Late Morning Links

Thursday, June 9th, 2011
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38 Responses to “Late Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Jozef | 

    The images on this page (SFW) are causing me serious emotional distress. Can I get the Tennessee Internet cops to delete them?

  2. #2 |  Aresen | 

    Texas police conduct search based on a tip from a psychic.

    One has to admit that the psychic was probably more reliable than their usual informants.

  3. #3 |  aragul | 

    “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress”

    There’s some images at irs.gov that cause me emotional distress.

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    Ever since The State of Tennessee v. Scopes, Tennessee has shown strong leadership in “Moronic Law”.

  5. #5 |  Sean L. | 

    “President Dmitry Medvedev said drug abuse was cutting up to three percentage points off economic growth.”

    So let’s spend five percentage points combating it.

  6. #6 |  Chris in AL | 

    Rarely do you see this much intelligence come out of anyone in government anymore.

    “Final approval of this legislation accepts the reality that the current law does more harm than good – both in the impact it has on people’s lives and the burden it places on police, prosecutors and probation officers of the criminal justice system. Let me make it clear – we are not legalizing the use of marijuana. In modifying this law, we are recognizing that the punishment should fit the crime, and acknowledging the effects of its application. There is no question that the state’s criminal justice resources could be more effectively utilized for convicting, incarcerating and supervising violent and more serious offenders.”

    Of course, legalizing and taxing it would have turned an expense into revenue, but baby steps…

  7. #7 |  Irving Washington | 

    That mass grave story keeps getting funnier.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/psychic_dead_sparked_texas_mass_7n7ZPAmOSZGJqeJcOBKQWI

  8. #8 |  lunchstealer | 

    Doesn’t total war, in its general sense, mean things carpetbombing and firebombing cities full of civilians?

    So very little change in WoD tactics, then.

  9. #9 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Texas police conduct search based on a tip from a psychic.

    Imaginary shit carries a lot of weight in this country. And, when I say a lot, I mean A LOT.

  10. #10 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Russia reminds me of Reagan-era scare tactics. The Omnibus Bill.

    “Sept. 1986. Two controversial amendments to an omnibus drug Bill before the House of Representatives would allow the death penalty for convicted drug smugglers and …”

  11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Tennessee posts a strong entry in the “most moronic law about the Internet” competition.

    Because, as we all know, the First Amendment was never meant to protect expression that people really really don’t like.

    Words have been elevated to the level of sticks and stones and will now be outlawed in precisely the same way.

    Your right to express yourself shall not infringe on my right to be free from your expression.

    One of the requirements to be a legislator in the South is severe irreversible brain damage.

  12. #12 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    What “winning” the Qualified Immunity challenge in Colorado looks like: 8-year legal battle and Colorado’s unconstitutional statute remains on the books.

    And it still counts as great news.

  13. #13 |  jrb | 

    Huh. It appears that some of my macro shots of spiders may be illegal in Tennessee. They certainly distress some people.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The funny thing about Russia is that absolutely every state agent you see on TV or read about is “totally” corrupt. Russia minted so many billionaires you can’t count that high…all through tremendous state corruption.

    TA readers obviously know the thing to blame: the Free Market.

  15. #15 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to “transmit or display an image” online that is likely to “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress” to someone who sees it.

    So all of 4Chan is now illegal in Tennessee? I’m going to have to think about what side I’ll take on this one.

  16. #16 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    I guess that Colorado prosecutor should’ve justified her search warrant against the student by claiming it was based on an anonymous psychic tip. Hmm, maybe we should start phoning in hundreds of anonymous psychic tips that tons of drugs can be found in the homes of politicians, judges and police officials.

  17. #17 |  Bob | 

    …self-professed female seer, who reportedly claimed in two telephone calls to police that there were mutilated bodies, including those of children, at the property.

    But they’re not dead! Those are just scratches, and flesh wounds.

    The fascinating part is that this woman probably really believes she’s psychic. 75% of the US population claim to believe in supernatural phenomenon, so it stands to reason that a small percentage actually believe they have ‘the gift’.

  18. #18 |  DarkEFang | 

    #8 Lunchstealer

    “Doesn’t total war, in its general sense, mean things carpetbombing and firebombing cities full of civilians?”

    Exactly. Total war was conceived primarily as a justification for heavy civilian casualties in combat.

    I have a hunch that this new pronouncement is mostly a ruse to cover for an extra-harsh repression of Vladimir Putin’s political enemies.

  19. #19 |  Mario | 

    Regarding the Op-Ed on police militarization, there is a very good Cato Podcast on the same subject, from the same gentleman.

  20. #20 |  albatross | 

    DarkEFang:

    I just don’t understand what could make you think such a thing about a supporter of free speech and liberal democracy like Putin.

