Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Price of Silence

Johannes Mehserle has been charged with murder.

It's tough to believe he'll be "cleared of the charges against him" - videotape and dozens of witnesses are pretty tough to refute.

The shooting in a BART station recently has gone a bit wrong for the SF police...

Note - in the first video, the news anchor says the officer responsible in the shooting has resigned rather than talk to investigators.

I'm sure we'll hear more about this.

Ye gods, this has to be every police officer's worst nightmare - a crowd gathering rapidly and chanting 'F--K THE PO-LICE,' can't say I'm very sympathetic to the protestors. Them's 'fightin words' kids, you do that to -anyone- they're going to get upset at some point and try to shut it down.

BUT... opening fire with teargas or 'nonlethal' (read: "still hurts like holy hell") rounds isn't exactly 'wise' either.

Not being an expert in defusing large, angry mobs I can only theorize, but it sure seems to me using weapons at that point was a bad idea.

Notice the people wearing bandanas - agent provocateurs? It's happened before. This footage may be analyzed with face-recognition software and I hope if it's proven there were people trying to incite the riot they're punished, police OR civilian.

Note that the guy throwing stuff (newspapers??) at the police is wearing a hoodie AND a large bandana. Note that pretty much -all- the people actively engaging the police are. In the videos above where the police car is being trashed (people jumping on it) it sure looks like drunken transients - perfect fodder for provocateurs. This just smells wrong and I hope someone is collating all this footage.

Near the end of this clip you can hear the police clearly warning the crowd to disperse or 'physical force' will be used and 'injuries may occur' - I don't know about YOU but when a group of people with guns say that to ME, I LEAVE.

Clearly there was a group among the protestors who wanted a confrontation... and brother, they got it.

For example, this hero - face completely covered:

Sorry, masked faces get zero credibility.

It's so sad that one bad cop started this whole mess, but worse that violent individuals escalated it.

The mayor did say he thought it was because 'people had lost confidence' in the police.

Here's hoping this gets sorted out and as the vice-mayor said: "Justice is done"

Civil Discourse

I've gotten a good bit of heat over the years about my less-than-polite treatment of the distant, flailing fringe-group right but I think Ann Coulter has left me completely in the dust.

Go find out why via Patriotboy at Jesus' General.

I love the title of the contest she talks about in regard to the Democratic Primary...

Now that's 'civil discourse' and I don't hear any wingers criticizing her for it.

More Newsreader Humor

NetNewsWire belched up another unintended hunk-o-irony just now. The man being mentioned in the article has about as much chance of making peace with the city as... well... see the image above.

I wonder when he'll start shooting bottle rockets at city council meetings...

Seriously, the guy's got somewhat of a legitimate beef - the ditch IS disgusting - but he bought the land knowing it was there. I believe the term is 'Caveat Emptor'

But even still, he deserves points for persistence... besides, how much grief would it be to pipe it? There's hundreds of miles of unused concrete pipe hangin around. Drop in a few dozen, give the bums some shelter in the winter - which is what it will be used for... careful what you ask for.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oh God, another one

Still pushing the Obama birth certificate canard.


No More Unrestricted Grants to Churches

From Religion Clause:

Settlement Bars Louisiana From Making Unrestricted Grants To Churches

AP reported yesterday that the state of Louisiana has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought against it by the ACLU challenging appropriations in the 2007 state budget bill for two churches, with no restrictions on the churches' use of the funds. (Similar appropriations to six other churches had also been approved.) In August 2007, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from disbursing the appropriated funds. (See prior posting.) Under the agreed-upon settlement, the state will no longer grant unrestricted funds to churches.

Posted by Howard Friedman

Workers Win

The Employee Free Choice Act (pdf of legislation)

From Wikipedia:
Pursuant to the bill, a union can demand that an employer begin bargaining within ten days of certification of the union as the exclusive bargaining representative for an appropriate unit of employees via the card check.[1] In addition, if the union and employer cannot agree upon the terms of a first collective bargaining contract within ninety days, either party can request federal mediation, which could lead to binding arbitration if an agreement still cannot be reached after thirty days of mediation.[1] Where government arbitration determines terms of the agreement, employees would lose their current right to ratify the terms of the agreement.[1] Finally, the Act would provide for liquidated damages of three times back pay if employers were found to have unlawfully terminated pro-union employees.[2] The EFCA also would impose a $20,000 penalty upon employers for each employer violation of the proposed legislation if the NLRB and/or a court deems the violation willful or repetitive.[1][3]
When employers use the union election process to intimidate, the workers always lose.

