Morning Links

Monday, June 15th, 2009
  • As far as I can tell, Andrew Sullivan seems to be the best clearinghouse of coverage of the election protests in Iran.
  • Arizona sheriff will start placing deputies in late-night fast food joints to catch drunk drivers. Cutesy name: “Operation Would You Like Fries With That.”
  • My story on the Colomb family got an honorable mention at the L.A. Press Club Awards this weekend. Haven’t won one yet, but I’ve been a finalist three times in my three years as a journalist. So that’s not too bad. Got a second place last year for my Hayne story.
  • Another drunk driving story in Louisville, where a DWI suspect claims his arresting officer contacted the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who then put pressure on the judge to come back with a conviction.
  • Is Cheney salivating over the prospect of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil?
  • Head of a Minuteman group and accomplices rob, then murder 2/3 of a Latino family in Arizona. Lou Dobbs expected to demand they be pardoned.
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  • 52 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  ktc2 | 

      Police “Wonder Dog” turns out to be a complete fraud. Will the convicted be freed or retried? Not likely.

      http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/local/orl-asecorl-maxwell-dog-exonerate-06061409jun14,0,7691656.column

    2. #2 |  Aresen | 

      Is Cheney salivating over the prospect of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil?

      I recall a lot of Team blue types accusing those who opposed the Iraq war of “wanting the US to fail.” This is simply the mirror image of that. Must Panetta act just like Cheney?

      The Obushma administration promised change.

      Well, at least the names changed.

      Nothing else appears to have.

    3. #3 |  Tokin42 | 

      RE: Sullivan

      Andrew almost made it the entire day without his excitability getting the best of him…then he blew it. I followed it through Totten but I can’t seem to get his link to work this morning.

      http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/06/iran-on-fire.php

      Sullivan was excitable, Totten was keeping his fingers crossed without getting too hopeful and I was even less hopeful than Totten. Eventually the regime is going to fall, it’s just a matter of when.

    4. #4 |  Aresen | 

      From the Minutemen story:

      The trio are alleged to have dressed as law enforcement officers and forced their way into a home about 10 miles north of the Mexican border in rural Arivaca on May 30, wounding a woman and fatally shooting her husband and their 9-year-old daughter.

      Their motive was financial, Dupnik said.

      “The husband who was murdered has a history of being involved in narcotics and there was an anticipation that there would be a considerable amount of cash at this location as well as the possibility of drugs,” Dupnik said.

      (Emphasis added.)

      Now I wonder where they got that idea?

    5. #5 |  S.M. Oliva | 

      Andrew Sullivan: Proof that misogyny is still socially acceptable in the mainstream media — at least when practiced by a homosexual man.

    6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #1 ktc2

      Police “Wonder Dog” turns out to be a complete fraud. Will the convicted be freed or retried? Not likely.

      Thanks for that link, ktc2. That’s another story we need to keep track of.

      Another case of the state repeatedly locking people up based on evidence so friggin’ preposterous it doesn’t stand up to even cursory scrutiny.

      If you’re accused of a crime, you can count on only one thing and that’s for the state to do whatever it takes to get a conviction regardless of whether you did it or not.

      I also wonder how many defense attorney’s questioned the evidence from this Preston character. The guy’s apparently nothing more than sleazy low-life who catered to the state’s interest in doing what ever was required to get a conviction, whether the defendant did the crime or not.

    7. #7 |  thomasblair | 

      Anyone else note the tragic irony of the wonder-dog’s name?

      Harass II.

    8. #8 |  PogueMahone | 

      First of all, will the deputies in the fast food shops do anything if they rob me of my fries?

      Seriously though, from the article,
      Hanna says money for the intermittent program is coming from a $128,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

      If the idea is to dissuade DWI, I wonder if they took that money and put it toward a “free cab ride home” program or something. Just a question mind you.

