Lunch Links

Friday, March 5th, 2010

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51 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Scotticus Finch | 

    “I wouldn’t say that it throws other results out the window, but it does throw a curve ball,” said Nickolas Papadopoulos…

    Mr. Papadopoulos is convinced. Now we go after Webster and Ma’am!

  2. #2 |  Cynical in CA | 

    From the Indiana 7th-grader article:

    “He said [the 7th-grader] wrote it down on a witness statement and she had told the truth, he said she was very, very honest and he said he was sorry he had to do it but it was school policy,” said Patty Greer.

    Perfect example — never talk to the po-pos.


    Poor girl, what a hard lesson at such a tender age. Maybe it will inspire her to become a criminal defense attorney or somesuch.

  3. #3 |  tb | 

    Why does the GOP refuse to take seriously one of its few serious politicians?

    Because the GOP is not a serious political party.

  4. #4 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Seems like the “uh-oh” article has potentially bad implications for innocence projects. Corrupt prosecutors are probably dancing at this news – “Well of *course* the DNA doesn’t match the guy we got a conviction on, you know how unreliable that mitochondrial DNA matching can be!”

  5. #5 |  MDGuy | 

    “District officials say if they’re not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously.”

    Right. Because everyone will take them seriously when they’re administered in an absurd, heavy-handed way without any discretion or consideration of the circumstances.

  6. #6 |  Andrew S. | 

    In a just world, William Kristol and Naomi Klein would be grubbing for quarters at a bus station. However, given reality, sending them to the purgatory of reality TV is the best we can hope for.

  7. #7 |  Comrade Dread | 

    Lesson school administrators taught the young middle school student:

    1. The authorities are not your friends. They do not care about right or wrong or the spirit of the law, only the petty letter.

    2. Lie to the authorities or lawyer up immediately. Cooperating only screws you.

  8. #8 |  Tom G | 

    So wait, let me understand the “girl suspended” article – the girl said that she HANDED BACK the pill, yet the administrator didn’t praise her, he suspended her for having the pill in her hand for 2 seconds????
    How much money is the school district paying him per year to be so STUPID?
    I have to also ask, do parents ever get input on these bone-headed policies? Touching any pill – including legal but prescribed ones – equals “possession”? In what universe ?

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    As for the subject of the Al Qaeda Seven… I really do have to agree with Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol. I mean, people who defended Al Qaeda in the Justice Department? I mean, that’s crazy! Our country wouldn’t have allowed anything like that in the past. Can you imagine it? It’d be like the lawyer who defended the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre being elected as President of the United States!

  10. #10 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Why does the GOP refuse to take seriously one of its few serious politicians?”

    Sigh. Once upon a time, Mark Sanford was a serious GOP politician.

    /sorry, couldn’t resist

  11. #11 |  Cyto | 

    That “Science Cycle” graphic is classic. I actually experienced the exact scenario during grad school. After hearing about our work on transgenic mice as a Cycle Cell research model, my grandmother warned me, “Don’t make any mutant babies!” Great memories… I really miss her, even if site-directed mutation was beyond her comprehension…

  12. #12 |  tb | 

    Comrade Dread,

    Best two lessons she’ll ever get.

  13. #13 |  paranoiastrksdp |

    Yeah, these are the guys I want training Afghani police.

  14. #14 |  Cyto | 

    Andrew S. – Great reference. I wonder if there are any men left cut from his cloth? And if so, is there any chance in hell they could be successful in national politics?

  15. #15 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

    Because the GOP is not a serious political party.

    Sure they are. You just don’t understand what a Serious Political Party is for. Serious Political Parties (or SPPs) exist so that groups of people can get elected to public office and have their turn at the trough. They don’t exist to provide ideological coalitions to change laws or to actually govern an area. If they were, then the Bush the Lesser Years may have been a great time for fiscal conservatives. Instead, they were a total nightmare.

  16. #16 |  Radley Balko | 

    I’d still vote for Mark Sanford.

  17. #17 |  awp | 

    Re: why aren’t the republicans serious.

    Because you are talking about fiscal responsibility. The Republicans don’t want to be fiscally responsible. They are just upset that Obama is trying to spend the money on his own constituencies and not theirs.

    It’s all about whose ox gets gored. And, who gets the resulting steaks.

    mmmmmmm steak.

  18. #18 |  Andrew | 

    Man, so we have wonky Puritanical zero-tolerance rules in schools, people who are ready to throw ‘innocent until proven guilty’ out the window cause Uncle Sam said so, and a ‘radical’ (ie never gonna happen) plan to optimistically eliminate the deficit by TWENTY SIXTY THREE (2063) (I wanted to emphasize that because can’t really cap numbers). Awesome. Awesome guys.

