- Man dies in a house fire caused by police deployment of a flash grenade. It’s not the first time this has happened.
- The last paragraph of this article pretty much sums up my expectations for the new GOP-led House.
- Some crappy headlines this week. So here is a video of a tired puppy.
- Curious to know what Agitator readers think of this story. Should it be a crime to exploit a flaw in slot machines? I’m not convinced it should be.
- While we’re at it, here’s a bit more comments bait. To what degree is a 12-year-old culpable for murder? If you think this kid got what he deserved, at what age would you put the cutoff?
- I’m quoted in this Boston Herald article about this week’s SWAT killing of Eurie Stamps.
Category: Gambling and Poker
- City of Glendale set to shell out a total of $400 million to keep the Arizona Coyotes, worth $100 million, from moving.
- Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell at Belmont University. (Obligatory Caveat: Since it’s a private university, Belmont should be legally permitted to hire/fire whom it pleases, for whatever reasons it pleases. And I’m free to criticize them for it.)
- ICE seizes domains of hip-hop blogs, won’t say why. And no, ICE isn’t the name of a rival hip-hop artist.
- I missed these when they came out, and I still haven’t looked them over yet, but you can find the first full year of data from Maryland’s SWAT transparency bill here. I wrote about the first six-month report here.
- The iPhone “snitch” ap.
- Harry Reid jumps on board the Internet gambling bandwagon. There’s a lesson here for the money-corrupts-politics crowd: Reid only switched because of support from the Vegas bricks-and-mortar casinos. Which goes to show that money can have a good influence as well as a bad one. I’ll take a corrupt congressman who votes correctly over a pure-hearted legislator who consistently gives us terrible laws. (Not saying Reid fits either description.)
- Terrible story out of Long Beach, California, where police shot and kill a man holding a water nozzle. No announcement, no order to drop the thing. Just shooting.
Once he recovers, a 72-year-old man will be charged with attempted murder after getting into a shootout with the SWAT team who raided the private poker game he was hosting. From the Pokerati blog:
A relatively routine raid of a low-stakes poker game in Greenville, South Carolina turned bloody yesterday night — as police tried to gain entry to a poker house. The game host, now known to be Aaron Awtry, 72, shot through the front door, striking sheriff’s deputy Matthew May with a bullet that went through his arm.
A vice squad in SWAT gear returned fire, hitting Awtry with multiple rounds in his arm and thumb … which was followed by a 20-minute standoff between cops and players, according to a spokesman for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department. Both shooting victims were taken to the hospital where they are in stable condition.
There were 12 people and Awtry in the house at 502 Pine Knoll Drive when police arrived at about 9:20 pm last night. According to frontline witnesses, they had just finished a small buy-in dinnertime tourney … and a 1/2 cash game was just getting underway when someone saw 5-0 approaching on a security monitor. Before he could clearly vocalize an alert, a battery ram begin slamming the front door and players froze. Awtry, who players say has notoriously bad hearing in his senior years and presumably believed the game was being robbed, began shooting at the door with his pistol, firing “at least once” according to a player, “multiple shots” according to police. At least four officers returned fire at the door with at least 20 bullets from their higher-powered assault weapons.
As Awtry fell back into the poker room entryway, he balked, “Why didn’t you tell me it was the cops?”
Local news coverage of the raid here. Police seized about $5,000 in cash. Everyone but Awtry was issued a $100 fine. Ironically, both the South Carolina Supreme Court and state legislature may soon clarify the state’s confusing laws about private poker games.
This is far from the first time police have brought the SWAT team to a poker game. Reason.tv covered a similar raid at on a charity poker game hosted by an American Legion post in Dallas.
- New Haven mayor agrees that maybe it was a bad idea to use a SWAT team for an underage drinking inspection. I guess that’s a start.
- This Onion piece could almost be a straightforward news story.
- Slate looks at Senate “vanity walls.”
- Little Billy’s Letters to Famous People.
- The New York Times on the Siobhan Reynolds case.
- Federal prosecutors in Washington State look to seize assets of online payment service that works with poker sites. Good to Obama’s DOJ has straightened out the priorities of the previous administration.
- NPR fires Juan Williams for saying he fears Muslims when he’s at the airport.
- MIT scientist building machine to determine whether or not we’re living in a hologram.
- Fun with headline double-entendres.
- Report: Bell, California public officials used low-income housing funds for personal slush fund.
