” Rankin bellowed, saying that he wanted it known that the American people are not in sympathy “with that N***** Communist and that bunch of Reds who went up there.”

In Chicago there was also the Days of Rage:

The Days of Rage demonstrations were a series of direct actions taken over a course of three days in October 1969 in Chicago, and organized by the Weatherman faction of the counterculture-era groupStudents for a Democratic Society.

The group planned the October 8–11 event as a “National Action” built around John Jacobs’ slogan, “bring the war home”. The National Action grew out of a resolution drafted by Jacobs and introduced at the October 1968 SDS National Council meeting in Boulder, Colorado. The resolution, which read “The Elections Don’t Mean Shit—Vote Where the Power Is—Our Power Is In The Street”, was adopted by the council; it had been prompted by the success of the Democratic National Convention protests in August 1968 and reflected Jacobs’ strong advocacy of direct action as political strategy. Such direct actions included vandalizing homes, businesses, and automobiles as well as assaulting police officers. Dozens were injured, and more than 280 members of the Weather Underground were arrested.

[...]John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, David Gilbert and others led a charge south through the city toward the Drake Hotel and the exceptionally affluent Gold Coast neighborhood, smashing windows in automobiles and buildings as they went. The protesters attacked “ordinary cars, a barber shop…and the windows of lower-middle-class homes” as well as police cars and luxury businesses. The mass of the crowd ran about four blocks before encountering police barricades.

Even the Black Panthers disavowed their tactics and disassociated from the Weatherman and SDS.  Weatherman members (mostly white) also smashed windows in cars and stores on Chicago’s Loop.

In 1970, of course, there was Kent State, where four students were shot and killed by the national guard, shocking the nation (although it appears that police had been killing unarmed protestors for decades without getting much attention- maybe because this time the victims were college students from upper middle class families?  More likely because of television, though).

In the aftermath, a group of students in New York gathered to mourn the Kent State dead and express solidarity with their goals.  About 200 unionize construction workers opposed them, and chased down students to beat them with their hard hats, earning it the name of The Hard Hat Riot:

The workers chose those with the longest hair and beat them with their hard hats and otherwise.Attorneys, bankers and investment analysts from nearby Wall Street investment firms tried to protect many of the students but were themselves attacked. Onlookers reported that the police stood by and did nothing.

Construction workers converged on a nearby university building and smashed windows and beat several students, using clubs and crowbars this time.

The Memorial Park riots lasted over about 3 days in the 70s, in Michigan over the police closing a park the local counter culture had largely taken over- hippies, IOW, pretty much all white kids of fairly progressive parents, based on the news paper articles I read. Hundreds of kids (many under 16, based on arrest reports) rioted, throwing rocks and bottles, blocking traffic on a busy road by rolling tires into the road.  There were several injuries, none major.  500 kids were arrested.

In Chicago there was Disco Demolition Night, a gimmicky promotion to boost attendance at a White Sox game at Comiskey park, resulting in a destroyed batting cage, stolen bases (literally), and bats, and the destruction of the playing field as well.  During the first baseball game, attendees through disco records onto the field.  The second game had to be forfeited because the field was in no condition to play.  Property damage was significant, injuries were n0t- maybe as many as 30. Chicago police in riot gear came in to disperse the rampaging kids- most of them were apparently white teenagers who had been smoking pot.  There have been claims that this was racially motivated, because I guess you only dislike Disco if you hate blacks and gays.

Kansas has had at least two different riots related to football games in the eighties- lots of property damage.

In Huntington Beach there have been at least 3 riots during a surfing event- lots of property damage, police in riot gear and tear gas.  It’s interesting that the articles I read did not mention looting, but shop windows were smashed and at least one of the photographs clearly shows somebody helping himself to a bike from the shop.   That’s, um, just last year, btw.