  19. #19 |  Sky | 

    “So we’re still granting Blackwater billion-dollar contracts?”

    I’m surprised that ANYONE is surprised by this. How quickly we forget Halliburton!

  20. #20 |  Michael not Mann | 

    It won’t be long before we see defense lawyers outside of elementary schools hustling kids for business.

    If I had kids, I’d talk with a lawyer about drafting some type of document preventing school officials from talking with my kids before talking to me or my counsel.

    Police talk mentally impaired people in to confess to crimes they didn’t commit. No reason to believe school officials wouldn’t do the same with kids.

  21. #21 |  Andrew | 

    Re Andrew S and cyto:

    Liberty will reign!

  22. #22 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Don’t anyone go slagging on Blackwater.
    How else is Uncle Sam going to prosecute illegal wars,
    seize assets, distribute opium, and circumvent the Geneva Convention in the name of…in the name of… fuck I don’t even remember the
    phony reason anymore.

  23. #23 |  Tim C | 

    Haha, I have a funny cop-flipping-off story. So, I ride a motorcycle. It is common practice for riders to wave at each other. I almost always do. So, there was a big group of bikes (~10), and I waved – not one of them waved back. About halfway past the group, I got annoyed, and modified my wave slightly (flipped them off for the duration of going past, the twerps. Very satisfying).

    Well, after getting past the group, I note in the mirror that “ECILOP” is written across the back of all the bikes (how I missed lights, cop helmets etc I’m not sure!). Fortunately they ignored me, as that could’ve gotten annoying in a hurry!!!

  24. #24 |  Andrew S. | 

    Now, far be it from me to suggest that anyone do such a thing, but the conveniently located webpage from which one can obtain contact information for the school official quoted in the story about the 7th grade girl can be found here

  25. #25 |  Kristen | 

    It’d be like the lawyer who defended the British Soldiers in the Boston Massacre being elected as President of the United States!

    So. much. win.

  26. #26 |  Noel St. John | 

    Adrew S: You beat me to the punch. I’ve considered emailing this idiot and cc’ing the other relevant contacts, but I wonder how much effect logic and reason would have upon a state cretin.

  27. #27 |  Cyto | 

    Another interesting parallel with the Boston Massacre and today’s news – the increased use of paramilitary SWAT units on civilians for routine policing.

    Here’s a quote from Adams speaking about the ultimate cause of the Boston Massacre:

    This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.

    The application to the SWAT situation is pretty obvious. In fact, I think Radley used about 2 pages to say the same thing in his last article. Funny how true that old “nothing new under the sun” adage is….

  28. #28 |  ParatrooperJJ | 

    How many Blackwater protectees were killed? Oh that’s right – ZERO! They fulfilled their contracts to the letter.

  29. #29 |  Toonhead | 

    Interesting that a Gen-X politician is proposing entitlement cuts. Gen-X will be affected the soonest by the coming collapse. I’ve made peace that I will never see any of the Social Security that I’ve paid into.

  30. #30 |  Charlie O | 

    Liz Cheney is a scumbag. A bigger scumbag than her father. She proves it every time she opens her trap on some news show. Her and Kristol have no respect for the US Constitution, regardless of their claims. They are like every cop I’ve every talked to. Although they swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, every last one of them consider it an impediment to their jobs. They spit on the Constitution. Every frigging cop I’ve every dealt with, when exercising my Constitutional rights, immediately wants to know, 1) am I lawyer, or 2) what do I have to hide. My response to both is no. Just an American who can actually read and comprehend what the US Constitution actually says. They hate that.

  31. #31 |  ClubMedSux | 

    My first inclination with respect to the Paul Ryan article was to answer, “Why should they pay attention to Ryan’s plan? It still raises federal spending and doesn’t balance the budget until 20-f’in-63!” But then I realized that answer only works if the Republicans are ignoring Ryan in favor for a better plan that cuts more spending NOW. But if the G.O.P. is ignoring Ryan in favor of the status quo (i.e. bitching about federal spending while continuing to bring home the pork) then yes, they suck. If Ryan’s plan is too radical for the new Tea Bagger Republican Party then the Republicans can go cram it with walnuts.

  32. #32 |  Jay | 

    If students get suspended for drawing pictures of weapons, and students get suspended for even handling a pill…would a student carrying a Physicians’ Desk Reference get taser’d immediately?

