Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 9th, 2015

Police aims to shoot dog, kills person

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I continue to believe that there’s some sort of underground police competition about shooting pet dogs. It happens too often for chance that an unannounced raid results in a dead pet. (Indeed, we’ve seen a video of a cop coaxing a dog to come to him so he could shoot the animal. The police officer of course received no sanctions under the rule that police can do what they like.)

Radley Balko reports in the Washington Post:

The steady stream of stories we’ve seen in which cops shoot dogs is disturbing for a number of reasons. There’s the fact that so many departments don’t bother to give officers training on how to deal with dogs in ways other than killing them (though there has been some progresshere.) There’s the policy in far too many departments that so long as an officer says he feared for his safety, the dog shooting will be deemed justified, no matter how irrational that fear may have been. (When combined with the lack of training, such a policy basically means every dog shooting will be excused.) There’s the implicit attitude in these stories that police officer safety trumps all — that any fear of any injury justifies the use of lethal force. There’s the callousness and indifference with which the owners of these animals are often treated. But there’s also this: Even when a dog really is menacing and aggressive, sending a stream of bullets in its general direction just isn’t a safe way to handle the problem.

Hence, this awful story from Iowa. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Wow! 90% of Netanyahu’s campaign funds comes from abroad

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Via Juan Cole:

RT | —

“Israel’s Prime Minister has kicked off his re-election campaign, with a well-funded operation, much of which is coming from abroad. More than 230,000 dollars has come in from various donors in the United States. It makes up almost 90% of Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election funds, most of it coming just from three American families. But even all that money can’t buy popularity – Bibi’s ratings are languishing, as voters look to alternatives, as Paula Slier reports.”

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Mideast Conflict

“Extremist” does not equal “Muslim”

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Indeed, the neo-Nazi resurgence in Europe (remember the Norway killings) reveals plenty of extremists who not only not Muslim but in fact are terrorists against Muslims—as is in fact the case with the violent Muslim jihadists: most of their victims are Muslims.

Juan Cole has a good post, which concludes:

. . . What is absent from our mainstream media and politics is a careful analysis of what Islam is in France today. This would show once and for all that the Muslim “community” is not the monolith Le Pen would like us to believe. The terrorists who massacred 12 people on 7 January are apparently Muslim but so was the policeman who lost his life trying to stop them.Mustapha Ourrad, Charlie Hebdo’s copy-editor killed in the attack, was born in Algeria.

This is not a clash of civilisations, this is not a war between the West and Islam, but a fight waged by some very few, marginalised yet extremely dangerous people, for whom division is key. Ultimately, condemning Islam and Muslims indiscriminately would play in the hands of those seeking to terrorise and divide us, as well as fuel the kind of nationalism that Charlie Hebdo has always fought.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Religion, Terrorism

NYPD really does not like to abide by court decisions

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Because the NYPD clearly believes that it is above the law. Michael Grabell reports in ProPublica:

A state judge has ordered the New York City Police Department to release records on a secretive program that uses unmarked vans equipped with X-ray machines to detect bombs.

The ruling follows a nearly three-year legal battle by ProPublica, which had requested police reports, training materials, contracts and any health and safety tests on the vans under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

ProPublica filed the request as part of its investigation into the proliferation of security equipment, including airport body scanners, that expose people to ionizing radiation, which can mutate DNA and increase the risk of cancer.

Richard Daddario, then the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of counterterrorism, told the court in 2013 that releasing the documents would hamper the department’s ability to conduct operations and endanger the lives of New Yorkers.

Disclosing them, he said, would “permit those seeking to evade detection to conform their conduct to the times, places and methods that avoid NYPD presence and are thus most likely to yield a successful attack.”

But Supreme Court Judge Doris Ling-Cohan called the NYPD’s argument “mere speculation” and “patently insufficient” to outweigh the public’s right to know.

“While this court is cognizant and sensitive to concerns about terrorism, being located less than a mile from the 9/11 site, and having seen firsthand the effects of terrorist destruction, nonetheless, the hallmark of our great nation is that it is a democracy, with a transparent government,” she wrote in her decision last month.

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s law department, said Thursday that the NYPD would appeal “because disclosing this sensitive information would compromise public safety.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Law, Law Enforcement

What police are doing these days…

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Other than in New York, where the police have stopped enforcing the law for minor crimes because two of their number were killed by a madman and the head of the police union, Patrick Lynch, is out of control.