      Because when I think about it, if word gets out that the cops are staking out Taco Bell, well… you know… when you’re drunk, a microwave burrito from the Quikie Mart tastes just as good as a chalupa.

      And you can pick up more beer for the ride home.

      Cheers.

    9. #9 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

      To the folks in Iran, please be safe. I pray that both sides remain peaceful.

      “Got to give us what we want
      Gotta give us what we need
      Our freedom of speech is freedom or death
      We got to fight the powers that be
      Lemme hear you say
      Fight the power”

      from Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”

    10. #10 |  Bob | 

      On that second DUI case. Woo, that guy sure sounds guilty as hell, what with the weaving and the failing to count to 30 and all. Blowing .12 at the jail probably didn’t help, either.

      But they refused to verify with a blood test when requested. There is little chance that the officer didn’t know the hospital he went to doesn’t do blood tests on DUI cases (Which sounds absurd).

      As allowed under state law, Wehr demanded an independent blood test, and Koch took him to University Hospital. But under a longstanding policy, that hospital doesn’t perform blood tests in DUI cases, and Koch refused to take Wehr to a second hospital.

      That’s it! Case closed! Due process was denied. The breath test must be thrown out, and other evidence like dash cam footage used. You cay he was weaving? Show me the video.

      But no, while the breathalyzer WAS thrown out, it was Koch’s testimony alone that got him convicted, but not by the judge that supressed the breathalyzer…

      Cops lie in court all the time. Without the protections of independant analysis, we’re at the mercy of these guys.

    11. #11 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      First of all, will the deputies in the fast food shops do anything if they rob me of my fries?

      Seriously though, from the article,
      Hanna says money for the intermittent program is coming from a $128,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

      If the idea is to dissuade DWI, I wonder if they took that money and put it toward a “free cab ride home” program or something.

      That would be using taxpayer money to do something beneficial,
      rather than screw people over.
      You can’t have that in the US.

    12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #7 PogueMahone

      If the idea is to dissuade DWI, I wonder if they took that money and put it toward a “free cab ride home” program or something. Just a question mind you.

      I like that idea. All the stories I’ve read in the past about that have been about some local group providing rides by volunteer drivers which cab companies protest as steeling their business. Of course, it’s perfectly legitimate for a non-government volunteer group (or individual) to do whatever they want, but using the $128,000 for actually reimbursing cabs eliminates that complaint and even encourages cab companies to encourage the “free” rides. I would be willing to bet people would contribute to a fund set up to provide that service. I wonder what MADD would think about a program like that….

    13. #13 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      MADD would not like that.
      They would lose money. Lawyers would lose money ($2000-5000
      to fight DUI these days, that’s without any wrecks, injury).
      Courts would lose money.

    14. #14 |  ClubMedSux | 

      “The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has a new campaign targeting drunken driving. Operation Would U Like Fries, or Operation WULF, will put undercover deputies inside 24-hour fast-food restaurants to spot impaired drivers placing their orders.”

      Well I can see why they’re doing that in Pima County, since it’s not like the cops there have anything better to do.

      Say, just for kicks let’s check out the last story Radley linked to:

      “Two of three people arrested in a southern Arizona home invasion that left a little girl and her father dead had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch activities in Arizona.

      “Jason Eugene Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz.”

    15. #15 |  Michael Pack | 

      Dave ,MADD ,if they really cared,could do this on their own.They have a large revenue stream.I’m sure many would donate to such a cause.They are about alcohol free driving and bring back prohibition.The one man fit my profile of a just drunk driving arrest.Weaving all over the road is strong evidence of impairment.As long as they have the camera to back it up.The facts are you don’t have to do anything wrong to be accused of D.U.I. and you can’t assert many of your rights in the process.This is how M.A.D.D. wants it.In my mind,if you need a blood warrant to show a crime happened then you have a very weak case.

    16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #15 Michael Pack

      I agree completely, To me, under most circumstances, there is no crime until there’s a victim. I’m generally not too keen on laws that target people because they might cause an injury.