  33. #33 |  Chad Seagren | 

    Re ‘al Quaeda 7’: Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney and their ilk would do well to remember that none other than John Adams – perhaps they’ve heard of him – served as defense counsel for the British Soldiers who participated in the Boston Massacre.

  34. #34 |  InMD | 

    I’m quite disgusted by the “al-Quaeda 7” nonsense. I used to think that advocating for justice and the rule of law even for the most detested people was about the most patriotic thing an American could do. People who defend scoundrels in a court of law aren’t defending heinous acts they’re defending the Constitution.

  35. #35 |  gs | 

    Why is the Republican Party ignoring Paul Ryan?

    After being a Republican in all but name for decades, during the Bush years I acquired a visceral loathing for the party. I don’t claim the following is dispassionate, but here goes:

    Afaic the Bush GOP is controlled by a coalition of theocrats and corporatist crooks. They want a pavlovian electorate that pulls the GOP lever at the sight of a cross or a flag. (Consider Orrin Hatch’s [R-RIAA] Flag Desecration Amendment.)

    Basically their platform is that they will wreck the country more slowly than the Democrats. Despite their blowout losses of 2006 and 2008, the coalition has clung to control of the party machinery in the hope that Democrat overreaching will return them to power. Unfortunately those hopes are rising.

  36. #36 |  Mario | 

    [Assistant Principal] Bell said the punishment would not have been any different. District officials say if they’re not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously.

    I realize that this makes me an ugly-Northeasterner, but at “Kentuckiana” I stopped taking them seriously.

    Putting my prejudices aside — in all fairness ridiculous, block-headed execution of zero-tolerance policies goes on all over the country. I suspect “zero-tolerance” refers to intelligence.

  37. #37 |  Sean L. | 

    “The science news cycle”

    Actually, can we replace the grandma with Al Gore or Michael Moore making a movie?

  38. #38 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #16 | Radley Balko — “I’d still vote for Mark Sanford.”


    Wait, let me improve that statement.

    “I’d still vote.”

    It doesn’t get any funnier than that.

    Oh, wait. I meant it doesn’t get any sadder than that.

  39. #39 |  Lucy | 

    That’s I only flipped off riot cops at G-20. I assumed they wouldn’t break formation just for my little middle finger. They didn’t, and it was a stupid thing to do, but when they took over my neighborhood I got a little peeved.

  40. #40 |  David | 

    Re: “Uh-Oh”, this seems like it throws negative matches into question while preserving positive ones. So it’s not enough for an innocence project to show that DNA doesn’t match the defendant,t hey have to find somebody it does match to show that it’s not just mitochondrial fluctuation…

  41. #41 |  Max | 

    I don’t know much about Paul Ryan, but he sounds like a decent guy from this article.

  42. #42 |  Mike | 

    Why do the ignore Paul Ryan? Because he has ideas. To the GOP, the only acceptable politician is one who deals in mindless dogma.

  43. #43 |  j a higginbotham | 

    It seems as though this should be a short investigation:

    Off-duty O.C. sheriff’s deputy is arrested on DUI charge after crashing twice within 30 minutes
    March 5, 2010 | 3:02 pm
    An off-duty Orange County sheriff’s deputy, who allegedly was intoxicated when he crashed his Mercedes-Benz into another vehicle and injured a passenger, had crashed 30 minutes earlier and was allowed to drive from that accident scene by fellow deputies, authorities said Friday.

    Sheriff’s deputies were called Monday afternoon to a crash involving Deputy Allan James Waters, 36, and another vehicle outside City Hall in Dana Point. Deputies took a report and permitted Waters keep driving, said Assistant Sheriff Mike James.

    About 30 minutes later, at 5:20 p.m., Waters crashed his Mercedes-Benz into a Toyota in Laguna Niguel, causing it to cross the center median and slam into a tree, according to the California Highway Patrol. Dolores Molina, a 78-year-old passenger in the Toyota, suffered minor injuries.

    CHP officers said Waters showed signs of being intoxicated and was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was released Wednesday, according to jail records.

    Waters is a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, assigned to south Orange County, James said.

    The department is conducting an internal investigation to determine why Waters was allowed to keep driving, James said.

    Waters had been placed on administrative leave about two months ago, but James would not say why. He said the deputy will remain on leave while the investigations are conducted.

    –Paloma Esquivel

  44. #44 |  Davis | 

    Thanks Andrew, I did indeed send Mr. Bell a letter, and attempted to educate the educator, as it were:

    Mr. Bell,

    I happened upon a news article discussing a student within your district who was suspended after refusing a drug, merely for having touched it:
    Within the story you are quoted as having said “The fact of the matter is, there were drugs on school campus and it was handled, so there was a violation of our policy.” If this is indeed the justification for punishing this student, then as a student of law and a former educator I fear for the message your district’s students are learning about the nature of authority.

