Sunday Links

Sunday, December 4th, 2011
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36 Responses to “Sunday Links”

  1. #1 |  Joey Maloney | 

    The answer is “probably never”.

  2. #2 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Both wars — first on drugs, then terror — have lent police forces across the country justification to acquire the latest technology, equipment and tactical training for newly created specialized units.”

    9-11 was the spark that sent U.S. law enforcement into a downward spiral from which it will probably not recover, at least in the way reformers might wish. It gave law enforcement, already compromised due to drug war excesses, a new culture that can be summed up like this: “No one has the right to question us now. We are heroes protecting our citizens (subjects?) from terrorists.”

  3. #3 |  Chuchundra | 

    Is anyone really shocked by the Vonnegut thing? All that stuff was right there in his books.

  4. #4 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I’m with Chuchundra on Vonnegut. I must have missed the whole “Grandfatherly Midwestern Sage” period of his career because I aways took him for a bitter misogynist lefty.

  5. #5 |  John Thacker | 

    For #1, it’s possible that the defense attorney means that “the DA is bringing charges in cases that are so weak that the defendants are rightly being found innocent; those cases should never have been brought to trial.” Probably not, though.

    Have you been following the absurdity of the Durham, NC DA that replaced the horrible Mike Nifong? She’s been accusing a sitting judge of conspiring with defense attorneys and the local paper to make her look bad. This is related to all these cases of people convicted under the testimony of disgraced SBI expert witness Duane Deaver, accused of falsifying and hiding evidence to get convictions.

    Deaver was fired by the NC DOJ, but is suing to get his job back. (Naturally, he says he was a fall guy. Who knows?) The DA wanted to use state and local money to hire Deaver’s private lawyers to defend keeping people convicted on his testimony in jail, instead of having the state DOJ lawyers (who are challenging Deaver’s lawsuit to get his job back, naturally) defend (or not) his record.

  6. #6 |  John Thacker | 

    Whatever you think of Vonnegut’s other stories, at the least Harrison Bergeron prevents him from being totally pigeonholed as a typical lefty, surely.

  7. #7 |  John Thacker | 

    And just the other day:

    Cline has filed motions in three cases, accusing Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson of “moral turpitude, dishonesty and corruption” and alleging that the judge has led a conspiracy to destroy her.

    The weird thing is that AG Cline didn’t even prosecute these cases. These are old cases where disgraced SBI agent Duane Deaver’s testimony was crucial, but happened before Cline was AG.

  8. #8 |  John Thacker | 

    However, probably the biggest reason DA Cline (not AG) hates Hudson is that there was a recent case where the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office released human remains founds in the woods to the victim’s sister, who cremated them, without allowing the defendant’s lawyers to get access to them. Judge Hudson wrote a blistering order saying that Cline, the N.C. Medical Examiner’s Office, the Durham Police Department and the victim’s assistance program committed serious Constitutional violations by doing so, and dismissed the case. DA Cline appealed that and is also filing ethics charges against Judge Hudson for daring to criticize her and the police.

  9. #9 |  John Thacker | 

    And here DA Cline is filing false motions in front of a judge trying to get information on who visited inmates filing ethics charges against her.

  10. #10 |  Fascist Nation | 

    “…when prosecutors will start facing significant professional sanctions for this stuff?”

    Ah, never.

    The question is, “When will judges be rebuked for rebuking prosecutors?” A: Just as soon as an appeal can be heard before an Appellate branch of the overseeing judiciary.

    You’ve really lost your cynicism. ;-)

  11. #11 |  Aresen | 

    Nice to see you got credit in that NYT article on police militarization, Radley.

    Sad that the author buys into the notion that the police need all that heavy weaponry to fight terrorists. Does he imagine that the NYPD is going to have a building to building street fight with brigades of Al Queda troops?

  12. #12 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Helmut O’ Hooligan,

    It’s convenient for a varied bunch of political groups to blame 9/11 for an upsurge of police misbehavior, but I’m not convinced it’s true. The Gung Ho attitude seems to me to have come from the top down, and from the popular culture in general and Action Movie cops in particular. Ruby Ridge and Waco predate 9/11 by a fair amount, and I think that the lessons there (that horrific bungling will be spun away) were widely received by the beat cops.

    Don’t get me wrong; 9/11 certainly didn’t help. What worries me most about the Islamo-idiots is that while I doubt they can seriously hurt us as a nation, they CAN get us seriously angry. If they do, Hell is going to go for a walk with the sleeves rolled up, and when the dust clears things are going to be a whole lot worse in many ways. I won’t be affected badly; I’m 50, live on investments (which will soar, for a while), and don’t travel. By the time the Imperial Fascism reaches down to me, I’ll be gone. But it won’t be good for the nation, or the people, and it will be an absolute disaster for the Middle East.