      I suspect you and Yizmo Gizmo are right about MADD, too. Whatever they started out as, they are now a political organization that is far more focused inwardly on their own influence and popularity than they are on solving any real-world problems.

    17. #17 |  Eric | 

      To play devil’s advocate on the fast food DUI post, if this replaces random checkpoints wouldn’t it be a less invasive and more targeted way of finding impaired drivers?

      A buddy in high school worked late late night weekend shifts at Taco Bell, and remarked on how frequently obviously blitzed guys would come through the drive thru shortly after the bars closed. As long as they don’t stop every car on the way through, what is wrong with police going to places where concentrations of impaired drivers are likely to be?

    18. #18 |  MassHole | 

      Cheney isn’t trying to have his world view validated. He’s praying for a terrorist attack to remove any public interest in prosecuting him for war crimes.

    19. #19 |  Michael Pack | 

      Eric,my answer is it takes manpower from the one thing that works.Roving patrols.I also have a problem with preventive policing ,arresting someone before a crime occurs and using private property for such use.Many areas have arrested people in bars.D.U.I enforcement should be easy.If someone is weaving back and forth through lanes or on and off the road they should be pulled over.Trouble is,most D.U.I stops are for minor errors that most people make or for things such as a burnt out taillight.Unlike D.N.A or finger prints,B.A.C tests are not used to investigate a prior crime to find the criminal,but,to prove a crime occurred.

    20. #20 |  B | 

      Having lived in Tucson for 7 years, and having passed through many a late-night burrito joint, I have to say I really don’t have a problem with cops looking for drunk drivers in places where there are in fact a lot of people drunk and very likely driving. I think that makes a hell of a lot more sense than random roadblocks.

    21. #21 |  David | 

      What has me worried is that eventually, the cops will be pressured to get results, which means that some poor (sober) bastard is going to get charged with DUI with “stopping at Wendy’s after 11pm” used as circumstantial evidence.

      Also, I wonder if this is being forced on the fast food places (as a conditions of being licensed).

    22. #22 |  PogueMahone | 

      To play devil’s advocate…

      I hear you, Eric. But as already noted, it’s a waste of resources. A huge waste.
      There’s nothing wrong if a cop just happened to be at a FF shop and sees a drunk driver, but its obvious that there are other things the cops could be doing rather than waiting around in a Taco Bell.

      Besides, when barflies learn of this, and they will, they’ll just get around it and get their late night munchies on somewhere else.
      I remember back in school, we used to go to the 24hr grocery to get frozen pizzas… and beer, and smokes, tomorrow’s Fruity Pebbles.

      It’s just a waste.

      A buddy in high school worked late late night weekend shifts at Taco Bell, and remarked on how frequently obviously blitzed guys would come through the drive thru shortly after the bars closed.

      I briefly worked the graveyard shift at a Burger King when I was in school. And it was me that was frequently blitzed.
      And I still made employee of the month. :)

      Cheers.

    23. #23 |  Wavemancali | 

      #16

      “I agree completely, To me, under most circumstances, there is no crime until there’s a victim. I’m generally not too keen on laws that target people because they might cause an injury.”

      That’s pretty harsh. Someone has to die before someone gets held accountable?

      If a guy with a gun is walking around pointing a it at people, would you have it be ok until he actually pulls the trigger?

      I am against random checkpoints that pull everyone over whether they are guilty or innocent, but I think this is proper because it targets obviously drunk people that are putting other peoples lives at risk.

    24. #24 |  Marty | 

      re: the $128,000 highway safety grant- I don’t think I like the $128,000 grant being used for anything. cut it out of the budget. All these programs sound good, but they all end up being manipulated by the people wanting a chunk of it. It’ll end up being $400,000 in the next budget- just to do the same thing.