    Within criminal law, a noted law scholar observed that “[i]t is deeply rooted in our moral sense of fitness that punishment entails blame and that, therefore, punishment may not justly be imposed where the person is not blameworthy.” (Sanford H. Kadish, Why Substantive Criminal Law–A Dialogue”.) We instinctively withdraw our support for an institution whose punishments appear undeserved; our criminal law system recognizes this danger and grades punishment according to culpability, refusing to punish at all when there is no mens rea or actus rea.

    Based on the information in the news report, no one is even suggesting that the expelled student actually performed any blameworthy act. According to the article, “District officials say if they’re not strict about drug policies no one will take them seriously.” But will punishing a student’s exemplary act cause your students to take these policies more seriously? On an instinctive level, even the youngest students will recognize this as an unjust punishment; is it more likely they’ll gain respect for the district’s rules? This seems unlikely – their moral instincts will lead them to doubt the validity of the school’s authority, and diminish their respect for both the rules and the rule-enforcers. As an educator, do you really want to be teaching students that authority is arbitrary and capricious?

    And what benefit is served by punishing this student? We typically find justification for punishment in utilitarianism (either in deterrence or rehabilitation), retributivism (punishment because it is deserved), and denunciation (the expression of society’s moral condemnation). There is no respectable theory of punishment under which punishment is appropriate here – even so-called “strict liability” offenses rely on deterrence for their justification, but there is no culpable act being deterred here.

    I hope that the district will reconsider its punishment of this student, and consider revising its policies to prevent future instances of punishing the blameless.

  45. #45 |  Rick H. | 

    Davis, your letter is very well-argued. Had it been me, I’d have had to include a few rhetorical flourishes such as “you scumbag,” “worthless excuse for a humanoid” and “just go kill yourself,” but that’s just an aesthetic preference.

  46. #46 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    #44 Davis:

    Very well said. Had I written Mr. Bell, it would have been something like this:

    Dear Asshole:

    WTF is wrong with you, did your mama drop you on your head or something? The kid refuses the pill, just like your anti-drug propaganda taught her and you still slam her just because she touched it? Are you an idiot, or what?

    Don’t go hiding behind those bullshit zero-tolerance policies either. You evidently have enough of a brain to be a school principal yet you lack the common sense to see that there was no valid reason to suspend this girl

    Curious, how much intimidation was required to get the kid who actually brought the pills to school to rat out her friends? And what happened to that kid? Did you execute her?

    … And on like that for a few more thousand words.

  47. #47 |  Peter Ramins | 

    @#36 / Mario –

    Whenever you see ‘zero tolerance’ you can, 99.9% of the time, view it as shorthand for ‘sanctioned abdication of critical thinking and decision-making requirements.’

    A nimwit with a flowchart from Kinko’s could do these people’s jobs.

    IF A, B.
    IF C, D.

    …at 1/10th the salary.

  48. #48 |  Windy | 

    Hopefully such “zero tolerance” excesses will drive parents to withdraw support (and their children) from the state’s indoctrination centers (called schools).

  49. #49 |  Mattocracy | 

    What Andrew S. said. I think he might be the new fluffy.

  50. #50 |  Jeff | 

    Maybe we should mail packages of prescription drugs to all of the school leaders, tip off the local swat teams, and then see how they feel about being in “posession” of a controlled substance.

  51. #51 |  supercat | 

    //People who defend scoundrels in a court of law aren’t defending heinous acts they’re defending the Constitution.//

    If the worst violations of the Constitution occur against heinous people, then it is right and proper to defend such people against those in government who violate their rights. Unfortunately, however, many ‘rights’ organizations favor criminals over innocents, even when the latter are being more severely attacked.

    If the organizations really were interested in protecting people’s rights, they’d be all over cases where a prosecutor was trying to persecute clearly-innocent people. Among other things, a prosecutor who persecutes people who are clearly and demonstrably innocent will almost certainly also be prosecuting many people who are unable to demonstrate that they are innocent even though they are. Removing such prosecutors from power would help protect everyone’s rights, but for some reason many “rights” organizations really don’t seem interested.

    I would argue that overzealous protection of the guilty actually works to the detriment of the innocent. If police and prosecutors know that attempts to prosecute criminals will garner more flak than attempts to prosecute innocents, they will have less motivation to go after real criminals, and far more willingness to expend efforts on going after the unprotected innocents.