Morning Links

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

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40 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  mdb | 

    I told you any development talk in JP sooner or later devolves into affordable housing extortion. This was never about Whole Foods, there is a reason why the only construction cranes you see in Boston are at the hospital or colleges (liberals like those).

  2. #2 |  Brandon | 

    “According to its website, Whole Foods donates one-day sales three times each year to a local or regional non-profit or educational organization. The Senator said the company should replace that strategy by front-loading its charitable efforts toward the fund supporting affordable properties.”

    In other words, “I know you’re a successful company that gives alot to charity and has a hugely positive effect on the community with your established practices, but I have a better idea.”

  3. #3 |  Mattocracy | 

    At least all the comments in the Whole Food article understand the absurdity of their state senator.

  4. #4 |  Brandon | 

    Every single comment on the Whole Foods story is against the senator. They are almost all eloquent, thoughtful and coherent, too. Maybe the country is finally getting sick of the nanny staters?

  5. #5 |  Brian | 

    Perhaps Sonia Chang-Díaz should apply her extensive business experience to the task of opening a competing store and let the neighborhood decide with their wallets.

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    The commentors from the commie monuments are unfortunately very incorrect compared to the commenting of Whole Foods.

    Those are not awesome monuments. Even after a good pressure washing, they only have the asthetics of crap a 5 year old would make out of lego blocks.

  7. #7 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    RIP 4th Amendment. We hardly knew ye.

    The Economist exerts a lot of energy these days trying to figure out
    how the USA became so lawless and dysfunctional in the last 50 years.

  8. #8 |  MassHole | 

    Even though her dad may be, clearly Sonia is not a rocket scientist. My favorite part was when she suggested Whole Foods break their lease. She created a real shit storm locally with that letter. The only problem is that even though she has alienated her sane constituents, it is virtually impossible for someone without a D next to their name to win. Hopefully someone will run as an independent and unseat her. In any event, I have heard many people, some that even campaigned for her, refusing to support her next time over this.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Wheelchair: I’m no cop, but I’m pretty sure I could’ve handled that situation better. Oh, it’s BECAUSE I’m not a cop that I could’ve handled that situation better.

  10. #10 |  Marty | 

    those are beautiful photos of the monuments. I’m struck by how these wasteful monuments commemorate events associated with war and abuse- more government waste of lives and money.

  11. #11 |  awp | 

    Law and Disorder: Liberty unit.

    begining voice over from the article:
    “In criminal justice, as in counter-terrorism,” he notes, “the executive branch has grabbed immense authority, distorting the process of determining guilt or innocence.”

  12. #12 |  Stay Away, but If You Come Anyway | Threads from Henry's Web | 

    […] you’d better hire a certain percentage of local employees (HT: The Agitator). Oh, and buy land. Yes, and keep it […]

  13. #13 |  demize! | 

    Wow, taboos being broken, Rubicons being crossed. We are in some deep shit. I love when liberals talk about the democratic system and non violent passive resistance. No you come up against this leviathan you’re gonna get a beat down. May even get one for no reason at all. You can’t reason a well armed entitled bully out of his position of dominance. It has never happened, its like an immutable law of physics. The use of violence as a tool to stop the state and its imbecile thugs from coercing you, or just acting as the sadistic authoritarians they are is inherently an moral act. As well as an apparent necessity.

  14. #14 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    “The premise underpinning [the American] justice system is that it is far worse to convict wrongly than to fail to convict at all.”

    So I was taught in high school, and so I still believe. Unfortunately, it seems that virtually nobody in the entire US criminal justice system agrees with me.

  15. #15 |  David C | 

    I always assumed cops had a fairly macho back-room culture, and it confuses the hell out of me when I see things like that wheelchair video. How do they live it down? There are two of you and you feel threatened by an unarmed drunk in a wheelchair? Really? Are you the biggest wimps the world has ever seen?

    But the WP reporting really does carry it into the realm of the surreal, I think.

  16. #16 |  CyniCAl | 

    #13 | demize! — “The use of violence as a tool to stop the state and its imbecile thugs from coercing you, or just acting as the sadistic authoritarians they are is inherently a moral act. As well as an apparent necessity.”

