Bizarre Confessions

General => Politics, Government & The Law => Topic started by: random axe on October 11, 2010, 01:05:23 PM

Title: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on October 11, 2010, 01:05:23 PM
Misty Croslin story (http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/10/08/florida.croslin/index.html)

OK, the background on this is that Croslin was the babysitter when Haleigh Cummings, a 5-year-old girl in Florida, went missing about a year and a half ago.  The girl's father, who was also Croslin's husband, was at work; Croslin said she put the kids to bed, went to sleep, woke up when she heard a noise around 3 AM, and discovered the girl gone and the back door propped open.  End of trail.  They never found the kid. 

Incidentally, the father, Ronald Cummings, was 25 and Croslin was 17.  They got a divorce after the girl went missing.  This was not a terribly stable home, with drug charges and whatnot all over the place.  This year, almost a year after Haleigh vanished, Cummings and his brother and Croslin were all nailed in an Oxycodone drug sting.  Ronald and Tommy Cummings reportedly each got 15 years.  Croslin was just sentenced to 25 years.

WTF?  First, according to the AP Croslin was a minor at the time of her arrest.  OK, she was almost not still a minor, but that shouldn't be how it automatically works, and she was still a minor.  If she'd been tried as a minor, she wouldn't have gotten more than 6 years.  Second, she was probably a tag-along on the drug deal.  Third, extenuating circumstances galore, especially for a minor.  Sexual abuse and assault in her past, her ex-husband and his family (who all blame her for the girl's disappearance, although the police don't) as bad influences, both of her parents have drug-dealing priors, etc.  In fact, her father was in jail on drug charges when she was arrested.  Fourth, she pled no contest.

Can't help but think she was thrown away by the judge because the court's presuming that she's responsible for the kid's disappearance.  She might be, and she just as easily might not know anything about what happened, but she's not even a suspect in that case.  And she gets almost twice the sentence of the other two?  In fact, according to the AP, the adult convicted of raping her when she was twelve got an eight-year sentence, but she gets 25 years for being part of a criminal conspiracy to sell Oxycodone?

She did change the details of her story about what happened the night Haleigh disappeared, but only (A) under extensive police interrogation (which frequently renders any statement meaningless) or (B) through new versions released by her attorneys (which, uh, yeah).

To add stupidity to the injustice of her sentence, the judge also ordered her to pay a half-million-dollar fine and serve five years of drug-abuse probation after she gets out of prison.  You know, when she's 43.  Sure, that makes sense.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on October 11, 2010, 03:52:40 PM
gone baby gone.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on October 11, 2010, 04:08:07 PM
Yeah, you said it.  It's like the judge was all TOO DIFFICULT.  Trash it and start over.

I gotta be honest about something, here.  I totally understand the desire to punish people for doing bad things, I really do, but if five years in prison doesn't rehabilitate you, then prison is completely broken and needs to be started over pretty much from scratch.  The system is a bad joke -- virtually no sane person believes that people generally come out of prison better than they went in.  The GOP likes to say welfare creates an impoverished criminal underclass, and yet they support the penal system we have, which basically takes criminals and makes them worse at great public expense.  You don't fix an antisocial dog by locking it in a kennel for a year.

I honestly don't think that judge should be on the bench, although I realize we may not have preferable replacements waiting around.  Sentencing an 18-year-old to 25 years in prison is not sane.  Even if she somehow got out in twelve years, say, she's probably going to be more screwed up than she is now, which is saying something.  And, what, is this meant to be a deterrent?  To effed-up teenagers in love with older drug dealers?

Can't help but think a judge like that has done more harm and less good than this stupid kid ever managed to.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on October 11, 2010, 05:54:07 PM
Yeah, that's pretty fucked up. She's not done yet either - facing charges in another county too, apparently.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 05, 2010, 03:53:52 PM
In the Susan Wright case, which just finished its sentencing phase (she got 20 years for killing her husband) . . . OK, the nutshell stuff relevant to my :soapbox: :

- She stabbed her husband to death and buried the body in the backyard.

- Prosecutors say he was a saint and that she had a careful plan, drugging him, roping him down on the bed, and then stabbing him.

- The defense says he was a drug addict and abuser and that she killed him in self-defense after he threatened to kill her.

- Evidence suggests he had traces of GHB in his blood.  She stabbed him over 200 times.  The rest of the forensic evidence, whatever there was, didn't make it into the news stories I've seen.

- A defense psychologist said she was post-traumatic and in a dissociative state.  Eh, maybe.  Some things came to light that suggest that the Defense part of his job title is the more important part.

- Her defense attorney from her trial called the psychologist and secretly taped him while getting him to admit that some of what White told him could conceivably suggest it wasn't self-defense.  The psychologist's response was that he'd find a way around that -- which makes him look bad, not necessarily her.  The defense attorney then provided this tape to the prosecutors, and it was used against her at the sentencing phase.

Wait, what?  Her defense attorney secretly taped her therapist and gave the tape to prosecutors?  How the hell does that happen?

Frankly, if you ask me, she's guilty, but clearly she's unhinged.  A vanishingly small number of cold-blooded murderers stab someone over 200 times.  Either that's the result of traumatic provocation or deep-seating psychosis or both.  She had a crazy defense and the typical asshole prosecution -- a model that, frankly, I don't believe is necessary, good for the system or the country, or particularly persuasive.  I mean, if you're on the jury, it's easy to decide that this person committed a murder.  Believing that they're a fundamentally absolute-evil master criminal yadda yadda is far too much to ask.  It's a ridiculous overreach by the prosecutors, whether they get away with it or not, and they know perfectly well it's usually an intentional distortion of the truth.

I have no problem believing this woman killed her husband and that she's probably a danger to herself and others, but what a crappy system.  And, seriously, her defense attorney can switch teams after the trial but before sentencing?  WTF?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 05, 2010, 03:58:49 PM
I also don't like that Keith Olbermann was suspended indefinitely without pay for making donations to three Democratic candidates.  I don't see how that's a conflict of interest that undermines his credibility or MSNBC's.  Not that MSNBC has any real credibility anyway.  I mean, even if they didn't put Microsoft in the damned name, it's kind of a joke in the first place.  Olbermann is one of their stronger pillars.

Fox News, as a corporation, donated a million to the GOP governor's association -- and defended it by saying, hey, we're a corporation, and Republicans are nicer to corporations.  (OK, they said they believed in free-market economics, and they believe Republicans were the party of free markets, but that's barely even coded.)  But Olbermann gets kicked in the nuts for, what, having a party affiliation that other people made public? 

I'd like to see him sue over this.  That should not be an enforceable bit of contract.  If he'd said Republicans were all Nazis, then yes, but giving money to a few Democrats is just having a political interest.  Seems like a civil rights issue to me.  He's a fucking commentator, for crying out loud, and no one thinks he works at Fox.

Now, he was lame to say that Jon Stewart jumped the shark because of the DC rally.  I mean, it's too soon to know, even if it's somehow true.  But that's different.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on November 05, 2010, 04:52:57 PM
Wow this actually triggered a memory of a dream I was having last night. I was debating with a former cow-orker about whether women are better cold-hearted murderers than men. I was citing nature where mamas eat their babies and etc, then she noted that men had killed millions more than women over the course of history, but I answered that it was due to men mostly getting to be the ones who fought the wars, so it's obviously a workplace discrimination thing, plus the glass ceiling for being a genocidal dictator and etc. That's all I remember tho.





Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 05, 2010, 06:47:03 PM
:lol:

Yeah, you've got to define your terms before you start a debate like that.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on November 06, 2010, 07:37:00 AM
I would say, just off the top of my head, men are more prolific killers and I would attribute that to testosterone and women more emotional killers.  But I could just be making that all up.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 06, 2010, 10:17:17 AM
It's possible that a whole lot of people who do get murdered would eventually be murdered by women if men didn't murder those people first.  Men tend to be impatient.


There's obviously a huge cultural issue embedded in this whole issue, but part of it, too, is that women are more likely to get away with murder due to being unsuspected or not taken seriously.  Also, a lot of the homicides committed by women are . . . how to put this . . . more incomprehensible to men.  Female serial killers often have motivations radically different from the more expected male serial killer motivations, and the still essentially male justice system (of pick almost any country) isn't so much on the lookout for that.

Most male serial killers are sexual psychopaths ('hunters') or relatively indiscriminate impulse killers ('rogue'), which are both pretty testosterone-driven psychoses.  Most known female serial killers are more deliberate -- your black widows, your infanticides, your angel-of-death hospital killers.  Of course, there's some overlap, and sociologists have made good arguments that these are largely culturally defined roles, but the end result is that it seems that women are much more likely to get away with a more or less equivalent murder.

How warlike women are, per se, remains largely unknown.  This is definitely a case where men rush in and make the question pretty much moot.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 28, 2010, 12:59:47 AM
This one's provisional, mostly because the reporting on it so far seems unclear, but . . . that kid in Portland who tried to blow up the Xmas tree lighting ceremony.

Here's the thing:  Reports on this are not consistent or clear on how long this kid was under observation and/or talking to FBI agents when he thought he was talking to terrorists in Pakistan.  He's 19 now, and the FBI at least had him in hand since August 2009.  Was he 18 then?  Some reports said the FBI had him under observation since he was 15.  And at some point he was exchanging emails with some terrorist guy in Pakistan, but then at some point afterward he was actually talking to US agents just pretending to be terrorist guys.

The US agents, in a 'sting operation', communicated with him as a group and as separate individuals, encouraged him, taught him how to make a car bomb (one that wouldn't actually work), and even helped him load the fake car bomb into the vehicle.  They also messed around with him, such as keeping him from being able to go to Alaska for a summer job program.

So far, everyone who knew this kid in high school says he was a very normal kid, into hip hop and sports, who had Muslim friends but never expressed unusual political views, etc.  And they seem awfully surprised at how this has turned out.

So the question is, if the FBI had this kid under surveillance, is this not something that could have just been nipped in the bud?  I've yet to see anyone in the media questioning it.  Maybe this kid is a psychopath or something.  I have no way of knowing.  But maybe a visit a year and a half ago and court-mandated therapy would have this kid in college now, with no thoughts of terrorism.  Right now, from what I've read so far, it seems like at least 75% of his terrorism was more or less orchestrated by the feds in order to make an arrest.

I guess I hope I'm wrong and that this kid does have a very dangerous screw loose, because I'd hate to think that, what, they were using him to make themselves look good, or that they were using him as a practice run, or even that they just got carried away.  But right now it looks a lot less impressive than they're making it out to be.

I'm also not thrilled that they let him attempt to set off the bomb and waited until he did before they arrested him.  Yeah, I realize you wanted an ironclad case, but if he had some fancy addition to the plan that you didn't know about . . . sheesh.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 28, 2010, 07:37:53 AM
I agree with most of what you're saying, and I believe the FBI is going to take some heat, even from the mainstream media on this. I haven't heard that they had been working with him since he was 15 though.

To play FBI's advocate here, if you can take someone and convince them to blow up hundreds of innocent people, there's something very wrong with that individual. Teh Feds played with him way longer than they needed to, but this guy does not deserve freedom. Maybe you're right, in that at one point he might could have been put in therapy and "fixed", or whatever, but once it's proven he was willing to blow up hundreds of innocent people, I could give a shit about this guy's future.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 28, 2010, 09:59:41 AM
Quote
To play FBI's advocate here, if you can take someone and convince them to blow up hundreds of innocent people, there's something very wrong with that individual.

If he were 30, then maybe.  Anyone could convince a teenager to blow up hundreds of innocent people.

Frankly, a hell of a lot of 30-year-olds who are harmless on their own could be convinced to do almost anything if three or four people patiently try to talk them into it.  Sometimes you only need one Iago with a good patter.

But, yeah, I'm not arguing that this kid doesn't have a screw loose and doesn't have a propensity toward violent crime.  I have no idea.  Before the feds got involved, according to the stories I've seen as of this morning, his only confirmed terrorist act was to write an article on calisthenics (titled "Getting in shape without weights") that was published in an online jihadist magazine. 
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 28, 2010, 10:25:00 AM
Quote
Anyone could convince a teenager to blow up hundreds of innocent people.

We're just going to have to disagree there, but to argue your point, I guess the Manson family would be a good example. It would certainly be easier to get a younger person to do this type of thing, and it's done a lot (Mumbai, for example), but I have a hard time finding fault in the FBI searching out people who have this weakness, or willingness to kill innocent people, especially when these people are trying to contact terrorist organizations for training on how to kill innocent people.

This case is probably a better example of the point you're getting at:

Quote
A case in point is the arrest last month of a Pakistani-born suburbanite in northern Virginia who allegedly participated in a plan to bomb the Washington, D.C. Metro. What the 34-year-old computer-science graduate, husband and father, Farooque Ahmed, really fantasized about doing was joining Taliban-allied fighters in Afghanistan. He didn’t get far. From start to finish, the guys he thought were his co-conspirators were actually undercover agents. It appears from the available court documents that the Metro plot could have been the undercover operatives’ idea as much as Ahmed’s, and if that’s true, then are terrorists really planning to bomb the subway in Washington, or is that just a fantasy of the Feds? The Farooque Ahmed case doesn’t get us much closer to an answer, and probably doesn’t make us much safer. http://www.newsweek.com/2010/11/27/somali-bomber-oregon-alleged-terrorist.html



Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 28, 2010, 11:49:40 AM
Yeah, I was gonna say, you can convince half the country to vote for complete idiots, seems like convincing a teenager to start up a plot to 'blow up the school' might just be child's play. This is one reason why entrapment is considered illegal. It's morally questionable. If F. Lee Bailey was alive he'd be preparing to collect a lot of scalps on this case, whether or not the kid is found guilty of anything.

The converse may be true. You could take that same person and brainwash them into working for a charity, to do some good, but is that what the FBI does? No. They take people who are intellectually weak and are angry about something (again, that's half the country) and trick them into doing stuff they can be arrested for. That Ahmed case sounds like something ripped from a bad cop movie.

I've got a lot more to say about this - mostly about how the national security apparatus was busy persecuting environmentalist extremist groups whose biggest crime was typically vandalizing insured property, while al-Qaeda was building up huge capability for acting in the United States with impunity - but I've already got a migraine.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 28, 2010, 01:39:14 PM
Thing is, mo, convincing teenagers to kill lots of people IS the basic process for most terrorist organizations, and it works really well.  It's also the basic process for most military organizations of all time.  I'm not saying all soldiers are terrorists, of course; the targets they're pointed at are chosen by officers, and the wars they prosecute are chosen by politicians.  But blaming a grunt at My Lai is not so different from blaming a 16-year-old suicide bomber.  They were both talked into it by persuasion.


Quote from: hmof
You could take that same person and brainwash them into working for a charity

We have a huge cultural issue with this basic concept.  We have a culture largely based on diminishing personal responsibility and yet worshipping both success and blame.  It's deeply stupid.  One of the many side effects is that as a nation we're all about punishment and scapegoats, even though we tend to assume that anyone who's rewarded somehow deserves that reward.  Threatening people who fail to be good citizens, sure, but actually encouraging people to be good citizens, that's socialism or something.

Another major problem we have here is that we're like sports teams that go through a rough spot and praise the other team.  It's never because we played a bad game; it's because the other team is actually so much better than people think.  Our leaders love to magnify the competence and strength of our enemies because it makes our successes look better and our failures look less important.

Thing is, you can't release 500 tons of scary propaganda daily and then turn around and be merciful and constructive.  It would deflate your propaganda effort.  There are no tools in our justice system in these cases except throwing the book at them.  That's why any random schmoe who initially looked suspicious and got shipped to prison for no good reason, and it's obvious, still they've got to get nailed on some conspiracy charge or something and sent to prison for a damned long time even though they were in prison a damned long time just awaiting charges, much less trial.

The whole house of cards is too fragile to withstand any ambiguity.  It's crap, but it relies on public perception.

Now, in a case like this, I do cut the FBI some slack because I understand the need to tease this out a bit and see if this kid can lead us to some other dangerous, probably more dangerous people.  But he didn't know shit.  And I suspect that after they spent a lot of time and a lot of money investigating him, there was a strong tendency to try to strike gold regardless of how far they had to go to spin it out of straw.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: vox8 on November 28, 2010, 03:34:32 PM
The US agents, in a 'sting operation', communicated with him as a group and as separate individuals, encouraged him, taught him how to make a car bomb (one that wouldn't actually work), and even helped him load the fake car bomb into the vehicle.  They also messed around with him, such as keeping him from being able to go to Alaska for a summer job program.

This is the part that sticks in my craw. They removed any chance at self determination from this individual. Teenagers are notorious for not going through with things. They love the idea of being in a band and will go as far as playing rock band on their Play Station, but to take the time to actually learn how to play a guitar correctly and work at it - that is considerably rarer than the teen who likes the idea. Now, if the ability to play the guitar falls in their lap - they are going to jump at the chance to be a rock star.

The teen's determination to blow something up might very well have fizzled if he had to figure out how to find the individuals to teach him how to build the bomb himself.

And then, we are sum total of our experiences. If he had the motivation to find a summer job in Alaska that could have indicated a drop in his desire to be a bomber. Maybe if he had gone to Alaska he might have encountered a role model to inspire him towards a different direction for his life. Maybe he would have "found Jesus" maybe he would have been inspired by the awesome (in the true sense of the word) environmental beauty of Alaska and changed his activism towards the environment. Teens have ephemeral passions and had these Feebs not been there to keep him on course, maybe he would have found a constructive, or at least less destructive vent for his ambitions/passions.

But we will never know because they manipulated the course of his life in a direction that they desired. I believe they could have just as easily monitored him to see what he would do. It probably would have been cheaper on the part of the taxpayer. If he was serious about the whole terrorist thing, maybe he would have been able to actually find real terrorists and in doing so lead the FBI into removing a large number of dangerous people off of the street as opposed to one who appears to only be a danger to himself. If he wasn't smart enough to figure out that the bomb they taught him to make wouldn't work - do you really think he could have figured out how to make one on his own?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 28, 2010, 04:09:03 PM
From the FBI press release, linked in the article I linked above:

Quote
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in August 2009, Mohamud was in e-mail contact with an unindicted associate (UA1) overseas who is believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December 2009, while UA1 was located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan, Mohamud and UA1 discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to engage in violent jihad. UA1 allegedly referred Mohamud to a second unindicted associate (UA2) overseas and provided Mohamud with a name and email address to facilitate the process.

In the months that followed, Mohamud allegedly made several unsuccessful attempts to contact UA2. Ultimately, an FBI undercover operative contacted Mohamud via e-mail in June 2010 under the guise of being an associate of UA1. Mohamud and the FBI undercover operative then agreed to meet in Portland in July 2010. At this meeting, Mohamud allegedly told the FBI undercover operative that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated violent jihad. Mohamud also indicated that he wanted to become “operational.” Asked what he meant by “operational,” Mohamud stated that he wanted to put an “explosion” together, but needed help.

At a second meeting in August 2010, Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI operatives he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since the age of 15. According to the affidavit, Mohamud then told the undercover FBI operatives that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010.

According to the affidavit, the undercover FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of this plan, noting there would be many people at the event, including many children, and emphasized that Mohamud could abandon his attack plans at any time with no shame. “You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?” an undercover FBI operative asked Mohamud. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded that he was looking for a “huge mass that will...be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.” Further discussing the attack, Mohamud allegedly stated, “...it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

So what would you suggest the FBI do in this situation? I mean, assuming it's not all a total fabrication made up by the FBI. If you're working from the assumption that the kid is just some totally innocent scapegoat they used to make it look like they're actually accomplishing something in the war on terror, and that the facts we're reading are false, then we're having a pointless conversation. The FBI could really be aliens from another planet, and they want to take Mohamud back home with them for breeding purposes. I don't have anything to base my alien theory on, but I don't see what you have to base your entrapment theory on either, other than the word of some of the kid's friends saying that he was a "chill dude" and they never suspected he'd do something like this - the same kind of thing you hear from neighbors of serial killers.

