aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, April 30, 2007
I’ve done a fair amount of blogging about the Democratic machine and what a problem these people really are. While Hillary Clinton is in bed with these people, she has also had a long career in Democratic politics. She faced the smear machine in the 1990s way before any of us were organizing on her behalf. For better or for worse, Mark Penn had her back at that time, and that matters to Senator Clinton.
I don’t agree with her policy choices and judgment, and I often question her character in this context. But she’s also a gutsy and extremely intelligent politician, and we ought not to forget that. You cannot discount what it means to have a woman running for President, and how she brings intelligence, resolve and poise to that role. It’s our role in politics to bring her to a different place, to show her that progressive politics can be done with progressive structures, and that the perceived double-talk on single issue micropolling is no longer necessary or productive. Ultimately, and this may not be possible though I think it will be, we will have to figure out how to work together as strong allies. Both Clinton and the blogs went through the crucible of the right-wing smear machine, and it’s hard to discount that.
I’m less ambivalent about her than either of them are. But their grudging respect bodes well for her. BTW, the name’s Hillary Clinton.
UGA student offers rare praise for Democrats
UGA Sophomore Matthew Pearl guest blogging at The Moderate Voice:
Recently I’ve held the belief that Republicans have had such great success(until recently) in national elections because of the sheer deftness with which they do politics. From massive grassroots organizations to their mastery of the vernacular and defining terms to their advantage, Republicans are just good at painting themselves as good and Democrats as evil or incompetent.
Well, today, I was having a conversation with my sister about the trouble Alberto Gonzales is in, and I realized the strategy that the Democrats are using to weaken the administration. That strategy is also absolutely awesome in every way; I tip my hat to them, seriously. [...]
Effectively, the Democrats are using the Administration’s secrecy against it. By trying to keep secrets in the face of congressional and other investigations, high-level administration officials are putting themselves in a position to be indicted by a vindictive Democratic Majority and sympathetic Judiciary.
So the Administration is beginning to find its self in a bit of a Catch 22: either tell the truth and look bad or try to hide the truth and have the possibility of looking even worse (along with some jail time).
It’s not often that I applaud the Democratic Leadership in congress, but I have to tip my hat to Pelosi, Waxman, et al.
Might this augur a turning southern tide?
Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and debt dismay
The national pastime has gotten costly for a family these days. $80 tickets for the dugout; $23 for the Pavilion Right Field Bleachers in Wednesday’s Atlanta Braves game with the Philadelphia Phillies. Credit Slips:
The Atlanta Braves recently became the first sports franchise to offer a finance plan for their tickets. Articles here and here give some details. Essentially,if you are spending $200 or more, GE Money will offer so-called "90 days same-as-cash" financing. If you don’t pay before 90 days, then the APR is between 20 and 25 percent. The Braves management says that they have lots of fans who "want the ticket package" but "don’t have that amount of cash on hand." Is this what we mean when we say that the democratization of credit improves consumers’ quality of life? Maybe the answer depends on whether you are a Braves fan, or even a baseball fan?
No word on whether you can finance the hot dogs.
Again, the hypocrisy is appalling but the real cost is the criminalization of our kids and a culture panicked over sex offenders as a result of the guilt and shame of policy makers and law enforcement types suffer over their own behavior!
Mr. Figueroa, who was once head of a national child predator task force, was arrested after exposing himself to a 16 year old girl in a mall. This statement from the article:Figueroa was suspended from his post as the special agent in charge of the Tampa office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the law enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security. If he is not fired by August, he will be eligible for retirement at age 50.
The we get Mr. Doyle, another Department of Homeland Security official arrested for soliciting a "minor", in reality, a law enforcement deputy, for sex over the internet.