    Defensive violence, perhaps. And that only perpetuates the violence in the end. I’m not saying you’re not correct, demize, just that violence is the State, no matter the form. I think that’s a good starting point for a discussion about what morality really is.

  17. #17 |  omar | 

    Those are not awesome monuments. Even after a good pressure washing, they only have the asthetics of crap a 5 year old would make out of lego blocks.

    On my objective scale of awesomeness measured in a unit called the “Omar”, those monuments range from 5 – 80 kilaomars. I would totally live in Kolašin.

  18. #18 |  Mannie | 

    Brave cops.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    I use the Mattocracy Scale, measurements noted in…Mattocs… Those bleak, concrete loving monuments poorly. Like, perhaps a single mattoc. Or a half of one.

  20. #20 |  JOR | 

    “I always assumed cops had a fairly macho back-room culture, and it confuses the hell out of me when I see things like that wheelchair video.”

    It shouldn’t. There’s nothing un-macho about picking on the weak and relatively helpless. All forms of violence exploit weakness; the more sophisticated forms create weaknesses and openings in a resisting opponent, but all violence is about hitting someone in a way they can’t fend off, and minimizing risk or pain to one’s self.

    It’s why tough guy macho hunters shoot big game instead of engaging the animals in close-combat. Macho subcultures celebrate ruthlessness, not fairness, except in rare and limited contexts (some athletic sports).

  21. #21 |  Crazy Internet Musing Guy | 

    The discussion about violent resistance to the state is intriguing to me, not as a call to action but as a psychology case study. One would assume that a man being wronged beyond a certain point would eventually respond out of hate and anger in a violent manner. But this rarely happens – as in almost never.

    I remember seeing a story on 60 minutes many years ago about a US Naval officer who lost his family in an encounter with the local department of children’s services and the local police. Apparently someone filed a complaint and so the cops just showed up with the social workers to take the kids. His first notification was seeing hearing his daughter scream in the back yard and going outside to find a man attempting to pry her fingers off of the fence and drag her away. Needless to say he reacted in a negative manner – trying to stop them.

    Once the Sheriff’s officers explained what was going on and that he had no choice but to allow them to seize the children, he allowed them to proceed. But because he “assaulted an officer” (grabbed the guy kidnapping his kid) he was in for a world of hurt. Even though he was on a boat 5,000 miles away at the time of the incident that was reported to the police that started the investigation, he proved that he was an unfit parent by grabbing a guy in plainclothes who was dragging his screaming child away from his yard.

    It was over 5 years before he even saw his children again. His wife was forced by the state to divorce him as a condition of being allowed to see her children again. (even though they both agreed to do this as a sham divorce) Another couple of years later he went before family court to have visitation rights adjudicated. The 60 minutes crew had tape of the hearing, so we got to see the judge speak. She issues a ruling that although he has clearly not done anything wrong, and there is no evidence that he has ever harmed a child, she’s going to withhold judgement on allowing visitation for 6 months.

    The final punch line came when he was able to get back with is family after almost 10 years – but by then it was too late. The relationships were too strained, not least because he had been dishonorably discharged because of the family court actions over the years – even though he’s never been found to have done anything wrong, including an acquittal on the assault charge.

    So his wife ends up leaving him for real, and his kids haven’t known him for most of their lives, so they have a tough time building a relationship.

    Stories like this happen all the time. Yet we never hear about some ex-military guy who is wronged like this going bananas and hunting down every person involved in destroying his life and shooting them like a rabid dog. Why not?

    Why doesn’t the father of a young girl burned alive in a senseless SWAT raid find the commander and hunt him down in the dark of night? Why doesn’t a man who is framed for murder and put in a cage for what amounts to his entire productive life swear an oath of revenge and hunt down those who wronged him shortly after his release?

    Hollywood seems to think that people swear oaths of revenge all the time. Common parlance includes phrases like “I’ll kill you” that suggest a callousness and hotbloodedness in the culture that would allow for this kind of reaction. Yet it is all but universal that people faced with this situation become very pragmatic and find some way to divert their anger and re-assimilate, continuing with what is left of their lives. Why on earth do they do that? One would have to assume that each of us would respond in the same functionally forgiving way – to think otherwise is illogical given the broad array of people who are egregiously wronged in some way every day and the almost complete absence of revenge killings. Yet when you build a hypothetical response to the wrongs that these people have suffered, just moving along and getting past it doesn’t seem like a reasonable response. Why would a 68 year old man who spent the last 40 years in prison for a rape that he didn’t commit just get on with life, knowing that the people who put him there knew that there was evidence that proved him innocent and knowing that for all reasonable purposes his life is over – he’ll never have a family, a career, nothing that we all supposedly value.