Radley Balko has some good links in the Washington Post:

The drug task force gone rogue—something that’s been a constant problem since Serpico exposed the rampant corruption in the NYPD, which of course made all the police there hate him, since the police hate anyone who exposes their crimes or corruption—is quite exceptional. It’s a story by Josh Eells in Rolling Stone:

The temperature was nearing triple digits when Jonathan Treviño strapped on his bulletproof vest, slipped his .40-caliber Glock into his ankle holster and got ready to go to work. It was Thursday, July 26th, 2012, one of those summers in South Texas when the hot air settles on the Rio Grande Valley like a blanket. The Gulf breeze was already sticky as Treviño climbed into his unmarked Chevy Tahoe and started it up.

Treviño was a police officer in Mission, a bustling city of 80,000 on the Texas-Mexico border. Part of a flourishing bilingual metropolitan region with five international bridges, Mission also sits firmly in on e of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 28 HIDTAs, or High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas – smuggling hot spots where the federal government spends an extra $240 million a year battling narcotics. Nearly 800,000 pounds of marijuana and several tons of cocaine are seized there every year, on their way to street corners and living rooms all over the country – and that’s not counting the stuff that does get through. As the leader of an elite street-level narcotics squad, Treviño was in the middle of the action.

At 28, Treviño was young to be heading up his own narcotics unit. Five feet 10 and built like a second baseman, he had a boyish goatee, a baby face and a habit of rubbing his head when he got confused. But he had good street connections and a solid pedigree, plus a knack for sniffing out drugs. His supervisor joked that they didn’t even need a K-9 – they had Treviño.

He was driving to work when the call came in. An inmate in the county jail had tipped two of his guys to a suspected cocaine stash two towns over, in a little peach-colored house with cactuses in the yard and a vacant lot next door. Treviño turned the truck around and went to meet his deputies, plainclothes cops in T-shirts and wraparound shades, all SWAT-trained and hand-picked by Treviño himself. They were part of a special task force that drew from the county sheriff’s office and Mission PD, meaning they had jurisdiction to operate in the city and county alike. Their official name was an interagency jumble (Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office – Mission Police Department Local Level Drug Unit) – but everyone called them the Panama Unit.

When they got to the house, no one was home, so Treviño parked nearby and waited. In his sneakers and khakis, with his silver badge tucked into his shirt, the only indication that he was a cop was his olive-green tactical bulletproof vest, which said police on the front in big block letters. Treviño loved that vest: He’d paid $120 for it at a military-supply store called Green Beret. He could have gotten a police-issue vest for free, but police-issue vests didn’t look as cool. “I’d rather spend $120 to at least look halfway decent,” he later said.

Still, even without the vest, he wasn’t exactly undercover. He also wore a yellow T-shirt – the jersey from the Panama Unit’s softball team – with the number 7 and Treviño on the back, and on the front: TEAM JUSTICE.

Around 2 p.m., a black Buick eased into the driveway, and two deputies came whipping up behind in a maroon SUV and leapt out, weapons drawn. “Hands up, motherfuckers!” one shouted. Treviño followed in his Tahoe, the hidden red-and-blue grille lights flashing.

The owner of the house was José Perez, a 62-year-old retired auto mechanic. “Where’s the coke?” Treviño demanded. Perez said he had no idea what he was talking about. As one deputy stood watch over Perez and his wife, Treviño retrieved three semiautomatics and took the other deputies inside to toss the house.

Accounts differ about what they found, but in Treviño’s telling, one officer noticed something funny about the bedroom floor and uncovered a secret compartment containing a scale and seven baggies of cocaine. (Perez denies this, though federal investigators corroborated it.) Treviño sat Perez on the bed. “You’re going to jail,” he said, “unless you tell me where some drugs are.”

This is standard practice in narcotics work – flipping a small-timer to get a bigger fish. Perez called a guy he knew and said he needed two “workers” – slang for kilograms of cocaine. They set up a 4 p.m. meeting outside Matt’s Cash & Carry, a hardware store near the freeway, and Treviño let Perez go.

When the alleged dealer showed up, the Panama Unit arrested him – not for the two kilos, but for the small baggies they’d allegedly found at Perez’s house. The kilos they kept and later sold to a connection for around $15,000 each. They also pocketed $25,000 of the suspect’s cash, according to the FBI. All in all, $55,000 – not bad for an afternoon’s work.

