Late Morning Links

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

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47 Responses to “Late Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Cops once again mistake tomato plants for marijuana. This business of getting probable cause for a search warrant based on purchases of perfectly legal products (like hydroponic equipment) has been going on for years. But it’s still creepy.

    It would be nice if judges would grow some fucking balls.

    Officer: “Your honor we’d like a warrant to such John Smith’s house for marijuana.”

    Judge: “What is your probably cause?”

    Officer: “He bought hydroponics equipment.”

    Judge: “Oh, is that illegal?”

    Officer: “No your honor.”

    Judge: “So why do you want the warrant.”

    Officer: “Well he could use the equipment to grow marijuana.”

    Judge: “Do you monitor gun stores because people who buy guns could use them to commit crimes.”

    Officer: “No your honor, but…”

    Judge: “I’m not done, do you monitor stores that sell products to role your own cigarettes, after all people might use them to roll their marijuana cigarettes?”

    Officer: “No your honor.”

    Judge: “Do you monitor car dealerships, after all people might use them in committing crimes as well.”

    Officer: “No your honor.”

    Judge: “Warrant denied, next time bring some actually evidence and not the pretend type.”

  2. #2 |  Bob | 

    Can someone explain to me how it’s in the Missouri Highway Patrol’s jurisdiction to look for grow ops?

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    So at the same time cops are raidin-and-grenadin’
    over hydroponic tomatoes and guinea pigs, Urban Farming is coming
    back into vogue? Something’s gonna get ugly here.
    Real soon.

  4. #4 |  M | 

    I’ll bet it isn’t long before cops raid some of the NYC residents who are growing their own tobacco, confiscate the plants, don’t give them back, and don’t apologize because they were justified in thinking it might be pot.

  5. #5 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    Dude humped my finger! WTF?!!!

  6. #6 |  Scooby | 

    When that douche Martha Coakley is done with 23 oz. Colt 45 Blast, where “1 can is the equivalent of 5 beers”, I’d like to introduce her to a fifth of Jameson. With that, 1 bottle is the equivalent of more than 18 beers*. Someone better look into those irresponsible Irish whiskey purveyors. That will certainly help her in her next Mass. AG re-election campaign.

    * 750ml, 80 proof = 300ml EtOH; using equivalent conversion as Martha Coakley’s, i.e. 16.3ml EtOH per “beer”, assumed to be 12oz. 4.6%ABV by back-calculation

  7. #7 |  Bart | 

    That “Tangled Webs” story isn’t real. It’s a publicity stunt for the “Atlas Shrugged” movie.

    Isn’t it?

  8. #8 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Okay, listen close, we don’t have much time. I’ll hold up the rear guard and
    you do the weapons inspection.”

  9. #9 |  OBTC | 

    From the James Stewart book article:

    “…prosecutors who view it as an epidemic to the point where they come into work expecting to be lied to day after day.”

    What about when prosecuters lie (or withhold exculpatory evidence)? Isn’t that an epidemic?

    And one has to wonder why these “elite” people: Martha Stewart, Bernie Madoff, Scooter Libby and Barry Bonds – didn’t exercise their right to remain silent when questioned by investigators?

    If these people aren’t aware of their rights, what hope to we have for the general population?

  10. #10 |  OBTC | 


    President Obama heckled at S.F. fundraiser

  11. #11 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    How much money do you suppose we could save if we payed all the anti-drug myrmidons to sit in the station playing cards, with generous overtime, and just stopped spending the money for operations (and attendant lawsuits, often enough) to try to eradicate a native plant that is arguably as tough to grub out of an area a poison ivy?

    Just asking.

  12. #12 |  random_guy | 

    An exercise in creative nonviolent resistance:

    A group of people begin buying “How to” guides on hydroponics, online.
    These books are bought in the name of judges and prosecutors and mailed to their home address.
    Anonymous calls are made to the ATF, FBI, and various other goon-squads about the sudden explosion in home grow operations in the area.
    Warrants will get signed.
    Homes will be raided.
    Hilarity will ensue.