In 1988 in New York’s Tompkin Square Park there was a riot over the gentrification efforts by those who lived or worked around the park. Some of the park users objected to being gentrified. Pushers, homeless people, and young people used the park. Neighbors around them wanted the park cleaned up but they didn’t all agree about how to go about it. Police stepped in. But apparently the police response was so brutal, they are largely viewed as having caused the subsequent riot, even by those who inititally welcomed their presence:

Although bottles reportedly flew, it was the police who charged the crowd.[8] Despite NYPD protestations that their actions were measured, “The police panicked and were beating up bystanders who had done nothing wrong and were just observing,” said poet Allen Ginsberg, a local resident and witness.[8] Captain McNamara countered, “We did everything in our power not to provoke an incident. They didn’t charge the crowd until the bricks and bottles started flying.” New York Times photographer Angel Franco saw the police beat a couple who emerged from a grocery store; when he tried to take photographs, an officer clubbed him. A New York Daily News reporter, Natalie Byfield, was also clubbed on the head. Both were wearing cards identifying them as the press.[12] Jeff Dean Kuipers, a reporter for Downtown Magazine, was clubbed after an officer told his African-American companion, Tisha Pryor, to “move along, you black nigger bitch.”[8]
[The police] ran into the crowds with horses. I saw residents pulled off their stoops … They cracked my friend’s head open. It didn’t matter if you were a journalist or a resident or a storekeeper.
— Jeff Dean Kuipers, to the Newsday press[1]
Pryor is in tears, with blood running down her neck, in a videotape made by artist Clayton Patterson.[8] Another video made by freelance cameraman Paul Garrin shows officers swinging clubs at him and slamming him against a wall. Photographer John McBride, taking still photos of the riot that were to be published in The Village Voice, was also struck by a policeman’s nightstick in the same attack taped by Garrin.[13] Mr. Fish, a travel promoter out for an evening on the town, attempted to hail a taxi on Avenue A near Sixth Street when he was suddenly struck on the head. “I was just standing there watching,” he said. “The next thing that I remember is seeing the stick, and then a young woman who was helping me.” Patterson’s videotape showed that no officers helped Fish until an ambulance arrived. A police helicopter hovered over the scene, contributing to a sense of chaos.

The park users retaliated, and things got even worse.

In 1992, after the Bulls won their first NBA title, rowdy fans caused $10 million in property damage during post-championship festivities. In Philadelphia, ’08, thousands of fans spilled into the streets and smashed windows and overturned cars to celebrate.
Denver, ’98: “After the Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers to win Super Bowl XXXII, 10,000 fans went a little overboard and tears of joy became tear-gas-induced tears when people began flipping cars, looting and destroying the Mile High City. The Broncos’ victory and the following riot were selected as top news stories of 1998 by newspaper and broadcast members of the Associated Press.”
Boston, ’07, fans celebrated by setting people’s cars on fire and throwing bottles at the police.

It’s kind of sad that in the early years most protests and riots were over significant social issues, even if people were wrong, they believed what they were protesting affected their lives, their values, their culture, their homes.  But in the late 20th and early 21st century we seem to riot more often because we’re excited about winning at the Roman circus, I mean, gladitorial, I mean, sporting event.


There are no photographs of it, but there was Shay’s Rebellion:

an armed uprising that took place in central and western Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. The rebellion was named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and one of the rebel leaders.
The rebellion started on August 29, 1786. It was precipitated by several factors: financial difficulties brought about by a post-war economic depression, a credit squeeze caused by a lack of hard currency, and fiscally harsh government policies instituted in 1785 to solve the state’s debt problems. Protesters, including many war veterans, shut down county courts in the later months of 1786 to stop the judicial hearings for tax and debt collection. The protesters became radicalized against the state government following the arrests of some of their leaders, and began to organize an armed force. A militia raised as a private army defeated a Shaysite (rebel) attempt to seize the federal Springfield Armory in late January 1787, killing four and wounding 20.

