Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell...Virginia style

This is from Radley Balko at Reason:

In April I wrote a column about the secretive habits of three large police departments in Virginia's Washington, D.C., suburbs: Fairfax County, Alexandria, and Arlington. As Connection Newspapers reporter Michael Pope showed in a series of reports that began in March, they are among the least transparent departments in the country, having interpreted Virginia's Freedom of Information Act in a way that allows them to turn down nearly all requests for information.
Michael Pope's initial attempts to obtain information, even about mundane cases or arrests the department itself was highlighting in press releases, met with astonishing disdain. Police were not only stingy with information; they were smug and arrogant about it.

There is no way to explain to the outside world that this is how it has been done in Virginia since my granddaddy. Virginia invented "The good ole boy" system of regulation and control. I'm sure everyone is familiar with its various manifestations; The U.S Senate, the U.S. Military, CIA, ICE, Big Oil, Wall Street. All are examples of organizations which monitor their own behavior through secretive mechanisms, like shaman type shit. If Virginia were a little southwest of here, it would be called Arizona.

(HT) The Agitator

Hello, Chicago

Leo's Coney Island in Chicago

Good news for Detroit and Chicago.
Good dogs, cold beer and the Cubs. Chicago, here I come.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Novel Idea or Martians In L.A.

"...in some way they are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition, much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light... it is certain that a beam of heat is the essence of the matter. Heat, and invisible, instead of visible, light. Whatever is combustible flashes into flame at its touch, lead runs like water, it softens iron, cracks and melts glass, and when it falls upon water, incontinently that explodes into steam." ~ H. G. Wells - The War of the Worlds

LA authorities plan to use heat-beam ray in jail

By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 27, 12:50 am ET

LOS ANGELES – A device designed to control unruly inmates by blasting them with a beam of intense energy that causes a burning sensation is drawing heat from civil rights groups who fear it could cause serious injury and is "tantamount to torture."

The mechanism, known as an "Assault Intervention Device," is a stripped-down version of a military gadget that sends highly focused beams of energy at people and makes them feel as though they are burning. The Los Angeles County sheriff's department plans to install the device by Labor Day, making it the first time in the world the technology has been deployed in such a capacity.


The device was made specifically for the sheriff's department by Raytheon Missile Systems. Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said its $750,000 cost was paid for by a Department of Justice technology grant.

Hemlock, anyone?

(HT) The Agitator

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday At The Zoo

Grandma and I took the two granddaughters to Perry's Wildlife Zoo yesterday. A good time was had by all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mark Thoma : Back To The Present

I have to wonder if this is deja vu all over again. Mark Thoma posts about Fed views in the post WWII years:

Public Debt and National Income, by Evsey D. Domar, Division of Research and Statistics, Board of Governors: On November 30, 1945 the Federal debt reached 265 billion dollars, a magnitude without precedent in the history of this country. With the present interest rate structure, it involves an annual service charge of more than 5 billion dollars, an amount exceeded by only two peacetime Federal budgets until 1934.[1] It is quite understandable that a debt of this magnitude should cause considerable apprehension, and that a policy of repaying at least a part of it should be advocated so often.


It is true that our economy would be better off without so large a debt. But this does not mean that our position can be always improved by reducing the debt. The difficulty lies in the fact that the various components of our economy are interdependent, so that it is impossible to change one without affecting the others. In particular, the debt problem is more complex and difficult than it appears on the surface because changes in the debt exercise a powerful effect on the size of the national income. ...

Debt and Fiscal Policy. ...Now that the war is over, our economic policy should be directed toward achieving a high and stable level of employment and a growing national income. But there is increasing agreement among economists and others that stability will not maintain itself automatically, and that active Government intervention will be needed to eliminate the swings between prosperity and depression which characterized our economy in the past..., a deficit will probably be required to prevent a slump. Similarly when inflation threatens, a budget surplus should be accumulated and a part of the debt repaid. But trying to repay the debt ... when considerable unemployment already exists ... makes little sense: income will suffer a greater proportional decline than the debt, and debt "burden" of the economy will actually rise.

If times of low business activity are sufficiently compensated by years of high private expenditures, Government deficits incurred during the former periods-will be balanced by surpluses created during the latter. Roughly speaking, the debt will then fluctuate around the same average level; over a period of time (without wars) its magnitude will not rise. But what if this will not be the case? What if in spite of all our efforts it will be impossible to accumulate sufficient surpluses to offset the deficits -- what kind of a debt problem shall we have to face then?

Secular Expansion of the Debt. ...Government borrowing ... is not synonymous with "make-work projects." There are many fields, such as urban redevelopment, public health and education, development of our resources, scientific research, and many others, in which Government expenditures are extremely useful, aside from employment aspects. That they create jobs and raise national income is so much the better. I believe that our actual experience during this war has well demonstrated that with sufficient Government expenditures national income can be raised to the highest level permitted by our productive capacity. This is now recognized by many competent authorities, including some opponents of Government borrowing. The latter object to the pursuit of such a policy on other grounds. From a political point of view, they argue, continuous Government borrowing will involve increasing regimentation and eventually destroy our democratic institutions; and from an economic point of view, it will lead to an ever mounting debt which, among other things, will necessitate higher and higher taxes with their well-known depressive effects.

The political aspects of Government borrowing are not discussed in this paper. In passing one can briefly remark that even in our most prosperous years, such as 1929, our cities were blighted by slums; that large areas of our country, particularly in the Southeast, have never had anything even approaching a satisfactory minimum standard of health and education, and that finally private business has-not been able to prevent the waste of our natural resources. Democracy will hardly be endangered by projects such as the TVA which, moreover, create numerous opportunities for private investment; or by healthier cities and better schools. As we can learn from the experience of other countries, it is chronic depression and unemployment that endanger democracy. ...

Dr. Krugman has been saying this over and over again.

So has Robert Reich.

Mark Thoma is not sanguine, either.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why We Fight

I hate the war in Iraq. A useless misadventure based on lies. I hate the war in Afghanistan. A schizophrenic reversion to the US foreign policy of the 1960's. But we fight on. This is one of the primary reasons. Americans are hostile to inhuman, uncivilized persecution.These incidents of inhumanity only solidify the prosecution of the war. It can only end one way. Horribly.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This will keep the kids quiet.

from the BBC:

A bear cub in Florida, which had a plastic jar stuck on its head for at least 10 days, has now been freed.

Just For The Record

The Bill of Rights

The First 10 Amendments to the
Constitution as Ratified by the States

December 15, 1791


Congress OF THE United States
begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday
the Fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.:

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

(HT) billofrights.org

Cordoba House

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


The bp Spill ~ In Depth

State of the Division has had the most comprehensive and timely information concerning the Deepwater Horizon disaster I have found. The truth is very disturbing, to say the least.

Pubic Educatoin

GED Class of 1984

Road Crews Misspell School near Southern Guilford HS, Greensboro, N.C. (WGHP) (August 9, 2010)

(HT) ~ Cleek

Al Stewart


Al Stewart performing at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, California., Feb. 13, 2010 ~ via Wikipedia.