  21. #21 |  Greg | 

    So all of 4Chan is now illegal in Tennessee? I’m going to have to think about what side I’ll take on this one.

    Boyd,

    Just /b.

    Remember if you raff, you ruse…

  22. #22 |  newshutz | 

    Re: Russian drug war

    One thing we know for certain, the drug war is a great excuse to build the infrastructure for a police state.

  23. #23 |  BoscoH | 

    I am anything but an Apple fan at this point, but the DUI app exclusion is basically toothless and mostly ephemeral. Apps will still be “allowed” to share DUI checkpoints when law enforcement announces them, as they must in states like California.

    But the real point is this… On the Android side, where phones are being used to provide real time traffic information, DUI checkpoints will stick out like a sore thumb. As more people use Google Navigation to find their way from place to place, they’ll just use it to route around checkpoints, accidents, and closures for even fairly local trips.

  24. #24 |  Sean L. | 

    “I have a hunch that this new pronouncement is mostly a ruse to cover for an extra-harsh repression of Vladimir Putin’s political enemies.”

    Or a way to boost his profit margin. … Or both!

  25. #25 |  Andrew Roth | 

    It’s a scary country indeed where Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin served as the high water mark for open society.

  26. #26 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Mapp v. Ohio turns 50. I’d put more credibility in conservative objections to the Exclusionary Rule if they offered plausible alternative policies to prevent law enforcement from violating the Fourth Amendment.

    I am very much on your side in these criminal law and criminal procedure issues you discuss, Mr. Balko. I really am. But this is a fundamental place where i part companny with you and Simple justice and the rest. The Exclusionary Rule has evolved into “don’t throw me into the briar patch” politics at its most pure and effective (I don’t think it started out that way).

    most recently we had the Indiana Supreme court telling us that there could not be a right to resist unlawful popo entry precisely because of the Exclusionary Rule (taken in conjunction with the right to a bail hearing hahahahahahahahahaha). It gets worse when you consider how the exclusionary Rule guts section 1983 (at least as interpreted by polcy-minded courts).

    Respectfully, I ask you to reconsider your position on this. We would be far better off without the Exclusionary Rule in the long run (and i don’t think it would be that long of a run).

  27. #27 |  Andrew Roth | 

    When I studied abroad in Russia, a guest lecturer compared Putin’s relationship with the oligarchs to Peter the Great’s relationship with nobles whom he occasionally robbed by beating with a cane.

    My five weeks in Russia made me indescribably grateful to and proud of my maternal grandfather and his parents for emigrating. Getting the hell out of Russia was a good idea for Jews in 1905. For that matter, it would have been almost as good an idea had they been Gentiles.

    We think that one of my grandfather’s cousins was killed or at least imprisoned in the Stalinist purges. During the 1930s mail addressed to her started being returned, marked by the Soviet Post as undeliverable–i.e., no forwarding address or death notice.

    In any event, the place wasn’t in great shape by the time I visited in 2002. In spite of huge relative improvements, especially in wealthier areas, there was a huge amount of dysfunction, marginal poverty and violence. The police were openly regarded as something between a criminal syndicate and a bunch of armed freelance robbers. I saw two men violently assaulting two other men, both of them lying in an alleyway in a semifetal position while their assailants kicked them hard in the abdomen. This was in a fairly prosperous area of central St. Petersburg. In other central areas of St. Petersburg and Moscow–i.e., a far cry from the suburban projects–it was common to see smelly, disheveled alcoholics and shifty, delinquent-looking young men loitering on street corners. From what I’ve read, all of this was child’s play compared to the normal state of affairs in the suburbs, and rates of violent crime skyrocketed a year or two after I visited. The very fact that I never encountered any skinhead gangs shows that I didn’t see the worst of it.

    In short, Russia is a sociological wreck. Its government is a wreck, too, in too many ways to list. If I’ve read the histories correctly, it generally takes a decade, or at most two decades, for Russian governments to revert from reform to autocracy. The atavistic regression under Putin, and lately Medvedev, has followed a similar timeline to regressions under Catherine the Great, Alexander III and Stalin.

    It’s not by accident, then, that Russia has consistently had one of the highest incarceration rates on Earth. Sadly, it doesn’t much surprise me that Medvedev has declared a total war on drugs. For one thing, to the simpleminded it looks like a best practice adopted from a brilliant Western power–just like the three-drug lethal injection cocktail. More fundamentally, though, I would be amazed if anyone in the Kremlin has a clue of how to deal effectively with the structural and sociological causes of drug addiction. Russians shoot up smack because life in Russia sucks, and I don’t foresee the usual dolts in high office doing much to change that.

  28. #28 |  jcalton | 

    I don’t understand why police or SWAT wear black. Wouldn’t we want them to be easily identifiable as police officers?
    Wouldn’t being more easily identifiable make them less likely to be mistakenly threatened by someone like Guerena?

