Sunday Afternoon Links

Sunday, May 17th, 2009
  • Vigilante cops vs. Massachusetts politicians. Not sure who I’m rooting for, here. Or against.
  • My latest on Michael West got the green-light on Fark. Check out the comments from user RedThree in the discussion thread. Interesting.
  • Virginian-Pilot columnist Roger Chesley looks at the Cory Maye case, and says Ryan Frederick is lucky he doesn’t live in Mississippi. Neither man should be in prison, of course. But if Maye had gotten Frederick’s sentence, he’d be free by now.
  • Dear Keith Olbermann: Stop taking yourself so damned seriously. Really.
  • Op-ed in the Washington Post says it’s time to sacrifice the Internet at the altar of journalism. I’d like to think this site shows the two can coexist rather nicely.
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  • 22 Responses to “Sunday Afternoon Links”

    1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Call for Congress to legislate the salvation of journalism. That’s idiotic even for WaPo.

      Being a cop in Boston is like being a spoiled prince.

    2. #2 |  supercat | 

      I wish RF’s attorney had pointed out: (1) The police could have parked their cars so the lights would flash against RF’s windows, but instead deliberately parked them out of sight; they also declined to use megaphones, even though they had them. There’s no reason to believe the police really wanted RF to know they were cops. It is not reasonable to require citizens to identify cops who are trying to obscure their identity. (2) RF may not have had reasonable knowledge of exactly what the person bashing in his door wanted, but he had no reason to believe they might be just stopping in for tea. People who knowingly break into occupied dwellings without any effort at stealth or identification are almost always armed with hostile intent. Failing to shoot such an attacker when given an opportunity will put one at the attacker’s mercy.

    3. #3 |  JS | 

      Its a shame the cops didn’t beat up the legislators, that’s probably the only chance we have of legislators reigning them in. They sure don’t get worked up when cops abuse their authority over us common scrubs.

    4. #4 |  Mike T | 

      republishing a quote to comment on it, for example — is not what search engines practice when they crawl the Web and ingest everything in their path.

      This statement is a perfect example of why there is no hope for their future.

    5. #5 |  Mattocracy | 

      I really hate Keith Olbermann for all the same reasons I hate Hannity and O’Rielly. Self righteousness is a disease that is spread most rabidly through tv cameras and ratings.

    6. #6 |  chance | 

      I don’t understand the op-ed.How are search engines hurting copy right protections?

    7. #7 |  Tokin42 | 

      Congrats. Yesterday you had 2 links in a row on fark.

    8. #8 |  Kieffer | 

      The more I hear journalists spouting ideas on how to save newspapers, the more I realize that they don’t give a crap about spreading information, they care about controlling how it is spread. The hot news doctrine is particularly laughable.

      When journalists are calling for pretty substantial restrictions on speech, you know their model is seriously broken, and maybe it’s better for everyone if it just dies. It’s not as if the spread of news and communication would suddenly vanish in their absence. Spreading news is a fundamental human instinct, much of our physiology is specifically built for it.

    9. #9 |  Matt D | 

      I like how the officer in question earned an extra $13k last year for having an “advanced degree” and yet is apparently… issuing parking tickets?

    10. #10 |  Threads from Henry’s Web » There ought to be a law … | 

      […] (HT: The Agitator.) […]

    11. #11 |  UCrawford | 

      Not sure who I’m rooting for, here. Or against.

      You should be firmly against whoever wrote those tickets. The article noted that several of them were given to legally parked vehicles and it was apparently done in response to the police not being given taxpayer money they feel they’re entitled to, which is basically just an attempt at extortion.

    12. #12 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      #9 Matt D: “I like how the officer in question earned an extra $13k last year for having an “advanced degree” and yet is apparently… issuing parking tickets?”

      To be fair, issuing citations (for parking or traffic violations) is just part of the job, whether you have a GED or a Ph.D. If the officer in question is assigned to the patrol division or traffic, that just comes with the territory. Not everyone with an advanced degree necessarily wants to seek high level promotions or work in a specialized assignment. So, issuing tickets isn’t a particularly glamorous aspect of the job, but is still part of the job.

      That being said, if some of the cars were parked legally, and a clear pattern is present, the officer should be investigated for overstepping his authority, no matter who was being ticketed.

    13. #13 |  UCrawford | 

      And the Boston Herald notes:

      Mullan earned $110,000 last year, $13,000 of which was from his Quinn Bill education bonus.

      So, in other words, a cop got pissy with legislators because they tried to save taxpayer money, which bumped his paycheck down from six figures to merely the high 90s…in an area whose median household income is under $40K a year…on a police department whose starting salary is less than $50K.

      I understand that taking a paycut sucks no matter how much you’re making, but the cops in Boston are apparently ridiculously overpaid. By the way, the day after Officer Mullan’s ticketing spree, the cops decided to accost the governor at the wake of a state rep’s wife.

      Frankly, I think the state legislature should maybe consider a few more budget cuts…perhaps by cutting back on their police workforce (starting with Officer Mullan). If Boston’s police are so underutilized that they’ve got time to frivolously legally-parked cars and harass people at wakes, obviously there’s not enough real crime in Boston to justify keeping that many officers employed. And if “little people” get fired all the time for mouthing off to their bosses, I see no reason why cops in Boston should be protected when they get in their boss’ face. For 6 figures a year, if they can’t learn a little tact when dealing with their boss, they deserve to get fired.

    14. #14 |  UCrawford | 


      Not everyone with an advanced degree necessarily wants to seek high level promotions or work in a specialized assignment.

      Somehow, I suspect that writing tickets is not the usual job of a police officer making six figures a year. It seems highly unlikely that he’s a beat cop with a paycheck that size when the starting wage is half what he makes.