Quote
Thing is, mo, convincing teenagers to kill lots of people IS the basic process for most terrorist organizations, and it works really well.  It's also the basic process for most military organizations of all time.  I'm not saying all soldiers are terrorists, of course; the targets they're pointed at are chosen by officers, and the wars they prosecute are chosen by politicians.  But blaming a grunt at My Lai is not so different from blaming a 16-year-old suicide bomber.  They were both talked into it by persuasion.

Yeah, I know this, and even mentioned it above, but one major difference here is that it's not so easy to brainwash someone via email and meeting them once or twice. The military owns you 24/7, Manson kept his family very close, the kids from Mumbai were kept in a camp, and they were all taken care of and provided for. My Lai was a little bit different situation - that was sort of mass hysteria or mob mentality.

Quote
Another major problem we have here is that we're like sports teams that go through a rough spot and praise the other team.

I think that's what's going on here. The feds have done some bad stuff, no doubt, and they may be guilty in this case - there's no way for me to know, but just because they have a spotty past, I'm not going to assume they coerced this kid into doing this.

Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

 :eyeroll: Doesn't anybody here feel better with this guy off the streets?

Okay, I like vox's points better, but still, it's easy to say "monitor him", but what if he somehow disappears? How are the feds going to look if he got away and actually pulled off something? He's expressed a desire to mass murder, and they let him go on his way?

Also, supposedly, he did contact real terrorists, according to one of the articles I read, and the terrorists didn't believe he was for real - didn't trust him - thought it was a trap.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: vox8 on November 28, 2010, 04:32:55 PM
To be completely honest, I was basing my response completely on Axe's summation of the situation - I have read nothing on the situation and did not even know of it's existence until I read it here.

I'm pretty out of touch in that way. I do not read any newspapers, watch any TV and I do not read any news aggregators. It isn't until someone mentions something that strikes my interest - either here or on FarceBook - that I investigate things.

The thing that really bothered me was the implication that he was talked out of a summer job program in Alaska. That is the kind of thing that can really be a pivotal point in a person's development into an adult.

Do I think the kid should have been watched closely? Yes.

Frankly, if they had proof of what you said above, mo then I personally think he should have been arrested immediately as a domestic terrorist. Teaching him to braid and knot a noose so that he can hang himself? A waste of time and money. If he was of legal age when he made the threats and plans - go to jail, go directly to, jail ... do not pass go. If he was below legal age - then commitment to a facility and re-education.

That they did not act on the information directly says to me one of two things.

a) They didn't actually have any proof and it was all hearsay and supposition.
b) Some jackass(s) at the FBI saw this as an opportunity to get a shit tonne of recognition if they turned him into a bigger fish.

Do I feel better that he is off the streets? Yes.

I would have to read a great deal more to form any concrete opinions about the situation, and frankly - I cannot see where it would get me. There is nothing I can do about it and nothing I say or do will make a difference in how it is going to go down. So why stress myself out?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 28, 2010, 04:44:56 PM
I would have to read a great deal more to form any concrete opinions about the situation, and frankly - I cannot see where it would get me. There is nothing I can do about it and nothing I say or do will make a difference in how it is going to go down. So why stress myself out?

 :lol: :clap: That's pretty much how I see it too. I don't know why I read so much on the issue other than trying to understand Axe's stance. I had read an article on it yesterday, formed my opinion, and was surprised to see Axe's opinion today, so I read a little more.

And now the wikileaks are out (New York Times has started posting articles), so this little thing will quickly become non-news. It should be an interesting week, and not in a good way.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 28, 2010, 08:47:24 PM
Quote from: mo
So what would you suggest the FBI do in this situation?

If the threat seems credible, pick him up.  Look, a teenager bragging on the internet is barely probably cause for anything.  But if you think it's a serious threat, pick him up right away.  Nip it in the bud.


Quote
one major difference here is that it's not so easy to brainwash someone via email and meeting them once or twice

Yeah, it really can be.  It varies with the person in question, the people doing the influencing, and so on, but, I mean, do you think newbies who drop in to 4chan aren't affected?  Do you think the creepier 'out there' internet groups only attract the like-minded and don't create converts?  I think they make converts like clouds make rain.

One thing sociology will tell you is that strong symbolic rhetoric is fiercely addictive.  Historically, Christianity has been good at supplanting other religions partly because it has the most distilled, strongest, weirdest memes.  It's catchy.  Extremism is catchy, too.

Besides, until the FBI got involved, how do they know how serious this kid was?  Obviously, they don't.  It's the Mother Night problem -- if you pretend to be a leader of the enemy, you might be better at it than the real enemy leaders are, even if you're only pretending.

And I do think this kid needed to be off the streets.  God only knows if he could have / would have built a car bomb on his own.  It's hard to guess how motivated he really was, a year ago, but he's obviously a hell of a lot smarter than the average terrorist.  He's much smarter about choosing targets.  Frankly, that's the really scary part about this.

Look, when I was in junior high and high school, it was perfectly normal (among guys) to play hypothetical games about this kind of thing.  If I were going to kill everyone in the school, how would I do it?  Are the air intakes in the auditorium central to the HVAC system?  If I were a supervillain, would I try to poison the reservoir?  If so, how?  If not, what would I do instead?  If an army invaded the town, what would be the best guerilla response -- or would fleeing be smartest, and, if so, how and to where?  I have no doubt the internet is lousy with kids talking about this stuff.

Nowadays, it's mostly zombie fantasies, but these are normal things for adolescent boys to think and talk about.  The Columbine kids and actual terrorists have obviously changed a lot of people's perspectives, which is perfectly reasonable.  But if you plan some shit out, and someone dares you, or explains how you could actually do it . . . that's a slippery slope.  Especially if your 'friends' (as far as you know) are badass real-life professionals.  Now you have some shit to live up to.

Not really anything more than a comment:  Apparently now some helpful citizen (or, possibly, attention-whoring minority person) has firebombed the mosque the kid allegedly attended.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 29, 2010, 06:00:14 AM
Yeah, I saw the story about the fire and was surprised, because one of the articles I read yesterday morning said they had a cop car stationed outside to prevent such incidents.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 29, 2010, 09:31:56 AM
Pfft. The cop probably threw the molotov.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: vox8 on November 29, 2010, 10:55:06 AM
OK, I just read a couple of articles and it is pretty clear to me that the individual in question needed a psychologist or a counselor, not the law. From what I have read, his behavior underwent a radical change that coincided with the divorce of his parents.

His father noticed the change in his behavior, towards radicalism, and his solution was to report his kid to the police. Christ, if there is a better recipe for alienation I cannot think of one.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 29, 2010, 02:18:49 PM
This is, unfortunately, certainly a good argument for not trying to help your kid by talking to the police.

:thumbsdn:

I mean, even if you're not in Texas.  (No offense, FP.  But the very worst cases I hear about kids being railroaded are almost always out of TX, with a notable exception in Memphis.)
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on November 29, 2010, 04:11:38 PM
Well, I can't really defend our LE or court systems here. There was another similar entrapment type case fairly recently where the kid allegedly planned to blow up that cool mirrored-glass building in downtown Dallas. Ideas like "entrapment" and "paying your dues to society" and "privacy" are just outdated notions from another era now tho, regardless of state. I ain't mad at MI specifically for getting the only alcohol drink I enjoy anymore banned nationally, either...


Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on November 29, 2010, 04:21:55 PM
But the very worst cases I hear about kids being railroaded are almost always out of TX, with a notable exception in Memphis.)

And that was actually in Arkansas.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on November 29, 2010, 04:27:02 PM
West Memphis
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 29, 2010, 05:07:33 PM
This is, unfortunately, certainly a good argument for not trying to help your kid by talking to the police.

Yeah, this rarely, if ever, works.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 29, 2010, 05:10:16 PM
:doh:

You know, I was thinking that I didn't think that was in Tennessee, but I couldn't be bothered to wiki it.  My dumbness.


Yeah, FP, that was just bad legislation up here.  Lazy.  Regulating the marketing of caffeinated booze would've been, you know, complicated.  Time-consuming.  Just ban it, man.  Just give up and go home early.  That shit clearly was being specifically marketed to underage drinkers, but that doesn't mean adults shouldn't be allowed to drink it.  

Still, an identical formulation minus the caffeine would probably taste pretty damned similar, for one thing, and a simple mixed drink of energy-drink-made-for-that plus whatever wouldn't be so tough.  We'll see how long that takes.  Jagerbombs do not count.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 29, 2010, 05:17:30 PM
Back in my bar-hopping days I would have loved something like that. I just mixed pills and alcohol for the same effect. When I started getting too wired, I smoked weed to level out. It's not hard for me to understand why it was banned. I'm not saying it should have been banned, but I did some pretty crazy shit when I was doing that.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on November 29, 2010, 05:30:45 PM
NEVER talk to police (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc). I know it's long but if you haven't seen it I think it's extremely informative, especially if you're one of those "hey, if you have nothing to hide then it shouldn't matter" types.

The net threads about the Joose/4Loko ban are all dumb. It's not the same buzz as Red Bull and vodka, or Irish coffee. It's more like a couple of those "5 hour energy" shots (guarana, taurine, vitamin B, etc) thrown into a huge can of malt liquor. I can't even describe the difference really, but believe me it is different. We call it "the poor man's absinthe" around here; somebody got roasted hard for several pages on Frak for saying something similar to that, but I would consider anyone who's had more than a couple of cans to be potentially dangerous to themselves and others. Stupid college kids don't understand this, and then they wonder what the hell happened the next day after they drank six of them. 4Loko says they are gonna change the formula and take the energy stuff out and ruin it now. Nobody drinks it for the taste, bleh. Somehow a couple of energy shots and a Steel Reserve don't produce the same effects, though.

It's just more of the War on Fun, like the upcoming K2 ban. Again people on the internets don't get this, they think it's like those fake lettuce buds they used to sell in High Times. It is not that at all. K2/Spice/etc is made of various leafy substances sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids, usually of the JWH family. It is usually a more intense high but doesn't last as long. Also, it doesn't show up in drug tests (yet), so it's become a favorite of the working class and the military. But, it gets you high, so the government is moving now to make it illegal (it's already banned by a few states and cities).

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 29, 2010, 05:54:49 PM
I heard something a few months ago about a drug they're developing in South Africa. Some plant native to the region that gives you energy and a euphoric feeling. They were hoping to get it passed through the FDA, etc.  :lol:

Anyone hear anything about this, or know what the name of the plant/drug is? It's not that one that is popular in... where is it, Somalia? Khat that I'm thinking of, it's something else.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 29, 2010, 06:46:57 PM
Ibogaine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine)?  It's one of those wonderdrugs that returns to popularity in rumors every few years.  It apparently really does have some pretty amazing therapeutic uses, for one thing, and is like of like an uber-MDMA in some doses.  They do cultivate it in South Africa, and it hsa recreational uses in smaller doses.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on November 29, 2010, 07:00:00 PM
haha, HST had some funny bits about Edmund Muskie being on ibogaine in that book he did about the '72 presidential campaign...

One bad thing from an underground standpoint: kids are shifting over to psychedelics like ayahuasca and DMT, which are serious mind-and-consciousness exploration devices that aren't really suited to Woo Rave Party type vibes. Set and setting, peoples.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: vox8 on November 29, 2010, 07:19:51 PM
Ibogaine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine)?  It's one of those wonderdrugs that returns to popularity in rumors every few years.  It apparently really does have some pretty amazing therapeutic uses, for one thing, and is like of like an uber-MDMA in some doses.  They do cultivate it in South Africa, and it hsa recreational uses in smaller doses.

Isn't it colorless, odorless and tasteless?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 29, 2010, 07:21:03 PM
I spent the last fifteen years building up a resistance to ibogaine


Was it yohimbe, mo? I figure if they're selling it for boners they'll try to sell it as a stimulant, too.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 29, 2010, 07:46:39 PM
Ibogaine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibogaine)?  It's one of those wonderdrugs that returns to popularity in rumors every few years.  It apparently really does have some pretty amazing therapeutic uses, for one thing, and is like of like an uber-MDMA in some doses.  They do cultivate it in South Africa, and it hsa recreational uses in smaller doses.

That sounds a lot like it - non-addictive, dieting, but I believe it's a more recent discovery than that. Another one of those the natives have been using for years, but... etc.

Not yohimbe, I'm familiar with that name.

On the college station here, they have a program on Sunday mornings where this dude just reads long news articles in a monotone voice. That's where I heard it, and I was driving at the time, and kind of forgot about it by the time I got home and never got the chance to Google it. It's been at least 6 months ago that I heard it.

:shrug:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 29, 2010, 08:06:00 PM
Not iocane, you nits.  :P


It might be an ibogaine derivative, mo, or synthetic version.  Of course, there are new synthetic drugs all the time, and lots of promising things discovered.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: vox8 on November 29, 2010, 09:06:05 PM
Not iocane, you nits.  :P


It might be an ibogaine derivative, mo, or synthetic version.  Of course, there are new synthetic drugs all the time, and lots of promising things discovered.

Oh, I just thought you had a cold.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 29, 2010, 09:29:31 PM
And I suppose you want to make a complaint about your Norwegian Blue.  Remarkable bird.  Beautiful plumage!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 05, 2010, 03:48:37 PM
Enough already (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/04/AR2010120403710.html?sid=ST2010120404317).

FBI trains forger to play agent provocateur in mosques and pays him almost $12k a month for this.  Dude tries to incite mosquegoers to acts of terrorism, at which point they get a restraining order against him.  Now he's suing the FBI.

:eyeroll:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on December 05, 2010, 04:35:50 PM
Wow, now that is just way over the line. This story will probably end up as a movie. A very embarrassing movie for the feds.

More: http://www.ocweekly.com/2009-04-30/news/craig-monteilh/
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 05, 2010, 05:56:41 PM
My god . . . it's full of stupid.

The amateur-hour nature of hiring this guy -- and paying him so much money but not checking up on his story -- is almost as bad as the entrapment / civil rights bullshit.

But what struck me most about the article is how shitty con artists typically are in real life, compared to how clever they usually are on TV and in films.  In real life, it's just depressing.  Look people in the eye and persistently tell them to do something, and a hell of a lot of people will simply give in.

Still, FBI agents should be tougher than random victims at the gym.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 12, 2010, 10:38:21 PM
Here's another odd one:  There's been more reporting on the Madoff investment fraud stuff, what with Bernie's son killing himself. 

(Aside:  All the coverage I've seen takes it for granted that the son killed himself because of the fraud, but none of the coverage I've seen has suggested any evidence of this.  It's certainly a plausible reason, but hardly guaranteed.  If there was a note or something, I haven't heard about it, and it would be awfully crass of the media to just assume.  But anyway.)

There are all kinds of lawsuits going on, with investors trying to recoup their losses.  But some lawsuits are against other investors.  The logic is this:  If you invested in Madoff's ponzi scheme early enough, you actually did make money.  Right?  Sure.  But since there were no actual legal investments, if you made money it was actually money stolen from people who invested after you did.

So there are lawsuits going after early investors, trying to get money out of them.  I don't know about this.  There's a certain amount of logic there, but how far can you chase that trail?  I'm sure there's legal precedent for it, but this seems like a weird case.

I mean:

- Bob robs a bank.  He buys a Porsche.  He gets caught.  The courts try to get the money back.

- Bob's Porsche was bought with illegal gains, so it gets sold to make restitution.  Can the state take it back to the dealership and demand a full refund of the purchase price?  You know, tell the dealer, well, too bad you're losing some money on this, but you're just one more person Bob robbed.

- If so, well, the dealer already spent the money Bob used to pay for the car.  Can the state go after the people the dealer gave money to?  Can the dealer sue those people?  That hardly seems fair.

So obviously there has to either be a rule saying that whatever money Bob 'burned up' through use, well, that's not recoverable.  Unless Bob can be made to pay it back somehow, down the road.  These investors are as blameless as the car dealer.  They had no idea, and no significant reason to suspect, that they were somehow participating in fraud.  And they had no idea or intention of being among the people who didn't get screwed by the fraud -- that was purely chance, an accident of timing.

But these lawsuits against them are reportedly going forward.  To me, that seems crazy.  Madoff paid taxes on his illegal gains, but surely you can't sue the federal or state Treasury to get that back. 

If Madoff had stolen cash from a bank and made huge gifts to his friends, and then he'd gotten caught relatively soon after, taking the gifts away from his friends . . . yeah, OK.  But that's really not comparable here, either.  This is more like he was a mechanic stealing Mopar parts out of a warehouse and fixing cars at a really good price.  If he repaired your car ten years ago and charged you $300 less than it would have cost if he'd bought the parts, the auto parts place can't reasonably come after you now to try to get the $300.  There at least has to be a statute of limitations.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on December 13, 2010, 06:03:26 AM
That's all too deep for me this early in the morning. You make my head hurt  :P

I don't think there was a note, but there was an email to his wife telling her to have someone come get the kid. Could've been sent by the murderer with a conscience, I suppose.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 13, 2010, 08:35:27 AM
If you have a conscience, I think you contact the cops, not the victim's mother.  :shrug:

The most recent report I saw said the suicide was exactly two years after his dad got busted.  Still seems tenuous.  I gotta say . . . every photo they've published of him that I've seen, he looks deeply crazy.  Of course, they may just be selecting the photos where he looks crazy.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mrcookieface on December 13, 2010, 12:48:42 PM
I kind of have red flags going up about this 'suicide', but he gave his parking attendants a Christmas card and bonuses early this year.  That makes me think he was planning and could have offed himself.  Maybe.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on December 13, 2010, 01:15:46 PM
I think I heard there was a note as well as email.  He hung himself with a dog leash from a pipe.  And he had been giving red flags about it to friends and family.  Bernie totally fucked his whole family as well as investors.  If it was murder, I say his dad did it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 13, 2010, 02:30:12 PM
I could certainly believe it was suicide.  I just think the media was way too hasty in quoting people (like his attorney) saying it was simply because of his dad's fraud and everybody coming after them to get money out of them. 
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 17, 2010, 03:40:54 PM
And . . . we have an update.

One of the investors in the Madoff fund (or the widow of one of the investors, if you don't consider her an investor) has voluntarily agreed to turn over an incredible $7.2 BILLION to the settlement fund.  Her husband collected the money from Madoff's fund over a 35-year-period and allegedly operated in good faith.  However, he invested 'only' $620 million and got $7.8 billion back, so critics are saying, quite reasonably, that he should have guessed it was a scam.

Investors aside, how the hell did the feds not catch onto this shit?  Never mind that many people TOLD them that Madoff must be running a scam.  It's obvious on paper.  And these are the exact kind of OMG Not Possible numbers that computer analysis turns up without the slightest problem.  Good job with the regulation, there.

Weirdly, reports also say that insurance is covering about $770 million of the losses, and with this big donation about $9.8 billion has been added to the compensation fund.  Meanwhile, so far, the total of approved claims is $5.9 billion.  :hmm:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on December 17, 2010, 03:44:16 PM
Meanwhile, so far, the total of approved claims is $5.9 billion.  :hmm:

Oh well it'll go up now.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on December 17, 2010, 03:51:13 PM
And IANAL, particularly a securities one, but I have a theory.