There was the Whiskey Rebellion, a protest against excise taxes on distilled spirits:

Throughout counties in Western Pennsylvania, protesters used violence and intimidation to prevent federal officials from collecting the tax. Resistance came to a climax in July 1794, when a U.S. marshal arrived in western Pennsylvania to serve writs to distillers who had not paid the excise. The alarm was raised, and more than 500 armed men attacked the fortified home of tax inspector General John Neville. Washington responded by sending peace commissioners to western Pennsylvania to negotiate with the rebels, while at the same time calling on governors to send a militia force to enforce the tax. With 13,000 militia provided by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Washington rode at the head of an army to suppress the insurgency. The rebels all went home before the arrival of the army, and there was no confrontation. About 20 men were arrested, but all were later acquitted or pardoned.

The Boston Tea Party itself was a protest with the immediate goal of destroying private property, abeit while making a protext against taxes and regulations geared toward collecting money for the government coffers.

Ferguson may have a connection to petty taxes and fines as well:

What seems clear at this point is that Ferguson – while in some ways a nicer and safer town than some have imagined – does suffer from a unusual degree of antagonism between police and residents, an antagonism that crucially involves race (the town is an extreme outlier in its now-famous extent of black underrepresentation in elected office) and yet has other vital dimensions as well. The town gets nearly a quarter of its municipal revenue from court fees – the figure in some neighboring towns is even higher – and according to the ArchCity Defenders report quoted in Newsweek, Ferguson’s municipal court is among the very worst in the way it adds its own hassle factor to the collection of petty fines.

Click through the link to see how many people in Ferguson have been arrested and compare that to their crime rate- they aren’t being arrested for what most of us consider crimes, but for minor infractions, mostly traffic violations (like jaywalking), and the city officers have a vested interest in protecting this significant source of municipal revenue.  The trouble in Ferguson has been simmering a very long time.  Mike Brown and Officer Wilson are just the unlucky matches set to this powder keg.

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Ferguson and Warrior Cops

Via Alex Jones, so take that into account:

A document released by the U.S. Army details preparations for “full scale riots” within the United States during which troops may be forced to engage in a “lethal response” to deal with unruly crowds of demonstrators.

The appearance of the document amidst growing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, with the National Guard now being called in to deal with the disorder, is an ominous coincidence.

The 132-page document, titled U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances (PDF), was written in April 2014 and recently obtained by Public Intelligence.

The document makes it clear that the techniques detailed therein are to be applied both outside andinside the “continental United States (CONUS)” in the event of “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

The training manual outlines scenarios under which, “Civil unrest may range from simple, nonviolent protests that address specific issues, to events that turn into full-scale riots.”

The most shocking aspect of the document is the fact that it describes the deployment of a “lethal response” directed against “unarmed civilians,” including “sniper response” and “small arms direct fire.”

Under the heading “sniper response,” the document states, “Ensure that target leaders or troublemakers are targeted,” in addition to a passage which states, “Exploit the psychological effect of an attack.”

More at the link.  And also, why all that black helicopter training over cities?

Via Reason:

“If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground,” warns Officer Sunil Dutta of the Los Angeles Police Department, “just do what I tell you.”

The thing is, Officer Dutta (pictured) is also an Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice at Colorado Technical University. And he uttered those words not in the heat of the moment, but in an opinion piece in the Washington Post responding to widespread criticism of police attitudes and tactics currently on display in Ferguson, Missouri, but increasingly common nationwide.

More at the link.

This is curious- I have seen *several* pro-Ferguson cops stories where we are assured that the Ferguson police department was getting dash cams, even had them in possession already, they were due to be installed any day, and then this mess happened. But yesterday they released a statement with several promises to do better (the usual nebulous politi-speak ‘we are exploring a range of options’) , and that included this:
            “Commitment to raise funds and secure dash and vest cams for our patrol cars.”

So somebody was lying when they said the department already had cameras, just hadn’t installed them yet.
Pretty sure it was the chief of police there who said they had them already, just hadn’t installed them, because apparently they bought them but didn’t plan for the funding to install them (this is, he said, expensive?)