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    Andrew Cohen thinks like the standard legal correspondent for a major news organization that he is. Also, he never responds to comments. The result is that he make glaring errors that stand as if “truth:” just like a lot of the old school MSM.
    Its about time that The Atlantic started looking elsewhere.

  14. #14 |  Bob | 

    How much money do you suppose we could save if we payed all the anti-drug myrmidons…

    Heh! Not nearly as much as we would save if we just fired them all. 800,000 cops. Probably half of them are useless drug hounds, and… it’s the more expensive half, too as this aspect of law enforcement has money just thrown at it.

    So… 400,000 cops at a cost of about 120,000 dollars a year per… (Salary plus overhead.) means a per year savings of 48 billion dollars. According to politicians, that’s enough money to balance the budget!

  15. #15 |  OBTC | 

    I thought ECD’s were referred to as LESS-LETHAL (as in: less-often lethal)
    as opposed to NON-LETHAL?

    Which is what most of the commenters on the CNN site have UTTERLY FAILED to understand and in addition to that, these same ignorants also FAIL to understand that when most people are hit with an ECD they will sustain injuries from a hard surface on the way down.

    Has anyone else ever noticed how disengenuous the ECD training videos are:
    they (almost) always show the test subject being held up by two people SO THAT THEY DON’T FALL AND FLAIL VIOLENTLY TO THE GROUND AND SUSTAIN OTHER INJURIES LIKE THE PEOPLE DO IN REAL LIFE?
    Or is it just me.

  16. #16 |  OBTC | 

    #12 | random_guy

    I like it.

  17. #17 |  J.S. | 

    (Judge: “Do you monitor gun stores because people who buy guns could use them to commit crimes.”)

    Steve, they already do that, they’re called background checks. You don’t actually think they toss out those records like they’re required to right?

    The Oregon State Police proved it when they went after David Pyles in southern Oregon last year.

  18. #18 |  celticdragonchick | 

    The tomato grower should be grateful that the police knocked on his door.

    In Virginia, they would have come in with a battering ram, shot his dogs, and then have an “accidental discharge” with a MP-5 submachine gun into his chest when he complained about it.

  19. #19 |  EH | 

    So, apparently off-duty officers carry Tasers in Orlando?

  20. #20 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m probably going to write my own review of this James Stewart book about white collar lying, but Scott Greenfield knocks it around pretty good here.

    Almost every high profile federal prosecution I’ve heard of over the last few years started as one thing and ended as a conviction (usually a plea deal) for lying to the government. And most of the time the government probably had no business conducting the investigation to begin with. The government has no business investigating sports or insider trading. Outlawing insider trading is about as effective as legislating the earth’s rate of rotation.

  21. #21 |  Mannie | 

    The Less Lethal properties of the Taser can be a blessing or a curse. It would certainly be preferable to tase someone if it were the alternative to shooting them or using a club to pound them into a. Same thing with pepper spray.

    The problem is that it is viewed as relatively harmless, but highly unpleasant. We tase our own people in training. This also trains them in the device’s effectiveness as a torture instrument. So it is commonly used to torture subjects into compliance, often into unlawful compliance. You can almost always get away with tasing someone to watch them twitch; harder to get away with ventilating someone.

    I don’t know what the answer is, other than reducing the scope of Conditional Immunity for the individual cops, allowing them to be sued.

  22. #22 |  Mannie | 

    #20 | Dave Krueger | April 22nd, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Almost every high profile federal prosecution I’ve heard of over the last few years started as one thing and ended as a conviction (usually a plea deal) for lying to the government. And most of the time the government probably had no business conducting the investigation to begin with.

    From this, I would conclude it would be beneficial to make it legal to lie to the gummint. Hell, Sometimes it’s one’s patriotic duty.

    No, I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I believe a site dedicated to “trolling” ideas aimed at the state would be a good idea…until you are Bradley-Manning’d.

