Morning Links

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
  • Peter Moskos, the ex-Baltimore police officer who wrote Cop in the Hood and is now a member of LEAP, says the antenna sodomy incident reported in New York City over the weekend doesn’t ring true.
  • To cheer you up: Sea otters holding hands.
  • Donald Trump loses $5 billion lawsuit against reporter he sued for calling him merely a “millionaire.” Wonder how much he’d sue for if someone were to call him a narcissistic douche with small penis syndrome?
  • Wouldn’t it be great if he could be incarcerated in some prison in Alaska that he won federal funding for, and consequently bears his name? Loves me some irony.
  • Worst costume ever? (Photo might be NSFW.)
  • D.C. Metro to start random bag searches. This would be the same D.C. government that’s punishing drivers with increasingly punitive penalties in an effort to make driving more difficult, and get more people taking public transportation. I guess the message is, if you want to get around, be prepared to take a pass on the Fourth Amendment.
  • More great old photos from the Library of Congress.
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  • 22 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Marty | 

      I hope Moskos is right about the antenna sodomy incident, because I’m at the point where I’m not surprised by any atrocity any more…

    2. #2 |  Sithmonkey | 

      Wouldn’t it be great if he could be incarcerated in some prison in Alaska that he won federal funding for, and consequently bears his name? Loves me some irony.

      Oh, I’m sure the Eskimo Brotherhood is looking forward to “rubbing noses” with him…

    3. #3 |  Zeb | 

      Wonder how much he’d sue for if someone were to call him a narcissistic douche with small penis syndrome?

      Well, he wouldn’t have much of a case there as it is undeniably true.

    4. #4 |  Kyle Jordan | 

      That costume rules.

    5. #5 |  Chance | 

      While it isn’t inconcievable that the sodomy incident did in fact occur, I have to agree with one of the commentors on his blog that doing such a thing in broad daylight in a public area is a bit bit of a stretch. While I don’t think that we should automatically believe the police by virtue of their office, I likewise don’t automatically believe every Joe who claims abuse either.

    6. #6 |  Balloon Maker | 

      i would like to know why that gentlemen thinks the antenna sodomy didn’t happen. For example, what doesn’t ring true about it. Cops have radios and love sodomy. that’s all I’m going on.

    7. #7 |  zero | 

      You better watch it, with that kind of talk you’re liable to get sued.

    8. #8 |  Kid Handsome | 

      You know, as much as I hate Ted Stevens (and I HATE HIM), I find it hard to root for the government in many, if any of these cases. I understand the dangers in allowing powerful politicians to get unreported gifts from their reporters, but it’s not as if they still don’t peddle their influence around. Again, I hate Ted Stevens, but I’d love to see the Federal Government knock one out of the park to get these guys rather than have a really close case that has more to do with misunderstanding regulations than overt wrongdoing (Yes, I know, he probably voted for such regs and slept well when others were similarly convicted).

      I know I’m going to get a lot of thumbs down for this post, but it isn’t that I think Ted Stevens has been particularly targeted and wronged so much as it is that I don’t think anyone, even lying bastards should have to face charges in a system that is so stacked against them (even Senators), and where the charges are for breaking arbitrary, if well intentioned rules.

      Maybe it is “justice,” but it doesn’t reflect well on the justice system to this idiot. Is anyone else a little ambivalent about this trial?

      I wish I were more eloquent; I certainly could have picked a better trial to use to express my point.

    9. #9 |  Edmund Dantes | 

      Yay for security theater!!! Always lots of fun. Again since I always lose track… which parts of the Constitution are actually still operable in light of the Drug and Terror wars?

    10. #10 |  jakeR | 

      No, BEST costume ever.

      Imagine how fun answering the “what are you supposed to be?” question would be.

    11. #11 |  Salvo | 

      I have seen the costume; I cannot unsee it.

    12. #12 |  Mattocracy | 

      I have to agree with Chance. I think we often have the bad habit of believing everything we hear when it confirms our previous biased beliefs. In my right-winger days, I believed everything about the Clinton’s. They sold missile secrets to the Chinese, evaded taxes with their whitewater property, etc. It was all bullshit. And a lot of people believe 9/11 conspiracy theories simply because they hate Bush and it supports their already biased opinion. And I have to admit, I believed this story without even considering that it could be false.

      Not corroborating or doing any fact checking is a symptom of the biased reporting by CNN and Fox. We shouldn’t follow suite.

    13. #13 |  solinox | 

      I never would drive in DC anyway; every time I tried I got lost and late! But I LOVED the Metro! It was awesome! Too bad it has to go the way of flying for me, because I refuse to submit to unwarranted invasions of my privacy.

      I guess it’s good I don’t live in Alexandria and work in downtown DC anymore. But if I did…well, I have actually walked out of the District across the river before…good exercise…

    14. #14 |  Laughingdog | 

      “Metro officials yesterday announced plans to immediately begin random searches of backpacks, purses and other bags in a move they say will protect riders and also guard their privacy”

      I have a really hard time grasping how searching me without probable cause helps guard my privacy.

    15. #15 |  Frank | 

      Expect summary execution on anyone that leaves when they discover the bag search has been set up at their station. Anyone who resists a search or asks “Is this a Terry Stop?” is obviously a dangerous terrorist.

