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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 14,804

Journal Archives

Our resident Keyboard Kommandos seem to have mistaken online wringing of hands ...

...and repeated proclamations of their moral superiority over the rest of us for 'actually doing something'.

Some years ago, I donated $50 to the Brady Campaign in order to see what the propaganda
to their members looked like. The results were illuminating (if not very flattering to the Brady Bunch), and I posted about
it at DU.

I don't seem to recall any of them posting about doing even so much as marching around in matching T-shirts for
a feel-good photo op...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 11, 2019, 04:12 PM (0 replies)

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office hit with corruption probe over concealed weapons permits


The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office served a search warrant at the Sheriff’s Office last week, as part of an apparent corruption probe into allegations of political favoritism in the agency’s issuing of concealed weapons permits, according to sources familiar with the investigation...

...(S)ources confirmed that the investigation involves an alleged “quid pro quo” between donors to six-term Sheriff Laurie Smith’s election efforts and people who have obtained concealed-carry weapons permits from her office, which has been relatively stingy about issuing the privilege compared to neighboring counties...

...It might feel like déjà vu for Smith, whose office was the subject of a federal lawsuit in 2011 that also questioned how so-called concealed-carry permits are handed out. That lawsuit and an investigation by this news organization revealed that some recipients lived out of the county or out of the country and that political donors to Smith were well represented among the relatively scarce number of permits issued...

...But at least four recipients of the 13 permits either issued or renewed last year donated at least $1,000 to Smith’s re-election efforts, including to her formal campaign or to the independent Santa Clara County Public Safety Alliance that supported her...

Corruption is what happens when police are allowed to decide what civil rights a citizen may have.
It's the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Needs.

If someone meets all the qualifications (aside from 'in good with the local PTB') for issuance of a
conceled weapons permit, they should be given one. Period.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 11, 2019, 10:47 AM (0 replies)

This Map Shows If Your Town's Police Are Tapped Into Ring's Surveillance Network


Ring, the smart doorbell home security system Amazon bought for over $1 billion last year, is involved in some fairly unnerving arrangements with local law enforcement agencies. Wouldn’t you like to know if the cops in your town are among them?

That’s precisely what Shreyas Gandlur, an incoming senior studying electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign put together, using Amazon’s own demands for narrative control over the law enforcement agencies it works with to help build an interactive map...

Note: Map is at link above

...“I started out with the map created by Fight For The Future,” Gandlur told Gizmodo over Twitter DM, referring to the activist group’s broader project to visualize the state of facial recognition. The initiative includes other programs, like those spun up by the TSA, as well as tracks which cities and municipalities have passed legislation specifically banning the use of such technology. Where ring is concerned, FFTF’s map only includes about 50 cities, a far cry from the “more than 225" police departments reported by Gizmodo late last month. (Ring has declined to share the exact figure.) Finding the rest was, in a sense, trivial.

“Ring pre-writes almost all of the messages shared by police across social media, and attempts to legally obligate police to give the company final say on all statements about its products,” my colleague Dell Cameron wrote, a detail Gandlur seized on.

More at the following:


Everything Cops Say About Amazon's Ring Is Scripted or Approved by Ring


Cops Are Giving Amazon's Ring Your Real-Time 911 Caller Data


Amazon's Ring Is Teaching Cops How to Persuade Customers to Hand Over Surveillance Footage

Amazon’s home security subsidiary Ring wields tremendous power over the messaging used by its law enforcement partners about its products, including by pre-writing and approving police statements about Ring’s services. But according to a new report, Ring is also instructing cops on how to persuade customers to hang over surveillance footage even when they aren’t responsive to police requests.

According to a police memo obtained by Gizmodo and reported last week, Ring has partnerships with “over 225 law enforcement agencies,” Ring is actively involved in scripting and approving how police communicate those partnerships. As part of these relationships, Ring helps police obtain surveillance footage both by alerting customers in a given area that footage is needed and by asking to “share videos” with police. In a disclaimer included with the alerts, Ring claims that sharing the footage “is absolutely your choice.”