This stuff is a crime. Yeah? By following up on reports like this, you are essentially accusing the perpetrator of a crime. And, things being the way they are, you'd damn well better be able to conduct a prosecution or you're going to get your ass sued off by someone who can buy ANY legal representation ANYWHERE, and thus will probably never be convicted ANYWAY. And will certainly not hire YOU when you leave Government service. So, basically, fear of libel prevents such investigations from getting off the ground. This is my theory and I just pulled it out of my ass so I have no idea if it's plausible. However. It seems to fit the facts.

I wonder if the correct approach to this might to just not bother with the criminal aspects, and go for the assets in civil courts.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 17, 2010, 04:57:22 PM
Quote
you'd damn well better be able to conduct a prosecution or you're going to get your ass sued off by someone who can buy ANY legal representation ANYWHERE, and thus will probably never be convicted ANYWAY.

I think the federal regulators are immune from such suits, but I do think that you're basically right about this part.  Quite a few years ago, Solon said that the laws are like a spider web that catches the small and weak but that the powerful simply tear through.  I also think it's probably easier to go after a corporation, per se, than after a single zillionaire.  The corporations are built to take that kind of 'regulatory' punishment, whereas the rich man is perosonally attacked . . . .

When OJ was on trial -- no lie -- I was partly rooting for him to be acquitted, just because he was wealthy.  Honestly, I was not particularly impressed by his defense team, especially considering how weak the prosecution was (overworked and underfunded and following a traditional but terrible prosecution game plan, and I'm not saying it was their fault).  But my thinking was that if a black millionaire can't beat a circumstantial murder rap, then a regular black man is definitely going to get shafted whether he's guilty or not.

As for the feds, I think they were waiting until someone, some injured party, specifically accused Madoff of fraud.  And as for Madoff . . . OK, Ponzi was not a genius and seems to have honestly believed he could spin out his method forever, that the chickens would not come home to roost.  Steve Case obviously had a plan over at AOL, where he ran the company as a ponzi with junk bonds in mind. 

But WTF was Madoff's longterm plan?  I can't believe for a second he didn't know that it would eventually collapse.  Was he just hoping to more or less be on his deathbed by then?  What was he thinking was going to happen to his wife and kids?  You'd think he'd have at least had a contingency plan.  At best, a way to vanish with the money and his family and lead a quiet life of unbridled wealth under a new name in Costa Rica.  At worst, a way to fake massive losses in some investment crash (not that that would probably work).

Still, there was that guy a while back (in Connecticut, wasn't it?) who stole billions from an insurance fund and whose plan was apparently to hide in his house in his huge compound and not answer the door when the cops showed up.  So few criminals are criminal geniuses.  I guess that's why it pisses me off when the whopping idiots go so long without getting caught.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on December 18, 2010, 05:35:16 AM
Meanwhile, so far, the total of approved claims is $5.9 billion.  :hmm:

Well you know there's criteria to be met, right? They've set it up like a triage, I think, so that the first batch is only investors that lost everything they invested. I read something about it last week and didn't pay much attention to it, but it's not like everyone who invested can be approved.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 18, 2010, 08:15:33 AM
Yeah, it's just that now they're probably going to be especially busy.  And it's amazing that they'd gotten so much of the money back already -- or at all -- even before this recent addition.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 13, 2011, 12:24:09 PM
Going back to the story that started this thread, Misty Croslin was sentenced to another 25 years in prison and another $1 million in fines for being probably the least culpable of five people arrested for selling under $4000 worth of oxycodone.  Allegedly.  Really, she's being sentenced for the disappearance of Haleigh Cummings, which even the police think she wasn't the one responsible for.

Stay classy, Florida.  That's some good law and order you got down there, as always.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 13, 2011, 12:29:23 PM
Speaking of which:  Florida police chief arrested for bribing his own department to cover up child rape case against his friend (http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/01/12/florida.police.chief.arrested/index.html).
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Talix on January 13, 2011, 12:30:40 PM
That's it.  A 12-year-old??  Florida, you're cut off.  Literally.  Go sail away.

Sorry - an under 12-year-old.  So it wasn't like the guy was banging a willing 15-year-old and got busted.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 07, 2011, 07:15:17 PM
Dear FTC:

How could you possibly have not learned your lesson already?  Stop letting AOL ever buy or merge with anything else, ever.

Sincerely,

What's Good For America
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on February 08, 2011, 05:57:51 AM
AOL's CEO was on the PBS News Hour last night, and that dude looks pretty scary. Like Lon Chaney or Bela Lugosi scary. He would have been great in monster movies. I just did a GIS for him, and his pics don't look so bad, but he looked really creepy last night. And the market domination stuff coming out of his mouth was just as scary.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 08, 2011, 06:11:30 AM
AOL is basically a sham corporation.  It was founded as a ponzi scheme, and the madness hasn't really stopped since it was allowed to buy Time-Warner with its fake money just as the FTC and SEC were getting ready to curbstomp it.  I guess they decided that it would be easier to let it dilute its sewage with real money than to get into a whole bunch of court proceedings.

AOL loves to pretend it's Microsoft and Google and AT&T in a blender, and that rhetoric is always horrible to hear.  Hey, AOL, you got people on dialup and you gave away a lot of CDs no one wanted and you competed with Geocities.  Take a cookie and shut up.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on February 08, 2011, 10:08:54 AM
I don't trust Arianna as far as I could throw her, so I consider this to be a pretty good thing :galm:
Lots of good articles on HuffPo but also lots of crap. Hoping the good writers move on to better gigs and huffpo disappears in the writhing vortex of suck that is AOL.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 08, 2011, 11:20:29 AM
Actually, I never read the Huffington Post, as when I follow a link there it's usually inane or stupid.  But I just don't want AOL to have anything.  Presumably if they want HuffPo, it's because it's profitable, and all the more reason AOL doesn't deserve it.  AOL is the corporate dream of what junk bonds represent.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 10, 2011, 03:57:16 PM
Having trouble posting in this category!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on February 10, 2011, 04:59:03 PM
/me likes it
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 10, 2011, 05:10:46 PM
Bastard.



:P
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on February 10, 2011, 07:07:36 PM
 :lol:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on February 13, 2011, 07:14:01 PM
I had managed to forget that AOL still existed. Thanks Arianna.  :thumbsdn:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 19, 2011, 02:17:33 PM
"Staycation" is OK because it is/was an actual and newsworthy trend, and you can see how the word occurred organically.

"Mancation" is a flat-out no.  You're embarrassing yourself and the media in general, which is not easy to do.  If you can't come up with a better term, you don't get to talk about it in the news.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on February 19, 2011, 06:27:35 PM
I am liking the terms "manhide" and "man cold" in a couple of commercials I've seen lately.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 19, 2011, 07:52:59 PM
I haven't seen those.  I did finally see the Old Spice Man.  That schtick is OK because it's ironic.  If it were simply earnest, it would be unbearably stupid, but it knows that, and so it isn't.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on February 20, 2011, 07:17:26 PM
I've been following this developing story about Anon supposedly attacking Westboro Baptist Church and ran across something even more interesting: Persona Management Software (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/16/945768/-UPDATED:-The-HB-Gary-Email-That-Should-Concern-Us-All).

Quote
...it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

Sound far-fetched? The Air Force doesn't seem to think so. (https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=d88e9d660336be91552fe8c1a51bacb2&tab=core&_cview=1)

As far as the Anon vs. WBC, if you haven't been following, the short version: someone launched an "op" from Anon, WBC said "bring it on",  and now Anon is denying the majority of the group, if anyone from the group, was behind the op.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on February 20, 2011, 08:48:00 PM
I thought they already had automatic freeping?  This sounds like that, of a few years ago.

I don't follow this stuff in the technical press or anything, though, god knows.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mrcookieface on March 03, 2011, 11:00:57 PM
I hope Axe feels better soon.  He hasn't posted in over 48 hours.

I don't like it.

 :harumph:

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on March 04, 2011, 12:57:28 AM
Oh dear, and here I thought I'd be gone that long.  :(  Anyone have his email or phone number?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: stormneedle on March 04, 2011, 01:20:22 AM
I'll message them to you. But remember the time difference.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 04, 2011, 05:16:45 AM
Yeah, he must be really sick.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Talix on March 04, 2011, 09:17:32 AM
:eek:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: hajen on March 04, 2011, 09:20:39 AM
Quote
Last Active:    March 01, 2011, 08:13:34 PM


Uh oh. Not even reading.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mrcookieface on March 04, 2011, 11:20:13 AM
I didn't mean to worry anybody.  I usually give someone 96 hours before I start to get concerned.  I'm sure he's just resting up at the moment.


Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on March 04, 2011, 02:21:09 PM
I just called Axe, first on his cell (left a generic message, because I wasn't sure if it was still his number), and just now got off the phone with him after calling the bookstore, where he is at work.  :detta:
 
He has a very nice voice, BTW.   :love:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 04, 2011, 02:25:43 PM
he is at work.

 :eyeroll:

Too sick to come to BC, but not too sick to go to work.

I don't like it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on March 04, 2011, 03:13:56 PM
he is at work.

 :eyeroll:

Too sick to come to BC, but not too sick to go to work.

I don't like it.

like
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on March 04, 2011, 03:30:33 PM
The question is, if he doesn't go to work there, who will?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 04, 2011, 04:15:02 PM
The Acronyms!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 04, 2011, 06:32:29 PM
Quote
Too sick to come to BC, but not too sick to go to work.

I don't like it.

My thoughts exactly!  A revolting situation.

No, hit with a brutal flu like I haven't had in years, and between that, no sleep, and store-brand DaQuil I couldn't concentrate for more than about ten minutes at a time.  I watched a few movies that took about 4 hours apiece because I kept losing track of WTF and having to rewind.

I did go in to work briefly on Wednesday, mostly because I'm pretty sure I haven't missed a day since I started working there, and it seemed a shame to break that streak.  I went in this morning thinking I could leave after just two hours, but I forgot that the new guy is off on spring break, and I got stuck there way, way too long.  I don't think I infected anyone, but I went through so much hand sanitizer today that I'm pretty sure I was surly-drunk by lunchtime.

I have to admit, I didn't think you people would miss me that much, that fast.  :lol:  :P
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 07, 2011, 06:29:04 PM
Quote
A federal magistrate is granting Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz’s website from January of 2009 to the present.

The article goes on to discuss how Sony wants to track down people who downloaded the hack, and I can understand how a judge might allow that, but then:

Quote
A YouTube subpoena, also approved, seeks information connected to the “geohot” account that displayed a video of the hack being used: “Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew.” The subpoena demands data to identify who watched the video and “documents reproducing all records or usernames and IP addresses that have posted or published comments in response to the video.”

A fourth subpoena is directed at Twitter, demanding the disclosure of all of Hotz’s tweets, and “documents sufficient to identify all names, addresses, and telephone numbers associated with the Twitter account.”

Unfucking believable.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/03/geohot-site-unmasking/
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 07, 2011, 06:40:33 PM
Yeah, if I were still spending money on console game stuff, this would push it all to the Wii.  What really aggrieves me is that years ago Sony was going to release an awesome free game development platform for the PSX, and they talked it up a lot, and then their legal and marketing departments abruptly shut it down cold.  By now this is how far that pendulum has swung. 

Everybody knows I'm kind of an IP rights hawk, but the corporate defenders of that junk ALWAYS go too far.  I can't possibly condone the RIAA, Sony's actions, the DMCA, and so on.  It's not even a close call.

The best thing you can do is probably organize an online boycott of Sony products, and also write to companies that develop games for the PS3 and tell them you're dumping the platform because of Sony's actions, and you know other people who are doing the same thing.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 07, 2011, 07:43:06 PM
I have no interest in gaming at all. I'm just floored by the notion of Sony establishing grounds whereby they can demand the identities of people who have done nothing more than watch a publicly available video. And it's not Sony that surprises me here, it's the magistrate.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on March 07, 2011, 07:55:28 PM
Hardcore gamers already knew to avoid anything Sony-related for a number of reasons anyway.

There seems to be no real expectation of privacy of any sort along these lines anymore. ISPs and big web presences basically will roll over for anybody. Like when somebody is on the news who got arrested and they have their entire shady-sounding Google search history, but nobody cares because it's somebody who got arrested. You don't have to be arrested to get pulled up though, and this kind of thing is more brazen than ever and people are meh so that's how it is now I'm afraid.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 07, 2011, 08:09:59 PM
Judges often seem to act fairly randomly on this stuff.  I don't know if amicus briefs are too obscure -- or too long -- or what, but the judges don't seem to have much idea of what they're doing.

If the judge was saying the cops or FBI had blanket permission to grab that information pursuant to an investigation, that would be bad enough.  This is in another realm of stupidity altogether.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: stormneedle on March 07, 2011, 10:49:22 PM
I've never bought anything from Sony. It might be amusing to get just the favicon file (if any) and NOTHING else from that guy's website.

It's a waste of my time, yes. But it's more a waste of theirs. I just doubt the difference is amusing enough to bother.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 09, 2011, 10:40:02 AM
Wait, NPR execs are resigning over the Pimp O'Keefe tape?

All right, I've now lost all respect for NPR.  You farking creampuffs.  There's no journalistic integrity in folding like that in the face of lame footage from a fake journalist who set out to frame you.

Pathetic.  Just unbelievably weak.  :thumbsdn:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 09, 2011, 10:42:29 AM
Oh, and former terrorist Peter King going on and on with his McCarthy Hardon for Scary Muslims in congressional hearings?  Why don't you go blow up some British children and leave us alone, Pete?  Ridiculous.  I guess he knows from experience that if you can't trust any of the Irish, then you probably can't trust any Muslims, either.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Talix on March 09, 2011, 10:52:24 AM
Wait, NPR execs are resigning over the Pimp O'Keefe tape?

All right, I've now lost all respect for NPR.  You farking creampuffs.  There's no journalistic integrity in folding like that in the face of lame footage from a fake journalist who set out to frame you.

Pathetic.  Just unbelievably weak.  :thumbsdn:

He'd announced he was moving on to a new job last week.  The tape just hastened his departure.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 09, 2011, 10:54:38 AM
I missed that part.  But apparently he's not the only one leaving this week.  And they look like they're surrendering.  Try harder, damn it.

When someone without any credibility says you have no credibility, the correct response is not to mumble something quietly and slink away.  You can snap back at them, or you can ignore them, but you can't make it look like you got owned.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 10, 2011, 11:00:51 AM
OK, seriously, let's just ship Peter King off to Gitmo until he stops terrorizing US citizens.  No, seriously.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on March 10, 2011, 06:50:35 PM
We should send the police, insurance companies, and financial institutions there while you're at it.  Complete and utter terrorists.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 10, 2011, 06:51:18 PM
Well . . . we need some of those.

For starters, I need a new insurance company at the moment.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on March 10, 2011, 06:59:43 PM
That's why the financial institutions must go too.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on March 10, 2011, 07:22:53 PM
You don't need an insurance company, that's just what they want you to believe.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 10, 2011, 09:20:42 PM
Unfortunately, my mortgage company will foreclose immediately if I'm living here without insurance.  They'd let me keep the place if I moved out and kept it vacant, though.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on March 11, 2011, 10:17:49 AM
You are so elusive, how can they prove you ARE living there?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 11, 2011, 10:40:18 AM
The first company dropped my insurance policy (without telling me) because, they claim, they did an "investigation" and "discovered" that I wasn't living there.

It's not really a win-win kind of thing.  This is what happens when you can't afford an attorney.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 15, 2011, 10:37:30 AM
Higher court overrules judge who must have been high (http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/03/14/pennsylvania.boy.double.homicide/index.html).  Seriously, can we get this guy off the bench?

You may remember the story from last year about the 11-year-old kid who allegedly shot and killed his father's pregnant 26-year-old girlfriend while she was sleeping.  Sad story all around.  From all accounts I've heard, the kid most probably did it, apparently because he didn't like how the family dynamic had changed, or something.

He goes to court, and they have a hearing to see if he'll be tried as an adult.  OK, personally, I don't believe in this bullshit.  By law, a kid is not an adult.  We have specific rules for this.  To me, this is equivalent to having a hearing to see if a thief will be tried as a murderer.  Follow the rules or fix the rules, period, but don't do this bullshit end-run around them.  Create a new category of 'juvenile serious offender', or something.  Sending a 12-year-old to prison for life is, itself, a major crime.

But anyway.

The judge at the hearing -- and I am not making this up -- refused to let the kid be tried as a kid because he couldn't get the kid to admit he was guilty.

Yes -- before trial, mind you -- the judge wants the kid to admit guilt and show remorse.  The kid has maintained his innocence and plans to plead not guilty.  WTF, judge?  Yes, of course the higher court threw it out on appeal on the grounds that, duh, you can't require a defendant to plead guilty.  (Plea bargains, although often idiotic, are not quite the same.)

Personally, I throw up in my mouth a little every time a judge or parole board automatically penalizes a convict for not admitting guilt.  Legally guilty does not make you factually guilty; it just makes you officially guilty.  You can't be forced to give up your right to maintain that you didn't do it.  But this particular case is just ridiculous.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 19, 2011, 09:51:55 PM
GAAAAAAH I DON'T LIKE THIS (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/sc-dc-0320-us-military-libya-20110319,0,7579064.story) EITHER
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 19, 2011, 10:06:54 PM
I . . . have mixed feelings about that.  We really can't afford the money, and good god I hope we don't put troops on the ground.  But the dude's clearly on the way out, and at this point it's just nice to limit how many people he takes with him.  Assuming we do this halfway right.

Beyond that, I'm sure there's the thought that someone else is going to be in charge there soon, and if it's someone problematic . . . this way we'll have already blown out most of their air defenses.  I know that's partly what France is thinking.  Toulon and Nice are within MiG range of Tripoli, so any excuse to knock the Libyan air force back a few decades has a je ne sais quois in the Gallic view.  But if Libya ends up 'radicalized', our fearless leaders will wish they'd blown up their radar installations this month anyway.

We'll see, I guess.  Now that we're directly involved, though, the crazy regime had better fold promptly.  We certainly ought to be able to cripple the bulk mechanized strength of their military fairly easily from offshore, and we sure fired a whole bunch of cruise missiles today . . . .
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 19, 2011, 10:27:55 PM
Well, there's that line about going after the king ... last time we went after Colonel Q and missed we got the Lockerbie terrorist attack in return.
Gaaah.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 19, 2011, 10:34:45 PM
Most things turn out badly if you fuck them up and then don't clean up the mess.

There's arguably no such thing as a good war.  There's definitely no such thing as a good half-assed war.  Of course, you may remember that when Reagan tried to bomb Colonel Q, we specifically set out to miss him, thanks to Ford and tradition.  It really makes you wonder why the Republicans always seem to think that Shock & Awe is effective.  It's such a sad colonialist view -- and it rarely worked during the heyday of colonialism, either.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 20, 2011, 06:16:51 AM
GAAAAAAH I DON'T LIKE THIS (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/sc-dc-0320-us-military-libya-20110319,0,7579064.story) EITHER

Yep. I've been opposed to this from the beginning, but at the same time I knew it was going to happen all along. This was the perfect opportunity to stand back and let someone else handle it for a change, but no, we just can't resist the... gah, I don't really even want to talk about it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 20, 2011, 08:41:45 AM
I think the problem there is that when you look at the list of other countries in this rapid-bake coalition and what commitment they're making, no one else had the stand-off anti-radar stuff we already had there.  It's apparently going to take France a week just to move some of their navy to the area, which is a little WTF, but whatever.  So if we didn't go all Tomahawk and ARM all over the Libyan air defense bases, then either no one else would want to try to handle the situation, or they'd get their asses handed to them. 