But, add these two arrests of child predators to the Texas Youth Prison scandal. Not only local prosecutor’s, but the Texas Department of Justice U.S. Attorney, pursued no charges as this scandal continued for years. But, this statement should say it all about how pervasive the problem was:
A convicted sex offender who was fired this week from his job at a West Texas youth prison said he told his employer of his background when he applied for the job. David Andrew Lewis, 23, was fired from the Texas Youth Commission’s Coke County Juvenile Justice Center when state investigators discovered he was a convicted sex offender. Mr. Lewis was fired by the GEO Group, a Florida-based private company that runs the all-male facility in Bronte, about 30 miles northeast of San Angelo.
[...] President Bush signed a bill to help end trafficking of women and children for prostitution, yet, we get a youth sex scandal in Texas and Bush administration officials involved with at least one escort agency we know of, not to mention, the child predators who were arrested out of the DHS. Let’s not forget that the U.S. Attorney for the Mariana Islands was forced out amid investigations.
So what was found to be occurring in the Mariana’s? We are told:
Human rights and labor investigators have found rampant abuses there over the years, notably the trafficking of women for a commercial sex trade and the exploitation of mostly female workers from poor Asian countries in a largely foreign-owned garment-manufacturing industry that uses the territory to turn out “Made in U.S.A.” clothing exempt from U.S. tariffs and quotas.
As a lobbyist for the Northern Marianas government and, subsequently, the garment industry on the main island of Saipan, Abramoff enlisted DeLay and other Republican leaders in a battle against the Clinton administration, human rights groups, labor unions and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to preserve local control over immigration and the minimum wage.
[...] If Texas couldn’t stop the molestation of our children, allowing it to occur for years; If Florida supplied one (that we know of) convicted sex-offender to those youth prisons; If the U.S. Attorney investigation into the Mariana’s included garment shops using female workers as prostitutes; If President Bush says one of his key issues is the trafficking of women and children for sexual slavery… doesn’t this say enough to us?
Tony Snow is back
Just saw him on GMA. He’s his same old self.
On George Tenet’s book:
“...There’s been no [administration] attempt to try to link Sadam to September, 11...”
On the DC madam:
“...Let’s just see how this thing plays out. I think you’re getting ahead of the story...”
Warner Music needs a wake-up call
Join us today in calling on Warner Music to drop their opposition to DRM free digital sales and make their catalog available through online music stores free of Digital Restrictions.
Make a call today! All the folks listed below work in Warner’s New York offices. Try to make your calls in the morning on the East Coast. If your on the West Coast, you might want to wait until around 10AM PDT (after lunch for those on the East Coast).
Sunday, April 29, 2007
NYTimes on Georgia’s Shame: The Genarlow Wilson case
The New York Times tells it like it is. Monday’s editorial:
Every day that young Genarlow Wilson remains in prison for consensual sexual activity is a further indictment against the prosecutors, lawmakers and judges of the Georgia legal system. Lawyers for Mr. Wilson have applied for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his cruel and unusual 10-year sentence. The Superior Court should grant it. [...]
The behavior of the district attorney, David McDade, requires particular scrutiny. He charged Mr. Wilson with raping a different girl at the same party, and a jury acquitted him in 2005. Mr. McDade has distributed a graphic videotape of the events in that case to legislators as part of a lobbying effort at the State Senate against Mr. Wilson’s release. And Mr. McDade went on television last month and said, referring to Mr. Wilson and others involved, “Six young men basically gang-raped a 17-year-old.”
At best, this is irresponsible considering that Mr. Wilson was acquitted of the charge. It demonstrates poor judgment not by a minor, but by an adult who should know better.
A selection of posts for more info: This isn’t the first time the Times noted David McDade’s behavior. For the record, a Wilson juror says, “We immediately saw the tape for what it was. We went back in and saw it again. Then everybody immediately said not guilty.”
