aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, December 06, 2007
NYPD “sting operation” or “entrapment?”
[H]ere in New York the police department has come up with a gotcha program dubbed (with appropriate ironic cynicism) Operation Lucky Bag. Here’s how it works.
The decoy operation involves planting shopping bags, purses, backpacks and wallets around the subway system, where unsuspecting passersby are watched to see how they react.
The plants used to be worth a few hundred dollars at most.
“Sting operation” seems to be the more appropriate term, and the word “entrapment” also floats to mind. Operating on the principle that finders aren’t keepers, those who made off with the goodie bags risked being arrested if they didn’t return them to the proper owner, which in this case was the police department.
But decoy/sting, whatever you call it, it was a ruse that only nabbed small fry. Until the ante was upped.
Now the [strategically dropped decoy bags] contain real American Express Cards, issued under pseudonyms to the Police Department. Theft of a credit card is grand larceny, a Class E felony, so anyone cops believe has the intention of stealing the decoy wallet or bag could face up to four years behind bars.
Yes, let’s create a crime which we can crack down on and make sure our prison facilities never lack for inmates. Even those who are not arrested are treated to a special helping of public humiliation, courtesy of New York’s Finest.
Freelance photographer Carlos Alayo says he was late for a business meeting when he spotted a wallet lying abandoned on a subway platform bench.
He picked it up and put it in his bag, with every intention of later finding its owner, but as he rushed to board the 6 train last Wednesday at Grand Central, he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“Where’s the wallet?” the undercover cop asked him.
After giving the officers the wallet, he was frisked, made to put his hands against the wall and hand over his identification so they could do a criminal history check.
“It wasn’t even crossing my mind what was inside [the wallet]. I was trying to get to my appointment,” Alayo said.
“It made me feel like I was a criminal, like I did something wrong. The look on [the cop’s] face, it was like he already knew that I was arrested.
“He said, ‘Don’t lie to me, just tell me how many times you’ve been arrested.’
“That just stabbed me right there in the heart.”
Alayo, who is from Peru, felt the eyes of all the rush-hour commuters on him as he was searched by officers.
“I was so ashamed, my face went red and people were looking,” he said.
“God knows what they were thinking, a Spanish guy on the platform surrounded by cops. It made me feel very uneasy inside.
“I’ve been in this country 17 years and not felt discriminated against until that day,” Alayo said.
Heckuva job, fellas. Memo to self: Make sure to send in that year-end donation to the NYCLU.
The NYPD’s definition of theft:
“Even property which is lost or mislaid can be stolen,” said NYPD Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne. “A person who takes or finds property which is lost or mislaid has a legal obligation to make efforts to return the property to its owner, which can include delivering the property to the police.
So is there a time limit? The guy was legally obligated to skip his meeting once he picked up the wallet?
The young are our future and our hope
Today we are in the promised land. We are the freest that African Americans have ever been. Things are not perfect but the course of our lives is directed more by our own will then it is by racism. The significance of Moses and Joshua to the African American struggle is that they represent a passing of leadership from one generation to the next. The failure of the modern African American community is a failure of the Civil Rights generation to let go of the reigns of power and pass them on to the next generation.
Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, when asked why he didn’t support Barack Obama, said “It is not a matter of being inexperienced, it is a matter of being young”. He stated that he wants Barack to be president in 2016. At 46, Barack is older than John Kennedy when he became president. Bill Clinton was 46 when he became president and yet Barack isn’t old enough for Young. His belief that the Joshua generation is not old enough to take the reins is not unique among people his age. This phenomenon is detrimental to the African American community.
The greatest barrier to an African American president, and the rise of young leadership in the African American community, are Civil Rights vets. The Moses generation attacked the Blackness of Obama who spent the majority of his adult life working on the south side of Chicago in Black communities because he doesn’t shout like Sharpton or Jesse. Corey Booker’s African American identity was attacked as a sellout because he was a Yale grad despite the fact that he lived and worked in the projects of Newark. The attacks on these great men do not come from racist but people in our community.
I, like many of my generation, am very grateful to the Moses generation for helping us escape the bondage of Jim Crow and entrenched institutional racism. However, we cannot continue to follow the lead of those who act counter to the interest of our people. Those, like Andrew Young, who would hold back the progress of our people because they fail to adapt to the new situation in which we find ourselves, or who hold on to power to the detriment of the people, must step out of the way of progress. The future of the African American people is not in the glory of past victories, it is in the upcoming generation of leaders who will build a nation.
Huckabee’s ethics & the rapist release
I’ve been following the story of Huckabee’s role in the release of Wayne Dumond for a fairly long while. I believe Huckabee’s guilty as charged.
On The Today Show just now he called it all the work of “a very left-wing blog” and said that “politics is trumping truth.”