  13. #13 |  Gonzo | 

    @Chuchundra

    Popped in to say just that. I don’t think anyone has ever considered his work to be brimming with “warm humour and homespun Midwestern wisdom.” That’s missing all sorts of points. I find it really perplexing.

  14. #14 |  DK | 

    Don’t know if this has been brought up in another thread, but for your liberal readers, the time has rolled around again to Rand Paul’s stopped clock:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/196943-paul-calls-senates-bluff-kills-terrorist-detainee-amendment

    Basically, Levin (D-MI) and McCain (R-AZ) tried to get this detainee amendment passed by simple voice vote. When Paul forced a roll call vote, it was defeated. Note also that Levin and McCain both voted no (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00217).

    I imagine Paul is not making too many friends among the Senate leadership.

  15. #15 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    “isn’t it sort of odd that a defense attorney would decide to run against an incumbent DA because the DA’s conviction rate is too low?”

    Unfortunately, it’s not odd at all; what’s odd is that the DA let it get so low. Maybe he was growing a conscience?

    #3, #4, #13: Agreed. When I read that I was like, “Whaaaaaat? Did these people read the same books I did?” His bitterness and misogyny were so apparent to reasonably bright high-school girls that one of my friends used to call him “Kurt Vomit-guts”.

    #11: Yeah, I think I see traces of badge-paint on that Times reporter’s tongue.

  16. #16 |  Marty | 

    # #6 | ‘Whatever you think of Vonnegut’s other stories, at the least Harrison Bergeron prevents him from being totally pigeonholed as a typical lefty, surely.’

    Yes. A brilliant story.

  17. #17 |  jay | 

    i don’t think defense lawyers see their goal in life as “minimize conviction rate of the DA”, particularly when they know they defend a fair number of skeezy, guilty people. (for all the abusive cases that radley reports on, there are still quite a few cases of assault, homicide, rape, abuse, etc which get prosecuted.) the defense lawyers i’ve heard from are trying to ensure that their skeezy clients get the best representation possible so that they can’t complain about it in the event of an appeal; they still want violent criminals in jail. so perhaps this defense lawyer has found himself winning cases that he’d rather not have won, because the DA is incompetent?

  18. #18 |  CyniCAl | 

    Anyone who has read Vonnegut’s entire catalog and the related literary criticism is quite aware of his demons. Vonnegut had a public nervous breakdown in the early 1970s. Breakfast Of Champions was the resulting novel.

    That changes absolutely nothing about his legacy, which is arguably, and certainly in my opinion, the greatest literary contribution of the second half of the 20th Century.

  19. #19 |  Michael P ack | 

    The question is when prosecutors will go to jail for fraud or false imprisonment.Not to mention perjury.

  20. #20 |  EH | 

    Kamala Harris beat Terrence Hallinan for San Francisco DA based on his low conviction record. However, his conviction record was so low because he had been instituting diversions and alternate sentencing to keep people out of jail for minor crimes. She took whatever simplistic percentage she could calculate and extrapolated to YOU GONNA GET RAPED.

    She may be fighting the good fight on mortgages, but CA AG Harris is a career person first.

  21. #21 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    CyniCAl,

    While I don’t think you are necessarily wrong, I’m not at all sure that says more for Vonnegut than it says against the literary world of the last fifty years. Which in many ways has degenerated into neurosis and neurasthenia. I would argue that any analysis that omits the impact of Thomas Harris casting a psychotherapist gone bad as the ultimate monster has missed something important. That More thoughtful kicking around of ideas has gone on in the Science Fiction ghetto than in all the New York Literary circles combined. That the definition of “Literature” needs badly to be broadened back out until it once again includes books that somebody other than a self-described intellectual will read for pleasure.

  22. #22 |  Ted S. | 

    I think that everything that needed to be said about Vonnegut and the “surprise” comes from the article’s final paragraph:

    The book will do little to dampen enthusiasm for Vonnegut’s work. “He’s not a relic of the 1960s. His work is vibrant today even posthumously,” said Sumner. “Maybe we just expect too much of our heroes.”

    I was born in 1972, and can’t wait for the “heroes” of the 1960 finally to stop being looked at that way, which sadly won’t happen at the earliest before all the people who came of age in the 1960s idolizing these “heroes” finally retire.

  23. #23 |  JSL | 

    “Does he imagine that the NYPD is going to have a building to building street fight with brigades of Al Queda troops?”

    No, they’re for the riots when the economy collapses and “domestic terrorist militias”.