I’d also single out for particular scrutiny Georgia State Senate President pro tem Eric Johnson, R-Savannah, who has continued to claim Genarlow is guilty of rape with full knowledge that he was acquitted of that charge. Matt Towery who wrote and introduced the bill used to charge and prosecute Genarlow has said again and again that it was not intended to imprison our kids. If you think the Times is over the top for using the term “cruel and unusual,” think again:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
...How can it be that, in the judges own words, a “promising young man with good grades and no criminal history [is sentenced] to ten years in prison without parole and a lifetime registration as a sexual offender because he engaged in consensual oral sex with a 15 year old victim only two years his junior” and THAT IS NOT CONSIDERED CRUEL AND UNUSUAL???
I am as distressed about this case and what it says about the state in which I now reside as any citizen could possibly be. With all of my heart I believe that if this is Georgia justice, there is no justice in Georgia. Georgia’s shame indeed! We need, Genarlow needs, help from outside. Make noise. Please, do something.
On Marilee Jones
I work in academia. With a Bachelor’s degree. My only options are to stay put and never rise, or go back to school for some higher credential. My life experience counts for something - I joke that had I done at Yahoo! what I did at Mediapolis I’d be a full professor with an honorary degree from an Ivy League school - but not much.
In my job I have had the opportunity to serve on search committees. I have given voice to the notion that maybe, just maybe, we should consider hiring someone from outside of the academy. That was shot right down. I can make an argument for alternative credentialing. I might make it one day here but in the context of my job I wouldn’t even bother. It’s crystal clear that would never fly.
Marilee was good in her job. Kevin Drum even ventured that maybe “this didn’t necessarily require the death penalty. Surely there was something MIT could have done to demonstrate it took this seriously without also losing a valued and high performing member of its administration?” He was shot down in comments and quickly took it back.
The lie is a problem, no getting around that. But credentialism is a problem too. I haven’t seen much commentary examining that. Saul Levmore at the University of Chicago comes closest:
It is tempting to say that the fact of the dishonesty is reason enough to demand resignation. But in many situations we regard dishonesty as but a small flaw when it is not shown to have “caused” a significant harm. A baseball pitcher might lie about his age; a spouse might lie about something in the family background; an employee might lie about fluency in a foreign language. In all these cases, if the party who was miseld discovers the dishonesty rather quickly we are comfortable with a decision to break a contract. Age discrimination law aside, the baseball player’s chance of injury and improved performance are related to age. A spouse might not only be uncomfortable with a partner who hides unpleasant things but also might regard family background as important in the choice of a partner. But my sense is that if, instead, there were a twenty-eight year period of great success in these relationships, as there was at MIT, we would think it odd if the original dishonesty were not forgiven or even regarded as fortuitously unknown. To be sure, the employer or spouse might want to send a message to future applicants that signals are serious business, but at some point the reality of performance overcomes this systemic call for integrity and efficiency in the screening process.
Consider, for example, those cases where an applicant for insurance lies about preexisting conditions. We normally ask for causation. If Y lies and says that the premises have a burglar alarm when they do not, and the premises are destroyed by an otherwise covered natural disaster, we regard the insured as deserving of the agreed-upon payments, even though there was an “unrelated” dishonesty in the application process. There remains some deterrent to dishonesty, as there is in the employment context, because the employer might discover the wrong soon after employment (and the insurer might investigate after a burglary to see whether there was indeed an alarm). It is tempting to suggest that there ought to be a norm akin to a statute of limitations in these matters, except that rÃƒÂ©sumÃƒÂ© fraud usually requires ongoing misstatements (or republication of the offending document). If the admissions dean had lied to the employer about drug use thirty years earlier, I do not think that new information, coming to light so much later, would lead to a dismissal or resignation. It is hard to believe that the difference between the cases is that one requires repeated misstatement. Nor is it obvious that the difference is that the employer regards the academic credential as especially central to its mission. Non-university employers also regard such fraud as career-ending. Perhaps employers recognize that if they do not take credentialing fraud seriously, no one else will - while drug use has other crusaders and deterrents.
