Monthly Archives: December 2015

CSI Stillwater: The subdivision holding pond skating rink

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/12/30/stillwater-neighbors-at-odds-over-pond-skating-rink/

I’m prepared to diagnose the rink naysayer there, Cameron, as someone with a misanthropy ailment.

Someone might ask: why flood a pond?  To make the surface of the ice better for skating.

I played so much pond hockey as a 9th grader I developed a ganglion cyst in my right ankle.  And it literally squeaked.  Doc dissolved it with a cortisone shot.

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The press’ watchful eye for Republican hypocrisy / corruption: Marco Rubio’s BIL 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-marco-rubio-helped-his-ex-con-relative-get-a-real-estate-license/2015/12/30/a1d96816-ae7f-11e5-9ab0-884d1cc4b33e_story.html

The reporter raises “questions”.  I don’t see questions.  I see innuendo, family dynamics, and meh.

Take the facts on their face.  In 2002 Marco’s BIL is a felon out of prison a couple years, and he wants a real estate license…. so he can, ya know, work at some job that remunerates at an adult paying level.  Oooh.  Due to his felony status, grant of the license requires a review by the state real estate board.  Marco writes a (perhaps somewhat ambiguous) letter for the file.

Not exactly delivering big spoils of political graft there, though fer sure it is in its way Marco throwing a little weight around, emphasis on “little”.  How much weight did he have in 2002?  Other thing is, when you are a credible name and you assert the reliability of an unknown for the in group’s stamp of approval, this what we call ‘vouching’.  This allows the decision makers to offload the blame if something goes wrong.  So this is Marco not actually getting a favor because in 2002 you’re on the FL real estate board and you want to stay on Marco’s good side because he’s a state legislator.  It’s a reference process, giving the board a reason to say yes besides the sole word of the felon / applicant.  And the risk there is quite a bit on Marco.

To the extent the letter is ambiguous.  Meh.  You write letters, you are no doubt putting things on the record in a more explicit way, and you are not obligated to make the contrarian case to your request.  If board wanted to explore that, they could write Marco another letter back to probe it no doubt.

It’s a curious bit to me because we just finished watching Narcos on Netflix.  The BIL’s crimes happened during the Escobar cocaine era in Miami right? Anyway, couple things:

  • Article suggests that because the nominal amount of the smuggled cocaine was $15M, that there ought to have been $15M to impound from Marco’s BIL. Terribly erroneous assumption I would think, and one that feeds the construction of innuendo here.
  • IBID, that’s not an impressive house that the govt took from Marco’s BIL. I do like that salmon color the Floridians paint everything.
  • My father was laid off from a state job in 1981. There was some displacement guidance he was getting that suggested, because he’d been in the Marines, that he go to Dade County FL and seek work as a police officer.  Not that it would have ever been very close to happening, but yikes.

Thing about Chicago…

What it means, what it represents….

With the increased scrutiny / coverage, that city is going to be going to be making 4 or 5 settlements a year in amounts of about $5 million each, this for police practices that used to be understood as fairly normal.

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/1209315/relatives-2-killed-chicago-police-demand-changes

They won’t be able to sustain that, so police tactics will change.  Chicago, then the nation.

This, on the “mental health issues” that black people find themselves shot over by the police.

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/12/illegitimacy-and-american-policing/422094/

Point is, “mental health issues” is a bit trope-ish.  And not in a good way.

Now, I am no racist, but nor do I have an investment in a ‘magic negro’ view of black people.  They have their foibles, and if you find yourself around some and feel some fear of the energy and dynamics going on … there might be a good reason for that fear and the righteousness of second-guessing / shaming yourself out of that fear isn’t assured.

If I have to go to lengths to great lengths to justify an observation that black dudes are physically intimidating in a way that white dudes are not … the more you explain, the crasser you look alright. But let’s be real, this has stuck since ya know, Jack Johnson or before.

Where the rubber meets the road in terms of police practices is, these $85k a year urban cops…who are generally in is as decent shape as a 25-45 year old man can be…. and some in better shape than that…. and have body armor or lesser but useful protective girdles…. are basically refusing to tangle physically with black guys and women they encounter not necessarily committing ‘crimes’ but having mere ‘mental health’ episodes.  Instead they go to the Glock.

Fair to say, this is racist when they don’t do their jobs the same way they would for white people.  And it will  change / happen if only because of the payouts.

Related:  Glock is the wrong gun for cops  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-owens-glock-accidents-20150508-story.html This on the LA Times editorial page by one of the nation’s prominent pro-gun bloggers.  His observation is somewhat technical, and it sounds right to me as a casual observer of these guys who contemplate the fine points of combat shooting.  I’d add this… the Glock is dangerous in the hands of police for the same reason people think ‘assault weapons’ are dangerous in the hands of civilians.  They work well, with all that capacity and rate of fire and aim-ability.  They work well in excess of the practical needs for them to work well.  So yeah, it follows then that you take those ergonomics and functionalities and reliabilities away from the police, and make them use a lesser tool… like is desired on the civilian end…

Trump as ISIS’ best recruiter

 

Qualitatively ‘Trump as ISIS recruiter’ is a bit of an oral air biscuit.  And thus, I think you cut it some slack such that it’s too lightweight and gaseous to be a ‘lie’.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/dec/19/hillary-clinton/fact-checking-hillary-clintons-claim-isis-using-vi/

Ya know you get 3 or 4 or more pro Democrats together to talk politics, and invariably (in my imagination at least…) whatever they’re discussing turns into a contest to determine the room’s top glib-ster / snark merchant.   So I think this gets said at Hillary’s debate prep session.  “Hey ya know Trump is polly ISIS’ best recruiter gehar gehar”.  But she’s getting up there in age, and maybe with diminishing abilities to discern the breeziness of quips from millennial staffer ironists.  So she makes the mistake of thinking oh that’s good and takes it into the real debate.

Coulda happened amirite?

Fine, and somewhat forgivable, and not worthy then of a fellow like me deploying my functional fixation for Democrat ‘lies’ there.

But I think challenging the premise is quite apropos.  Which is to ask….. if Trump ‘s attitude towards Muslims such as it might be was really useful to ISIS as propaganda content for their little videos….

So?  ISIS gonna ISIS, and they’ll attract who they’re going to attract.  We’re going to at a minimum respond with cruise missiles and drones.  And if it’s here, it’s working to interdict and snuff out any domestic cells.   Any President is going to do that, and not much rhetorical modulation is going to affect the quantity of the interdiction response at various points.

Now, I’m sure the more serious observation is rather that Trump is a bigot, and his rhetoric impedes harmony between Muslims and the US/west.  But… ‘bigotry’ claims tend to be overstated, and I think absent some qualitatively cruder statements that Trump is merely peddling generic xenophobia…. Which I’m not sure is not a completely appropriate response in this moment.  Certainly the Obama administration looks naïve taking the extreme opposite tack.

Anyway, generally I doubt here’s much practical value in a softer rhetorical approach to Islam.  I haven’t seen US pols be rewarded for that in the recent past.