    25. #25 |  Marty | 

      #23-
      ‘If a guy with a gun is walking around pointing a it at people, would you have it be ok until he actually pulls the trigger?’

      it’s a crime to point a gun at someone.

    26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #23 Wavemancali

      Someone has to die before someone gets held accountable?

      I didn’t say anyone had to die and I did say “generally”, which does leave room for exceptions.

      If a guy with a gun is walking around pointing a it at people, would you have it be ok until he actually pulls the trigger?

      Actually, I believe that would be a short-lived situation because I also believe that the people he’s pointing the gun at have the right to protect themselves if they feel their lives are in immediate danger (which is, of course, what prevents the guy from threatening people with a gun to begin with – with or without laws prohibiting it).

      In the case of DUIs, I tend to think of using the roads as a privilege that could be revoked by the operator of the road independent of being charged with a crime. Recklessly operating a vehicle would be a violation of a contract between the driver and the road owner. Only if the driver, actually caused injury as a result of his driving under the influence of a substance taken recreationally, could he be charged with a crime. The difference is that in the latter case you can be sent to prison. In the former, you can’t (unless you continue to use the road after your privilege is revoked — thereby committing trespass).

      Inability to drive (whether caused by alcohol, drugs, lack of sleep, or some other condition) is something that is visible before you ever stop someone and should be the reason you stop them. The idea of stopping people to make them prove they can perform tricks or to chemically screen them for one of a myriad of conditions that might affect their driving, is not about saving lives. It’s about generating revenue.

      It’s not that I don’t think there are any situations that this would not work well for. I’m sure there are. I just think it’s better than the current system which is unworkable, unjust, and subject to corruption.

    27. #27 |  BamBam | 

      As long as they don’t stop every car on the way through, what is wrong with police going to places where concentrations of impaired drivers are likely to be?

      It’s a huge problem for private business to be working with government in this capacity. The idea of police being undercover in private businesses is blurring the lines too much. There is supposed to be a clear distinction between private and public. When there is not, you march towards fascism. As another poster pondered, will this start to become a soft requirement for licensing?

    28. #28 |  Frank | 

      Great, more ammunition for the liberal “round up all the conservative haters and put them in concentration camps” crowd like this asshat:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/12/usnews/whispers/main5083962.shtml

    29. #29 |  Frank | 

      #28 Originally found via this blog post

      http://www.examiner.com/x-1417-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m6d13-Round-up-hate-speech-promoters?cid=examiner-email

    30. #30 |  GB FL | 

      “Head of a Minuteman group and accomplices rob, then murder 2/3 of a Latino family in Arizona. Lou Dobbs expected to demand they be pardoned.”

      Every group has its crazies. Don’t you think it is relevant that the national Minuteman organization (Minuteman Civil Defense Corps) kicked this lady out so she formed her own much smaller group (Minutemen American Defense)?

    31. #31 |  GB FL | 

      “Is Cheney salivating over the prospect of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil?”

      What’s the news? An appointee of the administration that Cheney is criticizing says that Cheney wants the US to be attacked. I’ve been following the Obama/Cheney controversy and haven’t heard anything from Cheney that would give credibility to Panetta’s comments.

      I voted Democrat in 2000 and 2004 because I think Bush was bad for America, but I don’t see anything in Cheney’s comments to conclude that he wants to see America attacked.

    32. #32 |  Wavemancali | 

      #25 Yes Marty, I know it’s illegal. It was a question posed to Dave who was putting forward where there is no victim, there is no crime. I was asking him how far he’d take that thinking.

      #26 Dave, your solution would be great in a shangri-la world where any idiot on the road who drives drunk or recklessly gets seen and pulled over by a cop before they can hurt someone.

      But we both know this is not the case. We’ve got a limited amount of resources when it comes to the number of cops that can find the dangerous drivers before they kill someone.

      This program could drastically reduce the number of innocent people pulled over, it eliminates the issue of targeting specific bars which has been a court challenge in the past.