A Rafale can get shot down with a radar-guided surface to air missile, after all.  Even the French don't have missile carriers or stealth aircraft to speak of.  The Brits flew a bombing run that they couldn't have if we hadn't knocked out the radar first.  And especially since we reportedly have Arab countries committing to the coalition, we don't want to look like we don't give a crap here.

I'm just so :pray: that they don't eff this up.  Now we're committed, so we can't afford to screw it up or to quit without getting him out, but we can't be lethargic about it and let this stretch on and on.  Plus, he's destroying Libya's infrastructure, because he's a dick, so if we want the country to recover quickly, we gotta nip this in the bud.

I know the oil companies want in there, but I don't even want to think about that.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on March 22, 2011, 01:39:07 PM
Well if the coalition didn't spend the portion of their GDP to build up their "defenses" like we did, shouldn't they be paying now for our services?  If Obama had any balls, he would have said, you have a point, but the cost of this will be $.5 trillion or so, so we'll expect a prompt remittance.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 22, 2011, 02:00:33 PM
Thing is, we owe money to most of those countries.  :uncertain:

If you're going to attack a country to reduce its military capacity . . . or for almost any purpose . . . one of the best times to do that is while it's having a civil war.  (That's when we invaded Russia, too, for instance.)  So we might just be saving ourselves money. 

I'm not sure what the shelf life of a Tomahawk is, anyway, but during the Gulf War we dropped more WWII-era munitions on Iraq than we dropped on Europe and Japan combined during all of WWII.  A lot of them didn't explode properly, being too old, but part of the logic was that we saved money by not continuing to store them or, uh, disposing of them properly.

I'm not saying this is a good reason to use a cruise missile or drop a bomb, but if you're going to be using them anyway . . . there's a certain logic to it.  There's a tendency to get too blase.  I guarantee you that part of why Colonel Q decided to go out this way is because a blaze of military glory is just a lot more fun.  He would hate himself if he lost control of all those tanks and planes without using them one last time.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 23, 2011, 11:45:20 AM
I don't like this (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-stoner-arms-dealers-20110316) either. (warning; long)

And has anything changed?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on March 23, 2011, 11:50:17 AM
I didn't know anyone still read Rolling Stone
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 23, 2011, 11:54:04 AM
It's got really good political coverage now (again?). They've basically taken over the interesting investigative journalism angle now that the newspapers and 'newsmagazines' have gone to pure entertainment coverage.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 23, 2011, 02:55:39 PM
The CIA has loved disposable arms dealers like them since the 1960s, if not earlier.  Frequently, the CIA has groomed their own temporary employees and consultants to become dealers -- and often then burned them when it became expedient.  You might remember two former CIA employees in the 1980s who dealt a jillion arms to Beirut with unwritten CIA approval and then got burned when the deal got noticed.  If I remember right, they were actually buying them from Israel, but then the Israelis realized WTF was actually happening.  Awkward to sell tens of thousands of Uzis to Lebanon . . . .

But, yeah.  And then the feds seize your profits, too.  I'd bet a lot of the weapons get confiscated and then 'vanished' to side projects outside the US.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on March 23, 2011, 02:57:01 PM
Dumbass #2 shouldn't have gone into business with Dumbass #1 without a written contract.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 23, 2011, 03:01:31 PM
Dumbass #2 shouldn't have gone into business with Dumbass #1 without a written contract.

Man, I don't think I would have ever signed anything with Dumbass #1 in the room.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 24, 2011, 01:36:54 PM
I don't know if anyone's ever mentioned this before, but Scalia is kind of a dick.

This is from a CNN story about a Supreme Court deliberation over the police questioning of a 13-year-old (http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/03/23/scotus.child.suspects/index.html?hpt=Sbin).

Scalia reportedly didn't like the idea that a 13-year-old might need to be treated differently by the legal system than a 17-year-old . . . which is pretty strange and clueless to begin with, but then he said:

"We don't want Miranda warnings to be given where they are unnecessary because they are only necessary to prevent coercion, and where there's no coercion, we want confessions, don't we?" he said. "It's a good thing to have the bad guys confess that they're bad guys, right?"

So either you're saying that citizens don't need to know their rights because, hey, we're the government, and you should trust us -- or else you're saying you think it's a bad idea for citizens to be told what their rights are because they might exercise them.

Confessions are obviously good to have . . . when they're trustworthy and when the methods used to obtain them are clean.  Otherwise, not.  And safeguards against things like coercion have to be present all the time.  That's what makes them safeguards.  Why does he assume that there won't be any coercion?  And, anyway, there pretty obviously was coercion in the case at hand, although I don't think there's any evidence the cop particularly intended any.  A 13-year-old without an advocate, who doesn't even know what his rights are, can reasonably be expected to be intimidated in that situation.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on March 24, 2011, 02:47:56 PM
Yep, just the situation is coercive.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 24, 2011, 02:49:16 PM
I'm re-reading the first couple chapters of "The Pelican Brief" a lot these days. A LOT.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 24, 2011, 03:25:44 PM
I don't think it's necessarily wrong for a cop to talk to a kid in those general circumstances.  It's probably almost always better than hauling the kid out of school and to the police station.  You can't put a kid in the back of a police car and not be coercing the kid.  Frankly, any police force needs at least one cop with special training in dealing with kids.  The school, too, obviously has a range of duties there that can be hard to balance, but an easy test is that if you think the parents are going to have a legitimate grievance against you later, you're probably not doing a good job of in loco parentis.

But Scalia's generalizing.  He's saying it would be better if the police didn't read the Miranda warnings unless they were planning to coerce a confession.

There's a general right-wing / libertarian view that it's the citizen's responsibility, period, to make the best use of their rights.  Your responsibility to know them; your responsibility to apply them; your responsibility to defend them.  No Miranda warnings.  No making it easier to register to vote, or for that matter easier to vote.  And so on.

And it can sound like a fair tough-guy philosophy, but it almost always boils down to a core concept of personal superiority and perceived entitlement.  You talk to people who believe this, and it's easy to uncover a notion (well-founded or not -- see Joe the Plumber) that they're better-suited to exploit the rules than other people are, or at least way above average.  These are the people who are sure they can become millionaires -- and if they can't, it's because of some conspiracy holding them down.  They don't want the plebs to vote because they perceive themselves as 'haves' and the plebs as 'have-nots', and they realize that the have-nots will want to change the rules.  Their attitude is really Everyone For Themselves, and they like that because they believe they're among the fittest and thus most likely to come out on top.

It's kind of sad how often they're hopelessly wrong, too (see Joe the Plumber), and generally they're really running dogs of actual millionaires who don't even know them.  They suck up to the rich and to whatever oppressive system comes along because they want to be rich and to be among the oppressors.  It's our own Communist Party.

Scalia's just revealing his lame classist prejudice that "the bad guys" are dyed in the wool, a separate class of people essentially unlike the 'good guys' like himself.  They're not like us, and they're too dumb and too inherently antisocial to make use of society's rules, so we shouldn't help them.  They need to be left to drown in their own sewage, as they deserve.  None of his friends would be so dumb as to not know to tell the cop to fuck himself and get back to wasting the taxpayers' dollars elsewhere.

Same old dickery.  People like him are always so affronted when they wind up at the guillotine, too.  I don't think it's being executed that bugs them.  I think it's being executed by the rabble that bugs them.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 24, 2011, 06:15:39 PM
I was reading this article (http://www.oklahomawatch.org/story.php?sid=28) earlier today. The link that lead me there from reddit was something dramatic like "Mom Gets 10 Years for $30 Worth of Weed". Well, that's a bit misleading in that she sold to undercover cops twice over a period of a couple months, she allegedly had her kids involved in sales, and she reported for sentencing with weed in her pocket  :eyeroll: so it's not like she's an angel, but the story and the sentencing is still hard to believe.

tl;dr version:

Quote
(Patricia Marilyn) Spottedcrow and her mother (Delita Starr), 50, were offered plea deals of two years in prison, she said. But she was afraid of her mother going to prison based on of her poor health.

Because neither had prior criminal records and the drug amount was low, they took the gamble of entering into a blind plea before a judge, meaning they pleaded guilty with no prior sentencing arrangement.

On Sept. 23, Starr received a 30-year suspended sentence and five years of drug and alcohol assessments. Nearly a month later, Spottedcrow was sentenced to 10 years in prison for distribution and two years for possession, to run concurrently.

“It was a way of life for them,” (Judge) Pritchett said. “Considering these circumstances, I thought it was lenient. By not putting the grandmother in prison, she is able to help take care of the children.” (Spottedcrow has 4 kids, ages 9, 4, 3 and 1)

Spottedcrow has worked as a certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant but was unemployed and did not have a stable residence at the time of her arrest, the report states. The family lost their Oklahoma City home for not paying bills, the report states.

And this is the part that really gets me:

Quote
“It is a concern of this officer that when she needed money to pay her bills, this is the avenue she chose rather than finding legitimate employment,” the report states. “The defendant does not appear remorseful for her committing this offense, and she makes justifications for her actions.”

I can only hope that the person who wrote that report gets a rude introduction to the current employment market.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 24, 2011, 07:31:55 PM
Quote
so it's not like she's an angel

She's a Showtime series.


Glad the judge is retired, but it would be better for society if she were in jail.  This is total bullshit.  Casual dealing by someone who can't make ends meet, fingered by an informant (not an undercover cop) who was no doubt a user turning cop tricks to avoid going to jail.  Two dime bags is this kind of hard time?  I could see if the kids were taken away, if they were really involved in the operation, but I wouldn't like it -- it's POT for christ's sake.

Judge says she has to look at what it would take to rehabilitate the individual.  Spare me your sanctimonious crap.  Ten years in prison has never rehabilitated anyone of anything.  You give a two-year suspended sentence and threaten to take the kids away, you'll rehabilitate this woman.  Maybe the judge doesn't like brown women.

Total bullshit.  Not in the best interest of society, the kids, or the defendant.  And not a good use of the taxpayer's money, either.  The judge is a far worse criminal than this woman.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 24, 2011, 07:35:21 PM
I don't like this NYT story (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html), either.

GE made well over $14 billion in profit last year, and the IRS owes them a refund.

I made about $22,000 last year and had to pay about a quarter of it in taxes.

GE's keeping most of their profit outside of the US, too.  Great for the actual taxpayers.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on March 24, 2011, 07:38:53 PM
They won't stop until they get us all. Here is a good song about it. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JaMBEIM0kM)

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 25, 2011, 07:09:08 AM
The hits keep coming.  This is from an article about the first kid prosecuted from that gang of soldiers in Afghanistan who hunted local civilians for fun (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/i-lost-my-moral-compass-how-a-young-us-soldier-triggered-an-abuse-scandal-in-afghanistan-2252475.html).

Quote
Morlock soon began smoking locally cultivated marijuana several times a week. He was also being prescribed ten different medications (including painkillers, anti-depressants, and sleeping pills) by military doctors. An army medical evaluation later found that he had post-concussive syndrome, dependence on cannabis, had abused opiates and sedatives, and was suffering from personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. But he was not removed from the front line.

He was 22, had been in combat at least four times, and was majorly messed up -- and had been in Afghanistan for just a couple of months.  And they knew he was messed up, but they kept him on active duty.  On that much medication, he probably shouldn't have been driving.

They were also clearly undersupervised.  Their sergeant allegedly encouraged them to start killing civilians and taking trophies, which he told them was a habit he'd gotten into in Iraq.

I realize that throughout history, militaries have been messy organizations, and a certain percentage of soldiers have committed atrocities of various kinds.  Unofficial atrocities, I mean.  You take tens of thousands of young men, desensitize them to violence, decrease their sense of moral and personal responsibility, increase their aggression, dehumanize everyone not in a matching uniform, and then traumatize them with combat experiences . . . yeah, you're going to get a certain number going squirrelly. 

The bottom line is that a soldier you're not able to manage satisfactorily is exactly the same as a bomb that wanders randomly when you drop it or a missile that goes off course.  Something's going to be destroyed, and you don't know what it is.  It's the responsibility of the chain of command to prevent that from happening.  This shit was preventable.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on March 25, 2011, 07:52:02 AM
That story, like the Rolling Stone article hmof posted that I finally got around to reading, just leave me speechless. I mean, what can you say? It's so wrong on so many levels that it almost seems pointless to address. War is bad. Bad shit will happen. Really bad shit. You shouldn't get in a war unless there's ab-so-lutely no alternative. War is not how you "send messages".

Argh.

Thinking about this right after reading that RS article is not good for me. It's been too long since I've felt any pride in being American. ...I take that back - the other day I saw a news clip showing our troops in Japan setting up the radar for the airport that was hit by the tsunami. I got a big warm fuzzy feeling out of that. I want more dammit.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on March 25, 2011, 08:25:57 AM
War is bad. Bad shit will happen. Really bad shit. You shouldn't get in a war unless there's ab-so-lutely no alternative. War is not how you "send messages".

Exactly. exactly. exactly.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 25, 2011, 09:20:44 AM
There's an old adage that a general will never tell you the Army can't do something.  They may not tell you how difficult it would be, though.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on March 25, 2011, 03:47:27 PM
Prison Industrial Complex.  Here's another song about it. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WVTbND_cZE)
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 27, 2011, 02:18:24 PM
NYT article on engineering design failures at the Fukushima plants (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/world/asia/27nuke.html).

Quote
Japanese government and utility officials have repeatedly said that engineers could never have anticipated the magnitude 9.0 earthquake

Quote
“We can only work on precedent, and there was no precedent,” said Tsuneo Futami, a former Tokyo Electric nuclear engineer who was the director of Fukushima Daiichi in the late 1990s. “When I headed the plant, the thought of a tsunami never crossed my mind.”

Yeah, that's not good enough.  Awfully sick of hearing the No One Could Have Predicted This excuse for stuff that lots of people could have predicted and did in fact predict.  The plant was built to withstand three times the projected likely earthquake threat.  The actual quake was even worse than that, but the quake doesn't seem to have done any critical damage.  The tsunami was less than 2.5 times the projected likely tsunami threat, and it destroyed the place.  As it turns out, they weren't even prepared for the projected likely threat they were told to eventually expect.

And what the hell kind of Japanese engineer manages a nuclear power plant right on the coast and never imagines a tsunami?  People who live in central Japan think about tsunamis.  They're kind of famous in Japan.

I know this whole thing is mostly just an excuse, but at least come up with better excuses.  Arguing that you were wildly incompetent to hold the job in the first place is not much of a defense. 
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on March 30, 2011, 05:10:04 AM
And of course now it's turning out that the management, engineers, and regulatory agencies all knew the Fukushima plants were vulnerable to tsunamis, but they didn't do anything about it.

This is the same story you constantly hear about nuclear power in the US and Canada.  I admit I had some of the typical But Surely The Japanese Do These Things Properly prejudice.  Apparently it's the same there.  Gotta hope France is somehow doing better.

Fission power would be a great leap ahead of fossil fuels and even an improvement on hydro if we could manage it properly (and figure out how to store spent fuel), but apparently it's just beyond us as a species.  It's not physical or technological problems, and it's really not economic, either.  It's just stupidity, laziness, bad corporate and government cultures, and apparently it's just Too Hard.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on April 20, 2011, 07:12:48 PM
ACLU: Michigan cops stealing drivers' phone data (http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20055431-1.html)

I just don't even know anymore.  :harumph:

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on April 20, 2011, 09:47:55 PM
They take whatever they think they can get away with, and use it the same.  Of course, the ultimate upshot of this is poor people get screwed over and rich people don't, same as ever.  If you can afford a lawyer and enough hours, they can derail that sort of thing.


Meanwhile, I understand aggrandizing the enemy.  I really do.  It's pathetic, but I get why they do it.  But could we PLEASE stop referring to every middle-manager terrorist as a 'mastermind'?  Just because some dipweed guy made a bomb and got someone else to commit suicide with it near our stuff does not make the guy who was smart enough not to blow himself up a 'mastermind'.  I mean, Bin Laden is not a supervillain; a guy who says, hey, see that boat, let's ram it is not a mastermind.

I realize it lets us puff out our chests and yadda yadda, but back where those guys are from it just makes them look a whole lot better on recruiting posters.  If you're a First Grade teacher, and little Jimmy bites you, you don't start referring to him as The Great and Terrible Jimmy unless you want all the kids to bite you.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on April 21, 2011, 06:11:42 AM
There's a couple issues at play here. One, "mastermind" is a fun word for them, like "lockdown". If there's a situation where the term loosely applies, they're going to jump at the opportunity. Secondly, alternative words (http://thesaurus.com/browse/mastermind) that are more accurately descriptive don't seem to be available. Maybe a new word should be invented. I kind of like "martyr maker". I'm surprised Fox is not all over this project of creating words to describe the new world order.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on April 21, 2011, 06:56:50 AM
Another perfect example I just ran across: "Unplugged"

I defy anyone to explain the application of that word in this instance. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything. They just wanted to use that word.

I'm not going to link to the actual interview because it's absolute rubbish, but here's a screenshot.

[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on April 21, 2011, 07:55:49 AM
My main beef is that these guys are not masterminds; they're 'planners' or 'leaders' at most.  I think 'martyr-maker' would give them too much credit, too -- it's granting that the suicide bomber is a martyr.

I would accept 'ringleader', but that's as far as I'd go.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on April 21, 2011, 10:10:15 AM
Another perfect example I just ran across: "Unplugged"

I defy anyone to explain the application of that word in this instance. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything. They just wanted to use that word.

I'm not going to link to the actual interview because it's absolute rubbish, but here's a screenshot.

All I can figure in context here is Manson's band is going to do a concert for MTV where a couple of them play acoustic guitars instead of their usual electric ones, but they're going to put electric pickups in the acoustic guitars so they sound pretty much the same as they do normally.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on April 21, 2011, 02:45:16 PM
But that's just my point - Manson has always been an acoustic kind of guy. It's like saying John Denver unplugged.

*googles*

Okay, bad example.  :eyeroll:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on April 21, 2011, 07:05:09 PM
Pre-electric Bob Dylan unplugged.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 17, 2011, 06:40:25 AM
Quote
...under Monday's ruling, police could go door to door in an apartment complex where there is known drug activity, and if they smell marijuana, bang on the door and if they hear noises that suggest the destruction of incriminating evidence, they can break in and seize evidence in plain sight.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter from the court's ruling, accused the majority of "arm[ing] the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement in drug cases. In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate," she said, "police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant."

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/16/136368744/in-warrantless-search-case-top-court-rules-for-police?ps=cprs
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 17, 2011, 07:43:06 AM
Yeah, this Supreme Court is rapidly becoming more and more of a joke.  The whole institution took a real dive at the end of the last century, but it's getting fairly ridiculous.

The basic notion of exigent circumstances is fine, but there has to be a reasonable test for it, and the court seems to be saying to hell with that.  There are definite limits to how far courts can just take a cop's word for it, and this sure seems to go too far, which does not serve the justice system or the public good.

Beyond that, every time that police powers are expanded, it tends to serve to make the police the enemy of the public.  The public resents the power the police have -- and rightfully so -- and especially any arbitrary powers.  It's ridiculous to say that all citizens are equal and have inalienable rights and also there's a large class of citizens who have special status to do whatever they want to you, and if you don't like it . . . they can do something worse to you.