    I suppose that is one question that I never want to *really* know the answer to.

  22. #22 |  demize! | 

    Cynical, its all self defense. But your point is well taken. And nor is it wise to “retaliate” against an entity better armed and with the “monopoly” on the use of said arms. @JOR that’s an incredibly astute analysis.

  23. #23 |  BamBam | 

    Someone who wasn’t assimilated into the fraternity of sociopaths.

  24. #24 |  Michael Chaney | 

    On the Washington Post article, note that they’re ignoring the video and using the police report and subsequent statement as the basis of their story. Normally I’d attribute it to laziness, but here I’m not sure since they linked the video.

  25. #25 |  CyniCAl | 

    @#22, Training Day Redux.

  26. #26 |  Dwight Brown | 

    I’ve already blogged about this on my site, and it has also been on FARK (where I first saw it) but I wanted to be sure Mr. Balko saw this:

    “12 warnings. 4 suspensions. Why was the NISD cop who killed an unarmed 14-year-old on the job?”

  27. #27 |  DJB | 

    Lots of articulate, intelligent well thought out posts, so Id like to be the one to point out that one of those sculptures (I ain’t sayin which) is beggen to be goatse’d.

  28. #28 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Link to Dwight’s story:

  29. #29 |  Dwight Brown | 

    Thanks, Michael. I don’t know how that got messed up.

  30. #30 |  Ben | 

    DJB, no less than two of those monuments are monuments to goatse.

  31. #31 |  Thomas D | 

    About that billboard in the first link:

    I’m always fascinated by the psychology involved for actors who do this kind of stuff — like the fat guy who did the billboard shoot, or someone who does a commercial that calls for the “unattractive person” role, etc.

    Have they achieved some sort of profound serenity in their lives? Are they just capable of massive self-delusion? Like, how do you be the guy where the whole joke is “people would be disgusted to see you naked,” then go out and feel confident talking to chicks? How do you look in the mirror and get a fresh shot of self-esteem?

    Lots of people are insecure about their looks in one way or another, but they have mental routines for thinking their way around it. Whereas these folks are basically confessing out loud. Wonder what the coping mechanism is, exactly. I know some people feel driven to act or model, but this seems like a high cost to pay for a gig.

  32. #32 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #23:

    That’s a damning report. It speaks volumes that Portland cops now talk about “pulling a Lindsay,” not “pulling a Quency.” Shoplifting or committing extortion on one’s beat is considered perfectly normal, but having principles and telling the brass about misconduct is beyond the pale.

    The “rebellion in Northeast” among cops who were sore that they could no longer shoplift with impunity suggests that the Northeast Precinct is staffed not simply with crooks, but arrogant ones at that. At some point, it’s game over for petty crime like that. If Quency Ho and his buddies hadn’t been ratted out by a straight cop, there is a good chance that their victims would have eventually gotten Internal Affairs or an outside agency to conduct a sting. The FBI wouldn’t have treated them with kid gloves.

    An attorney for the city is now effectively calling Lindsay Hunt a quitter, which isn’t surprising since character assassination is a stock in trade of defense attorneys. But who the hell does the PPB think it hired? Custer? Don Quixote? Davy Crockett? Of course good beat cops will throw in the towel if they’re subjected to ongoing harassment for doing their jobs. PPB is lucky that Hunt didn’t quit during probation. It’s pretty fucking simple: managers who allow work environments like the one that Hunt describes to develop can expect absenteeism, poor work performance, and attrition among the targets of harassment. PPB scored one out of three with Hunt.

    There’s no telling how many cases of burnout among good cops on account of bad internal discipline go unreported in the press, but it’s a serious problem. Police agencies have trouble enough recruiting and retaining good officers without letting rogues harass them to the breaking point.

    There appears to be some serious ass-covering in progress in the PPB, so I may have to scratch my recent claim that it’s a well-run agency (although Chicago it ain’t). In any event, I dare say that Joe “I have a job” Schilling is a strange ranger.

