Another Suburban Virginia Police Killing .
Feb 27th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Another Suburban Virginia Police Killing. The IHOP where this took place is just down the road from where I used to live. In fact, I've eaten there several times.

It appears that an off-duty cop working security at the IHOP chased down a group of teenagers who appeared to have walked out on their tab, though at least one report on the radio this morning says they in fact paid the tab, but had left money on the table instead of paying at the register.

The off-duty cop then ran out to the parking lot to confront the group, and jumped in front of the vehicle to stop them from getting away. What happened next is unclear, but it resulted in the officer firing 4-5 shots at the vehicle, one of which struck and killed 18-year old Aaron Brown, a passenger.

Hard to see how an unpaid tab would need to escalate to the use of deadly force.

TrackBack (0) | [The Agitator]

The cop in this case was just begging for trouble. Consider, for example: I routinely leave money on the table in restaurants. I have occasionally visited Virginia, and when I do so I carry a sidearm (my Florida concealed weapon permit is valid there). I'm a much better shot than the vast majority of cops. No doubt all of these things are also true for many Virginians.

It was really lucky for this cop, and unlucky for everyone else, that he didn't get himself killed when he started blazing away.

AP won’t cover LPGA after credential dispute .
Feb 23rd, 2006 by Ken Hagler

AP won’t cov­er LPGA after cre­den­tial dis­pute. AP reporter Jaymes Song was not allowed on the course dur­ing Wednesday’s prac­tice rounds or in the media room to cov­er Michelle Wie’s pre­tour­na­ment news con­fer­ence after refus­ing to sign the cre­den­tial form with the new restric­tions. Free­lance pho­tog­ra­ph­er Ronen Zil­ber­man also refused to sign the form and was denied a cre­den­tial.


The LPGA said the restric­tions were in line with oth­er pro sports orga­ni­za­tions and would not lim­it news-gathering access, but were “designed to main­tain and pro­tect the LPGA’s exist­ing rights regard­ing images used for com­mer­cial pur­pos­es unre­lat­ed to news cov­er­age.”


While the LPGA’s revised terms don’t lim­it access, they severe­ly lim­it our use of our own pho­tos,” Tom­lin said. “If we ever want­ed to use an AP pho­to from an LPGA event for any­thing but illus­tra­tion of a news sto­ry about that par­tic­u­lar event, we’d have to ask for per­mis­sion. I’m not aware of any oth­er league that has demand­ed such a con­di­tion for obtain­ing cre­den­tials. And LPGA’s demand for unlim­it­ed free use of our LPGA pho­tos and sto­ries is just as unprece­dent­ed and just as unac­cept­able. We want to cov­er LPGA events but not at this cost.” [USA Today]

The LPGA is being disin­gen­u­ous about their restrictions–the bit about com­mer­cial usage is aimed at peo­ple who don’t know any­thing about the legal­i­ties involved in the pho­to­graph­ic busi­ness. In point of fact, images may nev­er be used for com­mer­cial pur­pos­es with­out a signed mod­el release. For exam­ple, if a pho­tog­ra­ph­er shot a golfer at this event the image could not be sold to the com­pa­ny that made his or her clubs for use in adver­tise­ments with­out the explic­it per­mis­sion of the golfer. The only way the LPGA’s restric­tions on com­mer­cial use­age would ever be rel­e­vant is if the golfer was will­ing to sign a release–and peo­ple famous enough for com­pa­nies to want to use them in adver­tis­ing hard­ly ever are. The AP lawyer is right, this is real­ly about the LPGA try­ing to extort pho­tog­ra­phers.

Con­cert pho­tog­ra­phers also have to deal with obnox­ious restric­tions and rights grabs, both from venues and from acts big enough to have “peo­ple.” Per­son­al­ly I refuse to be restricted–if a venue asks me to sign some­thing I just walk away and nev­er return. But then, I’m not try­ing to make mon­ey at it. It takes con­sid­er­able courage for some­one who’s try­ing to earn a liv­ing as a pho­tog­ra­ph­er to stand up to them, and I’m hap­py to see two who did.

Neocon to Neolib .
Feb 23rd, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Neo­con to Neolib. I read Fran­cis Fukuyama’s renun­ci­a­tion of neo­con­ser­vatism with amuse­ment, as I real­ized that he did not so much object to its goals (Amer­i­can empire, glob­al “democrayc”) nor even its means (war­fare, pro­pa­gan­da) but to its man­ner — i.e. uni­lat­er­al, cal­lous, arro­gant. Jim Lobe’s excel­lent piece, high­light­ing the key points in Fukuyama’s apos­ta­sy, con­firmed my ini­tial assess­ment: Fukuya­ma aban­doned neo­cons, only to join the “neolibs.”

Instead of denounc­ing the whole… [ Blog]

bq. It’s lip­stick on a pig; per­haps, had G.W. Bush nev­er hap­pened, the world could still blithe­ly accept Clin­ton­ian jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for impe­r­i­al aggres­sion, but now that they’ve had the taste of the iron fist sans the vel­vet glove, will they ever be so gullible about Wash­ing­ton again?