Besides, if the police have the power to bust down your door pretty much anytime they want, it's only reasonable to expect that more and more people will be paranoid about this and make preparations to repel the police using deadly force.  Cops see this kind of escalation all the time, and now they'll see more of it.  There will be a lot more pot smokers who feel it makes sense to get an extra deadbolt and to keep a shotgun near the door.  Regardless of whether you're doing something that means you ought to expect the police, when people don't feel safe in their homes, they take steps to protect themselves.

Ill-advised steps, as often as not.  The more people fear the police, the more they hate them, and the Supreme Court just gave everyone another good reason to fear the police.  Plus, good defense attorneys will make hay with the fuzziness of exigent circumstances, so this is another policy change that really only hurts the poor and mostly makes life difficult for the police.  Pretty stupid all around.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on May 17, 2011, 01:33:50 PM
The more people fear the police, the more they hate them
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: sheilanagig on May 18, 2011, 09:14:16 PM
It doesn't help that the police are taught to escalate and refuse to give any ground. They learn to view themselves as apart from and opposed to most of society, even the people they protect who are not criminals. They become desensitized. Very much the dogs in Animal Farm, come to think of it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 19, 2011, 01:14:13 PM
The mission is supposed to be protect and serve.  They are public servants.  Unfortunately a great number of them don't take that to heart.  I blame the weapons...or maybe ECM

As a parallel, the people who become firefighters for the most part actually carry out the mission of protecting and serving.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 21, 2011, 08:05:43 PM
Man, the Comcast merger is easily the most bullshit corrupt corporation nonsense since AOL bought Time-Warner.

And the FCC commissioner quits immediately to become the new VP of Governmental Influence at Comcast?  Ridiculous.  How about a public execution?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 21, 2011, 08:32:56 PM
No shit. I actually signed up for the Al Franken petition to protest that merger. The merger was bad enough, but that commissioner thing is really a slap in the face to the public.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Hedaira on May 21, 2011, 09:27:29 PM
That woman is the very definition of whore. May karma work quickly and thoroughly.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on May 22, 2011, 02:34:46 PM
Steve and I watched a couple of episodes of Parking Wars last night, and it suddenly dawned on me as I watched that most of the people getting shafted were poor or working class.

There were some genuinely decent people in the episodes we watched (in addition to the typical aggro "why you givin me a fuckin ticket!!!" types).

It's like one small lapse of judgment, or one instance of bad luck, spirals into this abyss of hundreds of dollars to get your car out of impound and pay absurd fees for storing the car. These were just people who'd been in small car accidents that weren't their fault, or made a split second decision to park or stop in the wrong place because they couldn't be late to work.

Talk about the cycle of poverty.  :angry:

My impression now is that Detroit's primary budget revenue comes from crazy parking rules.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 22, 2011, 02:42:49 PM
I generally stay the hell away from Detroit, but I've been in Michigan for something approaching a decade, now, and this state has the worst parking situation of anywhere I've ever lived.  Including Boston.

Badly planned, badly executed, badly explained, and just bad policies.  And no excuse for any of it.  It's just ridiculous and maddening.

They also have truly terrible roads here, and the DMV-equivalent rules are not friendly either.  Even after all these years, it still strikes me as ironic how anti-driver this state is.  Clearly, the auto industry wasn't meant to stay here.



edit:  Your point is spot on, too.  I was just ticked off about the parking issue.  Laws mostly exist to screw the poor and protect the rich.  There's a Porsche SUV that's illegally parked near the shop almost every day, and I see tickets on it all the time.  The driver clearly doesn't care, so it's obviously not a burden to them.  As far as I can tell, it never gets booted or towed or anything, but lots of other people get towed.

Someone who drives a $5k car is less likely to give you legal trouble if you tow the thing.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 22, 2011, 02:51:21 PM
Yeah, I've watched that before. I've also spent all night trying to get my car back after being impounded in ATL. And paid a few hundred bucks for the pleasure. That show applies to any big city. It's a good public service that it's shown. A lot of people (like me, years ago) don't realize what a nightmare you risk when parking somewhere you shouldn't (whether it's possible for you to know or not). In other words, you should be really paranoid about where you park.

One of the things I found interesting about the show was that you might expect the people who work behind the little window to play nicer for the camera, and some of them do, but some of them play their normal "we got your car, now you're going to do what ever silly thing I say routine, because I am now in charge of you". And then there's people on there that appear to be truly helpful, and the people they interact with don't appreciate it. There's a lot of dom/sub going on there.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on May 22, 2011, 06:27:40 PM
Yeah, I've had my share of truly ridiculous parking violations in Seattle. A couple of times i've had tickets simply taken off my car, and only found out about it when I get the "we're sending this to collections" notice.

I've also had situations where there was no sign to speak of anywhere on an entire city block allowing or disallowing parking, and then find a ticket that i'm parked in a permit only area or "no parking on this side of the street type" situation (nevermind that the rest of the street is full of parked cars -- but of course there's no excuse for ignorance, you're just supposed to magically *know* what the parking rules are).

The lesson learned is when in doubt, don't risk it, I guess. I actually got a ticket dismissed once after taking photos of the street, which had no parking signs of any kind, and showing them to the judge.

I don't think any signs were ever installed -- it was adjacent to a commercial area with a big private pay parking lot owned by the notorious Joe Diamond, the king of Seattle parking lots. :nonplused:

I found a biography about him at an estate sale a couple years ago, and was disappointed to discover it was a total asskiss account by a friend of his.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 22, 2011, 06:53:09 PM
I actually got a ticket dismissed once after taking photos of the street, which had no parking signs of any kind, and showing them to the judge.

 :clap:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 22, 2011, 07:27:02 PM
Ignorance of the law often is an excuse.  There are limits to what you can reasonably be expected to know on your own.

There are actually a crapload of parking and moving violations that can easily be beaten if you have an attorney in the game.  Same old, same old.  My millionaire friend in NYC is particularly poor at being bothered with speed limits, parking restrictions, registration, and the like.  He gets tickets all the time, but he never gets points on his license, etc.

Fortunately, he's basically charming rather than obnoxiously arrogant.  A bit sociopathic, but mostly nice.  He may ask you to pay for your half of dinner, but he's not going to lecture you about Huey Lewis and then murder you.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 23, 2011, 01:10:05 PM
It's odd, driving back from SF on 280 last night, CHP was speed trapping.  I saw three mercedes, a beamer, an audi, and a lexus pulled over.

For those other than HMOF, 280 goes through the filthy rich areas, 101 goes through the slightly poorer areas.  I almost never see CHP on 280.  Every once in a while I see them on 101.  Usually I see them on 880 in the East Bay (where I got my last ticket).

Total Twilight Zone thing last night.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on May 23, 2011, 01:38:32 PM
:eek:

Truly a sign of the aporkalypse.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on May 23, 2011, 02:20:52 PM
are you sure in san fran it's not the apocoLISP

loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on May 23, 2011, 02:52:44 PM
:stbm:

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 23, 2011, 03:18:52 PM
Most of the SF gays I know don't subscribe to that stereotype.  But then again most of the ones I know are software simians.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 23, 2011, 04:36:41 PM
This is kind of off-topic for the thread title, because I do like it, but it's relevant to the comcast merger issue.

It appears the DOJ has actually been filing a few anti-trust suits. I was beginning to think that was a thing of the past.

Quote
The NLJ reports that the Justice Department's move to block the deal between H&R Block and 2SS comes after the antitrust division recently sought to block a proposed $11.3 billion purchase of NYSE Euronext by Nasdaq, and this month stepped in to stymie secure electronic payment provider VeriFone Systems's $485 million acquisition of rival Hypercom.
http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/05/doj-block-hr.html



 :clap: :US:

I wonder what it takes to get their attention?  :hmm:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 23, 2011, 06:49:32 PM
The cynic in me wants to suggest 'a missed payment', but who knows?  Not me.


Quote
Most of the SF gays I know don't subscribe to that stereotype.

More the purple lightsaber type?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on July 28, 2011, 12:59:37 PM
From CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/28/balkin.obama.options/index.html):

A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.

Mint two negotiable $1 trillion coins?  WHAT COULD GO WRONG.

At the very least, we'd have one unbearably bad big-budget film.





I have to admit, you couldn't just walk into a bank and present a $1 trillion coin.  But surely we should not look to reruns of The Simpsons to solve this one.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on July 28, 2011, 01:06:56 PM
This cannot be good.  I looked up some analysis of this tactic and all of them were like, "There's no downside!  We should do it!"  Yeah, call me skeptical.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: stormneedle on July 28, 2011, 01:10:35 PM
Spot price is $1790/ozt so that coin would have to be 558659217.88 ozt.,  or about 38,308,060.7 lbs.

Is there even enough platinum to make two?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on July 28, 2011, 03:50:39 PM
Spot price is $1790/ozt so that coin would have to be 558659217.88 ozt.,  or about 38,308,060.7 lbs.

Is there even enough platinum to make two?

 :lol: :detta:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on July 28, 2011, 04:02:20 PM
They can make it whatever they want.  It's not like pennies are worth $0.01 of material.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on July 28, 2011, 04:06:51 PM
It would reduce the odds of anyone walking off with one, but you'd have to check the employees for nail files, etc.

The annual global production of refined platinum is around 6.5 million ounces, per Google, and there are 12 ounces to the troy pound, so that's 541,000 lb per year . . . by stormneedle's numbers, I think we'd need about 85 years' worth.  If the coin's actual value were the same as its face value, obviously.

Incidentally, although the troy ounce is heavier than the avoirdupois (imperial) ounce, a troy pound still weighs less than an imperial pound.  Precious metals are weighed using the troy system, mostly, so a pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of lead, but either weighs more than a pound of gold.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: stormneedle on July 28, 2011, 05:41:15 PM
You're right, Feffer. And even if they did make such an item - we'd be even deeper in debt for having done it. It just amused me to make the calculation.

If we made such a coin even out of cardboard, we'd still have to honor its value sooner or later. I think creating such a thing only changes the columns of the figures, but doesn't actually solve the problem (IANA Economist).

I remember reading articles in the popular press years ago that stated that having sovereign debt is a good thing. I didn't understand them, but I'm (very slightly) tempted to pull up those articles, track down the authors, and give them a megaphone (with the only sound output an earplug? :shrug: ).
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 01, 2011, 10:41:50 AM
I'm not sure about this Movember thing, but mostly what I don't like is how it's described in the press.  Specifically, the random words applied to facial hair.

From CNN's page on it, which is fairly typical:

Quote
There are also rules pertaining to gentlemanly behavior, as well as rules preventing the mustache from touching one's sideburns (as this is a beard) or joining the mustache's handlebars to your chin (as this is a goatee).

A mustache connected to sideburns is not, itself, a beard, and that does not describe a goatee.  A goatee is never connected to a mustache, chops, or fringe.  I'm sure she means a van dyke (pedantically, a boxed van dyke).

This is not vastly important.  What I object to is being authoritative about something without bothering to see if you know what you're talking about.  Especially if you're a journalist.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on November 01, 2011, 10:58:15 AM
you need handlebars... on a mustache ride.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on November 01, 2011, 11:07:34 AM
 :lol:
you need handlebars... on a mustache ride.
:lol:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on November 01, 2011, 11:09:39 AM
:knotty:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 01, 2011, 11:11:47 AM
I think that's December.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on November 01, 2011, 11:24:14 AM
/me is googling movember
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on November 01, 2011, 11:25:27 AM
If we're going to call it Movember, shouldn't it be a month when we get ECM to not be so scarce around here?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on November 01, 2011, 12:19:17 PM
i approve this message.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 01, 2011, 01:34:35 PM
Yes!

However.

They should have called it Brovember.


There.  I said it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 02, 2011, 08:01:46 PM
Herman Cain says one stupid and/or insane thing after another, and 95% of the media gives him a free pass on it because they don't dare challenge an idea, even if it's a patently defective one.

He fumbles an accusation of sexual harrassment, though, and they can't shut up about it and how he's doomed.

He obviously shouldn't get a pass on the harrassment, but ye gods the media is an abject dysfunctional coward.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 09, 2011, 05:26:42 PM
OK -- I, for one, am sick of this bullshit media fearmongering about the stock market.  The Dow fell 389 points today!  ZOMG!  DISASTER!

In perspective, that's a 3.2% decline.  By comparison, so-called Black Monday, in October of 1987, was a serious crash (which we nonetheless survived) in which the Dow fell 22.6%.

The Flash Crash of last year (remember that?) saw the Dow fall 9%, most of it in under five minutes (that is scary), only to recover in like half an hour.  Have the problems with the market's organization that led to that kind of possible volatility been fixed?  I have no idea.  I never heard it mentioned on the news once the story was a couple of days old.  That would be worth reporting on.

A 3% drop nowadays is not significant news unless you personally lost a bundle.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 09, 2011, 11:23:18 PM
Uh, well, the 1% control the media, and they have a lot of money in the stock market, soooo
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 10, 2011, 12:07:44 AM
I KNOW, RIGHT?

They do now report on the hilarious Fear Index (seriously), which they were ZOMG IS UP HUGELY to 32 points, and anything over 30 means investors are "concerned"!

So, er, investors were completely unconcerned until today?  I mean, it was apparently at like 24 yesterday.  All that turmoil in Europe, the Occupy stuff, our economy tanking, but the Fear Index was below 'investors are concerned' until today?  Because Berlusconi may retire in Italy?

And what's the overall scale on this?  Does the Fear Index go to 100?  Or only to 35?  Because that would make a difference.  How high was the Fear Index before Black Monday?

This just like when they say things like 'Some doctors are very concerned' or 'Experts say'.  Yeah, please qualify that in a meaningful way or go to the unemployment line.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 16, 2011, 01:58:23 PM
I know it's a can of worms, but I hate it when people go on and on about homosexuality not being a choice.  I've never understood this as a rhetorical position.  Well, I mean, unless it just doesn't make sense.

I'm sure that for some people, maybe for most gay people (I don't know -- or care), it's not a choice.  Which is fine.  But I don't know that there aren't people for whom a sexual lifestyle isn't a choice.  Some people say there's no such thing as a bisexual, which I don't believe for a second is true.  I've yet to hear any persuasive evidence to that effect.

But it seems beside the point.  I don't see any sensible sociopolitical argument that homosexuality (or anything else) is OK because it's involuntary.  We generally don't sensibly argue that anything else is OK purely because it's based on natural urges, and we frequently scorn people who excuse taboo sexual behavior on the grounds that it's natural.  So if someone thinks homosexuality is taboo, why should they accept the justification that it's not a choice?

We do single out some things as being involuntary and therefore not grounds for discrimination, such as ethnicity.  But being Hungarian or black is not similar to being gay.  Most people who want to discriminate against gays are far less hostile toward them if they're celibate, so obviously it's mostly really about what you do, not who you somehow are.

But ultimately . . . what the hell difference should it make if it is a choice?  If it's OK to be gay -- and it is -- then why would it be wrong to choose to be gay?

I think some of the rhetoric is just pandering to people who worry that their kids or other loved ones will be 'seduced' into choosing to be gay.  And that's something that needs to be dealt with differently.  For one thing, severe homophobes who think maybe their kids are gay and can't help it are not going to be more sympathetic toward their kids.  They're just going to think those kids can't be saved.

What I'd like to see is a major campaign saying IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT'S A CHOICE OR NOT.  Probably someone could come up with a catchier slogan.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 16, 2011, 02:54:42 PM
I get where you're coming from, but that's not where the science is. The science is heading toward the consensus that sex and gender issues have very little to do with preference or volition.

And in practical terms, so long as it's "not a choice" advocates can play the -ist card against the fascists.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 16, 2011, 03:41:07 PM
The fascists are happy labeling you Defective if you're Just Born That Way.  I'm just saying.

And science is not the issue when you're talking human rights.  The Romans shouldn't have the right to say you can't choose to be a woman even if you can't literally be a woman.  Plus, you know, white crows, and all that.

But even if it's not a choice, that shouldn't be the issue.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Sidious on November 16, 2011, 07:21:41 PM
Sounds like someone needs to go back to re-education camp.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 16, 2011, 07:37:44 PM
So this one time?  At re-education camp?  I stuck the glory of the fatherland in my pussy.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: stormneedle on November 16, 2011, 08:18:25 PM
I dunno. If you code 1 as male and 0 as female, I think we're fine - as long as the value is a real number, none of this integer BS.

I love somebody based on them, a whole package. Yeah, gender is a part of it for me. But, if my awareness of my gender and the gender of the other change the "lovability" of another, it's no wonder we can't examine love logically since we've apparently defenestrated logic as step one.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 16, 2011, 08:38:16 PM
I dunno. If you code 1 as male and 0 as female, I think we're fine - as long as the value is a real number, none of this integer BS.

Also it's a variable. Can change during execution!

As I have learned.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on November 16, 2011, 08:44:08 PM
What about the intersexed?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 16, 2011, 08:54:37 PM
Quote
Also it's a variable. Can change during execution!

Born that way and a choice.  Although gender identification isn't necessarily the same as physical gender and/or sexual preference, etc, etc.

The fact that it takes many people a long time to figure out what they are / want to be seems to indicate, to me, that it's difficult to strongly argue that you're born whatever way you end up.  Really, you only end up dead, and we're mostly talking about people born alive.  Stuff happens in between.  Not hurting each other, as much as possible, is more important than obsessing over the reasons why we shouldn't be hurting each other.

Except for people who like hurting each other, in the right contexts, yadda yadda.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on November 16, 2011, 09:06:15 PM
I dunno. If you code 1 as male and 0 as female, I think we're fine - as long as the value is a real number, none of this integer BS.


Then there are the i specimens.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on November 17, 2011, 04:03:39 AM
My feeling has always been that sexuality and gender are not absolutes, that there are a wide variety of expressions in between A and B. (or maybe A,B, & C -- B for liking men and women).

The same could be said for gender. We already know that many are born physically one gender, but mentally wired as another. Or some people may be in between.

There may be a certain level of "choice" in the mix too. Before it became less stigmatized, people who identified as the opposite gender had the "choice" to either suppress that real part of themselves, or find a niche in (counterculture) society where they could safely express their real gender. The same with many gay people.

So we may be "born this way," but there's always been the decision that has to be made down the line as to whether you want to assimilate into mainstream culture, which was generally the safest choice, or choose to be true to yourself. :shrug:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 17, 2011, 09:36:04 AM
True stuff.

My younger sister and her friends used to rate themselves on a sliding scale.  One of them told me she was 70% Straight, meaning that 70% of her sexual impulses were hetero.  They'd decided that impulses had those kinds of designations, but people didn't.

Impulses, activities, lifestyles, identities . . . there's a lot of stuff to it.  Just try to play nice.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Talix on November 17, 2011, 09:47:55 AM
Here's what I don't understand:  if sex and gender are basically genetic and physical combinations of attributes and/or social constructs, what exactly are you feeling if you know you're in the "wrong" body?

I'm not trying to start a controversery - I honestly don't get it.  If a person can know they were born the wrong sex, doesn't that imply that there is something absolute about sex identity?

Thanks for being a safe place to ask this stuff.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on November 17, 2011, 10:09:31 AM
  When you say physical attributes are you just talking physiology or are you also including brain things like emotions and feelings?

I would think it would be a feeling akin to having to wear someone elses clothes, and they don't suit you and they don't fit you and you don't like  the style or color and they make you feel uncomfortable and you can't ever take them off.  But maybe only more intensely.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 17, 2011, 10:15:01 AM
I think the fact that there's such a wide disagreement over what the word "gender" means indicates that this stuff is more complicated than our culture is entirely equipped to deal with.