  33. #33 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Make that Joe “Joe Schilling has a job” Schilling. As in:

    “Joe Schilling has a job. Lindsay Hunt doesn’t have a job. Joe Schilling gets to go home at the end of the day.”

    People who talk like that are at least a bit off, and that’s all there is to it.

  34. #34 |  croaker | 

    Abolish The Police

  35. #35 |  albatross | 

    Crazy #21:

    My guess is that a huge amount of our interaction with authority figures, short and long term, is evolutionarily-sculpted monkey dominance stuff. When the cops want someone to “stop fighting,” they’re really looking for instinctive surrender/submission signals. And peoples’ responses to that kind of monkey dominance/submission stuff is similarly mostly instinctive.

    Swearing vengance is probably easier to stick to when you’re in a terrorist cell or gang or something, so you can invoke the old tribal circuitry in your brain. Otherwise, you’re probably going to have to fall back to rational planning.

    And rationally, vengance almost never makes any sense. I can think of a lot of ways to kill someone who’s terribly harmed me, but most of them end with me dead or in prison, or at best living the rest of my life as a fugitive, leaving the country and keeping as low a profile as possible from then on.

    Even worse, outside movie sets, most schemes for getting vengance (like most schemes for terrorist attacks) either won’t work very well, will end with you dead or in custody, and/or will have a good chance of killing random bystanders, with hard tradeoffs between them. For example, if you want to be sure to kill only your target, you probably need to be right up close to him, to see him in your gunsights. But then, you’re not too likely to get away when it’s done, and he or someone else may see you in time to stop you. To improve your chances of getting away, you might want to do something less direct, like a mail bomb or a car bomb. But of course, either one may fail (or you may score an “own goal” while building the bomb, in which case at least *your* troubles will be over), and both are likely to kill your target’s secretary, summer intern, wife, child, driver, etc. And so on.

    So that’s my guess–vengance of the kind you’re imagining is neither supported by instinct, nor by reason, so it’s rare that anyone seeks it out.

  36. #36 |  albatross | 

    I’m interested in how often media sources spin their reporting as with this case, or as with the national media’s reporting of “enhanced interrogation.” Back when I was in college, I remember that our local newspaper referred to local gangs as “youth groups.” (You know, kinda like the Boy Scouts, but with guns and drugs.)

  37. #37 |  CK | 

    @Crazy Internet Musing Guy:
    “Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries – for heavy ones they cannot.” and
    “A man will sooner forget the death of his father than the loss of his inheritance.”
    Is it not amazing how many Vietnamese terror brigades have attacked americans since 1973 in revenge and vengance for the murder of millions of their sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and children, murder most cowardly/macho perpetrated by the USAF and the USN bombers; funny that.

  38. #38 |  VikingMoose | 

    was it bad that under the Yugoslav/commie monuments, I wanted to spray paint, “Wolverines”?

  39. #39 |  Mike Kaplan | 

    “Commie” monuments? I don’t think so. As an American teenager traveling through Yugoslavia by bicycle and train in 1982 I was befriended by Yugoslav soldiers who made it clear that Yugoslavia was “non-aligned”. President Tito was worshipped for walking the tightrope that kept Yugoslavia free of the Soviet sphere.

    They were socialists yes, but they admired America and the West and didn’t like Russia.

    I remember comparison shopping in different shops and discovering that prices were exactly the same in every store. So one benefit of socialism for a poor teenager was eliminating the need to compare prices.

    Slovenia, then a province, was my favorite area. Hiking in the Alps by myself I was invited to join groups of native hikers every day.
    The people were very friendly and seemed excited to be with an American. I don’t think they had seen many Americans – I received special treatment where ever I went.

    I was writing in my journal one morning at the shore of Lake Mladost near the town of Bled when two attractive young women approached, offering to share their lunch of bread, cheese and peppers. Of course I accepted. The peppers were too spicy for me, but I didn’t want the girls to be disappointed so I kept eating them any way. Sweet agony.

  40. #40 |  CyniCAl | 

    Fascinating discussion about acting on the desire for revenge. It is these types of discussions that keep me a regular here.

    I want to think about this one … my gut is that some people, if not the vast majority, are just not killers no matter how much they are pushed.