But according to documents and emails obtained by Motherboard, Ring also instructed police from two departments in New Jersey on how best to coax the footage out of Ring customers through its “neighborhood watch” app Neighbors in situations where police requests for video were not being met, including by providing police with templates for requests and by encouraging them to post often on the Neighbors app as well as on social media.

In one such email obtained by Motherboard, a Bloomfield Police Department detective requested advice from a Ring associate on how best to obtain videos after his requests were not being answered and further asked whether there was “anything that we can blast out to encourage Ring owners to share the videos when requested.”...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 9, 2019, 12:16 AM (0 replies)

DU EXCLUSIVE: Transcript of McConnell's 911 call after his recent mishap:

"Help! I've fallen, and I can't obstruct!"

EDIT: Not original from me, it's a caption from a cartoon that I now can't locate...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 6, 2019, 01:59 PM (11 replies)

'If others have rifles, we'll have rifles': why leftist groups are taking up arms


Kim Kelly in Seattle
Mon 22 Jul 2019 01.00 EDT

The van lumbered down one of Seattle’s many steep hills. A half dozen people packed inside but despite the heat, most wore long pants and boots, and several sported black hoodies. The atmosphere was subdued, except for the occasional joke. It wasn’t so much tension as seriousness – there was work to be done.

The people in the van are members of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club (PSJBGC). Their stated aim is to fight white supremacy and build community defense in America’s Pacific Northwest, and their presence has become a fixture of protests in the Seattle and Tacoma areas, where the group is often invited to provide security against rightwing aggression.

The night before, several of them had been called to a library in nearby Renton, Washington, where a Drag Story Time Hour, an event series in which a local drag queen or drag king reads to children in a library or bookstore, was being disrupted by rightwing protesters. The protesters, who opposed the event as “immoral”, held up signs equating drag with pedophilia, and screamed “Shame! Shame!” at parents and their kids. Among them were members of the Proud Boys, a violent rightwing street gang, and Three Percenters militia, who were open-carrying firearms.

The north-west has been at the center of tense political clashes over the last two years. The area is an adopted home base for far-right groups like Patriot Prayer, Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement and the Proud Boys, who have organized numerous marches that have ended in violence. In response, a range of leftist groups have organized self defence groups and, in doing so, present gun ownership as a way to protect themselves and others...

An unfortunate, but necessary, development- no amount of well-meaning laws will disarm violent right-wingers.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Jul 22, 2019, 03:11 AM (12 replies)

Moderate Democrats Warn That AOC Is Distracting From Their Nonexistent Message


Moderate Democrats are sick and tired of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her “squad” dominating the headlines. Thus, to ensure that those four progressive congresswomen do not garner any additional media attention, several House moderates decided to complain about them anonymously in interviews with CNN Wednesday...

If your goal is to galvanize media attention around bread-and-butter issues, whining to Jake Tapper seems like a less effective tactic than, say, taking interesting stances on bread-and-butter issues. And yet, as Vox’s Matt Yglesias notes, it has been House moderates — not Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, or AOC — who have prevented House Democrats from advancing several of their most compelling messaging bills. Nancy Pelosi’s caucus finally passed a $15 federal minimum wage Thursday. But Pelosi had promised to pass that (popular) policy within 100 hours after assuming the speakership. Instead, it has taken seven months for her to grind down moderate opposition.