For the past year, Treviño and the Panama Unit had been operating one of the most efficient drug-robbery rings in Texas, taking money from some dealers and traffickers while using their police weapons and police cars to rob others. “These guys were outlaws,” one former Hidalgo County deputy says. Adds another, “They were running around like that movie Training Day.” They started off stealing ounces of weed and eventually stole so much they attracted the attention of the FBI, the DEA, Homeland Security and the Texas Rangers, not to mention at least one revenge-seeking gang.

The Panama Unit’s crimes were a black eye on border law enforcement – especially the majority of officers who are honest cops. The case also raised questions about who is being enlisted and what resources are being devoted to fighting the nation’s drug war. Until it was exposed, the unit was seen as an example of what local drug enforcement was doing right. Most incredibly, its crimes were all happening on the watch of one of the most powerful lawmen in Texas and one of the U.S. government’s most trusted border advisers: the popular Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, a.k.a. Jonathan’s father. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 1:14 pm

Muslims condemn violence by Muslims just as Christians condemn violence by Christians

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Juan Cole writes at Informed Comment:

When American commentators like Carl Bernstein complain that Muslim authorities have not sufficiently denounced the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris, they show a profound ignorance of the current situation in the Middle East.

The fact is that both governments of Muslim-majority countries and the chief religious institutions have been engaged in a vigorous war on religious extremism for some time.

Egypt has gone too far in this direction, criminalizing the activist members of the Muslim Brotherhood. But it is also committing troops to fight extremists in Sinai. Egyptian acquaintances of mine in Cairo say that it has become unpleasant to wear a beard there (for long a sign of religious commitment).

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke to an audience of clerics at the Department of Religious Endowments a few days ago. He made waves by denouncing terrorism among Muslims, and said it wasn’t right for the rest of the world to be afraid of 1.5 billion Muslims. He pointedly insisted that the al-Azhar clerics do something about this stain on the honor of Islam, implying that they were not effectively combating extremist ideas. He called for a new sort of “religious discourse” and a “new revolution” to combat extremism.

Then al-Sisi attended Christmas Mass at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo (the first time an Egyptian president has done so). MENA reports that he told them, “It was necessary to attend the Mass to greet you on Christmas . . . Throughout thousands of years Egypt has taught the world humanity and civilization and the world expects the humanity and civilization to kick off again from our country. . . God willing, we Muslims and Christians will build our country and will accommodate and love each other.”

When he left, the Christians were applauding loudly, shouting “we love you Sisi” and “Muslims and Christians are one hand.”

Sisi has put thousands of Muslim fundamentalists in prison, most of them certainly not terrorists. He has gone too far in attempting to curb political Islam. But he cannot be accused of being soft on Muslim extremism or terrorism, for heaven’s sake.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister roundly denounced the assault on the magazine staff.

Al-Azhar Seminary, the chief religious authority in the Sunni world,condemned forcefully the Paris attacks and expressed solidarity with the victims and their families, saying that such acts of violence are forbidden in Islam.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has since last June committed himself to rooting out the Taliban Movement of Pakistan along with other extremist movements. He is having his air force actively bomb them and scatter them from their Waziristan base.

In Iraq, the government is dedicated to defeating the al-Qaeda offshoot, Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) and hundreds of troops and tribesmen have already been killed in the process. The day of the attacks, Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi expressed his solidarity with Paris. After all, what happened there is a common occurrence in Baghdad, which faces ongoing car bombings and sniping.

Not only are most Muslim authorities in the Middle East denouncing the al-Qaeda massacres,, but they are engaged in active warfare against extremists and risking the soldiers lives, with hundreds or thousands killed. And those killed by the extremists in Paris included a Muslim policeman named Ahmad and a Muslim copy-editor, a man of broad learning. How many commemorations of the victims mention that they included Muslims?

Indeed, the great majority of victims of Muslim jihadists are Muslim themselves.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Religion, Terrorism

Supporting a person’s right to say something does not mean you agree with what is said

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One can support a person’s right to free speech without in any way agreeing with (or even liking) what the person said. Charlie Hebdo ran some editorial cartoons that seem to reflect outright anti-Muslim bigotry, and certainly we’ve seen various cartoons and comments about President Obama that are overtly racist. One can support the right to publish such cartoons and make such comments while disagreeing vehemently with the content.