    Imagine if 8 guys wearing construction orange or caution yellow (or pink for that matter) were to break in your door? What are the chances they are criminals? It would be very difficult for criminals to get away with crimes if they had to dress in day-glo. Seems unlikely.

    But if it’s dark (or silhouetted by the sun) and they are wearing all black… how do you know?

  29. #29 |  Bob | 

    #28 | jcalton | June 9th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t understand why police or SWAT wear black….

    It’s because they specifically DO NOT want to be identified as police. Or anyone else, they want to descend on their prey Ninja Style so fast that all they see is the TV one second, and the muzzle of an MP5 the next.

    That’s now it works in their mind.

    The courts, however, say otherwise. Their uniforms must say POLICE or whatever somewhere. They have to announce before breaking in the door. (usually.)

    They do the absolute minimum possible. Knock, yell POLICE! SEARCH WARRANT! for 5 seconds then bust in guns ready. That’s how the mercenary killers that trained them taught them to do it… and they’re their heroes!

    So, they play lip service to being ‘visible’ and ‘announcing’ and all that crap to stay in ‘policy’, but at the same time pushing the envelope to preserve the fantasy of being a Navy Seal or an Army Green Beret.

  30. #30 |  albatross | 

    I’ve often wondered how much SWAT team misuse could be curbed by repainting all the SWAT gear hot pink and blazoning it with Hello Kitty logos.

  31. #31 |  Discarted | 

    I’m not a legal scholar, but wouldn’t this Tennessee law also have to apply to billboards, news websites, museums, galleries, etc.? Not just the internet, but all media?

    Seems like the power of YouTube to help expose corruption within all levels of governmnt, i.e., police brutality has some people backed into a corner and they’re trying to do anything (even if it’s unconstitutional) to prevent people from showing the truth.

  32. #32 |  Dylboz | 

    Seems like the commenters on the Psychic article are confused and did not actually read the article. They seem top think that the tipster was the one who led the cops to a very real mass grave site in Liberty County texas. There is no indication this is it. Sounds more like sort of copy-cat by proxy. Or something.

  33. #33 |  Dylboz | 

    Oh wait, this IS it, and the hole effing thing was a hoax. ironically, my wife is watching Medium on Netflix right now.

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  35. #35 |  Mike T | 

    I’d put more credibility in conservative objections to the Exclusionary Rule if they offered plausible alternative policies to prevent law enforcement from violating the Fourth Amendment.

    That would require them to understand that the constitution is actually supposed to protect criminals rather than droning on abut the “rights of victims.” I’ve been seeing a rapid decline of actual authentic Christianity among conservatives. The substitute is a lot of “God talk” without the substance of Christian teachings on mercy, justice, charity, etc. Those are the things which would temper law and order tendencies and enable conservatives to understand that even the most heinous criminal is still a human being and that there are immutable duties we owe our fellow man. One of those is to be just and appropriately merciful in meting out punishment.

  36. #36 |  bbartlog | 

    I don’t like the outcome in the Colorado case at all. The deputy DA was acting to enforce a statute that was unconstitutional. But it’s her job to enforce statutes, and if they’re unconstitutional then at some point the courts should invalidate them. *Instead*, in this case, the court has said: hey, DA, you should have known this statute is obviously unconstitutional. We hold you liable for violating someone’s rights. The statute itself? Never mind that, we’ll leave it on the books.
    I’m not saying the deputy DA should have gotten off (necessarily), since some laws are such an obvious violation of human rights that people have a moral obligation not to enforce them. But getting rid of the law should be a much higher priority than punishing the DA in this case. Unlike many other prosecutorial abuses this one involves something like a catch-22 for the DA.

  37. #37 |  Bob | 

    Colorado case.

    My question is why was it necessary to steal the guy’s stuff? Don’t they already have all the evidence they need on the web site?

    What are they searching for? Proof that it’s HIS site? You hardly need to steal his stuff for that, I’d think a simple subpoena would do.

    I’m just sensitive to warrants that say “Seize all computer related crap.” on them. And especially for a libel case, one on weak Constitutional ice in the first place.

  38. #38 |  John Q. Galt | 

    The comments give an idea as to how the original psychic raid story went down.

    http://world-news.newsvine.com/_news/2011/06/07/6806955-psychic-tip-on-texas-mayhem-leads-to-serious-search-but-no-bodies#comments

    “In Michigan-90
    Real monstrous. All who perpetrated this crime against humanity should go straight to hell. Dismembering children, at least 30 is too much. The sick b@$t@rd($) who did this are evil, and should get every possible punishment under the sun.

    9 votes
    #1.2 – Tue Jun 7, 2011 6:26 PM EDT”

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