      All those criticizing the program, give some constructive ideas that could do better. Like it or not drunk drivers are one of the leading killers on the road, that’s a reality.

    33. #33 |  Thomas | 

      Another great source for Iran news is twitter, the feed is has been providing updating in a very timely manner.

    34. #34 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #28 Frank

      Great, more ammunition for the liberal “round up all the conservative haters and put them in concentration camps” crowd like this asshat:

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/06/12/usnews/whispers/main5083962.shtml

      Yeah, they could have undercover cops listening to talk radio and, when they hear a caller who sounds like they’re drunk with hate, they could send a uniformed officer to arrest them in their living rooms.

    35. #35 |  Tokin42 | 

      #33 Thomas;

      yeah, I’m still following. 15 dead today. I’m curious what the on-site Liberterians feel should be the US response. IMO, the Obama admin has completely and totally dropped the ball on this. I’m not suggesting they turn it into a U.S. vs Mullahs issue but there is more than one way to get it out there that the US supports the demonstrators in “their quest for a more free and open government”. It shouldn’t come across as meddling just supportive.

    36. #36 |  Bronwyn | 

      Apropos of not much, did anyone hear me on the Francine show last week? She was defending the TX trooper who tased the 72 yo woman for being lippy.

    37. #37 |  scott | 

      In all fairness, the “leader of a Minuteman group” is not part of *the* Minutemen. Though there seems to have been some contact a few years ago she’s apparently not well-regarded among the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps due to her batshit insane craziness. The irony if which struck me as I wrote this :D

      http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2009/06/trouble-finds-shawna-forde-youre-going.html

    38. #38 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I am perfectly content with the U.S. government keeping it’s mouth uncharacteristically closed about the situation in Iran. It must be tough for them, knowing there’s a place in the world where they are actually making decisions without consulting the United States first.

    39. #39 |  Steve | 

      #27 | BamBam | June 15th, 2009 at 1:24 pm
      It’s a huge problem for private business to be working with government in this capacity. The idea of police being undercover in private businesses is blurring the lines too much. There is supposed to be a clear distinction between private and public. When there is not, you march towards fascism. As another poster pondered, will this start to become a soft requirement for licensing?

      I am glad someone said this.
      Do these private businesses volunteer to be part of this? If not, then what right do the police have to force them to particapate? If so, then people should boycott these establishments.

    40. #40 |  Kristopher | 

      Yep … Shawna Forde = batshit insane.

      She had been kicked out of two other groups, so she got a few others to follow her, and formed her own little cell of crazies.

      She probably used them to off her ex-husband, and got away with it.

      This is just more of the same from her.

    41. #41 |  RogerX | 

      Read the whole DUI / MADD badgering judges article. While the outcome of the case seems reasonable (and I have little sympathy for the oil exec for trying to weasel out of a DUI by hoping to sober up in time for a blood test)… it was not that officer’s place to start “adjudicating from the patrol car,” if you will. Good on the original judge for recusing himself.

    42. #42 |  Michael Pack | 

      #32,sober drivers cause 85%-90% of all deaths on the highway,driving drunk is dangerous and should be punished,but it’s hardly a ‘crisis’.The ‘war on ‘D.UI.” is punishing social and moderate drinkers .

    43. #43 |  Wavemancali | 

      #42

      Not according to this government web site:
      http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Trends/TrendsAlcohol.aspx

      Your percentages are low. It’s 38% of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers which adds up to over 15,000 people a year.

      The US invaded another country for less than this.

      But like I said, I’d rather hear constructive solutions.

      If the cops actually go after the ones with slurred speech that are swaying a bit, I feel that they are targeting the right batch. I know personally when I get to the point where I am slurring, I’m not fit to drive. I plan my drinking so that I either have a ride or can call a cab. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

      If you have a problem with them being in the actual restaurant, do you have a problem with binoculars and directional microphones to see if they can hear the person slurring if they are swaying?