However, there's absolutely zero objective reason to assume that these things are binary at the genetic level.  Other species don't exhibit binary reproductive behavior, and humans don't either.  It's convenient to have clear categories, and authoritarians always prefer that (other) people conform to simple forms of behavior.

But really there's no reason to assume that sexual identity is somehow driven by the same physical causes that produce physical sexual attributes.  It seems like it usually lines up that way, which is probably awfully convenient, all in all, but nature loves diversity.  A group needs variety in order to deal with a wider variety of situations.

The question of how someone determines which sort of person they feel they are . . . that's inevitably going to be complicated.  And mysterious.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Talix on November 17, 2011, 10:55:26 AM
  When you say physical attributes are you just talking physiology or are you also including brain things like emotions and feelings?

Reproductive characteristics.  Because while they can be ambiguous, they often aren't.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 17, 2011, 11:20:58 AM
Yeah, but brains tend toward ambiguous.

It would hardly be the only situation in which brain and groin disagree.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on November 17, 2011, 11:41:33 AM
I don't think I agree with your first statement.  I think brains are where all the choicing (or non choicing) goes on.  Other than making you have the urges with their hormones, I don't think sex parts are there for much of anything but getting tingly and making babies.  I think all the deciding who you want to do it with goes on in the brain.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Talix on November 17, 2011, 12:23:23 PM
I just wonder how someone knows they were supposed to be the other sex.  What is it that tells them their current body is wrong? 
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 17, 2011, 01:06:29 PM
Brains are way, way, WAY more complicated than we tend to think during everyday life.  Consciousness itself is basically an overlay there to tie things up and present 'us' with a workable interface.  The OS underneath is organic, not tidily designed, and consists of dozens of different engines that do different things, and do them differently, and that frequently aren't in agreement about what they ought to be doing, much less how.

This isn't speculation, or even psychology.  It's well-established neurological fact.  Below the level of consciousness, no one is just one person.  The brain is full of semi-autonomous daemons that bear varying levels of resemblance to persons, many of them very strange and alien and dysfunctional by our standards, and a lot of them form and dissolve under the influence of weird tides.

That all goes on underneath, all the time.  Much of it isn't understood, and possibly can't be well understood.  A mob can be seen to have a single leader and a single direction and a single sentiment, but it's still composed of lots of disparate people with their own impulses.  The human brain is more complicated than that, because a lot of those 'people' in there aren't even close to being people.

Moreover, the hormones that make guys, for instance, think 'with the little head' also heavily influence how they think with the big one.  There are all kinds of ways that personality can be altered, temporarily or permanently:  chemicals (of internal or external origin), diseases, injuries, electrical or magnetic stimulation, parasites, you name it.  Being a person is an ongoing process.  That's not to say that all people are equally consistent, but it's not like there's a given age when you stop changing.

As for the tingly bits, well, most of the sex stuff happens in the brain, anyway.  It's just not one of the parts more firmly integrated into the conscious overlay, so we tend to externalize it just a bit and pretend it all happens lower down.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 17, 2011, 01:09:44 PM
Quote
I just wonder how someone knows they were supposed to be the other sex.  What is it that tells them their current body is wrong?

Well, lots and lots of people feel like their current body is wrong.  There are lots of ways that happens, and I suppose it probably happens to more people than not.  Sometimes it's a problem, and sometimes it just means you're driven to diet, or shave, or pluck, or get to the gym, or have surgery, or whatever.

I suspect there are a lot of different influences from within and without that can come into play.  The more something makes you think about and be aware of your body, the more sharply this sort of thing gets thrown into contrast, I would imagine.  So much of body image is tied up with sexuality and sexual interaction . . . .
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on November 17, 2011, 07:19:29 PM
Along Axe's lines Science Friday a couple of weeks ago had a leading neuro researcher on and we only have the computing bandwidth to do fMRI on only one square millimeter of brain right now over something like a minutes worth of time.  Also from the fMRIs that we do have, we can tell that it's all in flux, meaning that there are enough individual differences that coming up with a model will be difficult if even possible. 

So what does this tell us?  My take is that science may someday (perhaps not even in our lifetime) have some of the brain fairly well figured out, but there will still be individual differences.  Binary is definitely way too simplistic for almost any conceivable measure because we're talking a network, not an individual circuit.  Plus there are not only neural pathways but also endocrine pathways too.  All of which are affected by countless variables.

So I say the jury is still out, but it's even more complicated than that.  As with most things there is a biological component and an environmental component.  There's probably a continuum between free will choice and biological/environmental destiny.  And this is before even bringing in other narratives.  Fraa Jad might be gay in one, bisexual in another, straight in another, and an asexual Vogon in yet another.

My take is to accept people for who they are or perceive they are and to be excellent to each other and party on dudes.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 22, 2011, 10:25:03 AM
So . . . 17-year-old sentenced to 25 years for murder committed when he was 14 (http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/21/justice/california-gay-student-killing/index.html).  No time off.  And that's the plea deal version -- prosecutors wanted 50 to life.  And his defense attorney says it's "appropriate".

:doh:  This is the kind of thing we scold China for.

Granted, he shot a gay kid in the back of the head, in class, for telling other students he had a crush on him.  But even his defense attorney thinks this is appropriate for a crime committed by a 14-year-old who was mocked by classmates because the victim had a crush on him?

I say disbar the defense attorney and the prosecutors, and defrock the judge, and let's get this shit back on the rails.  This was Ventura Freaking County, not (you know why you get the comparison) Texas.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Hedaira on November 22, 2011, 11:58:15 AM
He's being made an example of. Unfortunately, examples don't work.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 22, 2011, 12:01:20 PM
If they did, people wouldn't commit crimes for fear of going to prison.

Honestly, though, if 14-year-olds could contemplate the future that way, they wouldn't give a shit about being teased when they're 14 since no one will remember it when they're 25.  And you couldn't threaten them with their Permanent Record. 

We need smarter courts.  Also, smarter everything else.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 22, 2011, 05:28:28 PM
That's a pretty nasty case regardless of the verdict. What a nightmare, and literally, for the two dozen students that witnessed it.

What do you think would be appropriate sentencing for something like this?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 22, 2011, 05:36:38 PM
Kid should've been in psychiatric to begin with, not juvie prison.  Beyond that, it should be up to doctors to say when he's rehabilitated.  If never, then never.  I sure as hell can't tell from here if this kid is a psychopath or if he was just a messed-up kid on a bad day with access to a gun.

Granted, we need a much much better system of state psychiatric rehabilitation.

But committing a crime while an adolescent is like committing a crime while insane.  By trying kids as adults, we're actually normalizing their criminal behavior, telling them they were acting like adults.  You can't do that and then expect them to not recidivize as adults.  Not like growing up in prison won't warp them, anyway . . . .

There's no point in treating adults that way, either, but that's a whole separate issue. 
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on November 22, 2011, 05:52:24 PM
Well it's not like it was just random violence, like he came in and shot his classmates because he was hearing voices or something. It's clear why he killed the other kid, and it was premeditated. I'm not sure there's anything to rehabilitate here. The PTSD along with being incarcerated with adults is what's going to really mess up this poor kid.

I'm not disagreeing with your idea for sentencing, just saying - it's kind of a hopeless case. Really tragic it couldn't have somehow been avoided.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 22, 2011, 06:01:37 PM
My point is, he was 14, which statistically means he was insane.  Doing something incredibly stupid and impulsive at 14 is absolutely not predictive of adult behavior.

Having murdered some at 14 will probably mess you up pretty bad.  Mind you, maybe he was already messed up pretty damn bad.  For all I know, victim of abuse, silly-straw genes, whatever.  But regardless it's not something prison will help.

As for the murder itself, I have every reason to believe it could have been avoided.  The kids who bullied the murderer obviously thought it was OK to bully him, at least to the extent that they were sure they could get away with it.  Dealing with bullying isn't easy, but it's necessary.  Columbine was probably preventable, too.  There are tens of thousands of kids across the country who fantasize about massacring the bullies in their schools -- or, if that's too difficult, anyone handy.  Most of them don't actually try, and so long as they don't actually try, most people figure it's not much of a problem.

Don't get me wrong, though.  The murder victim is more of a victim than the murderer.  It's just not a binary problem.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on November 22, 2011, 06:09:24 PM
I was a compulsive liar when I was 14.  :whatever:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 22, 2011, 07:26:08 PM
Sounds normal.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Sidious on November 22, 2011, 07:33:47 PM
I was a compulsive liar when I was 14.  :whatever:

I don't believe you.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 27, 2011, 11:16:04 PM
I was a compulsive liar when I was 14.  :whatever:

I don't believe you.

I'm lying right now.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on November 27, 2011, 11:40:19 PM
Somewhere, an android is starting to smolder.

Hopefully it's not one of those sexy androids.  What a waste that would be.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on November 27, 2011, 11:54:43 PM
Norman was the least attractive of all the androids on Mudd's Planet.
Appropriate.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on December 19, 2011, 06:34:02 PM
Update to this story (http://www.bizarreconfessions.com/forum/index.php/topic,2136.msg141235.html#msg141235), about the kid who shot a gay classmate when he was fourteen.

According to various reports today, the jury was deadlocked, and prosecutors had decided to retry the kid as an adult.  Which, frankly, is bullshit.  A kid is a kid, an adult is an adult, and if you need a third category, you make a third category.  We don't say, well, no one was hurt, but this robbery was especially heartless because the guy robbed a charity, so we're going to try it as murder.  Because that would be stupid and a miscarriage of justice.  So is trying a kid as an adult.  That should never have been allowed, much less become common.

But anyway.  So the prosecution was going to retry him as an adult, and . . . his defense team convinced him to head that off by pleading guilty.  Not pleading guilty to manslaughter, or even pleading guilty to murder, but pleading guilty to manslaughter AND murder.

WTF?  So the kid's been in jail since 2007, and now he's off to prison for 21 years, reportedly no consideration for time served.  Seriously, take all the lawyers in that case and put them in the next cell over.  And fire the judge.  You want to institutionalize this kid, I'm sure there's a good chance that system will eat him up, too, but at least it would be sensible to try it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 11, 2012, 09:23:08 PM
AND today's WTFery:  Haley Barbour pardons 200 on his way out, judge blocks 'em (http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/11/justice/mississippi-pardons/index.html?hpt=hp_t1).

OK, this last-minute pardoning thing has always seemed dickish.  Governors and Presidents do it, and it's not mysterious why they wait until the last minute, but come on.  Pull your pants up and be leaders.  If you can defend pardoning these people, do it while you're still in office.  If you can't, then don't pardon them.  If they deserve to be pardoned, but you can't defend it, then you shouldn't be in office in the first place.

Barbour is a dick, and quite corrupt, but that's beside the point.  Barbour defended some of the pardons not by, you know, arguing that it somehow served the cause of justice, but:

Quote
The pardons were intended to allow them to find gainful employment or acquire professional licenses as well as hunt and vote.

In the first place, being convicted of a crime should not curtail any citizen's right to vote.  There's zero basis for taking away that right.  We take away a convict's liberty, their ability to pursue happiness, and sometimes even their life, but that should be enough.  In a lot of states, you can't vote even after you serve your time.  Purely un-American. 

It's a separate issue, but the broader issue here is whether or not these ancillary penalties are really part of the sentence.  I generally don't like that bullshit, but keeping people from owning guns may make some sense, depending on their crimes.  Keeping them from finding jobs, no.  I don't know what professional licenses he has in mind.


Quote
My decision about clemency was based upon the recommendation of the Parole Board in more than 90 percent of the cases.

OK, if true, a fair argument.


Quote
The 26 people released from custody due to clemency is just slightly more than one-tenth of 1 percent of those incarcerated.

Y'all got too many people in prison.  But arguing that you only let a few of them free isn't so much the point as is a question of which ones.


Quote
Half of the 26 releases involved people whose health care expenses "were costing the state so much money," he said.

:nonplused:  So you released them for prison in order to cancel their health care?  That's some serious assholism right there.  Besides, considering how expensive prison is, by that logic . . . .

Oh, never mind.  Good bye, biatch.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: pdrake on January 12, 2012, 01:02:59 PM
because releasing them from prison cures them. there's no way they'd go to a govt. assisted health care facility.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on January 21, 2012, 05:15:11 PM
Quote
Two undercover police officers secretly fathered children with political campaigners they had been sent to spy on and later disappeared completely from the lives of their offspring....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jan/20/undercover-police-children-activists

I guess this story has been building for a while, but today was the first I heard of it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 21, 2012, 05:44:49 PM
Yeah, that kind of shit happens all the time.  It used to be reported back in the 60s and even became a cliche in TV and film.  In the UK, it used to be IRA stories, too.

The US government was better at steering that how-far-do-you-go undercover stuff into marginal conspiracy theory territory.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on January 21, 2012, 06:14:12 PM
Quote
even became a cliche in TV and film

 :hmm:

Well, I'm overly familiar with the cliche of the cop or spy falling in love with the subject, but I can't think of an example of a cop impregnating the subject, disappearing, only to be revealed as the father like 20 years later. I'm not saying that movie hasn't been made, I'm saying I can't think of it if it has.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 21, 2012, 06:31:58 PM
YOU MEAN MY FATHER WAS A SPY FOR THE OTHER SIDE? etc etc.

I can't actually think of a specific example off the top of my head, but I think that's only because the top of my head is doing whatever it damn well pleases, as usual.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on January 21, 2012, 07:06:16 PM
Yeah, lots of similar things have been done, but if this specific thing has been done, it either it wasn't done very well, or I haven't seen it, or I'm not thinking hard enough.

This case will at least end up being a made-for-tv movie.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: First Post on January 21, 2012, 07:10:48 PM
(http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/omfg_you_are_not_the_father.gif)
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 21, 2012, 07:49:09 PM
:lol:

But someday they should show that video to the kid so the kid can feel that same kind of relief.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 25, 2012, 09:14:21 AM
I didn't like the SOTU speech (didn't watch, was still working; read the transcript later). Too much fellation of the military. What the hell is that all about. Hopefully he's trying to give them a warm fuzzy feeling while planning to cut the defense budget by a trillion dollars.

And that bit about higher education: "...  let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. "

:nonplused:

He has got that. Completely. Backwards. He should be putting the taxpayers on notice that if they don't fund the universities, they can't stop tuition from going up. Because that is what is happening. Jesus Christ.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on January 25, 2012, 09:29:25 AM
The book is never as good as the movie when it comes to an Obama speech.

There were several WTF statements, but he delivered them like he meant it, and they applauded, so it's not so noticeable.

I didn't plan on watching it, but I ended up watching it to the end. I'm not sure why - it's just so much bullshit. I read a really depressing NYT article (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html) the other day about why the iPhone isn't built in the USA, and when I heard one of the main topics of his speech was going about manufacturing, it piqued my curiosity.

I certainly didn't jump up and start chanting "USA...", but to keep it in perspective, it was better than a speech by President Gingrich or President Romney.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on January 25, 2012, 09:38:15 AM
i like envisioning Mo in his underwear, standing in the middle of his livingroom floor, glassy eyed, sucking on a lollipop chanting: USA... USA... USA ...

:uncertain:

let me rephrase

i like envisioning Mo in his underwear, standing in the middle of his livingroom floor, glassy eyed, sucking on a lollipop chanting: USA... USA... USA ...

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on January 25, 2012, 09:41:22 AM
I don't know about the increasing taxpayers funding Universities thing.  I am of the mind that most Universities (and I am only really familiar with the ones around me) spend a lot of money on things that have nothing to do with education.  I think more money should be directed toward votech that will actually train people for working. 

I think I am not saying this right but I hope my meaning comes across.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on January 25, 2012, 10:17:30 AM
i like envisioning Mo in his underwear, standing in the middle of his livingroom floor, glassy eyed, sucking on a lollipop chanting: USA... USA... USA ...

:uncertain:

let me rephrase

i like envisioning Mo in his underwear, standing in the middle of his livingroom floor, glassy eyed, sucking on a lollipop chanting: USA... USA... USA ...

You're starting to channel dogbone. That's one of the warning signs.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on January 25, 2012, 10:34:54 AM
my branes hole on the subject says:

tuition is too high, but threatening public funding cuts might not be the best possible action to improve that (it's political posturing for the 99%... in response to the very real issue of unmanageable student loan debt) 

and

 job training isn't necessarily the primary purpose of a university.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: pdrake on January 25, 2012, 10:55:48 AM
We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings - men and women; Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/01/24/transcript-obamas-2012-state-union/#ixzz1kUC4q6oT


no love for hindus, buddhists or atheists. i guess they don't count.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on January 25, 2012, 10:58:23 AM
The reddit thread (http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/ovenh/state_of_the_union_thread_1242012/) is making me  :lol:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 25, 2012, 11:59:05 AM
Just listing the three big Abrahamic religions is a snub, but you can't spend the whole speech listing religions.  Or, rather, you could.  I'm sure there was a debate on what the speech should say there, and I think they made the wrong choice, but it could have been wronger.

The manufacturing thing is insane, the GOP 'solutions' are non-solutions not even meant to help -- essentially all of the offshoring is the careful result of right-wing pro-corporate / pro-rich policies since before the GOP even existed, and it's ridiculous for them to pretend they're they party of Jobs Here.  They are the opposite of that.  They are the party of Money Here, but not money for most people.  They are the party of aggressively believing that a 5% cut of domestic manufacturing is shit compared to a 6% cut of the same manufacturing moved to China or wherever else.

With iPods and shit, the real problem is people being masturbatorily oversold on that, buying new gadgets constantly.  The manufacturing realities of all that stuff are insane, just incredibly horrible, from Chinese factoryprison towns to tantalum mining in the Congo to reportedly 70% of the toxicity of modern landfills coming from abandoned electronics.  But just the sheer amount of income that's wasted on that stuff is staggering.

Tuitions are going to go up.  You can't stop that.  They will keep going up if they can, and they can.  No large university is run well or going to be run well, and student tuition is not a major concern so long as students keep coming up with the money, never mind how.  That is reality.  It's bullshit, but that's normal.

A huge proportion of students are at expensive schools for insufficiently good reasons.  They should probably be at cheaper schools, at least for the first two years, etc.  It's seen as being stigmatizing, but for probably, I don't know, 80% of jobs it simply is not.  Steering most kids into predatory student loans so they can be at an expensive school, even a state school, for four years is unethical, but we've made it the norm.  It's not the schools that are most at fault there.

If kids moved from expensive four-year schools to community colleges, etc, in large enough numbers, the rising cost of tuition at four-year schools would slow down.  Government funding could go to the cheaper schools in larger proportion, to improve them.  But, seriously, how such a program would be implemented is a nightmare.  Possibly colleges that receive taxpayer funding should simply receive a flat amount per student, The End.  It would more greatly benefit schools that are in cheaper areas, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing anyway.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on January 25, 2012, 12:29:26 PM
but we've made it the norm.  It's not the schools that are most at fault there.

i resent the fact that anytime something negative comes up, we blame him for it. :harumph:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: stormneedle on January 25, 2012, 12:32:52 PM
Fine. We'll start making it the status Joe.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 25, 2012, 12:33:13 PM
:rollin:

I was this || close to rewording that, but I said to hell with it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Sidious on January 25, 2012, 12:34:23 PM
It's like Rage Against The Machine Said.

Don't stand on a silent platform.  Fight the war, FUCK the Norm.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on January 25, 2012, 12:40:23 PM
Do we all have to fuck the NORM?  Not that I don't want to, I just don't like when it gets all messy and stuff.  I'll just watch if that's ok.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Sidious on January 25, 2012, 12:41:47 PM
I'm not sure... but he repeats it a lot, so I'm guessing that it's some sort of imperative.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on January 25, 2012, 01:29:35 PM
Hah. I always wanted to be the standard deviation, but I'll settle for what I can get.