Meanwhile, centrist Democrats have blocked their party from passing a bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, a measure that would effectively transfer large sums of money out of Big Pharma’s profit margins and into seniors’ pockets. This a winning issue in every district in the country (at least, if you value the approval of voters more than lobbyists). A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 86 percent of Americans approve of Medicare negotiating lower drug prices. There is a reason that Donald Trump pretended to support such a policy through the bulk of his presidential campaign, and is now desperately searching for more industry-friendly means of pushing down the cost of pharmaceuticals. The GOP cannot compete at the national level without winning an outsize share of older voters. And older voters cannot stomach the rising cost of their pills. This gives Democrats a golden opportunity to expand their coalition by gaining the upper hand on a high-salience issue: As the party that’s less allergic to price controls, they’re well-positioned to give a right-leaning constituency something it desperately wants, but cannot get from the GOP.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Jul 19, 2019, 08:11 PM (16 replies)

San Francisco: wealthy opponents of new shelter claim homeless are bad for environment

Source: The Guardian

The wealthy San Francisco residents who launched a crowdfunding campaign to block construction of a new homeless shelter in their waterfront neighborhood are employing a new tactic: arguing that homeless people are bad for the environment.

In a lawsuit filed against the city of San Francisco and the California State Lands Commission, the residents called for the project to undergo an environmental review before breaking ground.

“This project will have a significant effect on the environment due to these unusual circumstances, including by attracting additional homeless persons, open drug and alcohol use, crime, daily emergency calls, public urination and defecation, and other nuisances,” the lawsuit states...

...In addition to the environmental concerns, the lawsuit states that the project is “likely to decrease the fair market value” for any future projects in that location.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/11/san-francisco-navigation-center-shelter-lawsuit

Neoliberalism in its purest ray serene...

Walter Benn Michaels had these assholes number years ago:

Let Them Eat Diversity: multiculturalism as an artifact of neoliberalism



...I think you can find examples in American society everywhere of the extraordinary power, the hegemony of the model of anti-discrimination, accompanied by defense of property, as the guiding precepts of social justice. You can see this in the study that people have recently been making fun of — the one that shows that liberals are not as liberal as they think they are. What it showed was that when people were asked about the question of redistribution of wealth they turned out to be a lot less egalitarian than they thought they were. People who characterized themselves as “extremely liberal” nevertheless had real problems with the redistribution of wealth. And someone pointed out, I think he teaches at Stanford, that that’s the wrong way to think of this, because yes it’s true that especially as people get more wealthy they tend to become less committed to the redistribution of wealth but there are lots of ways in which they become “more liberal” — with respect to gay rights, antiracism, with respect to all the so-called “social issues,” as long as these social issues are defined in such a way that they have nothing to do with decreasing the increased inequalities brought about by capitalism, which is to say, taking away rich liberals’ money.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jul 11, 2019, 07:59 PM (16 replies)

I hope Jeffrey Epstein sings like a bird. And if some Democrats go down, so be it


Jill Filipovic

Tue 9 Jul 2019 11.53 EDT
Last modified on Tue 9 Jul 2019 18.33 EDT

Epstein allegedly groomed and recruited dozens of underage girls, many of them vulnerable runaways, for sex with him and his friends. Despite being caught by authorities, Epstein has largely evaded serious punishment. Thanks to heroic reporting by Julie K Brown at the Miami Herald, Americans learned that back in 2008, Epstein was given an exceptionally favorable plea deal by then-prosecutor Alex Acosta – now Trump’s secretary of labor. The deal was shamefully hidden from Epstein’s victims, and while it forced Epstein to register as a sex offender, it allowed him near-total freedom for the 13 months he was technically in jail – he was allowed to leave the facility to work in his luxurious private office instead of serving life in prison...

...This is not a story in which anyone should find satisfaction. Dozens of vulnerable girls were allegedly sexually exploited and abused by Jeffrey Epstein. A great many adults, who should have done the right thing and stood up for these children, chose to look the other way. A few may have even participated in exploitation and rape.

The only way forward is to demand accountability from Epstein, his co-conspirators, and his enablers, without exception and without excuse. Who knew what was going on? Who participated? How, exactly, did Epstein get such a sweet plea deal in Florida?

Wherever these questions lead prosecutors and reporters must follow. And the public must demand real accountability, no matter the answers.