And I shared this story before, but it bears repeating:

The officers got the wrong man, but charged him anyway—with getting his blood on their uniforms. How the Ferguson PD ran the town where Michael Brown was gunned down.
Police in Ferguson, Missouri, once charged a man with destruction of property for bleeding on their uniforms while four of them allegedly beat him.

“On and/or about the 20th day of Sept. 20, 2009 at or near 222 S. Florissant within the corporate limits of Ferguson, Missouri, the above named defendant did then and there unlawfully commit the offense of ‘property damage’ to wit did transfer blood to the uniform,” reads the charge sheet.

I read that article and learned something else of interest:

…before a new chief took over in 2010 the department had a surprising protocol for non-fatal use-of-force reports.

“The officer himself could complete it and give it to the supervisor for his approval,” the prior chief, Thomas Moonier, testified in a deposition. “I would read it. It would be placed in my out basket, and my secretary would probably take it and put it with the case file.”

No copy was made for the officer’s personnel file.

As it turns out, the officer who shot Mike Brown has been in Ferguson six years. That means for the first two years of his service there, like all the other cops, if he took  any use-of-force actions he wrote the reports himself and then they were disposed of. So we don’t really know if his first two years are as clean as the police department claims (we don’t know they weren’t, but we do know that those first two years are a blank as far as reliable information).

The former police chief (the one who was Officer Wilson’s chief his first two years in Ferguson) testified under oath that there was no way he knew of “to identify any officers that were subject of one or more citizens’ complaints”

You should also know that in the brutality case where they gave a wrongfully arrested man a concussion and then charged him with bleeding on their uniforms, and then perjured themselves, one of those cops is now a city councilwoman.

I have to say that Ferguson has largely itself to blame for this- they are a majority black suburb, but not even ten percent of the black population there vote.

(Nationally,  we have only ourselves to blame for our increasingly militarized police force as well- polls show that a majority of Americans think it’s a great idea to arrest parents who let pre-teens play outside unsupervised.)

Must Reading: Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces

A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State

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Will Pharrel’s Happy in ASL

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Therapy Canceled, So….

Therapy was canceled tonight (therapist just out of surgery)- so… even though there is a raging thunderstorm outside, I am going with the 18 year old, Shasta, the Equuschick and some folks in town to see Maleficent at the four dollar theater (with the original 1920s front still up) in town (on the brick road, because that’s our small town).

The jury is out on whether this is a smart idea or not.  I haven’t gone to the theater for a movie in a little bit because, stuff.

Two of the grandbabies are staying here for a sleepover.  I expect they will be done with that by the time we get back, but maybe they will hold out as long as their mama did once, and not be taken home until 2 a.m.

So off we go.=)

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Questions about the autopsy report for Michael Brown

There’s a summary of those results here, with comments about how they do or do not support various narratives.

For instance, no powder residue, no stippling is actually a count against both narratives- there were claims that the police shot him at close range, execution style.  That didn’t happen.  But then, the police claim the weapon discharged in the car with Mike Brown, and that doesn’t fit the results, either.

There are several questions about the two shots to the head and how they could have happened as described- I am not going to go into the details, you can click through and read them.

My question is just this- is it possible that at least one of them is just a horrible, ghastly fluke? What if Mike Brown was falling and simply fell the wrong time, the wrong way, and so was shot in the head by a bullet that had already been released?

Also, it seems to me that the author of that link at one time credits the police with great marksmanship and another time points out that they are typically terrible marksmen.

I thought about the possibility of the headshot being a nightmarish accident because of an incident with me, my middle brother, and a rock in our childhood.