Ruth, couple things about what you said way up there:

With regards to the federal gum't and higher education, pretty much the only thing they directly do is grants and loan guarantees for students - and for sure those are just as good for votech education as they are for university education. So they are very fair there already - leaving aside the exploitative nature of student loans, which is a really bad problem for everyone.

The availability of votech training is a local issue on which the states and localities are not doing very well, I agree, but I don't think the feds can or necessarily should do much about that. On the other hand, the lack of public opportunities has led to the rise of private for-profit vocational schools with outrageous tuition. I don't think that's good, even though you can often use federal financial aid at those places.

Finally, there is a big question of how much votech training is wanted. Because of the wholesale export of American industry overseas and general anti-labor success by what remains, there are very few if any skilled manufacturing jobs in this country (outside of the trades, which are tremendously new-construction dependent and really can't be considered steady in this economy). Most people in their right minds are going to want to get a job that pays the bills, and retail or clerical jobs aren't cutting it any more. So, many of them want to go to college. Is this right? I don't know. I wish it were possible for someone who doesn't want to pony up for a college education or a hideously expensive vocational training thing to get a steady job that allows them to live a comfortable life without fear of penury. But all those jobs are now in Malaysia.

tl;dr sorry
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on January 25, 2012, 01:36:01 PM
Too much goes on while I'm not around.

Back to the military thing.  I heard the first five minutes or so on the drive home.  I haven't watched it yet.  But from just listening (not watching) I honed in on him saying that the military is heroic because it just gets the job done, as opposed to the asshats in congress who are incapable of getting the job done.  I think it was his way of being passive-aggressive to the congress critters.

As for fucking the Norm.  It reminds me of that chess scene from HOTWPO, Rook takes the Norm, Knight takes the Norm, Bishop takes the Norm, Pawns take the Norm, GANGBANG!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on January 25, 2012, 01:39:51 PM
Thanks for the in depth, really.  I understand what you are saying and it all makes sense.  I live in an area where I am hearing with some regularity, companies talking about how they want to hire but they need people with skills and can't find what they need.  I think that is what votech is for.  I live in the middle of NC and have many companies that require skilled labor.  Does that make any sense?  Our community colleges are fairly good but are trying to play catch up with the job market with getting people the skills they need to get and keep jobs.

I also live where many major universities pad their payroll with favors and relatives and whatnot so I'm a little bitter there when it comes to them asking for higher tuition fees.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 25, 2012, 02:24:00 PM
Quote
I wish it were possible for someone who doesn't want to pony up for a college education or a hideously expensive vocational training thing to get a steady job that allows them to live a comfortable life without fear of penury.

College education is often not much help there, either, of course.

I'm hugely in favor of education, and, additionally, huge in favor of a good liberal arts foundation.  For everyone.  But college costs are simply ridiculous.  According to the feds, average cost per credit hour:

- in-state public:  over $250

- out-of-state public:  over $650

- private:  over $900

Bullshit, Klaus.  And that's just tuition itself.  That might be a good price if you were hiring a professor as a private tutor.  Actual average annual cost to a student for any four-year school was over $27,000 in 2010.  For almost all majors, it simply should not cost anything like that much.  And it's not the teaching professors who are sucking up that money; their average salary at a four-year is now hovering around $100k, which is a lot to most people but not a lot in terms of how many students' tuition it uses up.

Now, if you have a major that requires, say, access to a cyclotron, there's a heavier per-student cost there for the university, assuming the university pays for the cyclotron.  But the fact is that students get milked severely.  Hell, probably half of them get a shit education no matter where they go to school, and even if that's usually their own fault, it doesn't diminish the level of wasted money.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on January 25, 2012, 02:29:15 PM
I also live where many major universities pad their payroll with favors and relatives and whatnot so I'm a little bitter there when it comes to them asking for higher tuition fees.

Duke sucks?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on January 25, 2012, 02:30:23 PM
That may well be but the UNC system is rife with that kind of crap.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: TFJ on January 25, 2012, 02:32:09 PM
in-state public:  over $250

that is only about $6 fiddy per actual in-class hour...not counting office hours or labs.


Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on January 25, 2012, 02:37:41 PM
Yeah, average 'contact hour' claim per credit hour is over 45, which is to say that allegedly you get 45 hours of professional professoring per credit hour.  It's a stupid metric, but most metrics are stupid.  (Especially centimeters, WTF.)

But that's the low-end cost, and we all know that for a lot of classes and/or professors those 'contact hours' are often not going to be great hours.  There are certainly classes that are worth every dime.  And there are a lot of classes that are total crap.

Six bucks an hour would be good for a decent lecture hall class.  It's a hell of a bargain for some smaller classes and for access to some professors.  And if tuition were the whole cost of going to school, it'd be a vastly different story.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on April 16, 2012, 06:07:41 PM
More Florida crap.  clack here (http://justice4juveniles.wordpress.com/2012/04/08/the-story-of-cristian-fernandez/)

It's amazing how they want to lock someone up for life, whom the system failed over and over again.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on April 16, 2012, 06:31:30 PM
Yeah, it's horrific and stupid.  I say put the DA in jail, too, until the kid's 18, and then revisit both sentences.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on June 01, 2012, 07:10:19 AM
CNN headline this morning:

Quote
Nursing military moms catch flak

No more advertising revenue for you, CNN, until you realize why that's a bad headline.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Sidious on June 01, 2012, 08:21:03 AM
 :lol:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: feffer on June 01, 2012, 12:10:44 PM
Hmof said yesterday on my FB post, no nursing in combat!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on June 13, 2012, 10:40:39 AM
Sooo . . . that local college kid -- a medical student -- who successively bought and then beat to death 11 greyhounds in 2010 and 2011.  His defense, you may remember, was that he got upset at stuff and took it out on the dogs.  And then would buy another dog, and so on.

Prosecutors wanted 2-4 years.  Judge gave 5 years probation.  The judge said that he didn't see how jailtime would help.  Yes, but, to the same extent, in how many cases DOES it help?

According to the newspapers, conditions of the sentence also require that the guy has "no contact with animals" and gets some therapy.  I haven't seen any details about that.  I am skeptical that it is sufficient.

But clearly this is a mental health issue, and clearly this guy is a danger to himself and others, not to mention dogs.  No one who just has an anger problem buys one pet after another because they accidentally beat them to death.  You might go through three pets that way in a few years, and at that point you have no adequate excuse for not seeking treatment. 

When you go through at least eleven in less than two years, either (A) you know exactly what you're doing, and you're buying the dogs as the psychopathic equivalent of disposable sex toys, or (B) you are dangerously disconnected from reality, in addition to being a violent pathological sadist.

In either case, this guy doesn't need to see a therapist.  He needs to be hospitalized until or unless he's cured.  He isn't going to stop because a judge told him to or because he talks to a therapist once a month.  He probably can't stop.  And if he can't hurt dogs, he's probably going to hurt people.  He likes small dogs as targets, so there's a good chance he'll go after children. 

I guess 'if we're lucky' he'll kidnap other people's pets, or try to buy one himself, and get caught, and go back to court.  But you can't feel too confident about how the court will handle that, either.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on June 13, 2012, 10:56:43 AM
You just made me all sick inside with that update.  He could come over to my house and meet my foster dog.  And if he accidentally falls into the chipper while it's running, oops, my bad. :angry:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on June 13, 2012, 11:19:57 AM
I KNOW, REALLY.

Seriously, the judge turns this guy back out to the street.  The condition of his probation is one year in jail if he fucks up. 

This is the level of retardation of our justice system -- the concept is that this guy will behave himself because he'll be afraid of going to jail for a year.

A)  This guy was not performing an 'economic analysis' on the pros and cons of his behavior in the first place.

B)  His behavior is obviously compulsive, not rational.

C)  If he was sufficiently afraid of a year in jail to curb his behavior, isn't it obvious he would also have been sufficiently afraid of being caught in his habit of beating dogs to death?  But he wasn't even sneaky about his habit.  So obviously this entire premise is bullshit.

They do the same thing with all kinds of pathological bad behavior.  It demonstrates a complete lack of comprehension and a complete lack of competence to be part of the justice system.

I have a feeling that the judge's actual and cynical mindset is that it wouldn't really be appropriate to just throw this guy in prison for four years.  It would be cruel to the guy and do nothing to fix his sadistic habits -- probably it would make them worse.  So he's giving this guy an 'out' that he knows the guy probably can't take advantage of.  But once the guy violates his probation, the judge won't feel so conflicted about sending him to jail.

So he sets the guy up to fail -- at society's expense -- in order to feel better about applying an inappropriate punishment.  Wonderful.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on June 13, 2012, 07:03:04 PM
And thanks to Reagan and successive Republicans, we've completely gutted the mental health system so this guy could be put in the appropriate institution.

Instead all the judge has is the choice between sending him prison or outpatient therapy, because he knows there's no such thing as "rehabilitation" in our prison system anymore.

Sending him to prison most assuredly guarantees he'd spend four years as someone's bitch. And while I want this guy to suffer, that kind of punishment isn't going to do anything for him except fuck him up more -- he's probably on his way to being a serial killer and prison offers an excellent education on more depraved cruelty than what he is already guilty of.

What he really needs is to be put in a mental institution for the rest of his life. He needs serious medication and therapy. He just needs to be removed from society. And it occurs to me that he himself may have been the victim of abuse, or witnessed abuse of some kind.

Or, he needs just enough therapy so when he comes to terms with the horrible things that he's done, he can kill himself over the guilt.

Or, maybe there should be a death penalty for animal abusers and pedophiles.

As you can see, I'm torn between wanting vengeance and wanting to help people who are fucked up in the head -- who are often victims themselves.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on June 13, 2012, 07:53:21 PM
Yah.  I hear that.

But regardless . . . this trial was a waste of time, and the sentence isn't going to help anything.  This guy is a timebomb that keeps going off, and he's been sent back out to wind himself up again.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on June 13, 2012, 08:04:55 PM
I know the implications of this but, I think people like this and pedophiles should be put down.  That's what you do with animals that can't be retrained and are dangerous.  Not as punishment but because they can't be fixed.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on June 13, 2012, 08:33:00 PM
It's not the craziest argument.

But:

- A mad person is more dangerous than a mad dog.  As a result, it's more important to study them.  Find out why they're crazy, whether (and how) it's preventable, what can be done about it.  And it's easier to deeply study a person's trauma and pathology than a dog's.

- A lot of dangerous dogs can be rehabilitated, although it's very difficult and takes a long time.  Doesn't mean it isn't worth doing, when possible, or that we shouldn't make an effort with people, either.  Punishment and brutalization won't work in either case.

- Obviously, we gotta be careful about giving the government latitude to kill people.  As a result, we're just realistically going to be stuck with these people.  And of course there are lots of them out there anyway, who haven't been caught yet.  So we need to be better at dealing with them.

Of course, as a species we are really terrible at any kind of abstract risk assessment.  (Economic analysis, my ass.)  So we spend billions trying to stop terrorists who are less dangerous to us than people who text while driving, but we prefer to train antisocial people to hate society even more and have less hope of fitting in. 

Yeah, that'll help!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on June 13, 2012, 11:30:51 PM
I know the implications of this but, I think people like this and pedophiles should be put down.  That's what you do with animals that can't be retrained and are dangerous.  Not as punishment but because they can't be fixed.

Oh, I completely understand where you're coming from. That's my gut reaction.

But (what's left of) my brain would agree with Axe's assessment -- we have to rise above our baser instincts, otherwise we're really no better than these people we want to eradicate.

And yet, I still don't object entirely to the concept of death penalty; but its execution (no pun intended, honestly) is terribly, terribly flawed -- the high percentage of people of color, the mentally ill/deficient and innocent people that are sent to death.  :(
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on June 14, 2012, 05:45:01 AM
Yes, I know that and I also agree with what Axe said.  But I do know that we spend an awful lot of time money and energy on people that IMHO should just be written off.  I know and agree with the whole "one innocent man" thing but really, if you know for sure (and in some cases you DO know for sure) what a person is, FFS do something about it before someone else is hurt or killed.  In other words, in some cases it would be perfectly fine with me to avoid playing the game of "well we need to exhaust every venue" and just send them over the fuckin bridge.  The whole the victim has no rights thing is wearing thin to me.

Sorry for the rambling.  It seems to me there is a fix for this but I can't get my head around the crap our society has put in there about what can be done.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on July 21, 2012, 09:47:38 PM
We have got to stop romanticizing bad guys.  I don't mean movie villains and historical monsters.  I mean current real-life bad people. 

We love to blow them out of proportion.  Oooh, we have such enemies -- we must be awesome to merit them.  We face such evil -- we must be so brave.  We got caught napping -- the enemy must be a ninja supervillain.  We finally got a bad guy -- it's an epic victory because he was Satan himself.

Bullfuckingshit.

The main problem with this isn't the inflated self-satisfaction and self-congratulation.  The main problem is that IT ENCOURAGES OTHER BAD PEOPLE.  Making bin Laden into a supervillain is the best recruitment tool his organization could have.  And talking about how magnificently evil some sad insecure wacko is for shooting up a theater just encourages ten more sad insecure wackos to become magnificent the same way.  He's a loose cannon with a loose connection.  His violence was sad, stupid, and senseless.  Don't make him into a folkhero for every disaffected loser who'd like to teach the world their name.

In a minor but painfully ironic way, the really stupid thing, here, is that in the real Dark Knight Returns Miller emphatically makes the point that the Joker only bothers with supervillainy because it makes him Batman's chief adversary.  It's the social response to his crime that gives him significance.

So . . . durrrrr.  STFU, halfwit sensational media.  Talk about the victims, yes, but call the shooter a loser desperate for attention and not smart enough to get it any other way.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Hedaira on July 23, 2012, 05:23:49 PM
I think the real problem is that Holmes was buying body armor and 6000 rounds of ammuntion and NO ONE THREW UP A FUCKING FLAG ABOUT THAT.

Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on July 23, 2012, 05:52:45 PM
He has a constitutional right, you know.  It's just that the people in the theater didn't make use of their constitutional right to return fire.

If the NRA would just do their part and assign a gun nut to protect every citizen, we'd have no need of heaven.



Actually, years ago the Reverend Ivan Stang noted the irony that he signed up for a bunch of wackaloon newsletters, and the FBI came knocking at his door just out of curiosity.  They were polite enough when he explained he was writing a book about mail-order nuttery.  But if he'd been buying guns and ammunition through the mail, the FBI would not have come knocking.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on July 23, 2012, 05:55:19 PM
High Weirdness By Mail -- quite the period piece now, I think it was published the week the Internet went on line.

I think I read somewhere Stang had planned to do a followup, but it would have been like Proust - too much.

ETA: Er, mah gerd (http://subgenius.com/hwbw.htm).
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on July 23, 2012, 06:34:50 PM
WOW.

And that page is like a good old-fashioned web page.  I'm almost in love with it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: pdrake on July 23, 2012, 07:02:34 PM
I think the real problem is that Holmes was buying body armor and 6000 rounds of ammuntion and NO ONE THREW UP A FUCKING FLAG ABOUT THAT.

yes, some people should be held liable for that. if your package weighs more than 20lbs it has to be labeled such:

(http://cartridgecollectors.org/images/OD25.png)

the packages also have to have a 200lb bursting strength. the people handling those 50 or so packages should have been a little more observant. the USPS does not ship ammo of any kind. all the boxes had to be shipped through licensed carriers and tracked. i'm sure those numbers will be subpoenaed and questions will be asked.

unfortunately you don't have to be licensed to ship, sell or purchase ammunition through the mail.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on July 31, 2012, 05:18:43 PM
So, not in the same league, but one of those things that makes me think the Lansing area may be hopeless:

OK, Lansing's eastern side has one mall, this place named Frandor, probably ruled by some minor enemy of Conan.  It's not really a mall.  It's really a collection of strip malls with a few anchor stores.   A Kroger, a Sears, and a World Market are the biggest anchor stores, yay, and it's probably the saddest Kroger ever, although it's improved over the last few years.

The layout is an unplanned disaster.  Ridiculous, bordering on Stinking Pavement Atrocity.  There's one of those huge central parking areas that trendy outdoor malls also have.  I think the logic is that it's a pain to drive any distance but naturally pleasant to walk back and forth across a huge parking lot to get from store to store.  Surely that is good reasoning.  And the bus takes a detour to go to Frandor (nice thought), but the detour adds like ten minutes to the short Lansing-to-East Lansing route, which is one of the most popular routes, because of Frandor's awful layout (stupid).

Frandor has empty spaces, including at least one empty anchor store.  The city often talks about improving it, but there's no graft in that, so to hell with it.

INSTEAD.  Across from Frandor is one of the few large green spaces in Lansing proper.  It's adjacent to a park and next to MSU's campus, and it's, I don't know, maybe four or five acres.  The city wants to sell it, for next to nothing, and build a new strip mall, a medical office building, and condos. 

As stupid as that is . . . this field-with-trees is bordered ON TWO SIDES by abandoned car dealerships.

So, yes, bulldoze the field where people walk their dogs and build a new unpleasant strip mall between the abandoned car dealerships.  On the main freaking road between Lansing and East Lansing.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Hedaira on August 01, 2012, 12:10:47 PM
Frandor = Mordor
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: the other andrea on August 01, 2012, 05:42:55 PM
I would totally shop at a mall called Mordor.  :lol:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Dr. Leonard HmofCoy on August 01, 2012, 08:47:03 PM
You cannot simply walk in to that mall.

:hmm:

Rope ladder or something.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on August 02, 2012, 08:49:10 AM
Hmmm :hmm: (http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/one-does-not-simply-walk-into-mordor)
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on August 02, 2012, 04:55:28 PM
Love this one

(http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/014/440/5DHX4MH3XIID2KWX6YNWIF6A5JTE2DTB.jpeg)
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Hisey on August 15, 2012, 07:01:14 PM
One does not simply walk into the mall door.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: Hedaira on August 15, 2012, 07:58:56 PM
 :lol: :hisey:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on August 15, 2012, 08:02:03 PM
:hisey: :hisey:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 03, 2017, 03:29:24 PM
SO, OK, my mail delivery started tapering off right around the beginning of the year, but it wasn't until last month that I stopped getting pretty much everything, and by now I don't even get junk mail.  Banks, insurance companies, they tell me the mail comes back just marked UNDELIVERABLE.

Post Office has been the least help.  The least

- The 800-ASK-USPS number connects you to a robot that's occasionally underwater and incomprehensible.  It often asks you to say "Yes" or "No" (and, good lord, this shit is not an improvement on pressing 1 or 2), but it often can't understand those words.  FFS.  And I can't figure out a way to go directly to the queue for a human.

Five minutes of fighting with the robot gets you into a sorted queue.  Shortest estimated wait time for me so far has been 34 minutes.  I DON'T HAVE FUCKING TIME.  Christ, I have to fully charge my phone before I call.


- The website lets you contact them by email.  This is mostly just a black hole.  They will not respond by email.  I guess, I mean, Post Office, email is not their thing.

Also, often the system refuses your attempt to send them a note.  It does this at the END of the process, naturally, and the content of your note is lost because that part of the form was on a previous page.  Ha ha!  Better write the note in something else and then paste it in.


- I did manage to get a guy to call me and say he was working on it.  "No problem!" he says.  "Should be back to normal in a few days, but call me if it's not," he says.  Callback number . . . does not work.  Huzzah!


