Music Monday: Courthouse Edition

I spent the morning on jury duty. The first group to get called back was about 40 people. The next group was about 80, and I was in it. I was thinking to myself “Oh nuts, this has got to be a big trial!” Suddenly, we were all dismissed! When I got home, I watched the news to see if just maybe I could figure out what trial it might have been. Well, this case of a cop killer was dismissed this morning. I will never know if this was the actual court case, of course.

I am so sorry I have to say this, but killing a cop just because he happens to be hanging out in his garage — as the accused allegedly did — is extremely uncool.


Also: have some items about American cops. Here, have some bonus items on racism, terrorism, and harassment.

In Closing: The Alamo’s Cat.

Do No Harm

Today’s question:

Hippocrates famously said: “Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.” Add one more important habit to his list.

Never mind that he didn’t actually say any such thing….

But as long as doing helpful things and refraining from doing harmful things is the topic, let’s go back to another ancient source, a fellow named Siddhartha Gautama. He taught that we would be happier if we followed eight habits, including seeing the world as it really is, paying attention why we want things, saying the right things (not saying bad things), doing the right things (again, not doing bad things), having a job that is good for the community or mankind (yeah, maybe “assassin” isn’t a proper career path), putting a good effort into all we do, being aware, and focusing on things where appropriate.

You don’t have to believe everything he said to think those are good ideas.

In Closing: keep looking up; a research problem; unfortunately I doubt they mean it; finally somebody thought about it (at least a little); Dayton; civil rights; words.

Music Monday: Come Out

Here’s a long overdue habit for some people: see others as human beings rather than members of a group of people. Or as one guy put it, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Racism (and sexism) should have gone out of style a generation ago. Yet, somehow or another there are those that think it’s ok to criticize the President’s heritage rather than his policies. There are people who fear or think themselves better than those who are different — bafflingly, often at the same time! This is the 21st Century; time to stop it.

Since each of us is an individual, that means each of us must stop ourselves if we have an unworthy thought before it becomes a despicable action.

In honor of MLK’s birthday, I bring you music from the Civil Rights era. Come Out is an early work of minimalism. I recommend listening in stereo and giving it at least 3 minutes before you decide whether you like it or not. I’m a little disappointed that so little is said about the technique of layering tape recordings that differ ever so slightly in timing.

Music Monday: Weezer

In Closing: Reading about the people justifying torture can seem like they are torturing the truth; a few police brutality and racism items; common sense may not be common; TPP; she can’t be trusted to make a decision regarding having a baby, but she can somehow be trusted with a baby. Oh, and one last must read commentary.


Here CNN, let me fix that headline for you. You see, you’ve got it as “Tense Ferguson awaits grand jury ruling; mayor says authorities prepared“. What you meant to say was “Mayor says authorities ready to rumble.” Let’s just face it, there’s going to be trouble. The fact that the cops look like an occupying army is in fact an incitement. And let’s also just face it, the authorities are preparing to put down a popular uprising because they know damn well that the grand jury will rubber stamp the idea that cops only shoot Very Bad People, even when the Very Bad thing they are doing is just walking down the street.

In Closing: dark matter; no kidding, a thing that flies in the air falls under FAA jurisdiction; modern slavery; and that’s why this happened; and finally, best headline you’re likely to see today.

Shorties Untold

Appetizers: Let’s start with the NSA poppers, and perhaps a beer flight to wash it down?

Soup or salad: The soup du jour is puree of police violence and race issues with a hint of civil forfeiture, topped with prison visit data. Perhaps the lady would prefer our Cosmo-inspired salad with cranberry vinaigrette?

The main course: Make sure it has enough protein! It’s good for you.

A few quick words about your server: Don’t forget that he or she works for a living.

Can I interest you in dessert?: My local news is excited about a study that says we are relatively safe city compared to, say, any major city in Oklahoma. Among the data collected was crime (both violent and property), cops, and traffic fatalities per capita — seems legit. Also included was the number of sex offenders per capita. A quick look at their data table without breaking out the stats tools would tend to make me think that the number of sex offenders has little to do with much of any other data they collected. It’s as if they put it in because they thought it would be important, or thought it made their data look more complete. What makes several California cities, Scottsdale, Augusta, Mesquite, and Chicago more safe than Tulsa despite having at least ten times the number of sex offenders per capita? Could it be that the risk sex offenders will re-offend is overrated?

Oh, need a doggie bag?: Here you go, tips for dealing with strange dogs.