- Depaul University refuses to recognize student group that advocates marijuana legalization.
- Pretty much par for the course when it comes to DHS policy.
- Last month, Washington State’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on online poker, which puts playing online in the same class of crimes as child molestation, arson, and kidnapping. Here’s reaction from a poker player who recently moved there.
- Man falls, wife calls paramedics, man ends up tased three times.
- Fascinating article about an experiment in which Charles Darwin created a new ecosystem on a remote island.
- This little girl has an incredible voice. Caught her performance last night. It was even better.
- Man whittling in public confronted by police. Ends up dead.
- John McWhorter: Ending the drug war will do more to help black Americans than marching.
- The good news is that an online gambling legalization bill is slowly gaining momentum. The bad news comes in reading about how it’s happening, when you see just how ugly Washington sausage making really is.
Three bullet points of good news this morning. Granted, all three are qualified victories. But hey, that’s better than three bullet points of bad news, right?
- House Financial Services Committee passes bill to legalize, regulate online gambling.
- Congress passes bill narrowing crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity. Goes from 1oo-1 to 18-1.
- House passes bill to create commission on criminal justice reform.
- All My Friends Are Dead
- Michael Kinsley wants you to send him the most boring article you can find.
- Pitchfork Media’s probably illegal camera policy at music festivals in public parks.
- Dee Snider kicks the Gore family while they’re down. And he kinda’ has a point.
Our concluding arguments have been posted in my Economist debate about legalized gambling.
You should go vote for me, if for no other reason than that my argument includes a bad pun taken from a Kris Kristofferson lyric.
My favorite comment so far in the Economist debate.
At the time I am writing, there is 53% of the debate’s participants that think that there should be NO legal restrictions on gambling. So I conclude that for Radley Balko and 53% of the participants the following points are not very important problems in comparison with the benefits that society can get from a lack of restrictions or with the sacrosanct idea of freedom.
If there are no restrictions, I think that there are going to be special slots machines for kids in front of every school and a large amount of money to spend in advertising gambling to children. A lot of children are going to become gambling addicts and the gambling industry is going to make a lot of money when they grow up and began earning money. Besides, gambling is going to depreciate the value of money in their minds. 10 euros is nothing because if you are lucky you can win 1,000,000 euros or more by gambling these 10 euros… but in real life 10 euros is more than 1 hour of hard work in a lot of developed countries or 10 days of toil in others.
I grew up in the country side of France and I was 22 when I first entered a casino with some previous exposure to the dangers of gambling. Then, I haven’t become an addict and have gambled less than 3 times in the 8 following years. Now I am living in Colombia where they don’t have the means to tightly control gambling. I can see slot machines in every small grocery in the working-class suburbs where I live and who is gambling? Adults, but also 12 year-olds that seem to be already addicted. When I see that, I assure you that I am happy to have grown up in a country that have the means and the rules to not show me these slot machines when I was that age.
But for Radley Balko, these problems don’t seem very important and I am just amazed that 53% of the participants think like him…
I’m fine with letting elementary school-age children gamble, but only if they’re also legally permitted to drink. It would be cruel to let them wager away their allowance, but then deny them the sweet, melancholy ritual of drowning their sorrows in beer.
Our rebuttals have been posted in my gambling debate for the Economist.
Go vote! I’m down by six percentage points right now.
Sorry for the dearth of posts today. I’m on a couple deadlines.
But at midnight tonight, you can read the opening salvos in my weeklong debate over at the Economist on whether we should legalize gambling. Readers determine the winner.
I (barely) resisted the temptation to start by asking my opponent if he wanted to place a wager on the outcome.
A friendly reminder as Californians go to the polls today: Included on GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s “public safety” advisory committee is Kern County, California DA Ed Jagels, the man who put 25 (at least) innocent people in prison. This presumably is the sort of person Whitman would have advising her on criminal justice issues should she become governor.
Oh, and while she was head of eBay, the company formally advocated throwing people who play online poker in jail.
I don’t know that her opponent today is any better. But those are two pretty good reasons not to vote for Whitman.
- I think they should get the money. And it’s the second time this has happened?
- Meta amusing.
- California NAACP needs a collective hearing test.
- South Carolina state senator needs a damned clue.
- So does the Family Research Council.
- The Economist looks at civil asset forfeiture.
- More evidence that illegal immigrants don’t cause crime.