As Glenn Greenwald points out in this article in The Intercept, some people have great difficulty in grasping this idea. In their mind, if you support someone’s right say something, then you must agree with what they are saying—else (they implicitly—and sometimes explicitly—ask) why on earth would you allow them to say it? In their eyes, “rights” are used to control people, and (in their view) if they disagree with what you say, you don’t have the right to say it.

Greenwald writes:

Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Usually, defending free speech rights is much more of a lonely task. For instance, the day before the Paris murders, I wrote an article about multiple cases where Muslims are being prosecuted and even imprisoned by western governments for their online political speech – assaults that have provoked relatively little protest, including from those free speech champions who have been so vocal this week.

I’ve previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting “extremist” videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel, and even including a Hezbollah channel in a cable package. That’s all well beyond the numerous cases of jobs being lost or careers destroyed for expressing criticism of Israel or (much more dangerously and rarely) Judaism. I’m hoping this week’s celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.

Central to free speech activism has always been the distinction between defending the right to disseminate Idea X and agreeing with Idea X, one which only the most simple-minded among us are incapable of comprehending. One defends the right to express repellent ideas while being able to condemn the idea itself. There is no remote contradiction in that: the ACLU vigorously defends the right of neo-Nazis to march through a community filled with Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Illinois, but does not join the march; they instead vocally condemn the targeted ideas as grotesque while defending the right to express them.

But this week’s defense of free speech rights was so spirited that it gave rise to a brand new principle: to defend free speech, one not only defends the right to disseminate the speech, but embraces the content of the speech itself. Numerous writers thus demanded: to show “solidarity” with the murdered cartoonists, one should not merely condemn the attacks and defend the right of the cartoonists to publish, but should publish and even celebrate those cartoons. “The best response to Charlie Hebdo attack,”announced Slate’s editor Jacob Weisberg, “is to escalate blasphemous satire.”

Some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were not just offensive but bigoted, such as the one mocking the African sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens (left). Others went far beyond maligning violence by extremists acting in the name of Islam, or even merely depicting Mohammed with degrading imagery (above, right), and instead contained a stream of mockery toward Muslims generally, who in France are not remotely powerful but are largely a marginalized and targeted immigrant population.

But no matter. Their cartoons were noble and should be celebrated – not just on free speech grounds but for their content. In a column entitled “The Blasphemy We Need,” The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat argued that “the right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order” and “that kind of blasphemy [that provokes violence] is precisely the kind that needs to be defended, because it’s the kind that clearly serves a free society’s greater good.” New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait actually proclaimed that “one cannot defend the right [to blaspheme] without defending the practice.” Vox’s Matt Yglesias had a much more nuanced view but nonetheless concluded that “to blaspheme the Prophet transforms the publication of these cartoons from a pointless act to a courageous and even necessary one, while the observation that the world would do well without such provocations becomes a form of appeasement.”

To comport with this new principle for how one shows solidarity with free speech rights and a vibrant free press, we’re publishing some blasphemous and otherwise offensive cartoons about religion and their adherents: . . .

Continue reading.

Please not that Greenwald is being ironic in the last paragraph—and the cartoons he includes show clearly positions that are abhorrent, not only to him but to most people.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 12:26 pm

Posted in Law, Media

Very pleasant shave with Saint Charles Shave

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SOTD 9 Jan 2015

Excellent shave today. There was some discussion on WE about the G.B. Kent BK brushes. I had the BK8 (pictured just to the right on the cover of the Guide), but sold it after I got the BK4. There’s also a BK2, same dimensions as the BK4 but with not so good a knot. It’s quite a nice brush, and I got a very nice lather from the sample of Saint Charles Shave’s Bay Rum. SCS uses a very thin but full diameter puck as a sample—a practice I recommend to all shaving soap vendors—so it is quite easy to lather (and to mail: note that it could be mailed easily in a regular envelope).

The razor is the RiMei head (also sold as Sodial and Silvertone from time to time, though those brands are also used for other razors) on a UFO aluminum bronze handle. The blade was a Gillette SuperThin, which I discarded after the shave: it did only a so-so job and didn’t look that old, so I doubt I’ll use the brand again.

A good splash of Saint Charles Shave’s Sandalwood aftershave. I also got a bottle of their Sandalwood EDT and a bottle of “Very V” EDT—both are wonderful.

Late start because camera battery dead.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 January 2015 at 11:57 am

Posted in Shaving

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