From Media Matters: (all emphasis mine)

An August 2000 report by Human Rights Watch similarly found that "[m]any employers have come to view remedies like back pay for workers fired because of union activity as a routine cost of doing business, well worth it to get rid of organizing leaders and derail workers' organizing efforts. As a result, a culture of near-impunity has taken shape in much of U.S. labor law and practice."

Additionally, Cornell University researcher Kate Bronfenbrenner found in a 2000 study of union organizing campaigns that "more than half of all employers made threats to close all or part of the plant during the organizing drive." Bronfenbrenner continued:

More than three quarters of the campaigns where threats occurred also involved aggressive legal and illegal employer behavior such as discharges for union activity, electronic surveillance, illegal unilateral changes in wages or benefits, bribes, threats to refer undocumented workers to INS, promises of improvement, and promotion of union activists out of the unit.

Bronfenbrenner also found that "one in every four employers in our sample discharged workers for union activity."

When this legislation passes, the ghosts of the workers and their families burned alive during the Ludlow massacre will finally find peace.

As for the former mine guards-turned-National-Guardsmen, well, maybe not so much.

There's a couple of great books about Ludlow, I recommend them both:

Killing For Coal
Thomas G. Andrews
Assistant Professor of History, University of Colorado Denver.


Blood Passion
by Scott Martelle

and a great website:

Colorado Coal Field War Project

One of the most-staunchly-held tenets of the CFI mine owners and operators was that they would not even recognize a union spokesman.

That's why this legislation sticks in the craw of the wingnut right - finally, after nearly a hundred years, we the people declare that their actions were illegal and that Ludlow was a mass murder and a crime of monstrous proportions - that should never be allowed to happen again.

You want 'Clean Coal'? - then the first thing to do is scrub the blood off the hands of Colorado's coal mining companies.

This is a good start.

Now wait just a minute...

"...researchers have found after reviewing data from 425 Vietnam War vets who took IQ tests and gave sperm samples in 1985."
What tha?

What brigade was that?

Go find out why Smart men have better sperm.

Hat (and condom) tip to Drudge Retort.

A Grizzly Rises Up In Me

The irony-meter took another beating today:

firedoglake has much more.

Mock,Paper,Scissors refers to Palin as "Mooselini"

Oh my god. Nearly wrecked another chair.

Red states: "At least our teens are gettin some!"

From AmericaBlog:

Red states dominate teen pregnancy statistics

Ignoring sex education does not appear to be working very well. Bible studies and pretending as though sex doesn't happen with teens is not a policy. Wouldn't it be nice to see this Congress put an end to the silly abstinence programs that cost so much and deliver consistently bad results? Oh wait, we need to be fair to them too despite the facts.

Mississippi now has the nation's highest teen pregnancy rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title, according to a new federal report released Wednesday.

Mississippi's rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The teen pregnancy rate in Texas and New Mexico was more than 50 percent higher.

The three states have large proportions of black and Hispanic teenagers — groups that traditionally have higher birth rates, experts noted.

The lowest teen birth rates continue to be in New England, where three states have teen birth rates at just half the national average.

New England? Not bad for godless communists. Surely the higher level of education had nothing to do with the results.

Daily Show

Barack Obama Offially President-Elect

From Obama HQ:

Barack Obama officially became the president-elect today when the House and the Senate gathered in a joint meeting to complete one of the last formalities of the presidential election: counting the electoral votes.

The New York Times reported:

While there have been oddities in the past that shifted the total, the final result this time was the same as derived in the public voting on Nov. 4: 365 electoral votes for the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and 173 for John McCain of Arizona and Sarah Palin of Alaska, their Republican opponents. With the results formally entered in the journals of the House and the Senate, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden are now cleared to be sworn in on Jan. 20.

The finality of the announcement by Mr. Cheney drew a rousing round of applause from assembled lawmakers and their guests, including 26 young people active in politics who were invited by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California.

And the final electoral map, which you all worked so hard for:

Note that Colorado is BLUE State!
Whoo Hoo!!!!

Tour of Doodie spotted this hilarious signage.

Please Help

Hat tip to Doug's Dynamic Drivel

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good Bet

The Index and FaceTheState think the courts will "ignore" the right's thin, screechy whining.

I think they're right.

A judge named this should be able to recognize this.

But I think they should just go right ahead anyway.

Can never have enough proof that the GOP hates their own medicine.

Please, have some more whine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What a mess

Reports of police confiscating cameraphones are not encouraging.


"He is in his own little world" and "Face the State" is a tautology. Once again, the Index brightens my day. Thanks kids, you've got natural comedic talent.

Magnificent example of circular logic

This reminds me of the infamous bait-question: "So when did you stop beating your wife?"

The Academic Bill of Rights is a steaming heap of dung.