      And frankly, if he is a beat cop and making that wage, he’s grossly overpaid and I’ve got no sympathy for the little whiner.

    15. #15 |  UCrawford | 

      By the way…here’s the pay scale for the Boston PD.

      Salary for Police Officers
      Recruit officers are paid their full salary while at the Academy. The starting pay is approximately $49,174 including holiday pay and annual uniform reimbursement. Upon graduation from the Academy, officers are eligible to work overtime and paid details which supplement their salaries significantly. Furthermore, the Boston Police Department is part of the Police Career Incentive Pay Program (or Quinn Bill) – a program that allows officers to earn additional wages for academic achievement. The pay scale is as follows:
      • An additional 10% of your base pay
      for an associate’s degree
      • An additional 20% of your base pay
      for a bachelor’s degree
      • An additional 25% of your base pay
      for a master’s or law degree

      Officer Mullan apparently made an extra $13K a year because he went to a JUCO…that’s apparently the limit of his “advanced” education. And for that he still makes $97,000 a year without the Quinn Bill.

      Fire him.

    16. #16 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

      Some thoughts on the Boston cop:

      1) I’ve visited Boston on occasion, though not (thank the Gods!) in a car in several decades. I would be willing to bet a modest amount that regardless of how the story was presented to the media, the signs in the area make it far from clear what is legal parking and what isn’t.

      2) I would also be unsurprised to learn that the issue of Legislator stickers isn’t as clear cut as the story makes it.

      3) I’m not saying that the cop in question was “confused”; I’m suggesting that I would find it believable if he asserted that there was an interpretation of the law that made the tickets he issued legit, and that if the legislators want to play hardball with the cops they should expect hardball to get played back. I’m not saying this because I like Boston cops, but because I’ve talked to people who have to try to park in Boston – and as far as I can determine iron clad legal paring does not exist within the city limits.

      4) Between Boston cops and Boston politicians, the best one can hope for is a flash flood that drowns the lot of them.

    17. #17 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      #14 UCrawford: “It seems highly unlikely that he’s a beat cop with a paycheck that size when the starting wage is half what he makes.”

      Hmm, that is interesting. Thanks for doing the extra research. I wasn’t aware of the six figure angle. However, some veteran patrol officers in my community make almost 100k/yr due to the fact that they are overtime whores.

      I work in a related field (healthcare security) and have a B.A. in Criminal Justice. Even as an idealistic student, I never expected that I would make anywhere near 100K working as the police. That should NOT be your primary motivation for getting into policing or other public service jobs. Right now, I work at a large private hospital and my salary is a bit over 30k/Yr. I would also note that I am basically doing (private) police work much of the time. Isn’t that special!!! I don’t feel particularly sympathetic towards Officer Mullan.

    18. #18 |  Rune | 

      From the Herald article linked above:
      “There is growing evidence of blue disgruntlement as cops watch lawmakers carve up what used to be political sacred cows. Last fall, officers frustrated by Patrick’s recent decision to hire civilian flaggers for some road details annoyed drivers when they tied up traffic at a construction site in Woburn.”

      1) Had it been a bunch of hippie kids disrupting traffic as part of an event or protest they would have been tazered, gassed and beaten.
      2) This was an illigal protest, but who do you sendwhen the perpetrators are the selfrighteous-above-the-law-pigs-in-blue?

    19. #19 |  Nick T | 


      Tha’s just not true. I live in Boston. And, yes, it’s a NIGHTMARE to drive in, and parking is a huge bitch, but it’s not hard to figure out where you can park and where you can’t. I am very frequently in conversations about driving and parking in Boston, and people complain a lot, but NEVER about signs being too confusing or parking areas not be clearly marked.

      The cop has been suspeded for two days! The tickets were handed out at the state house. Thee appear to be clear cut facts. There’s every reason to think that, legal or not, these tickets were motivated by the subject before the legislators. In fact I would guess, that legislaors and their staffers rarely get ticketed even when they DO park illegally, becaus they are “special people” and not worthless paeons.

      Also, Parking stickers are everywhere in Boston. Every neighborhoods have their stickers which are incredibly important. You can’t get them without 3 or 4 documents, and they make your life much easier. I can’t imagine the legislators don’t have clear ones either, or that such stickrs would be unclear or shoddy.

      Also, I don’t know what you’re talking abou as being “hardball.” The legislators are cutting spending from the budge because there is a fiscal crisis. WHere is the hardball in this? What is improper or unethical about that? Even if this cop gave out this tickets legally, the fact that he did it BECAUSE he didn’t like what the legislators were doing IS total bullshit, and is at the very least unethical.

    20. #20 |  dubber308 | 

      When you start withholding the Praetorian Guards kibble, chances are good they will bite back.

    21. #21 |  Andy Craig | 

      ***Even if this cop gave out this tickets legally, the fact that he did it BECAUSE he didn’t like what the legislators were doing IS total bullshit, and is at the very least unethical***

      Very true. In a nation of unconvicted felons, the *motivation* for prosecution is often more relevant than how the law actually applies to the facts of the case.

    22. #22 |  Nick T | 


      Exactly, Prosecutorial discretion for prosecutors and enforcement discretion for police is a very good thing, and a design in the separation of powers theory – the legislator will define crimes but the prosecutors/police will enforce them to a reasonable degree – this, when doen properly, enhances personal freedom.

      Thus it necessarily follows that police can NOT enforce (or prosecute) crime in an inconsistent, selective or unfair manner and then claim that it is allowable under the law and be shielded from any wrongdoing (let alone criticisms of unethical behavior). Selective prosecution is a theory defendants can advance to dismiss their cases under the constitution, in fact.