I am entirely in agreement with Ms. Filipovic on this one-

No guilty party should be allowed to escape
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Jul 9, 2019, 07:52 PM (13 replies)

I think Massachusetts might very well split up over the effects of rising sea levels

From the Environment and Energy Group:


Climate breakdown to trigger debate over which cities to protect from rising sea levels

"You realise we’re just not going to protect a lot of these places"
The Independent
Christopher Flavelle
June 20,2019

As disaster costs keep rising across the United States, a troubling new debate has become urgent: if there’s not enough money to protect every coastal community from the effects of human-caused global warming, how should we decide which ones to save first?

After three years of brutal flooding and hurricanes, there is growing consensus among policymakers and scientists that coastal areas will require significant spending to ride out future storms and rising sea levels — not in decades but now and in the very near future.

By 2040, simply providing basic storm-surge protection in the form of sea walls for all coastal cities with more than 25,000 residents will require at least $42bn (£33.1bn), according to new estimates from the Centre for Climate Integrity, an environmental advocacy group.“Once you get into it, you realise we’re just not going to protect a lot of these places,” said Richard Wiles, the centre’s executive director. “This is the next wave of climate denial — denying the costs that we’re all facing.”

More here


I can easily imagine my own state of Massachusetts splitting up over this

The central and western counties (Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Worcester, and Middlesex) already
think they're getting screwed over financially by the richer eastern/coastal ones.

They'll not want to fork over more in an attempt to 'harden' the coastal cities:

Boston Built a New Waterfront Just in Time for the Apocalypse


Designing a neighborhood from scratch: The stakes are high at Suffolk Downs


TL;DR version: The Suffolk Downs site is, at best, 20-25 feet above high tide as it is. A developer wants to plant
a ca. $1.5 billion edge city on the site.

Middlesex is already the most populous county. Picture this:

2030: The Commonwealth: "We need more money to protect the Boston/Quincy area"

Western Mass: "Fuck off, we've got our own problems to take care of"
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jun 20, 2019, 12:32 PM (8 replies)

The Revenge of the Poverty-Stricken College Professors Is Underway in Florida. And It's Big.


“Two half-time adjunct jobs do not make a full-time income. Far from it,” Ximena Barrientos says. “I’m lucky that I have my own apartment. I have no idea how people make it work if they have to pay rent.”

We are not sitting on a street corner, or in a welfare office, or in the break room of a fast food restaurant. We are sitting inside a brightly lit science classroom on the third floor of an MC Escher-esque concrete building, with an open breezeway letting in the muggy South Florida air, on the campus of Miami Dade College, one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the United States of America. Barrientos has been teaching here for 15 years. But this is not “her” classroom. She has a PhD, but she does not have a designated classroom. Nor does she have an office. Nor does she have a set schedule, nor tenure, nor healthcare benefits, nor anything that could be described as a decent living wage. She is a full-time adjunct professor: one of thousands of members of the extremely well-educated academic underclass, whose largely unknown sufferings have played just as big a role as student debt in enabling the entire swollen College Industrial Complex to exist.

As Barrientos chatted with another adjunct in the empty classroom, the conversation turned to horror stories: the adjuncts forced to sleep in their cars; the adjunct who was sleeping in classrooms at night; the adjunct who had a full mental breakdown from the stress of not being able to earn a living after all of the time he had put in getting his PhD. Such stories are common, from campus to campus, whispered by adjuncts who know deep down that they themselves are living constantly on the edge of personal, professional, and financial disaster. Other than academic credentials, most adjunct professors don’t have much. But recently, Ximena Barrientos, and her 2,800 colleagues at Miami Dade College, and thousands of others just like them throughout the state of Florida, have acquired, at shocking speed and on a grand scale, something of great value—a union. And they want nothing less than dignity...

About fucking time- colleges everywhere have *always* relied on cheap labor, both faculty and staff


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jun 19, 2019, 04:02 PM (23 replies)
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