We were camping in the mountains and I felt like my brother was being a horse’s patoot and treating me badly.  I was miffed.  I was sitting on the mountainside sulking.  My brother appeared several yards below me, his back to me.  He bent over to pick something up, or examine something- I don’t know why, I just know that his bony, denim clad behind presented itself to me as a perfect target at the perfect moment and I picked up a rock (a small rock) and threw it at his bony, denim clad derriere. I was a terrible shot (still am) and my rock would have sailed harmlessly over him.  Unfortunately, he chose that moment to stand up and he stood up into the force of my projectile.  Remember we were on a mountain, and he was further down the mountainside so I had gravity assisting me as well.  Anyway, he stood up into the rock, there was a sickening thwack sound as his head gushed out an impossible amount of blood, he put his hand to his head, looked at in shock, turned to see where it came from, caught my eye and yelled, “Boy, are you gonna get it now,” and we had a race back to the campsite, and then my dad drove him 40 miles away to ER for stitches.

So I wonder if, as my brother stood up into that rock, if it’s possible that Mike Brown fell, in a manner of speaking, into the bullets that hit his head.

I’m not blaming or exonerating either Mike or the cop, and this doesn’t say anything to either justify or pass blame on the shooting decisions.

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The Cherub, as I have been whining about for about a year, has taken to destroying my books. She pulls them off the shelves wanders around with them, rips pages out or colors in them, and then leaves them all over.  This isn’t just an issue of supervision- unless you’ve dealt with a kid like the Cherub, you just don’t know.  I can take a book away from her a hundred times in an hour and she still goes back. She doesn’t get bored with it. She doesn’t really learn in anything like a timely fashion- so it could take me five years to break her of this habit (and I’m not convinced I can). It’s not like dealing with a cognitively normal kid who will outgrow it because developmentally they move on.  She won’t be moving on.

Distraction doesn’t work either.

She is at the out of sight out of mind stage of development though.  So in some rooms where she spends any amount of time I just put a sheet over the bookcase and she leaves the books in it alone.

That won’t do for my dining room, though.  So I ordered this set of curtains from ebay:

trompe l'oeil window


Now, it’s still not quite wide enough to cover all the bookcases on the wall in my dining room, so I also ordered two rattan shades in a sort of white-wash to go on either side.  Admittedly, it won’t be as pretty as my books, but my books themselves will stay prettier out of the Cherub’s hands.  So I think it’s a win.

My son, OTOH, curled his lip in scorn.

“What?” I asked.

“It won’t work,” he said.

“It will,” I pointed out, “The sheet works in my room, but I don’t want to hang sheets on the bookcases in the dining room.”

“Okay, maybe,” he conceded, “But it doesn’t look good.  It will look sort of…. tacky,” and he curled his lip in disdain.

I laughed.  ”Forgive me,” I said, “if I don’t take home-making style advice from the boy who thinks animal skulls are a fashion feature.”

“It IS tacky,” he insisted.  ”Ask anybody.”

So I am.

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What it means when politicians are ‘concerned’

Politicians saying they are rethinking giving used and surplus military gear to nation’s police officers.

Politicians say a lot of stuff, but you shouldn’t take this seriously.  Expressing ‘concern,’ ‘reviewing the program,’ giving pretty soundbites about how it’s a problem are not substantive, meaningful, or effective ways of stopping the program.  They get the public’s attention and the public thinks this means action will follow, but the kind of action the public has in mind (ending the program, or changing it in a substantive way so that Blue Thunder isn’t being enacted in our towns) is not the sort of thing politicians really like to do.

There’s nothing in it for them.

Even the promise to ‘introduce legislation’ isn’t as meaningful as you imagine.  A pol-cat can introduce legislation every day until election day with absolutely no intention that it actually pass.  In fact, they all do this on purpose.  They all introduce legislation for political points at home, knowing full well that it’s not going to pass in D.C.   This is a mutually beneficial scam, with the left pole cats washing the paws of the right and vice versa.


You see, one of them can score points at home for the voters by introducing his insincere legislation, and then those opposing it can score points at home with their voters by giving insincere speeches about why they don’t approve, and then the legislation can be tabled for further review by committee, and they can all go home and either promise the voters they will introduce it again or work to push it through the committee, or they can boast that they successfully derailed it and will work to let it die in committee.