Finally, there is something interesting about the all-or-nothing quality of the dishonesty’s treatment. MIT has just as much incentive to regard plagiarism or other academic dishonesty as a serious offense. But in these cases, a penalty is rarely career ending. One who has cheated on a single exam or paper is, in most universities, likely to be readmitted after some penalty period. Yet that wrong also goes to the core of what the university is about, it is unlikely to be policed by other authorities, and it can be understood to say something about the person.
I don’t lie on my resume. I was once named to a congressperson’s advisory committee; somewhere I have the letter that welcomed me (if I can’t find it I can call up and get another). In three years we never met. Do I put that on my resume? If I do, is it then padded?
Remember this from a couple weeks ago, “one lender sampled 100 stated-income loan applicants and found that 90 had exaggerated take-home pay by 5 percent or more and that nearly 60 inflated their pay by more than 50 percent.”
Padding is rampant. Lately I’ve been wondering about awards, too; does anyone doubt that award systems can be worked? I even worked it once, winning a number of awards for a student film. Later, busy doing good work, I stopped working the award system. My bad. Marilee will probably be okay. She’ll write a book and go on Oprah and be interviewed by Diane Sawyer. But I don’t expect we’ll learn anything from it.
I am a fan of those hive-mind, wisdom-of-crowds theories. I like to think that our credentialism is the best we can do with the technology we have. And that maybe one day we’ll be able to more accurately measure skills and accomplishment without as much reliance on degrees and resumes. Of course, then we’d have to take care of the flip side, too, and value everyone, if not equally, at least adequately.
A man can dream can’t he?
DC Madam: GO TO TRIAL!
I so hope she does!
So now ABC News has a list of clients from a DC madam with “thousands of names, tens of thousands of phone numbers...and there are people there at the Pentagon, lobbyists, others at the White House, prominent lawyers - a long, long list.”
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the woman charged, turned down a 4 month plea deal and says she wants to go to trial. A front page WaPo story today - ‘I Abhor Injustice,’ Alleged Madam says - has more about the scandal. The first casualty:
On Friday, Randall L. Tobias resigned as deputy secretary of state one day after confirming to Brian Ross of ABC that he had patronized the Pamela Martin firm. Speaking yesterday on “Good Morning America,” Ross said Tobias told him Tobias’s number was on Palfrey’s phone records because he had called “to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage.” There had been “no sex,” Ross quoted Tobias as saying, and that recently he has used another service, “with Central American gals,” for massages.
Tobias was director of U.S. Foreign Assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. He previously held a top job in the Bush administration overseeing AIDS relief, in which he promoted abstinence and a policy requiring grant recipients to swear they oppose prostitution.
Pam and Josh comment on the obscenity of the “I switched to brown girls” defense. Nico and georgia10 note Tobias’s “it was like ordering pizza” defense. Atrios says, in essence, “none of our business.”
I find the hypocrisy bad on its face, but the reason I believe it emphatically must be our business is that I believe this is what fuels our sex offender hysteria and the criminalization of our kids.
I see no threat from 16 year-old suburban boys or 17 year-old football players or 40 year-old female substitute teachers. Rather, the cultural threat is rooted in the guilt and shame of our hypocritical married 65 year-old policy makers. They’re criminalizing our kids and our neighbors for the guilt and shame they’re suffering over their own behavior!
More from the WaPo story:
Palfrey’s flamboyant attorney, Montgomery Blair Sibley, said Friday that he has been contacted by five lawyers recently, asking whether their clients’ names are on Palfrey’s list of 10,000 to 15,000 phone numbers. Some, Sibley said, have inquired about whether accommodations could be made to keep their identities private. ABC is expected to air a report on Palfrey and her clients on “20/20” on May 4, during sweeps.
I’ll be watching.
Ubuntu Linux v Windows Vista
I’m a Linux dilettante; the only flavor I know is Ubuntu. If not before, the day I lose my Mac will be the day I become a maven. In the meantime I’ve got a couple Ubuntu projects going to move me in that direction.