Almost cer­tain­ly they will. Fukuyama’s objec­tions are the same as the vast major­i­ty of “anti­war” pro­tes­tors who are actu­al­ly per­fect­ly hap­py with wars as long as their par­tic­u­lar social­ist fac­tion is start­ing them.

Recently I’ve been seeing commercials for the upcoming movie V for Vendetta .
Feb 23rd, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Recent­ly I’ve been see­ing com­mer­cials for the upcom­ing movie V for Vendet­ta. It looks very promising–one of the lines is:

bq. Peo­ple should not fear their gov­ern­ments, gov­ern­ments should fear their peo­ple.

KEITH HALDERMAN: Bolivian Casualty .
Feb 22nd, 2006 by Ken Hagler

KEITH HALDERMAN: Boli­vian Casu­al­ty. The Amer­i­can His­tor­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion (AHA) has writ­ten a let­ter to Sec­re­tary of State Rice on behalf of Dr. Waskar Ari. He had been hired for a tenure track posi­tion, that was to begin Fall 2005, teach­ing His­to­ry and Eth­nic Stud­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka. How­ev­er, our gov­ern­ment had oth­er plans, so dur­ing the sum­mer they declared the pro­fes­sor to be a per­son in need of “con­spic­u­ous revi­sion” and he is now being denied a visa. He has to be cleared by all US intel­li­gence agen­cies and under the Patri­ot Act this process can go on indef­i­nite­ly.

Dr. Ari is a mem­ber of the Aymara indige­nous peo­ple of Bolivia and the AHA let­ter writ­ers are “deeply dis­turbed by the pos­si­bil­i­ty that eth­nic­i­ty might form the basis for exclud­ing mem­bers of our pro­fes­sion from gain­ful employ­ment.” The authors of the plea to Sec­re­tary Rice believe Waskar Ari’s to be a case of racial pro­fil­ing. I think they are wrong about this, not about their asser­tion that the denial of entry has noth­ing to do with any ter­ror­ist threat, clear­ly it does not, but about the real rea­son behind it.

The let­ter itself tells us that the State Depart­ment had ordered our embassy in La Paz to can­cel all exist­ing visas. So it was not race being pro­filed but rather the coun­try. Now why would the Unit­ed States sin­gle out Bolivia last sum­mer? Per­haps, the July 15, 2005 issue of The Drug War Chron­i­cle can enlight­en us. They report­ed that, “Peas­ant coca grow­er leader Evo Morales has announced that he is seek­ing the pres­i­den­cy, and as arguably the most pop­u­lar politi­cian in the coun­try, he is well-positioned to win.” He did in fact win and Bolivia is no longer coop­er­at­ing with our country’s sup­pres­sion of coca use, a habit, by the way, prac­ticed for hun­dreds if not thou­sands of years by the Aymara. There­fore the peo­ple of Bolivia must be pun­ished, start­ing with Dr. Ari.

The war on peo­ple who use cer­tain kinds of drugs is the rea­son the stu­dents at Nebras­ka will be deprived of the con­sid­er­able spe­cial­ized knowl­edge Pro­fes­sor Ari promis­es to bring to the table. The silence of the AHA on the role coca played in this mis­car­riage of jus­tice is the one of the pri­ma­ry rea­sons this kind of injus­tice will con­tin­ue.

[Lib­er­ty & Pow­er: Group Blog]

President Threatens First Veto if Congress Stops Port Deal .
Feb 22nd, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Pres­i­dent Threat­ens First Veto if Con­gress Stops Port Deal. In five years, Pres­i­dent Bush hasn’t vetoed any leg­is­la­tion, despite record spend­ing and deficits, which vio­late con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can prin­ci­ples. Yet, when Con­gress objects to a secre­tive deal to turn over six U.S. ports to an Arab com­pa­ny owned by a gov­ern­ment which shel­tered Al-Qaeda, he threat­ens his first veto. The Amer­i­can sheeple should be ask­ing them­selves why a Pres­i­dent would defy his own par­ty lead­ers on this nation­al secu­ri­ty issue when he claims that “pro­tect­ing the ‘home­land’” is his most impor­tant duty. Maybe the 911 con­spir­a­cy the­o­rists aren’t so crazy, after all.

[Police State USA]

Per­son­al­ly, I think they should be ask­ing them­selves what the gov­ern­ment thinks it’s doing get­ting involved in who owns ports, or any­thing else, in the U.S. Per­haps they might also ask them­selves how Fas­cism man­aged such a com­plete and over­whelm­ing vic­to­ry that “Amer­i­cans” are appar­ent­ly unable to even con­ceive of the idea of pri­vate prop­er­ty.