The National Coalition Against Censorship opppose it, that's enough for me, but the American Historical Association opposes it, saying that the ABOR:
"could snuff out all controversial discussion in the classroom. A campus governed by the ABOR would present professors with an impossible dilemma: either play it safe or risk administrative censure by saying something that might offend an overly sensitive student."
'Overly sensitive student'... translated = "child of right-wing loon who thinks Vietnam should be painted as a 'win' in the history books."


Ronald W. Reagan
Originally uploaded by Emirated
And here I thought he was a-skeery when he was ALIVE.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I agree

If Michael Bennet (Ritter's replacement for Salazar) is for performance-based pay for teachers, I'm in 100% agreement that he's a good choice for Senator.

Performance-based pay is the standard the majority of workers are held to. I support better pay for teachers, but I want what I'm paying for - educated students.

Yes, yes I know the CSAP is a POS but there are simple ways to measure performance that are already in place.

My friend Brad Jolly has much to say about this - and he's been right for years.

Trying SO hard...

...and failing:

From RebuildTheParty:
I liked that the candidates were trying to out-tech each other with facebook friends and twitter stats, sure it was a bit hokey but they are not talking about it, they are participating in the new meida world.

I love how they pretend to have a clue. It's really cute.

Another voice heard from

I used to think the rather vociferous tone of the attacks on Musgrave was a sort of vendetta peculiar to "Muskrat Hunt." However, I recently ran across, in the 1 January issue of Boulder Weekly, a piece in the column called "ICUMI (In Case You Missed It)" entitled "Musgrave puts the 'good' in 'goodbye.' " Since I'm not very confident of my adeptness at linking, I will (as Doogmaster often does) quote it in its entirety, in case my link doesn't work:
When Colorado voters elected Betsy Markey this fall to represent our 4th district, there was reason to celebrate. Regardless of how you feel about Markey's politics, the fact of the matter is that she beat out Marilyn Musgrave, an entrenched Republican incumbent and a completely diabolical bitch.

We weren't sure if her reign of ├╝ber-rightwing psychosis was ever going to come to an end. But after five years of gay-bashing, prohibition, and crusades against women's rights, we can finally wave goodbye--but not without a swansong!

To help Ms Musgrave readjust to life outside the House, has decided to bestow a new award upon her. The progressive website has donned Musgrave as one of the top 5 Villains and Villainesses of 2008 for her staunch attempts to ban gay marriage and disallow adoption rights for same-sex couples. We also heard that she likes to spend her weekends torturing baby songbirds and has been known to refer to Third World children as "good eatin'."

And while that’s as good of a reason as any to give Musgrave a new title, we here at Boulder Weekly would like to point out a few other honors she has garnered, so that we all have something to remember her by:

—The Mike Tyson Group for Putting Females in Their Place (honorary member), for her work in suppressing the rights of women on a local and national level.

—Lifetime Member of the Order of Facts Are For Suckers, for her efforts in supporting creationism and fundamentalist beliefs.

—Official endorsement by the Ku Klux Klan. (For real—look it up. Of course, politicians can’t control endorsements, but, honestly, if the crazy dudes in the white masks start giving you the thumbs up, maybe it's time to rethink your policies.)

—President of the League of People-Who-Aren't-Like-Me-Are-Probably-Evil, for her lifetime achievements in homophobia and xenophobia and probably just about any other word you can think of that ends with phobia.

Now that Musgrave has finally been booted out of the office, we assume she’s hunting for a new job, so we decided to peruse the classifieds and see if anything appropriate popped up.

Currently, the Land of Oz is looking for a new Wicked Witch of the West. Musgrave would have to paint her skin green, but that seems a small price to pay for an opportunity to frighten little children and puppies. If that doesn’t strike her fancy, perhaps she could take over for Darth Vader as vice president of the Empire. That one comes with a great dental plan. Or maybe she could sit in for Satan while he’s on vacation. You know what they say: Better to rule in Hell than serve in Congress.

Nicely put, by a notoriously disreputable progressive commie rag which I love--my only news source besides The Onion. It's good to know someone outside Muskrat Hunt thinks the Wicked Bitch of Larimer-Weld amply deserves everything that's been said about her.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Label that Doll

Read more.
This, this and this.

We're talking major-league 'lost more than just the last election'...

Please Enter Our Photography Contest - You're Under Arrest

Well this is some outstanding marketing.

"Picture our Train" and Win

and then this: (from ferddawg)(cause the original story and Carlos' site are being hammered just now)

Carlos Miller:

Armed with his Canon 5D and his new Lensbaby lens, photographer Duane Kerzic set out to win Amtrak’s annual photo contest this week, hoping to win $1,000 in travel vouchers and have his photo published in Amtrak’s annual calendar.

