Uniform Code

Last night, another black male teenager was killed by police in the St. Louis area. This time, according to police, the teen was armed and fired at the officer. If that’s true–and once again, I believe all police shootings should be independently investigated–I can’t find fault with the officer for shooting. The fact that he fired 17 times tells me he’s probably not a good shot and should spend more time at the range, but that’s a different matter.

A fact in this story that will likely get overlooked–I may not have noticed it, if not for the tweet below–is that the officer was wearing his uniform while off duty and working private security gig.

And that’s a problem. Not that he was working another security job; I know cops don’t often make a lot of money (except at the Port Authority apparently, but that’s a topic for a separate post) and it’s fine putting their skills to work in another job. The problem is they do this in uniform. And it’s common.

In most cases, cops retain their police powers off duty, which is fine. But when you see an officer in uniform, how are you to know if they’re working in their official capacity or as hired help? The distinction is important! Are they enforcing the laws, or obeying the wishes of a private employer? As I stated in a previous post, you’re generally compelled to obey a police officer. Are his orders based on the law or the whims of his boss?

This is just another one of many things that should be fixed with policing in America.

Willful Ignorance

How is this possible? It…boggles the mind.

Watch this The Daily Show segment about statistics (or lack thereof) on police shootings.

(I tried to embed the video but it didn’t work, so you’ll have to visit the link. Sorry!)

On Police

I composed this entry weeks ago, and then sat on it instead of posting it. But I can’t really sit on this issue any more, now I that I see the story of John Crawford, a black man fatally shot by police in Ohio. The man was carrying a gun in a Walmart store, and police responded to a 911 call. The gun turned out to be toy, but it was apparently realistic looking from a distance. However, there are two considerations here: 1) Ohio is an open-carry state, meaning it was not against the law to carry a real gun in the store. In fact white people do it without getting shot. 2) It appears from the video that Mr. Crawford dropped the toy gun before being shot by police.

A grand jury failed to indict, and the city released a statement that “The officers followed accepted law enforcement training protocol in their response to the report of an active threat in the Wal-Mart store.” Apparently officers are trained to shoot black men after they drop their gun on the floor.

More information here and here. The video is…disturbing.

It sure seems like it.
—–
I’ve been stewing on this for while, composing parts of it in my head, and then forgetting most of them. Then as I was finishing up with work today, I saw the following tweet, and accompanying link from @redeyechicago:

And I’m sure most of the developed world heard about what happened in Ferguson, MO no long ago. And lo and behold, this tweet also popped into my timeline:

So it’s time to talk about police, I think. Police, or cops, are a necessary part of society, unless we want to live in anarchy. I want to be clear that I am not anti-cop. I appreciate the job is dangerous, challenging and often thankless. I appreciate that men and women are willing to put their lives on the line in service to society, often for sadly low pay (you don’t go into policing to get rich). And many cops are good people. I don’t say “most”, because I don’t know that to be true. I don’t that it isn’t true either; I lack facts either way. But it’s no secret that the power that comes with a badge and a gun can attract the wrong kind of people into the line of work. People like the guy in the first tweet above, if the allegations are true. And like many of the people I saw in action in Ferguson, MO.

And the whole thing in Ferguson started with a police officer fatally shooting an unarmed 18 year old boy. All the facts in that case have still not been revealed, so I am not going to try to pass judgement but it definitely doesn’t smell right to me. But Mike Brown is hardly the only person to be shot to death by police. In the US alone, more than 400 civilians were killed by police in 2011. In Australia there were 6, in Germany there were 6 and in England and Wales there were 2 for the same year.
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Battle For The Net

LoadingIf you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.

Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?

On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.

If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Open Letter to the Internet (and Beyond)

Dear Internet,

Actually dear Everybody, but particularly everybody on the Internet,

Please stop feeding the trolls.

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

I know, it’s tough. We hate it when someone is wrong on the Internet!

What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!

It’s so tempting to respond when you hear or see someone say something completely asinine, wrong-headed and/or offensive. But here’s the thing. Many of them are doing it for attention. There is at least one well-known and particularly egregious offender for this. I don’t even want to say her name because it will just give her what she wants, so I’ll let you figure it out yourself. Her name rhymes with Can Houlter. Know who I mean?

Of all the people that say ignorant and truly offensive things, she may just be the queen. And she’s doing it for attention, nothing more. She doesn’t actually hope to persuade anyone with her so-called “arguments”. She just wants people to say “Oh my God, did you hear what [name redacted] said about [whatever]?!” Because then people are talking about her. And she gets invited on TV to say more stupid shit, because people eat it up. Whenever I see someone complain about her I just want to scream “STOP! She is WINNING because of you!” Without attention, trolls shrivel up and die, and the world is a better place.