More Ferguson

The ASSociated Press has published a little article which my local news picked up. The first paragraph reads:

The fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer has opened a debate over what level of force is appropriate when law enforcement confronts a citizen perceived to be a threat.

Let’s back up just a moment. The question that should be asked in Ferguson and perhaps elsewhere is this:

What should a police officer consider a threat?

We now know that the young man was in fact running away from the officer when the confrontation began. Is someone running away a “threat”? At the very least, the officer can no longer use the “he was headed straight for me” defense without expecting laughter.

Backing up further, is a “thief” who shoved a store clerk a “threat” (even though everyone agrees that the cop didn’t know about the alleged incident)? Well, since it turned out that the theft was trumped up and the film that supposedly proves the young man was a Very Bad Man actually shows him paying, no.

Are photographers and journalists a threat? How about churches?

I leave you with three more Ferguson thoughts. First, what the press might well report if Ferguson were overseas. Second, Ferguson appears to have a rich heritage of discriminatory legal practices. Finally, the police have all kinds of new crowd control toys. One, Taser brags, can incapacitate anybody who happens to be in a target area. Forgive me for wondering how you make a crowd disperse by incapacitating them.

In Closing: I don’t know, maybe you could try doing things voters like?; on privacy and metadata.


So yesterday — long after Anonymous* claimed to have the information — Ferguson Police finally released the name of the officer who shot an unarmed young man, setting off riots. But then they proceeded to dump poison in the well.

Jackson also gave barebones details about a strong-arm robbery at a local convenience store that took place moments before Wilson shot Brown. He did not connect Brown to the robbery during his press conference, but in police documents he released to reporters during the press conference, Brown is named as a suspect. Jackson released dispatch records and video surveillance of the robbery as well.

Ok. So suspected robbery — not even armed robbery — is grounds for immediate death penalty, no trial required? Good to know.

Except that the cop who shot him didn’t even know about the alleged robbery. Oops. Why bring that up at all, I wonder. Apparently then, there’s an immediate death penalty for walking down the street as opposed to the sidewalk. Further, cops may prevent qualified bystanders from performing CPR.


Clearly they don’t subscribe to the Obama Doctrine:  Don’t do stupid stuff.

There is one silver lining to this dark cloud, however. Normal Americans are finally talking about issues like the militarization of our police (here is the must read book), freedom to protest even if you aren’t white (non-white protesters seem to consistently be called “looters” regardless of what they’re doing), and manipulation of the supposedly free press. Sure, “be careful what you tweet.”

* I wonder what Anonymous threatened to do if the name wasn’t officially released.

No in closing today. Too disgusted.

Go ahead, buy premium. You know you want it.


I realize this one is subtle. But if you look at the directions, the hand is pushing the middle button. The middle button on this pump just happens to be the expensive stuff.

In Closing: ok, you’ve done without your NSA, privacy, government spying, Ed Snowden, cover-ups, terrorism over-reach, and related stuff links for far too long; a nice collection of health, health care, health insurance, Affordable Care Act, and hospital issues links; the magic of adjusting portion sizes (did you notice that 2 Oreos is now a serving when it used to be 3?); race, school discipline, and getting arrested; it turns out most people work because they want to get paid; and burgers.

Return to BloodShorties Lake

You can thank Drew for the title inspiration. It’s sometimes tough to keep thinking of Shorties titles!

Beating the same drum: so here’s today’s tab dump on the freaking mess that continues to be the NSA, DEA, FBI, and Edward Snowden.

And now for something completely different: a nice selection of  health, health insurance, and healthy diet links.

Armchair economist: yeah, still collecting choice bits on the economy and how it effects Joe Average for you. But hey, at least Congress gets plenty of vacation days. After all, they work so hard preventing legislation.

Oh Look: the Duhpartment of Research has been at it again.

I can’t bring myself to spend that: Average price of a new car is now over $31k.

Education Official has Moment of Sanity: Huh, maybe school should start later.

On Libertarianism and Property Rights: Seriously.

Don’t you think you should have read the book before writing about it?:did read the book, thank you. I wasn’t required to. I wanted to as part of a research project. How about we stop focusing on the fact that there was a lot of racism years ago, and celebrate the improvements that have been made to medical care, medical privacy, and race relations since then? Not saying everything is perfect, just better. How about we temper praise for the author compiling primary source materials with the fact that it’s hard to find any scholarship on the subject not filtered by her findings and bias?

Speaking of medicine: Gin and Tonic and the British Empire.

Shhhhhhh: A judge has thrown out the right of the US to maintain an international no-fly list.

And Finally: a couple of nice videos to waste your time.