The senior aide, Olan W. “Butch” Reeves, personally attended a controversial parole board meeting with Huckabee in Oct. 1996.
“The clear impression that I came away with from the meeting was that he favored Dumond’s release,” Reeves said, referring to convicted rapist Wayne Dumond. “And I can understand why board members would believe that to be the case.”
Dumond’s is the most horrendous of Huckabee’s gubernatorial gaffes, but his ethical history is checkered at best. Arkansas Times reporter Max Brantley:
I’ve really been surprised at the utter absence of reporting that’s been done on Mike Huckabee. There are very legitimate issues on the national stage, whether it’s his fair tax proposal or his stance on some social issues, that deserve some examination...when he first became Governor, he turned a mansion operating account into a personal expense account, bought a doghouse, did his dry cleaning, bought his restaurant meals with it.
He also first claimed as his own 70,000 dollars’ worth of furniture, that a cotton-grower donated to the Governor’s Mansion for the private living quarters, he said very angrily that it was his furniture. Then he found out that it would be against the law for him to claim it as his own, and he said he was misunderstood and misquoted. [...]
He went out the way he came in. He set up a so-called wedding registry at a couple of department stores so that friends and admirers could buy presents for them to stock their new private home… And this was legal at the time he did much of this. The question is, is it seemly for a public official to do it. He believes, by the way, that this is perfectly acceptable. It follows a pattern and practice of being a preacher in a Southern congregation where your congregation frequently showers you with love offerings, and he apparently views being Governor as something akin to being a pastor.
Paul Broun votes against SAFE Act. Why?
Look, kiddie porn and terrorism are bad. Obvious. But what better way for a government to push through controversial legislation quickly than to harness their emotive properties? After all, what self-respecting member of the US House of Representatives would vote against legislation called Securing Adolescents From Exploitation-Online, or SAFE? Only 2 it turns out (Rep. Paul Broun from Georgia and Rep. presidential candidate, Ron Paul) with 409 members voting yesterday in favor. The new bill requires everyone (that includes you and Starbucks) offering an open WiFi connection to the public to be on the lookout for “illegal images” and “obscene” cartoons and drawings which you must report. The reporting requirement extends to cover social networking sites, ISPs, and email providers. Failing to dutifully report what you’ve seen (or haven’t seen but are unwittingly complicit in) could leave your data seized and in debt from fines of up to $300,000. As is the custom of our elected representatives, we also haven’t read the Act in full so this isn’t a call to arms. However… [READ ON]
My gut reaction is to recoil from such a bill (summary) as an ineffective sop subject to abuse. But, more, it isn’t immediately apparent to me why the Republican congressman representing a neighboring district is one of ony 2 to have voted against it.
More on the SAFE Act vote from CNet:
Wednesday’s vote caught Internet companies by surprise: the Democratic leadership rushed the SAFE Act to the floor under a procedure that’s supposed to be reserved for noncontroversial legislation. It was introduced October 10, but has never received even one hearing or committee vote. In addition, the legislation approved this week has changed substantially since the earlier version and was not available for public review.
Zuckerberg/Facebook chronicles (continued)
Zuckerberg posted a mea culpa yesterday; Kara helpfully translates it for us:
I would surely like to zombie-bite those annoying reporters, the whiny privacy advocates and those cut-and-run advertisers, who obviously don’t understand my $15 billion worth of genius. I wonder if I could find a way to blame the Winklevosses.
Fred thinks the Zuckerberg spanking is “ridiculous and smacks of jealousy...”
His approach to opt-in v opt-out is appealing and he forgives Facebook’s missteps on the grounds that they’re dealing with a very hard problem. But I wonder, isn’t this slip-up just like the newsfeeds blunder?
It seems they don’t learn from them and these missteps are all of a kind. They let the critics shape the perception of the feature/function when what they should do is get out their with their users and shape that perception themselves. They either underestimate or just don’t trust their users to get it.
Jay Meattle says the RIP Facebook prognostications are premature. Unique visitors jumped 20% in November. Still, he concludes:
It’s generally a good idea to put users first, then investors. I hope the good people at Facebook HQ wake up quickly.
To that end, no doubt, Facebook now forwards messages. Michael Arrington says, Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
Before tonight, Facebook just sent an email saying that a new message was received, forcing me to click on the message and log into Facebook before I could actually read it.
Tonight Facebook changed that policy. Suddenly, Facebook messages are actually forwarded to my outside email address, letting me read it and decide if it’s important enough to click on to Facebook and respond.
This is great. It’s frickin wonderful, even. And Facebook clearly did this even though it reduces page views from people clicking on those messages just to see what they say.
No word yet on whether that changes the Facebook self-destruction Cory Doctorow foresees.
RELATED: The story as told by the NYTimes.