- The website told me that the Post Office for my zip code is this one particular one I wasn't familiar with.  Really?  Oh, well, maybe that's why the other Post Office was all empty promises to get to the bottom of it.  So today I (with difficulty) left work and went to this other Post Office.

It's an unstaffed drive-by-and-drop-off-your-mail sort of deal.  There's no one there.  Ha ha!


- I've tried calling the Post Office I think is actually the right one.  There's never an answer, but if you let it ring sixteen times ( ! ), a robot picks up and asks you to enter your access code.

I would, but my fist of chainsaws doesn't fit into my phone.

FFS.  FFS.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 03, 2017, 08:45:28 PM
There was a mailman here in ATL that was dumping mail in the woods.

I guess bouncing back is better than it going to the Twilight Zone.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mybabysmomma on May 04, 2017, 07:38:52 AM
Yes, I have to deal with the USPS for work sometimes and the 1-800 number is a ruse to dupe you into thinking you can do something there.  The ONLY way I have found of even having any hope of getting issues resolved is by marching my ass into A post office that is staffed with real people and talking until they decide the only way to get me to leave is to help me.
Good luck!
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 04, 2017, 02:45:12 PM
It's been like three or four pieces have bounced back to the senders.  The rest have just vanished.


Last night, I managed to talk to someone who said, well, OK, but call back at 9 AM EXACTLY so the carrier will be here, because only the carriers know anything.  FFS, that can't be true, but whatever.

Called back at 9 AM EXACTLY this morning and finally spoke to someone who gave a shit.  Naturally, she was horrified.  :eyeroll:  But (A) the carriers had already left and (B) my carrier was doing a shift in Grand Rapids.  That's like 70 miles away.  Do they normally . . . ah, fuck it.  Whatever.

Despite consistent prior claims that there was no file, etc, etc, she "looked it up on the computer" [ gasp ] and said, no, there's nothing in your file, no hold, no change of address.  :nonplused:

She said, "Does your house look abandoned?"  Ouch, and no.  I said, "In my neighborhood, it's like the least abandoned-looking.  It's the only one that regularly has the lawn mowed, the snow shoveled, trash removed from the lawn, broken windows fixed, etc."

Naturally, she said she'd have to talk to the carrier tomorrow, and then she'd call me back.  I am keen for any follow-up.  While she was asking me how the hell I could have this problem for weeks on end, and I was explaining my many prior attempts to get it fixed, I did accidentally learn that the guy (named "Guy") who was allegedly looking into it and getting back to me . . . is her co-worker.  And is apparently now in trouble.  :innocent:

Well, I wasn't trying to get him in trouble.  I just want my fucking mail.

Meanwhile, did I mention that my trash bin went missing, too?  The city trash service people aren't sure if they took it for some reason or if it was stolen.  They're looking into it.  AH.  Yes.  Terrific.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: pdrake on May 04, 2017, 08:24:15 PM
you didn't get him in trouble, he did that on his own.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 05, 2017, 02:41:59 PM
Well, the new person at the Post Office is now avoiding me rather than calling me back.  Every time I call, she's in a meeting or out of the building, and she now has three messages to call me.

I was just told by my health insurance company this morning that they have to drop my policy Real Soon because the Marketplace people told them that my address is no longer correct and I haven't updated that information.

Fucking fuck.

Meanwhile, the city trash people won't tell me if they took my bin or if it was stolen, and also they aren't sure if they billed me or not or if there's a problem with my account.  I've literally been fighting with them over shit like this on and off for the last ten fucking years, so I told them to just cancel it and I'll file a fraud complaint.  The End.

I guess I'm back to hauling my own trash.  They've never successfully handled my recycling, so I've already been hauling that myself, anyway.

I swear to God, somewhere there's a file on me that has a black mark on it.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 05, 2017, 04:08:04 PM
Garbage, postal service, and health insurance?  This can't be good.  Let me look this one up.
...
...
-signal lost-
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 05, 2017, 04:37:56 PM
How would the Marketplace even know anything about your address? I don't think I've ever gotten anything from them I had to reply to.

In my city, you now have no choice about trash pickup. It has to be the city chosen vendor. If you choose some other method, or dispose of it yourself, or if you create no trash, you still have to pay the city. They supplied trash cans, so I have an extra one now, from the old plan. Come on down and you can have it - free!  :P
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 05, 2017, 04:40:20 PM
San Jose added garbage to the property taxes so no more bills.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 05, 2017, 04:55:24 PM
My brother lives in a small town about fifteen miles from Lansing, where trash service, yeah, is included in the taxes, and you get up to three barrels plus more than a dozen trash bags plus one large object (like a sofa) per week.  In Lansing, I get the one barrel, and I can pay a surprising amount extra to throw out one large object.  If you don't know someone with a truck . . . .

Lansing has, by far, the worst public services of anywhere I've ever lived.  BY FAR.  I really can't stress this enough.  The city is completely dysfunctional.  The sole exception, as far as I can tell, is the fire department, which seems quite sharp.

I've lived in Lansing for about ten years now -- and, mind you, Lansing is one of those places that charges a city income tax, as well as absurdly high property taxes consider that the real estate is worth shit.

- They've overcharged me on my property taxes every single year.  I used to complain about it about twice a year and refile the paperwork faithfully, but eventually I came to the conclusion that they can tell I can't afford a lawyer, so they'd rather keep overcharging me.

- Never received a recycling bin.  They send me stuff quarterly touting how great their recycling plan is, and periodically they seem to notice I exist and ask me what size bin I want.  Really doesn't matter what I say, because I'm not going to get one.  One of my neighbors has the same problem.

- This is my second try using the city trash service.  First time, I paid for three months, and they never gave me a bin.  That was years ago.  It hasn't gotten any better.

- About two years after I moved there, the water utility sent me a thing saying Welcome to Lansing and There's Lead In Your Water, But We'll Give You Coupons For Water Filters.  Nowhere local had the exact water filters the coupons were good for, so I just bought my own, but, uh, TWO YEARS, guys.  Thanks for nothing.

- Eventually they replaced the supply pipes (connecting the mains to the houses) at no cost (well, taxes), and they ended the coupons.  Except the pipes in your house may now be full of lead that slowly leaches out, due to lead from the old supply lines accumulating on them, so a lot of people either gave up or had to buy their own filters anyway.

- I'd already replaced almost all of my water lines, since crackheads stole them for the copper literally the day I moved in.  So, you know, there's that.

- Called the cops after I discovered my pipes were stolen.  Was told not to go back into the house until the cops arrived.  WELL, that was ten years ago.  The follow-up call to the cops that night and then the next day produced no results.  Spoiler Alert:  I went into the house anyway.

- I periodically get scary notices from a city inspector threatening to fine me hundreds to thousands of dollars for unspecified weed violations, etc.  Meanwhile, most of the welfare housing in my neighborhood is choked with untended weeds.  Anyone fined for that?  Probably not.  The inspectors' office claims they'll come tell you what the weeds in question are, but they never do, so, you know, just cut everything down to the ground, pretty much.

- They don't plow the roads for shit.  They don't pave them for shit.  The roads are shit.

- They had a huge scandal a year or two ago over the power lines being crap and the power company needing weeks on end to repair them after a storm brought a bunch of them down.  Seems they didn't have a maintenance staff . . . almost at all . . . and had to hire maintenance people from other utilities and even out of state.  FFS.

- There are abandoned properties all over the goddamned place, including MULTIPLE abandoned car dealerships right at the border of much nicer East Lansing, so the city decided to cut down all the trees in one of the city's largest parks (a former golf course) and sell it to be turned into a shitty strip mall.  Right across the street from a shitty strip mall.


I don't even know what else.  But if there's a worse state capital . . . then that's really a shame.  :whatever:  If I can afford to sell my house, I'm totally moving the hell out.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 06, 2017, 06:55:09 AM
With the missing mail thing, I thought, maybe someone stole his identity. Then I thought, man, will they be sorry  :rollin:

Seriously though, I suppose it's possible someone has had your mail redirected, but that wouldn't explain the confusion at the post office. If confusion at the post office requires explanation.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 06, 2017, 09:10:38 AM
I know, tangerine said maybe it was someone stealing my identity.  If it is, they're very careful with my credit score. 

I did finally manage to talk to the latest Post Office person late yesterday, which was nice considering it was a Friday.  She said the carriers say they deliver everything that they get for me, which isn't much -- an impressive understatement.  But she said the computer says there's definitely no hold or redirect on my file.  HRM.

So . . . she's mailing me a letter, herself.  If I get it, I should call her.  If it bounces back to her, she'll see if she can figure out why.  If neither of us sees it, I dunno.

I'm a little sad that this is the best we can do, but we'll see.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 06, 2017, 09:55:25 AM
Are any of your neighbors sane enough to talk to? Have you asked them if they have had any problems?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 06, 2017, 11:07:33 AM
The current neighbors in the Trollplex apparently don't speak English, or at least not to me.  On the other side are a couple who've never spoken to me, and the old guy with the dog.  He says he has trouble getting his mail, getting his trash picked up by the city, etc, but he's a retired renter and says he hardly gets any mail in the first place.

Tough to say.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 08, 2017, 12:43:41 PM
Well Sacramento is pretty nice for a state capital, so is Denver, so is Richmond.  Salt Lake City does pretty well too.  Not too familiar with most of the others though.  Do you think Lansing is on decline like most of the state, or has it been historically this way?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 08, 2017, 01:40:29 PM
I've . . . I've never heard anyone enthuse over Lansing, not counting people who are paid to enthuse over Lansing, and most of the latter are unconvincing at best.

A good deal of Michigan is quite nice, despite the best efforts of bad people.  It's pretty lush, the climate isn't bad, there's a lot of lakes and scenery of the non-coastal types.  No mountains, really, but it's pretty ideal for, say, bicycling.  There are plenty of nice pockets.

But this is definitely a Too Hard state, working on becoming a Red World state.  Every problem the state faces is just Too Hard to fix.  And administration seems to generally be a nightmare.

Lansing has little areas of improvements and areas of utter despair, but it doesn't acknowledge its problems.  It pushes ahead with new 'improvements' that are atrocious.  The small towns here are generally fairly charming, but the cities tend to be sprawling failures.

Lansing has a bizarre history.  Literally, Detroit was the obvious capital, but it was indefensible, and the state was essentially being run by a teenager, so they sent a party off into the wilderness to build a secret capital city in the woods, where no one (Canadians, mostly, I believe) would be able to find it.

The auto industry helped build it up a whole hell of a lot, and then the city built new roads by tearing down most of its significant architecture.  They tore down the very historic Victorian-style R E Olds mansion to build the R E Olds Highway, a ring-road that destroyed Lansing's downtown, and they could have moved the highway 18' to avoid having to tear down the mansion, but . . . too hard.

So it's kind of like that.  It's nicer than Flint, not as nice as Grand Rapids, much less Ann Arbor.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 13, 2017, 12:35:10 PM
Any time someone says 'optics' to mean 'appearances', I lose respect for them.  If they're a professional politician or journalist, I lose kind of a lot of respect for their professionalism.

I haven't forgiven anyone for saying things like 'grow the economy', but I spit on 'optics'.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 13, 2017, 01:57:31 PM
It's like a buffing rag that has shit smeared all over it. It's a phrase that irritates me every time.

"Mother of all bombs" was another one that made me wince. Fortunately, or maybe I should say hopefully, it was short-lived.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 14, 2017, 01:11:32 PM
WELL, the latest and greatest:

Went to my brother's place last night.  Hadn't been there since Xmas, I believe.  He said, "Oh, there's some mail here for you."  I sometimes get junk mail there, even though I haven't lived there in over ten years, and the bank I had back in Nebraska refuses to believe that I closed my account, etc.  They send me something occasionally.

But also in there was a nondescript envelope that said "CITY OF LANSING Treasurer / Income Tax", which, fuck, but also the "CITY OF LANSING" part was crossed out.  :confused:

So I opened that right away, since I'm used to horrific surprise news from the City of Lansing.

What's inside?  A "FINAL NOTICE" that I owe them $80.02 for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 -- end of explanation.  First I've heard of it.  AND the letter says I have to pay up and send in copies of my tax returns within 30 days of the date on the letter. 

The date on the letter is 3/28.

And the letter goes on to say that if I don't, I have to pay a $500 penalty, plus "restitution", plus court costs, and that a warrant will be issued for my arrest, and I face 90 days in jail.

FUCK ME SIDEWAYS

Jesus Fucking God, this fucking town.  Fuckity-fuck.

So I went online and paid them $80.02 (plus a convenience charge, how convenient) right away.  I don't even know how long it would take me to send them new copies of my 2013 / 2014 returns.  I still have them . . . somewhere . . . but shit is boxed up so I can move ( :pray: ) the fuck away from Lansing, and even if it wasn't, I mean, I have them somewhere.

I've had some trouble with my mail delivery lately, yes, but not since 2013.  And I've dealt with these people before and been sure to give them my email address and phone number.  Sending a letter to the wrong person can't possibly qualify legally as reasonable notice.  Right?

But they want to bankrupt me and make me lose my house and job, apparently.  Fucking hell indeed.

I'm writing them an email, but I keep having to edit out the cursing.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 14, 2017, 02:20:21 PM
Jesus. I wonder how you go about checking to see if there's a warrant out?
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 14, 2017, 02:37:53 PM
Either it's fucking hard to do, or there isn't one yet.  :nonplused:

Allegedly you can go to the MI Courts page and do a search.  I got nothin'.  Then I went the Case Search section and searched Cases and then Orders.  Apparently nothing.  I hope, but I'm driving extra-carefully.

Our bookkeeper just told me it's no problem and happens all the time.  WELL PARDON ME but I happen to think it's problematic.  I mean, I know what she means, but . . . Jesus in a go-kart.

And to think how mad I was about the trash service.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 14, 2017, 03:36:29 PM
Yeah, no problem until you get sucked into that Hell. Dealing with bureaucracy at that level is a whole different nightmare.

There was a local story here recently about a guy that failed to appear for traffic court, a warrant was put out, the guy then took care of the ticket/fines. Like a year later he gets arrested on the warrant that was supposed to have been closed. Apparently that type thing is fairly common. The cops don't care, you get thrown into the system until you pay someone to figure it out for them. No thank you.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 14, 2017, 03:52:19 PM
Found it:
Quote
Swalm denies ever getting that letter.  Indeed, DDS looked back on its records and found that even though the address was correct, the postal service returned the letter.  DDS never sent another letter or tried to figure out why it came back.

 :innocent:

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/holding-powerful-accountable/ticket-to-jail-1/436266329
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 15, 2017, 10:02:57 AM
Oh, good.  :whatever:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 17, 2017, 01:57:36 PM
Yet another local story about a mail scam. Apparently it's easy to go online and stop anyone's mail service. Then, if so inclined, the thief makes a fake ID and goes to the post office to pick up the victim's mail.

I don't think it's what is happening to you, but it goes to show how there's stuff going on like this.

http://www.cbs46.com/story/35449972/scammers-stopping-residents-mail-stealing-from-post-office-with-fake-id
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 17, 2017, 02:48:17 PM
The supervisor swore up and down that she was sure it wasn't the carrier.  And there are TWO carriers who regularly work my route.  But right after she talked to the carrier, I started getting mail again every single day.

Including two bills that were over two weeks old.  :innocent:  Just showed up!  Funny, that.

I don't farkin' know.  I didn't get the letter she sent me to test what the problem was.  :shrug:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 17, 2017, 02:51:25 PM
I did finally hear back from the city treasury.  They were like "We mailed you several times.  Twice this past February, and twice in October of 2015."

Uh.  OK, first, I don't believe you, and, second, that doesn't even make a shred of fucking sense.  Like, how can you go get the file, look at it, and think, "Hey, nothing wrong with what it says here!  I'll totally tell the person what it says here, because this doesn't look crazy!"

Anyway, then the woman told me that since I paid them $80, fuck it, it's all good.

I wrote back and said, no, it's not all good.  This shit is not OK.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 17, 2017, 03:03:30 PM
Maybe you shouldn't piss her off  ;)
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 17, 2017, 04:18:40 PM
I know, but it was impossible.  I did keep going back and erasing the cursing out my email.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: flipper on May 17, 2017, 04:24:56 PM
I'm sure my wife is on lists for her abuse of CSRs/govt. minions.
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on May 17, 2017, 05:04:16 PM
I was careful to stress that my irritation was mostly not personal but departmental.  This woman did totally blow off 99% of my concerns and act like What Is Even Your Problem, but I attribute that to the inurement of working there.  Although I did also say that.  :P
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: mo on May 18, 2017, 05:17:21 AM
 :lol:
Title: Re: I don't like it
Post by: random axe on September 01, 2018, 10:15:53 AM
SO the city keeps shitting all over itself in its attempts to boost short-term property tax income.  Like a lot of places, they overpromised on pensions and so on, and now they can't pay what they promised.  Like a lot of places, every city government for the last 25 years knew this was going to be an issue, and every local politician just said, "Fuck it -- I won't be in office when the disaster strikes."

Anyway, the current bunch of clueless schmucks in East Lansing are steadily destroying the downtown, driving out all the local businesses that have an actual investment here, and yadda yadda.  They have no concept of sprawl, development, city planning, etc.  They just let the developers propose shit, and if the developers pinky-swear they can make it happen, then there you go.  As a result, one horrible development after another has fallen through over the last twenty years. 

At one point, they literally had three blocks of the prime university-facing real estate closed up for developments that weren't occurring.  Most people thought the downtown was just dying and that all the businesses on those blocks had simply found it impossible to make ends meet.  In reality, they were kicked out.  One block was kept vacant and derelict for 15 years, and another one for 10 years.

They also keep overdeveloping apartment buildings, which is shitty as fuck to all the people who own rental homes in town and rent them to students.  The city is fucking over the market, and they don't even seem aware of the problem.  They have no clue.  The main drag opposite the university was generally limited to three stories and was all small funky businesses and bars.  Now it's mostly chains, and they keep building shit that's five stories or more. 

Every week, we have people come in and complain.  Students are moving back in, and I've had MULTIPLE alumni parents tell me the town is now such a shithole (more than one person has literally said "shithole") that they would not have let their kids come to MSU if they'd known.  FFS!  That's a pretty strong indictment.

Meanwhile, shit like this is the norm:

Stupidly gigantic construction project is a lie and illegal, to boot (https://eastlansinginfo.org/content/fire-marshal-review-missing-center-city-project).

They keep doing this thing where they let the developers build whatever, then weakly address violations and unapproved changes of plans.  One dude had an approved plan to build a four-story apartment building, and he built a five-story one.  No engineering plan, no environmental plan, no traffic plan, etc, for the extra floor.

City let it stand and fined him less than what he'll make in six months renting the top floor.  They claimed no one noticed he was building an extra floor.  Gee, the inspections required during construction must've been top-notch.

Always the way.

Oh -- they also just approved a city income tax and lowered the property tax.  It's a brilliant plan to shift the debt burden to people who don't live in East Lansing.  What a concept.  Everyone was hugely against it, but it magically passed the second time they put it to a vote, probably because of the property tax reduction.  The university is ripshit over it, as well they should be.

Lansing has a city tax, and in fifteen years they've never gotten it right, in my personal experience.  They calculate it wrong every single year.  Most people I know who are subject to it tell me they simply don't bother paying it.  And those are the same people who put out a warrant for my arrest for about $75 they decided I owed but never told me about.

Will East Lansing's city tax be administered better?  Somehow, I don't think so.  But I sure as hell wouldn't start a business here or take a new job in this town.  I'm generally pro-tax, for fuck's sake, but bullshit is bullshit.  It's not the money, it's the stupidity.