      This is the Metropolitan Transit Police, only one step up from the bottom of the law enforcement food chain in DC (the bottom is the Federal Protective Service). This is the bunch I watched write an old man 3 $250 tickets in 10 minutes for “eating on the subway.” The man was having an angina attack and was taking his nitroglycerin. Complaining about these scum only gets you arrested.

    16. #16 |  eknap49 | 

      Hate to burst your bubble on Stevens, but there are no federal prisons in Alaska. Even our “Corrupt Bastards Club” (their name for themselves) Legislators are serving their time in a prison in Oregon.

    17. #17 |  Marty | 


      Do you have any follow up information about the heart attack guy getting ticketed?

      Also, the bottom of ANY law enforcement chain is the guards. Prison guards, guards in police stations, etc- all are slime. If they don’t torture people, they’ve sat idly by while others have. Please revise your list accordingly.

    18. #18 |  jet | 

      Just remember…people (myself included) will believe anything that they’re afraid might be true. Whacko muggers carving backwards B’s into innocent girls’ faces, police sodomizing detainees in broad daylight with whatever phallic symbol they have handy (don’t they carry billy clubs anymore? I mean, if you’re going to sodomize someone, a radio antenna seems a wimpy way to do it), SWAT Teams amped up on adrenaline and endorphins randomly shooting dogs who are just trying to run away…. oh…. wait.


      Well, it doesn’t /completely/ invalidate my original point, I hope.

    19. #19 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      And if Moskos is proven correct (pending further investigation, biological evidence test results, witness statements, available camera footage), I’m sure all Agitator commenters who IMMEDIATELY assumed that NYPD officers again used anal rape to punish a suspect–especially those glib douche bags that made comments about the NYPD or cops in general loving sodomy–will issue hasty apologies to the officers they helped to defame, and re-think their now standard knee-jerk response to any allegation of police brutality or corruption. After all, Agitator commenters, being good libertarians (and not just run-of-the-mill, thoughtless, cop-bashers, like the Rev. Sharpton), believe that ALL people are innocent until proven guilty, even if the people in question happen to be those mean ol’ POleece. Hmm, I won’t hold my breath on that one.

      Snideness aside, I must say that I appreciate Radley’s work very much. He is demanding that employees in my field (public safety) remember who they work for. He is attempting to smoke out (Ha! had to use a Bushism for fun) scoundrels and criminals who use the badge to facilitate their crimes. He is demanding radical legal changes such as an end to the “War on Drugs,” that would improve law enforcement and society dramatically. He is asking us to be better than we currently are, and I respect him for that. But, while The Agitator provides readers with necessary criticism of the criminal justice system, I think it also presents a distorted view of policing. The site is also drawing more commenters that, to me, represent the negative side of internet discourse (irrational, vitriolic, violence-craving, anti-intellectual, etc.), which is why I visit less often than I used too. These commenters should be ashamed, as they have done much to damage the integrity of this site.

      While the drug war has dealt a terrible blow to policing, people must understand that most officers DO NOT work in the narcotics units that have done so much to undermine law enforcement. Most police officers also DO NOT belong to the SWAT teams that are currently engaging in activities that put citizens (some of whom are innocent) and themselves at risk in the name of a failed, stupid drug policy.

      In the average police department, approximately 60% of sworn personnel work in the patrol division. These officers are primarily reactive (as they should be in a democratic society), spending most of their time responding to CITIZEN-INITIATED calls for service. Most of these calls, even those received by 911, are not emergent in nature (visit Peter Moskos’ website and read his critique of 911, “911 is a joke,” for a good study on the negative effects of 911 on policing). Many calls require investigation of crimes that have already occurred. In others, the goal is, frankly, to keep people (domestic partners, families, drug dealers, gangsters, students at schools, drunks in bars, etc.) from killing each other due to their inability to communicate without using violence.

      But enough about what the cops do. Many of you probably have some understanding of police activity, so I apologize for stating the obvious. But, part of the problem on The Agitator–and throughout society–is a complete lack of understanding of what the police do or SHOULD be doing. When people focus all their energy on criticizing the practitioners who actually do the work, they are not changing the system. When they criticize AND offer practical solutions, they are contributing. Re-invigorating the constitution, ending the drug war, and making police agencies more transparent and accountable will make life better for all of us in the long run. Hoping beyond hope that NYPD officers are guilty of sodomizing a man just so you can continue to justify your anti-government bias will not change anything. It only increases the us vs. them attitude that afflicts many in policing, and many who contribute to this site. My apologies for the long post, but I probably won’t be back for awhile.

      Helmut O’ Hooligan

    20. #20 |  Guilty as charged. | The Unspun Zone | 

      […] quote Radley Balko, “Wouldn’t it be great if he could be incarcerated in some prison in Alaska that he won […]

    21. #21 |  Frank | 

      Marty: I don’t consider prison guards to be law enforcement. The fill the slime gap between LE and private security.

    22. #22 |  solinox | 

      On the Halloween costume, my midwife says it was a huge hit at the MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America) conference and the poster of it was even auctioned of.

      For what that’s worth… :)