So I was interested to see the Ubuntu Linux Vs. Windows Vista: The Battle For Your Desktop in-depth comparison piece from Information Week:
The prevailing wisdom about Linux on the desktop runs something like this: “I’ll believe Linux is ready for the desktop as soon as you can give me a Linux distribution that even my grandmother can run.”
For some time, the folks at Ubuntu have been trying their best to make Granny—and most everyone else—happy. They’ve attempted to build a Linux distribution that’s easy to install, use, configure, and maintain—one that’s at least as easy as Windows, and whenever possible, even easier. As a result, Ubuntu is one of the Linux distributions that has been most directly touted as an alternative to Windows.
From the conclusion:
[T]here’s at least as much about Ubuntu that I find disheartening or frustrating. There are still too many places where you have to drop to a command line and type in a fairly unintuitive set of commands to get something done, or edit a config file, or—worst of all—download and compile source code. For a beginner, this last is the kiss of death, because if compiling code fails, a beginner will almost certainly have no idea what to do next.
To be scrupulously fair, the situation isn’t always much better in Windows: Most people find the idea of spelunking the Registry to be about as unappealing—although the Registry does enforce at least some degree of consistency in the way configuration data is stored.
RELATED: MP3 Open Business Interview with Mark Shuttleworth: The Business Ecology of Ubuntu.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
The global Christian community loses its moral bearings
It’s no secret that the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are engaged in a bitter internal struggle over the role of gay and lesbian people within the church. But despite this struggle, the leaders of our global communion of 77 million members have consistently reiterated their pastoral concern for gays and lesbians. Meeting [in February 2005], the primates who lead our 38 member provinces issued a unanimous statement that said in part: “The victimization or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.”
We now have reason to doubt those words.
Archbishop Peter J. Akinola, primate of the Church of Nigeria and leader of the conservative wing of the communion, recently threw his prestige and resources behind a new law that criminalizes same-sex marriage in his country and denies gay citizens the freedoms to assemble and petition their government. The law also infringes upon press and religious freedom by authorizing Nigeria’s government to prosecute newspapers that publicize same-sex associations and religious organizations that permit same-sex unions. [...]
Surprisingly, few voices-Anglican or otherwise-have been raised in opposition to the archbishop. When I compare this silence with the cacophony that followed the Episcopal Church’s decision to consecrate the Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, a gay man who lives openly with his partner, as the bishop of New Hampshire, I am compelled to ask whether the global Christian community has lost not only its backbone but its moral bearings. Have we become so cowed by the periodic eruptions about the decadent West that Archbishop Akinola and his allies issue that we are no longer willing to name an injustice when we see one?
I also feel compelled to ask the archbishop’s many high-profile supporters in this country why they have not publicly dissociated themselves from his attack on the human rights of a vulnerable population. Is it because they support this sort of legislation, or because the rights of gay men and women are not worth the risk of tangling with an important alliance?
Matt Bai: The Post Money Era
Matt Bai says DeVillis is the future of political ads; that PVRs and the Internet spell the end of political advertising as we know it. He expects online ads will get more expensive “as well-trafficked sites and Internet consultants dream up new ways to cash in on the migration of politics to the Web; where there’s money to be made, someone generally makes it.” But by the 2012 election cycle money will matter far less than ever before:
It’s arguable that, beyond a certain base line, how much you stockpile as a candidate - whether you have $75 million in the primaries, or even $100 million - will soon matter less than ever before. You can use that money to throw up ads on every late-night lineup in the Midwest, or spend it on plush offices or layers of consultants, but what does all that really get you, other than an inflated sense of your own success? Ask Howard Dean, who outraised all his 2004 primary opponents and ended up winning one state: his own.