  24. #24 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    C.S.P. Schofield–

    Your points are well taken. If we wanted to make a timeline, I guess we might also add the reaction to the WTO protests of 1999. I think that’s the first time I saw the “Darth Vader” style riot gear come out. I do agree that we were heading in the wrong direction before 9-11, but I think that event solidified the committment of too many at all levels of government to “take the gloves off,” not just to deal with terrorists, but to deal with any who are considered to be “undesireables” in the eyes of the political and corporate executive class.

  25. #25 |  FTP | 

    Slight quibble with the false memory/hypnosis/Satanic ritual business: according to the linked article, it was the doing of a psychologist, not a psychiatrist.

  26. #26 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Helmut O’ Hooligan,

    While I have little affection for Thug Cops, I would point out that during my lifetime (1961 to date) almost every time the on-campus anti-’establishment’ counterculture has taken a protest off campus they have seriously misjudged how much nonsense they will be allowed to get away with, and gotten clobbered. The 1968 Democrat convention in Chicago is a prime example; the symbolism of throwing baggies full of sh*t at police may be great, but the facts are that the cops are blue collar guys whose reaction is highly likely to be unpleasant, and acting surprised makes you look like a complete twit.

    The police reaction to the WTO protests wasn’t RIGHT, but it wasn’t new either. I think that police reaction to unruly protests is a separate issue to police militarization and increased thuggishness.

  27. #27 |  Juice | 

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/article1204506.ece

    Cops steak out hydroponics shop and follow a customer home. Knock on the door and ask to come in and search. Homeowner refuses. Cops “smelled growing marijuana and heard ‘the distinct sound of foliage being broken’” so they broke through his iron gate and dragged the homeowner out of the house. I guess that new supreme court ruling is already working as planned.

  28. #28 |  Juice | 

    Oh they also erased the DVR to the homeowner’s surveillance cameras.

  29. #29 |  sheenyglass | 

    Interesting sidenote, Soares (the DA with the low conviction rate) has also been in conflict with Gov. Cuomo for refusing to prosecute Occupy Albany protesters. Although Soares has been a target on this point ever since he took over as Albany DA, as he’s favored a less-punitive drug policy.

    Also, my impression is that at the state court level there is a bit of a revolving door with regard to prosecutors and defense attorneys. The salaries for ADAs are low enough (at least when compared to private practice) that most of the people run for DA will have spent some time in private practice building up their kids college fund, usually criminal defense.

  30. #30 |  CyniCAl | 

    #4 | C. S. P. Schofield — “I’m with Chuchundra on Vonnegut. I must have missed the whole “Grandfatherly Midwestern Sage” period of his career because I aways took him for a bitter misogynist lefty.”

    All due respect, that’s a bit shallow. Vonnegut was acutely self-aware of his shortcomings.

    And if you claim that I have no way of truly knowing, Vonnegut wrote, “One must be very careful what one pretends to be, because one is what one pretends to be.” So his true face is what was in his novels either way.

  31. #31 |  CyniCAl | 

    Vonnegut’s genius is that he was trained as a journalist and wrote fiction in a journalistic style.

    Another way of putting it is: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

    As for “warm, homespun Midwestern humor,” perhaps they have him confused with Garrison Keillor? They were about the same age, one from Indiana, the other from Wisconsin? Close enough, right?

  32. #32 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    “Never mind the affair, isn’t it sort of odd that a defense attorney would decide to run against an incumbent DA because the DA’s conviction rate is too low?”

    No. If his conviction rate is too low, it means he is bringing a lot of cases to the grand jury that he doesn’t have enough evidence to try. A perfectly omniscient and fair DA should have 100% conviction rate because he won’t try cases with insufficient evidence.

  33. #33 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    “Another judge reams federal prosecutors for misconduct. The question is when prosecutors will start facing significant professional sanctions for this stuff.”

    Never? The last time we saw prosecutors and judges facing serious penalties, was in 1800′s San Fransisco when they were tried under private courts for corruption.

  34. #34 |  JOR | 

    “A perfectly omniscient and fair DA should have 100% conviction rate because he won’t try cases with insufficient evidence.”

    A perfectly omniscient ANYTHING would have a 100% success rate, because they wouldn’t commit their resources anywhere except where they knew they could win. Jesus Christ.

  35. #35 |  Jim Collins | 

    I would say that Harris has a bit of a bias where Vonnegut is concerned. This statement pretty much backe it up.

    “had no qualms about investing in firms that made napalm or indulged in a host of other morally suspect activities.”

  36. #36 |  CyniCAl | 

    Yep, I missed the part where Vonnegut was a role model. And all this time I thought he was just a fantastic writer.

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