  24. #24 |  Dante | 

    @ #1 Steve Verdon

    Here’s how it really goes, sadly:

    Officer: “Your honor we’d like a warrant to … ”

    Judge: “Here you go”

  25. #25 |  random_guy | 

    @23 The sad thing is it wouldn’t be that hard. Remember how
    those cops in boston thought some neon lights we’re bombs? Then they demanded that cartoon network apologize for its viral marketing campaign because they were duped.

    The Cheye Calvo case, and others, lead me to believe that law enforcement agencies are practically allergic to co-operating with other law enforcement organisation and even other precincts of their own. So its very likely that federal/state/county agents would not do the diligence and actually find out who they are raiding.

    Its sad, but perhaps the only thing that can scale back the recklessness of police action is if they start hitting their own. Maybe then they will start doing the minimum diligence of actual investigation before conducting a raid. But probably not.

  26. #26 |  Marty | 

    I re-read the hydroponics article and am amazed anyone can stay in business selling this stuff, with the govt busting their customers. marijuana grow operations have spurred home gardening innovation the way vcr’s spurred the porn explosion in the 70s.
    This harassment of gardeners should prompt outrage from all directions- this guy was raising high quality, pesticide free vegetables. These raids actually steer people away from this… crazy. I wonder if the cops monitor hydroponic equipment sold on craigslist- I see a fair amount of it on there.

  27. #27 |  Marty | 

    for the caption, I’m going with ‘Next, the president is going to demonstrate the ‘dirty DC’

  28. #28 |  Dante | 

    Caption the Bush Photo:

    “No sir, there are definitely no WMD’s in there.”

  29. #29 |  Jaijer | 

    “Yup, that’s bush.”

  30. #30 |  Whim | 

    Bush Photo caption:

    “Yes, your inky-dinky is definitely hard to find. We’ll probably find
    Saddam’s WMD before we find your inky-dinky”.

  31. #31 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    Yes, we could save more by firing them. That wasn’t the point. Try to actually fire civil servants and they will fight you tooth and nail. Send them off to do nothing all day, so that they don’t generate MORE trouble (and expense), and you cut out a lot of resistance. Or so it seems to me.

  32. #32 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Wouldn’t you know it? Another thought….
    “Outlawing insider trading is about as effective as legislating the earth’s rate of rotation.”

    Dave Krueger,

    What makes you think the swine in our legislatures understand the futility of legislating the earth’s rate of rotation?

    Just curious.

  33. #33 |  Elliot | 

    OK, so the illusion was a bit entertaining.

    But the last few seconds? Just. Wow.

  34. #34 |  Stephen | 

    What? They didn’t shoot the guinea pigs? Oh, wait… this was UK cops.

  35. #35 |  EH | 

    Marty@26: If you want to grow pot in one of these, the smart thing to do would be to only grow tomatoes at first and wait to get raided. You’re probably safe after that.

  36. #36 |  croaker | 

    Caption: I’m too sexy for reacharounds.

    @1 After that denial, his wife’s .00 DWI arrest will teach him to play nice with the po-po.

    @2 The title is “Highway Patrol”. The function is “gestapo” (state police).

    @12 I’m in.

    @21 Don’t we have laws against torture in this country? (Rhetorical, Private Manning proves that we don’t have any torture laws worth mentioning)

    @24 Pretty much the case. Judges generally sign what cops want signed. Absolute Immunity means never having to say you’re sorry.

    @25 It’s not going to end until some of these Jack-Booted Thugs stop going home safe at the end of their shifts. And frankly I’m past caring if it’s jail, ICU or the morgue.

    @32 Which state legislature tried to make Pi = 3?

    @35 Only after the lawsuit strips the cops of QI.