“The need for money is probably going to reach some diminishing return, and it’s probably going to be a pretty low ceiling, compared to past campaigns,” predicts Peter Leyden, president of the left-leaning New Politics Institute. In other words, the emerging high-tech marketplace may yet bring us closer to what decades of federal campaign regulations have failed to achieve: a day when candidates can afford to spend less time obsessing over the constant need for cash and more time concerned with the currency of their ideas.
I look forward to his book, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics. He was interviewed on On The Media yesterday.
One BIG airship
Ok, my last for the day on the Hindenberg:
“It was a large, complex machine, three times as long as a Boeing 747,” he said. “Its structure consisted of 12 miles of duralumin, an aircraft alloy, girders joined by over 4 million rivets and 100 miles of brace wires. The outer skin was 40 acres of cotton fabric impregnated with iron oxide, cellulose acetate butyrate and aluminum powder.”
He added that the zeppelin’s 16 cells, made of gas-proof latex-treated cotton, contained seven million cubic feet of hydrogen gas capable of lifting 247,000 pounds. Four Daimler-Benz diesel engines propelled the Hindenburg to a maximum speed of 84 miles an hour. “A crew of 16 operated the ship and there were cabins inside the hull for 50 passengers,” he said. [...]
“It’s important to note that the Hindenburg didn’t explode. It was consumed by rapid combustion; this is evident in photographs. Heat produced in the first burning cell raised the temperature of adjacent cells, causing hydrogen to spill out of pressure-relief valves. It took only 34 seconds for fire to engulf the entire ship.” Thirty-six people were killed.
The crash was the Challenger disaster of its day; or so the analogy occurred to me when I read that “the space shuttle’s solid-rocket booster’s burn rate is about half an inch a second versus the burn rate of 25 feet a second recorded during the Hindenburg accident.”
Hydrogen and the Hindenburg
This is in the Auto section of the New York Times. I can’t say I know why:
THE May 6, 1937, crash of the Hindenburg at the Navy base here was the 20th century’s first transportation disaster captured by newsreel, audio recordings and still photos.
The advancement in communications, combined with the observations of more than a thousand witnesses and survivors, is why one calamity with a relatively modest death toll permanently soiled hydrogen’s reputation.
In 34 fiery seconds, hydrogen leaped from the No. 1 position on the periodic table of elements to the last thing any citizen would consider pumping into a car’s fuel tank.
But was hydrogen really to blame?
Even after reading it, I can’t say that I know the answer:
“In a nutshell, the catastrophe began with escaping hydrogen,” he said. “Air mixing with the hydrogen created a combustible mixture. Either a spark jumping from the electrically charged outer covering to the metal framework or the St. Elmo’s fire lit the mixture. A puff or pop indicating detonation was heard by several observers.
“It’s important to note that the Hindenburg didn’t explode. It was consumed by rapid combustion; this is evident in photographs. Heat produced in the first burning cell raised the temperature of adjacent cells, causing hydrogen to spill out of pressure-relief valves. It took only 34 seconds for fire to engulf the entire ship.” Thirty-six people were killed.
But what I think is cool about the article is that the “he” in the quotes above is one Rick Zitarosa, a supervisor for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority who lives in Point Pleasant, N.J. Amateur as expert! Someone get that man a Wikipedia account!
NOTE TO FRIEND & REGULAR READER JASON: Explain it to us in comments!
The crash of the Hindenberg
Friday, April 27, 2007
Shopping with John & Rudy
My wife and I ran into John Edwards in the shampoo aisle the other night...For the record, we didn’t see John Edwards pick out any hair products in the store. He used the regular checkout lane, chose plastic over paper, and put his own cart away before leaving. Edwards may have gotten two overpriced haircuts on the campaign trail, but when he’s home, hanging out with his kids, he goes to the grocery store like everyone else. That should count for something.
Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani hasn’t done a lot of grocery shopping lately - at least based on his answers about the cost of milk and bread… “A gallon of milk is probably about a $1.50, a loaf of bread about a $1.25, $1.30,” he said.