      How do you want to catch these people before they kill someone? What exactly do you want the cops to do? I don’t think letting 15,000 people a year die is acceptable.

    44. #44 |  Mario | 

      Regarding cops calling MADD or other advocacy groups to put pressure on judges presiding over still open cases, how does the legality of that even get considered. If I’m a defendant, do I get to call Uncle Vito and his “advocacy group” to intercede on my behalf with the judge?

      As to the DUI stooge in the fast food joint, I’m ambivalent. However, just to keep the cops honest, I’m suggesting anyone seeing the lights go on behind them ought to pour rat poison on their order of fries. No foul, no harm.

    45. #45 |  J sub D | 

      Your percentages are low. It’s 38% of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers which adds up to over 15,000 people a year.

      That shows the percentage of the highest BAC of persons involved. It says nothing about who caused the accident.
      It’s just a quibble, but misrepresenting data bothers me.

    46. #46 |  scott | 

      Regarding cops calling MADD or other advocacy groups to put pressure on judges presiding over still open cases, how does the legality of that even get considered. If I’m a defendant, do I get to call Uncle Vito and his “advocacy group” to intercede on my behalf with the judge?

      Here in Happy Fun Crazy Land we call it “tampering”. But on planet earth, when you involve a hugely influential special-interest lobby with an enormous amount of political and financial capital, it’s called “activism”.

      So if your Uncle Vito does what he does “for the children”, and does so with federal dollars, you’re good to go.

    47. #47 |  Gabriel | 

      All those criticizing the program, give some constructive ideas that could do better. Like it or not drunk drivers are one of the leading killers on the road, that’s a reality.

      Getting rid of drunk driving laws would make the roads safer. If you’ve had three drinks and are a little impaired but are going to drive home anyway, you do your level best to drive “normally”, which is dangerous because, well, you’re drunk. What you’d really like to do is drive 15MPH with your hazards on in the right lane, which is much safer, but under the current regime if you do that you’ll get busted for drunk driving.

      If a driver is weaving and speeding, sure, pull him over for being a hazard on the roadways. But the crime should be the actual placing of others in real danger, not simply having an arbitrary level of blood chemistry.

    48. #48 |  Aresen | 

      #37 | scott | June 15th, 2009 at 3:18 pm
      In all fairness, the “leader of a Minuteman group” is not part of *the* Minutemen. Though there seems to have been some contact a few years ago she’s apparently not well-regarded among the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps due to her batshit insane craziness.

      The mind boggles at the thought of what the Minutemen would consider “batshit insane craziness”.

    49. #49 |  Aresen | 

      Arizona sheriff will start placing deputies in late-night fast food joints to catch drunk drivers. Cutesy name: “Operation Would You Like Fries With That.”

      Meh

      They’re already in Dunkin Donuts 23/7, so why is this news?

    50. #50 |  whahappan? | 

      “Your percentages are low. It’s 38% of traffic fatalities caused by drunk drivers which adds up to over 15,000 people a year.”

      Not really sure, but I believe these figures aren’t all that accurate. They include cases where the “drunk” driver wasn’t at fault, and also as one of the notes indicate, they include “estimates” where results of tests were not known.

      This is not to minimize the problem with drunk driving, just sayin’.

    51. #51 |  Matt | 

      35 Tokin42

      That’s a hell of a lot easier said then done. My GF is half iranian (her dad immigrated) so I’ve got personal connections there and they (the iranians I know) are EXTREMELY happy we’re staying out of it. Ahmadinejad is already trying to paint the protesters as puppets of an outside source. No sense giving him anything resembling proof to back his statements up..

    52. #52 |  Mark Rutherford | 

      In my opinion Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) is a dangerous special interest group more concerned about getting government grants than the truth and due process. I’m glad this person is attacking, in my opinion, their dangerous and unethical tactics.

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