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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… [Antiwar.com 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 9/11 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. Salon.com 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! [Photoethnography.com]

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 cooperation 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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