A check of the Web site for D’Agostino supermarket on Manhattan’s Upper East Side showed a gallon of milk priced at $4.19 and a loaf of white bread at $2.99 to $3.39. In Montgomery, Ala., a gallon of milk goes for about $3.39 and bread is about $2.
RELATED: On personal responsibility.
Where’s that flag belong? Obama: “In a museum”
In the Democratic presidential candidates debate at South Carolina State University on MSNBC last night, Obama struck a chord:
Speaking in a state where the issue of flying the Confederate flag on the grounds of the State Capitol and other public buildings remains a hot topic, Obama did not play word games. He did not equivocate.
After the moderator asked where it might be appropriate to display the symbol of the southern struggle to defend the sin of human bondage, Obama replied: “in a museum.”
The crowd roared its approval.
I have to wonder what his new fans in the Old South think of that.
REMEMBER TOO: USC football coach Steve Spurrier Calls Confederate flag embarrassing.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
A culture of corruption in the Atlanta PD?
The NYTimes today:
After the fatal police shooting of an elderly woman in a botched drug raid, the United States attorney here said Thursday that prosecutors were investigating a “culture of misconductÃ¢â‚¬Â� in the Atlanta Police Department.
In court documents, prosecutors said Atlanta police officers regularly lied to obtain search warrants and fabricated documentation of drug purchases, as they had when they raided the home of the woman, Kathryn Johnston, in November, killing her in a hail of bullets.
Narcotics officers have admitted to planting marijuana in Ms. Johnston’s home after her death and submitting as evidence cocaine they falsely claimed had been bought at her house, according to the court filings. [...]
Asked how widespread such practices might be, Mr. Nahmias said investigators were looking at narcotics officers, officers who had once served in the narcotics unit and “officers that had never been in that unit but may have adopted that practice.”
Dirty Atlanta cops cop a plea
Former Atlanta Police Officers Greg Junnier and Jason Smith both pled guilty in Fulton County Superior Court Thursday to a series of reduced charges in connection with the botched drug raid that left an elderly Atlanta woman dead.
Junnier and Smith pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, violation of oath, making false statements and criminal solicitation. Smith pled guilty to the additional charge of perjury.
How egreious was their crime?
The charges followed a Nov. 21 “no-knock” drug raid on the home of Kathryn Johnston, 92. An informant had described buying drugs from a dealer there, police said. When the officers burst in without warning, Johnston fired at them, and they fired back, killing her.
Fulton County prosecutor Peter Johnson said that the officers involved in Johnston’s death fired 39 shots, striking her five or six times, including a fatal blow to the chest.
He said Johnston fired only once through her door and didn’t hit any of the officers. That means the officers who were wounded likely were hit by their own colleagues, he said. [...]
Assistant U.S. Attorney Yonette Sam-Buchanan said Thursday that although the officers found no drugs in Johnston’s home, Smith planted three bags of marijuana in the home as part of a cover story.
The case raised serious questions about no-knock warrants and whether the officers followed proper procedures.
Help Brandon Wirtz beat Stephen Colbert!
Today in comments Brandon Wirtz stopped by:
Sure support the easy candidateÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I’m the under dog in this race but I’d like your voteÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I may not have Colberts’ Looks, Money, or legions of followers but I at least came to visit your web site. Did Colbert do that?
So I clicked on over to Brandon’s place to learn more about his quest to become the Google-designated Greatest Living American:
Stephen Colbert is out to steal my thunder as Greatest Living American. So I’m actively going to try and Foil Him. I may not have his legions of people, but this is about SEO,[*] and his followers don’t have my friends Google Rank.
I may not be qualified to be the GreatestÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ but I am a Great Living American, and that is not that far off of Greatest Living American. Even if I can be in the top 10 links, I think that should be worth something.