And voters vote for them on the basis of these shenanigans.

Robert Heinlein wrote about the process (very engagingly) in a story found in Waldo & Magic, Inc. published in 1940.

In Magic Inc, the protagonist, Archie, goes to watch the Assembly in action (our Congress).

They are discussing a resolution to censure the tar and feathering of some agricultural workers the previous month. He’s told it won’t take long because the people proposing the resolution don’t really want it passed, but the Central Labor Council had demanded it and these particular legislators are labor supported, so they need the resolution for political lubricant. The Labor Council didn’t really want it anymore, either, because they hadn’t realized at the time that the ‘agricultural workers’ were not part of their union, but were actually working in competition against their union members..

So what happened is every member present got up and spoke strongly in favor of the resolution, and then somebody suggested tabling the resolution until later, and they had a voice vote on that- and ever single person who spoke so stoutly in favor of the resolution also voted for tabling the discuss, so it passed. I’m pretty sure this is exactly what happens in D.C. today.

Next in the Assembly a bill is introduced to outlaw every sort of magic (in the world of this book, magic is everywhere, it’s like outlawing magic in the entire Harry Potter universe)- the bill’s sponsor speaks at length about why this should be done, then, without further discussion, the bill was voted on, and passed unanimously. This puzzles Archie greatly, but his more politically savvy friend explains that the sponsor needs to introduce the bill to appeal to his own constituents, and everybody’s agreed to let him do that because  they all know the bill is now going to the committee where it will die a quiet and ignominious death. Sadly, I think this explains a number of pro-life bills and subsequent defeats.

Later his politically savvy friends explain lobbyists to Archie- lobbyists are the ‘third house’ (senate, congress, and lobbyists, which is what we have today as well).  The thing is, they explain, many of the lobbyists are not human- they are mandrakes (in this bookworld, mandrakes are basically imitation humans, like Mr. Smith in The Matrix.

That would explain a lot.

.(You can read more of Heinlein’s explanation of politics here)

It’s now available on kindle! Waldo & Magic, Inc.

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Family Funnies; Keeping It Real

My youngest two drove over to pick up some babies. My son tells me the youngest was out in the driveway wearing just her diaper and some tomato seeds and juice, happily holding the tomato as well.
Dread Pirate Grasshopper, the 4 year old, came racing from the barn shouting, “Baby, move, they’ll kill you!” like a good big brother. .
Then the 3 y.o. Ladybug (3) came out wearing her brother’s camo shirt, which goes almost to her knees. My son told her to get in the van so they could go. She says, “Well, first I have to find my pants and underwear. I don’t know where did dey go.”

Boy, wrapping up his story: “I can just see some stranger watching this and saying, ‘um, well,  this sure seems like a fun family.’”

An anonymous mother of my acquaintance sent me the following picture, along with the comment, “I think I have done enough penance for my childhood.”
Mrs. Anonymous has been sick, and this sickness carries with it a near unbearable amount of exhaustion and need for sleep, and Mr. Anonymous was at work. Mrs. Anonymous fell asleep. although not before she thought she had adequately childproofed and barricaded, and the babies were well fed and should have been napping or quietly looking at books in their beds. Except one of them wasn’t:



Also broken- a coffee mug which, ironically, said “keep calm and carry on.”


My son says “What did he think he was doing? Cooking? Because he’s cooked himself up a buttwhooping.” Then he looked at me and corrected himself, “a pot of trouble,” Mom.  He cooked himself up a pot of trouble.”  Then he looked wistfully at the crime scene again and said with admiration, “But it is rather glorious.”

I am not showing you the picture of Mt. Fold Me and PUT ME AWAY on my guestroom bed, or the six foot high weeds and brambles in my compost pile (growing there, not composting there), and, um, other stuff, and I don’t even have toddlers, except the Cherub.  And she just tears books into shreds and leaves the shreds all over the living room.


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