  37. #37 |  kishnevi | 

    Here in Florida, the law allowing casinos was motivated by the “need” to save the parimutuel industry (dog and horse racing, jai alai). Casinos are limited to sites already offering racing and/or jai alai, and can’t offer all games–but poker is one of the allowed games. So online poker is a real time competitor to the local dog and horse racing tracks. (Voter approval on a local (countywide) basis was also necessary before the “racinos” opened.) Had the racing industry not needed some sort of public subsidy, casinos still would not be allowed off Indian reservations here.
    The only other casinos are those operated on Indian tribal lands, which is, ultimately, why Anna Nicole Smith within walking distance of a trailer park and a series of auto parts shops (ie, at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel on the Seminole reservation outside of Fort Lauderdale).
    So if you’re not an Amerindian and don’t own a racing track or jai alai fronton, forget about opening a poker parlor here in Florida.

  38. #38 |  drewby | 

    Honestly Mr. President, I don’t quite understand how his purple-headed soldier could have gotten caught in your zipper.

  39. #39 |  croaker | 

    $500K claim for videotaped beating in Las Vegas.

    This is a cop who needs to be under the jail.

  40. #40 |  Wavemanns | 

    Finger rape is not a joke. I feel so violated.

  41. #41 |  Marty | 

    # #35 | EH

    ‘If you want to grow pot in one of these, the smart thing to do would be to only grow tomatoes at first and wait to get raided. You’re probably safe after that.’

    what about the new york family that was raided over 40 times? they were stuck in some database and the cops repeatedly raided them… I’m gonna stick to growing tomatoes in the garden!

  42. #42 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Thanks a bunch, Radley; now I need to figure out how to send a bill to that illusion guy… ;-)

  43. #43 |  supercat | 

    #24 | Dante | April 22nd, 2011 at 2:58 pm ‘Judge: “Here you go”’

    That sort of thing would be greatly curtailed if defendants could have juries examine factual matters related to the legitimacy of evidence, and if they could have juries instructed not to construe against the defendant any evidence unless the government could demonstrate that it was gathered legitimately. In most cases, if the government’s conduct surrounding a warrant is even remotely reasonable, a jury isn’t going to let walk a person who they know committed a crime. On the other hand, jurors will probably balk at accepting certain types of conduct which judges would perfectly happily condone. Suppose, for example, that cops got a search warrant on the basis that people were seen dealing drugs from a property, but neglected to tell the warrant judge that since those observations were made cops had already searched the property and confiscated a meth lab, and the property had been sold to its present owner. A trial-court judge might be unwilling to block any evidence gathered from the search, since the cops had gotten a warrant. A jury, however, might be more likely to find the cops’ conduct unreasonable, and refuse to reward them for their “efforts”.

    In practice, I don’t think very many jurors would end up acquitting people because they–as required by the Constitution–acknowledged the illegitimacy of unconstitutionally-gathered evidence. On the other hand, a desire to avoid embarrassment would likely prompt cops to be much more scrupulous in their warrant requests.

  44. #44 |  random guy | 

    croaker, the pi=3 thing is from a couple of April fools jokes printed in a couple different newspapers across the country. To my knowledge no state legislation has actually considered the matter.

    FYI, in most versions of the gag it says the state was Mississippi. But there was one printing in Mississippi that claimed Arizona tried to do it.

  45. #45 |  Kassandra | 

    OK, there are 26 and two-thirds ounces of wine in a bottle at about 12 percent alcohol. Let’s go after rich, white wine snobs next. Oh, wait.

  46. #46 |  Mannie | 

    The pi bill was in Indiana.

    1897: Egged on by an amateur mathematician, the Indiana General Assembly almost passes a bill adopting 3.2 as the exact value of pi (or π). Only the intervention of a Purdue University mathematician who happens to be visiting the legislature prevents the bill from becoming law, saving the most acute political embarrassment.

    What became known as the Indiana pi bill was sponsored by Rep. T.I. Record at the behest of Edwin J. Goodwin, a physician and math dilettante who claimed to have figured out how to square circles.

    House Bill 246, proposed as “an act introducing a new mathematical truth,” went through three reads before being passed unanimously by the House, presumably to avoid having to endure a fourth

  47. #47 |  Stray | 

    Caption: Son of a gun, you’re NOT circumsized? Well, that answers THAT question?