As the screenshot above (click to enlarge) demonstrates, Brandon has made it to the #2 spot. (Look ma, no quotes!) His hometown paper reported Tuesday that he had 50 links; I see 31 in Technorati right now - and that he snagged a prestigious Lost Remote link.
You’ve got my nod Brandon. I do watch Colbert most every night and I look forward to the day you knock him from his heady perch! I’m happy to do my small part to help. And while I’m at it, Steve Safran is the Laziest Man in America…
* For the laymen among us, SEO is Search Engine Optimization.
Chocolate mockolateConnoisseurs: Don’t meddle with chocolate:
“They are trying to pull one over on us,” said Cybele May, 40, publisher of CandyBlog, on which she has encouraged more than 200 people to write the FDA to protest what she calls “mockolate.” “What they are asking for is permission to confuse the consumer for what we readily accept as chocolate.”
Gary Guittard, fourth-generation owner of Guittard Chocolate Co., wants to keep chocolate from the dark side, too. He has enlisted the support of high-end companies such as billionaire Warren Buffett’s See’s Candies to fight the big chocolate makers.
“The process of this thing going through, it wasn’t transparent, and it needs to be brought out into the light,” said Guittard.
Brad Kinstler, chief executive officer of Carson, California-based See’s, is siding with Guittard in the confections controversy.
“If the margarine manufacturers could call their product butter instead of being required to call it margarine, wouldn’t it strike the consumer as being odd?” said Kinstler, whose company sold 30 million pounds of sweets last year.
Making media is hard to do
...in reverse order of importance.
1. The first objection is the most obvious one: it’s so slo-o-o-o-w. A 20-minute v-log usually contains remarkably little content amidst all the interruptions, verbal tics, and hemming and hawing. I prefer my bloviating in more concentrated form. On a related note, v-logs are also almost impossible to scan, which I find endlessly annoying. I can scan a 3,000 word article in little more than a minute or so if I’m looking for a particular passage.
2. V-loggers tend not to think out their arguments very well before turning on the camera, which means that I usually have to sit and watch for 20 minutes as they slowly and painfully piece it together. On a purely selfish basis, I’d rather that they spend the time it takes to hone their argument and write it down in a form where I can read it quickly, instead of blathering aimlessly and forcing me to spend the time to pick out the wheat from the chaff.
3. Finally, I just don’t get it. There’s a reason political blogging has become popular: it’s a genuinely different medium compared to other forms of political writing. Its combination of short takes, easy hyperlinking, interactivity (with other blogs and with blog commenters), constant updating, and accessibility by ordinary writers makes it unique. You can do things with a blog that you just can’t do on an op-ed page or a magazine, and that’s inherent in the medium.
V-logging, by contrast, is just TV. It’s literally the same thing that you see on PBS or CNN or Fox, except less professional. It just doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
As good a time as ever to quote Sturgeon’s Law, “Ninety percent of everything is crud.” (Does anyone know the coinage of its corollary, “one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure?") As we slam user generated content, let’s keep in mind what the content industry has given us. I expect the ratio of good to bad from YouAndMe TV to be just as good.
Kyte.tv allows you to upload photographs or video, add music or text, then broadcast your show, all from a mobile phone or personal computer. You can also live “life stream,” by programming your mobile phone to take pictures at regular intervals that create a stop-motion film on Kyte.tv.
Viewers can log on, contribute to your channel, and talk with you and others via live chat. They also can sound off in opinion polls that you set up. You can embed your channel on your Web site, blog or MySpace page, wherever you want people to watch.
SEE ALSO: Read/Write Web, “What makes Kyte compelling, are its mobile and social tools.”
Easy file sharing
- You can set the time limit after which the file expires !!
- No registration required !!
- Very Clean and simple interface !!
- Download URL is neat and tiny !!
- The file size is limited to only 100MB :(
- No file hosting for forever!! (Max is 1 week) :(
- Good !!