The only way to elevate the (abysmal) level of discourse in our society is to reward it when it’s constructive, and ignore it when it’s not. I know, it’s so very hard to do. Trust me, I know. It’s something we can all work on, together. Are you with me, Internet (and Beyond)?

#SaveTheLoews Wonder Theater of New Jersey

josh:

This amazing theatre has been my home away from home for the past 2 years. I’ve spent countless hours cleaning, restoring and working events. Even though I’ve been there dozens of times, I keep discovering new things there. It belongs in the hands of people who care about the building and its history, and the community, not a multinational corporation that cares for nothing but the bottom line.

Originally posted on Once upon a screen...:

lo3

Hi All –

This post will not feature a TCM film or a horror movie of the week, but rather a plea to the people who still love classic film in it’s intended home….the big movie palaces of yesteryear.  Not many of these grand theaters are left and those that remain in their original glory are being threatened on a continuous basis by those who consider life as nothing more than an income statement where bottom line increases are never enough.  This plea is on behalf of one of those movie palaces, the historic Landmark Loew’s Theatre located in Jersey City, NJ.  Please take a moment to check out the history of the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre and the online petition you can sign to help save it for future generations.

jo

If you’re not in the know as to what’s threatening the Landmark Loew’s here’s a brief version of the scoop –

The…

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UCSB victim’s father asks “Where the hell is the leadership”?

Where the hell IS the leadership? Heartbreaking video, and his anger is completely understandable. As long as no one in power has the guts to do anything about guns in this country, there will be more victims like this.

An Open Letter to Michele Bachmann

Originally posted on It Seems To Me...:

Michele Bachmann suggested that the gay community is bullying Americans and politicians.  You can read the full article and hear the clip for yourself here. This is my response.

Dear Michele Bachmann,

I would like to provide you with a definition of a word that, for all your legal experience, you seem not to comprehend. The word “bully” has become a buzzword, a convenient way for adults who are losing an argument to shut down the conversation. When your back is against the wall, you call someone a “bully” and if they don’t allow you to gracefully exit the argument you get to say, “SEE! They ARE a bully.”

Except, that’s incorrect. “Bully” is defined variously as “a person who uses superior strength or power to harm, intimidate or influence those who are weaker.”

Now let’s reconsider your words. “…the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and…

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Arizona SB 1062 dissected

Let’s take a closer look at the bill currently sitting on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s desk, awaiting her signature. It is SB 1062 “AMENDING SECTIONS 41-1493 AND 41-1493.01, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES; RELATING TO THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION.” Full text available here (pdf) for now. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, take my analysis with a big grain of salt.)

First of all, this is amending an existing law, not creating a new one. Arizona already has a law to protect religious freedom. This amendment extends its reach to ridiculous and unenforceable proportions.

What are some of the key changes? (Additions to existing law in bold and caps).

In Section 1:

19 5. “Person” includes a religious assembly or institution ANY
20 INDIVIDUAL, ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP, CORPORATION, CHURCH, RELIGIOUS ASSEMBLY
21 OR INSTITUTION OR OTHER BUSINESS ORGANIZATION
.

Cue Mitt Romney: “Corporations are people, my friend!” Apparently in Arizona, corporations may also have religious beliefs. This ought to be a warning sign that things are starting to go off the rails in Arizona when any business entity is given “person” status in relation to religious practices and beliefs.
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Arizona, What the Fuck?

While my attention was elsewhere the Arizona legislature passed an anti-gay discrimination law similar to the nonsense that was considered in Kansas.

What the fuck?!

The Arizona legislature gave final approval to legislation that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays, drawing backlash from Democrats who called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment.

The 33-27 vote by the House Thursday evening sends the legislation to Republican Governor Jan Brewer and puts Arizona back at the forefront of a polarizing piece of legislation four years after the state enacted an immigration crackdown that caused a national furor.

from the Guardian

Of course, the GOP supporters claim this is about preventing discrimination!

“This bill is not about allowing discrimination,” Yarbrough said. “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

So if someone’s “faith” tells them to kill infidels, we should probably protect that too, right? My faith tells me to punch those fucking jackasses in the nuts. I’m so over this bullshit.

If Jan Brewer signs this, she and all those who voted for it should be impeached for failing to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

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