Link: Salon’s Ask the Pilot on photography .
Feb 21st, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Link: Salon’s Ask the Pilot on pho­tog­ra­phy. has a won­der­ful series titled Ask the Pilot where for­mer pilot, Patrick Smith, rumi­nates on the air­line indus­try. His most recent arti­cle touch­es upon pho­tog­ra­phy at air­ports and how we are rapid­ly becom­ing much like pre-Glasnost Sovi­et Rus­sia. Stopped numer­ous times by air­port secu­ri­ty who try to stop him from tak­ing pho­tos (but won’t cite the law or reg­u­la­tion being bro­ken), Smith man­ages to track down some­one who can actu­al­ly tell him the let­ter of the law:

bq. “No, it’s not against the law,” says Anne Davis, a Trans­porta­tion Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion (TSA) spokes­woman. When asked about juris­dic­tion, Davis describes TSA as the over­seer of all air­port secu­ri­ty mat­ters, includ­ing the super­vi­sion of local law enforce­ment. “The buck stops with us,” she says, adding that the agency has no spe­cif­ic pol­i­cy with regard to pic­ture tak­ing, oth­er than ask­ing peo­ple not to tape or pho­to­graph screen­ing appa­ra­tus.

Had any prob­lems recent­ly tak­ing pho­tographs at air­ports? Post a com­ment here! []

Anoth­er arti­cle on the Feds’ emu­la­tion of the Sovi­et Union.

Offshoring? .
Feb 18th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Off­shoring?. Seems like the sim­ple answer to com­pa­nies that use the DMCA to shut down dis­cus­sions they find offen­sive is to set up the dis­cus­sion board off­shore.….. [John Robb’s Weblog]

It’s not that sim­ple. The Evil Empire has a his­to­ry of impos­ing its own laws on for­eign cit­i­zens who have nev­er even set foot inside the bor­ders of the US, either with the coöper­a­tion of a for­eign gov­ern­ment which is a part of the Empire or through out­right kid­nap­ping. That off­shore dis­cus­sion board would need to be set up some­place that is rel­a­tive­ly free of Impe­r­i­al influ­ence, and those involved would need to be sure they nev­er ven­tured with­in the grasp of any Gestapo agen­cies.

Flexible Body Armor .
Feb 18th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Flex­i­ble Body Armor. dot­max writes “One item to pop out of the Turin Win­ter Olympics is the use of flex­i­ble body armor. Sim­i­lar to sil­ly put­ty, this shear rate mate­r­i­al is flex­i­ble under nor­mal load and hard­ens under impact. Sounds expen­sive, but could offer some great alter­na­tives for tra­di­tion­al hard shelled impact gear in active sports and mil­i­tary appli­ca­tions.” [Slash­dot]

The idea of flex­i­ble armor that hard­ens on impact has been around for ages in sci­ence fic­tion, but this is the first I’ve heard of it in real life.

Criminal negligence .
Feb 18th, 2006 by Ken Hagler

Crim­i­nal neg­li­gence. The lat­est copy of Per­spec­tive from the UK polling agency Pop­u­lus says that more British house­holds have been a vic­tim of some sort of crime than Amer­i­can or Cana­di­an house­holds.

You would not know if from the offi­cial crime fig­ures, but accord­ing to a new Gallup sur­vey, 36% of British respon­dents report­ed expe­ri­enc­ing at least one of eight dif­fer­ent types of crime, com­pared with 33% of Cana­di­ans and 32% of Amer­i­cans. 8% of Britons sur­veyed had been a vic­tim of some type of vio­lent crime, com­pared with 5% in Cana­da and the US. 

In the UK, there has been argu­ment about crime sta­tis­tics for many years. Gov­ern­ments like to talk about report­ed crime sta­tis­tics. But then a lot of crime goes unre­port­ed. Crime sur­veys, like these, reveal that the true lev­el of crime is high­er.

Why does so much crime go unre­port­ed in Britain? Some, of course, is minor and peo­ple think it is not worth both­er­ing. In oth­er cas­es, vic­tims are too embar­rassed (eg in rape) or scared (eg in domes­tic or gang vio­lence) to come for­ward. Much else, I sus­pect, goes unre­port­ed because even though the offence is seri­ous, peo­ple think that the police will not do any­thing any­way. When the paper­work on mak­ing an arrest can land offi­cers with five or six hours’ paper­work, they may be right: front­line resources are stretched too thin, back-office bureau­cra­cy is too fat.

Per­haps that is why North Amer­i­cans have much more con­fi­dence that the police can pro­tect them from vio­lent crime: two thirds of Cana­di­ans (67%) and just over half of Amer­i­cans (53%) think this, but only 42% of Britons. [Adam Smith Insti­tute Blog]

Or per­haps Britons just have a bet­ter grasp on real­i­ty. Unless you are an impor­tant mem­ber of the nobil­i­ty, such as a May­or or Con­gress­man, there is no chance of the police pro­tect­ing you from vio­lent crime, because they won’t be around when it hap­pens. The best you can hope for (if you live) is that the police will find who­ev­er attacked you and arrest him.

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