He ended up getting arrested by Amtrak police; handcuffed to a wall in a holding cell inside New York City’s Penn Station, accused of criminal trespass.

Kerzic says he was hardly trespassing because he was taking photos from the train platform; the same one used by thousands of commuters everyday to step on and off the train.

“The only reason they arrested me was because I refused to delete my images,” Kerzic said in a phone interview with Photography is Not a Crime on Friday.

“They never asked me to leave, they never mentioned anything about trespassing until after I was handcuffed in the holding cell.”

In fact, he said, the only thing they told him before handcuffing him was that “it was illegal to take photos of the trains.”

Obviously, there is a lack of communication between Amtrak’s marketing department, which promotes the annual contest, called Picture Our Trains, and its police department, which has a history of harassing photographers for photographing these same trains.

Much more here.

Note: This is what Bruce Schneier calls the "War on the Unexpected" -- people in positions of authority in this country have clearly lost their freekin' minds. -ferg
Yep. Classic Marketing work.

Norm Coleman - Sore Loser

The election in Minnesota is over and the GOP has lost another seat.1

I'll just bet the ghost of Paul Wellstone is laughing with glee too - since Al Franken, irreverent comic and unapologetic lefty is the new Senator.

You can practically hear the wingnut butts puckering from here2. Life is not going to be much fun for the red-staters in the Senate - you can bet Al's going to bring the bigtime ridicule to a chamber of government that needs airing out worse than than some folks' underwear.

Norm Coleman of course is doing the whole Rumplestiltskin3 gig, stomping his foot, screaming and yelling 'mine! mine! all mine!'

...but we're used to that in this post-post 9-11 world.
1. Which has got to hurt, after getting their collective seat kicked savagely in the last two elections and losing the Presidency. One might think they enjoy that treatment.
2. I suspect Mark Foley can and is tapping his foot like a sewing machine...
3. Or is it 'Rumpledforeskin'... no... that's someone else...

To My Secret Admirer

I must confess that I don't publish all the comments to my blog - some are just too... um... passionate1.

In that vein I dedicate the following:

Hot Blooded

Well, Im hot blooded, check it and see
I got a fever of a hundred and three
Come on baby, do you do more than dance?
Im hot blooded, Im hot blooded

You dont have to read my mind, to know what I have in mind
Honey you oughta know
Now you move so fine, let me lay it on the line
I wanna know what youre doin after the show

Now its up to you, we can make a secret rendezvous
Just me and you, Ill show you lovin like you never knew

Thats why, Im hot blooded, check it and see
I got a fever of a hundred and three
Come on baby, do you do more than dance?
Im hot blooded, hot blooded

If it feels alright, maybe you can stay all night
Shall I leave you my key?
But youve got to give me a sign, come on girl, some kind of sign
Tell me, are you hot mama? you sure look that way to me

Are you old enough? will you be ready when I call you bluff?
Is my timing right? did you save your love for me tonight?

Yeah Im hot blooded, check it and see
Feel the fever burning inside of me
Come on baby, do you do more than dance?
Im hot blooded, Im hot blooded, Im hot

Now its up to you, can we make a secret rendezvous?
Oh, before we do, youll have to get away from you know who

Well, Im hot blooded, check it and see
I got a fever of a hundred and three
Come on baby, do you do more than dance?
Im hot blooded, Im hot blooded

Hot blooded, every night
Hot blooded, youre looking so tight
Hot blooded, now youre driving me wild
Hot blooded, Im so hot for you, child
Hot blooded, Im a little bit high
Hot blooded, youre a little bit shy
Hot blooded, youre making me sing
Hot blooded, for your sweet sweet thing
1. If somewhat incoherent.

Pilots praise presidential pick

This is a nice piece of news: the AOPA1 praised Obama, saying his appointment of Illinois Republican Ray LaHood "reflected the bipartisan spirit that we need to reclaim in this country to make progress."2

Golly. Obama appointed a Republican to be Secretary of the Department of Transportation.3

The guy's from Illinois, but I don't think we should hold that against him.4

Now all he has to do is get through his confirmation hearings.5

I'll be curious to see if the GOP side of the aisle comes out to support their party member or if his "long-term relationships with both Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel" will factor into it at all6. Apparently he also doesn't 'toe the Party line' all the time... oh well.
1. as quietly as possible since it clearly hurt
2. this phrase is simply 100% pure irony coming from a rightie
3. and here I was sure it was going to be a Muslim...
4. if he was a Dem, I'm virtually certain it would have been - daily/hourly
5. won't these be an irony-fest
6. hmm. I sure hope he has detailed notes about all his meetings with Rahm since he'll no doubt be questioned endlessly about them.