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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 15,333

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California Supreme Court backs greater access to police misconduct cases


The California Supreme Court decided unanimously Monday that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies may alert prosecutors that a deputy who is slated to testify in a criminal case has a history of misconduct.

The decision overturned a Court of Appeal ruling that barred the sheriff from giving prosecutors the names of deputies who had committed misconduct, including lying, taking bribes, tampering with evidence, using unreasonable force or engaging in domestic violence...

...In a ruling written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, the state high court said that merely disclosing to prosecutors that a deputy was on a list of problem officers did not violate California law protecting personnel records.

Indeed, the court said, such an alert might be needed for prosecutors to fulfill their constitutional duty to give the defense evidence that might cast doubt on a defendant’s guilt, reduce a potential sentence or diminish the credibility of prosecution witnesses.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Aug 26, 2019, 07:05 PM (0 replies)

Beware of 'Dangerous' Art


It’s strange to think of queer, ostensibly progressive writers sharing any ideological space at all with Donald Trump, but in fact, they overlap at least once on a media-criticism Venn diagram. The intersection is at the word “dangerous.”

“You talk about racist. Hollywood is racist,” Trump said to the press earlier this month. “What they’re doing with the kind of movies they’re putting out, it’s actually very dangerous for our country.” Lest you be deceived into believing that Trump joined liberals in calling out Hollywood’s lack of diversity, reliance on stereotypes, and tendencies to tell stories about race through the viewpoints of white characters, his comments arrived as the controversy about The Hunt reached its boiling point. He never mentioned the now-canceled movie by name, but an earlier tweet thread about “the movie coming out” highly suggested that his target The Hunt, whose premise rattled Republicans for its satirical portrayal of liberals hunting conservatives.

Way, way on the other side of the political divide, two movies released this year containing trans themes have also been called “dangerous.” “Why Adam Is a Dangerous Film for Trans People,” reads the headline for The Advocate’s review of trans director Rhys Ernst’s controversial film about a cisgender high school student who impersonates a trans dude to woo a slightly older queer woman. Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s Girl sparked even more fervent ire, in part because its director and star are both cis, but also because of its general darkness. “It’s the most dangerous movie about a trans character in years,” wrote critic Oliver Whitney in The Hollywood Reporter. For Vanity Fair, K. Austin Collins wrote that Girl is “a curiously unjust, myopic, even dangerous movie.” In the headline for its story on the controversy, the New York Times asked, “Is a Film About a Transgender Dancer Too ‘Dangerous’ to Watch?”
In criticism, there’s almost always a better word than “dangerous.”

The precise dangers portended are rarely specified—after all, these are movie reviews, not prophecies. Context and inference suggest that these movies are dangerous because they may help facilitate the continued marginalization of vulnerable populations via negative stereotypes and cynical world views. There’s a palpable anxiousness over the noxious effects of ideas. Often, it seems like “dangerous” is a synonym for “really bad,” a way to telegraph that the movie’s functional politics don’t align with those the writer (or speaker) feels should prevail in civilized culture...

I'm with writer Melvin Burgess on this one, and what he said can't be repeated often enough, IMO:


Why Melvin Burgess's 'dangerous' books aren't dangerous at all

"...Like most “dangerous” books, it is in fact only a threat to people who are themselves dangerous - people who want to control others. If you want to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, to be obeyed, then any book that assumes people can make up their own minds is dangerous - but only to yourself and your little clique"

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Aug 26, 2019, 01:00 PM (0 replies)

"(T)he idea that your stockpile of AR-15s could do anything against US troops with actual artillery

was always so stupid that it's crazy to think that even the 3% crowd ever genuinely believed it."

From a tweet posted three days ago, referenced with approval here:



Less than three weeks prior to that tweet:

"Afghan peace talks put on hold by Taliban"


KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan government on Saturday announced that it was preparing for direct negotiations with the Taliban in the next two weeks, a major step in efforts to end the war.

But the Taliban rejected it.

The militant group’s spokesman said the Taliban was steadfast in its refusal to directly negotiate with the Afghan side until the United States announces a schedule for withdrawing its 14,000 troops in the country.

The episode was the latest confusion in the process.

The insurgents and the Americans are nearing a deal after seven rounds of protracted negotiations in Qatar — talks that have excluded the Afghan government.

Read more: https://www.toledoblade.com/news/World/2019/07/28/afghanistan-peace-talks-put-on-hold-by-taliban/stories/20190728116

In all my years here at DU, I've yet to see the sorts of people who express opinions of the sort shown at the beginning
of the OP explain news items of the sort shown immediately below it.

I daresay the implications ruin an oft-repeated 'faith-promoting rumor' of theirs...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 18, 2019, 05:32 PM (5 replies)

Democrats: We're glad to have AOC. Republicans: We're glad to have AOR (Angry Old Racists)

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 16, 2019, 10:44 AM (1 replies)

Manhattan DA Got Innocent People's Google Phone Data Through A 'Reverse Location' Search Warrant


Law enforcement authorities in New York are joining a nationwide trend to push Google to share phone data on anyone using its location tracking services near the time and scene of a crime.

The technique uses a type of search warrant known as a “reverse location” or “geofence” warrant, which gives authorities location information on Google users who have Android phones or use apps, such as Google Maps...

...The use of this surveillance technique has not been confirmed in New York City until now. An investigator for the Manhattan DA revealed it during testimony last week in a case involving a politically-charged assault from last year...

...Court records show that this dragnet data request captured the location data of multiple people who were put under law enforcement scrutiny, even though they had nothing to do with the crimes under investigation.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:49 PM (2 replies)

Our resident Keyboard Kommandos seem to have mistaken online wringing of hands ...

...and repeated proclamations of their moral superiority over the rest of us for 'actually doing something'.

Some years ago, I donated $50 to the Brady Campaign in order to see what the propaganda
to their members looked like. The results were illuminating (if not very flattering to the Brady Bunch), and I posted about
it at DU.

I don't seem to recall any of them posting about doing even so much as marching around in matching T-shirts for
a feel-good photo op...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 11, 2019, 04:12 PM (0 replies)

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office hit with corruption probe over concealed weapons permits


The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office served a search warrant at the Sheriff’s Office last week, as part of an apparent corruption probe into allegations of political favoritism in the agency’s issuing of concealed weapons permits, according to sources familiar with the investigation...

...(S)ources confirmed that the investigation involves an alleged “quid pro quo” between donors to six-term Sheriff Laurie Smith’s election efforts and people who have obtained concealed-carry weapons permits from her office, which has been relatively stingy about issuing the privilege compared to neighboring counties...

...It might feel like déjà vu for Smith, whose office was the subject of a federal lawsuit in 2011 that also questioned how so-called concealed-carry permits are handed out. That lawsuit and an investigation by this news organization revealed that some recipients lived out of the county or out of the country and that political donors to Smith were well represented among the relatively scarce number of permits issued...

...But at least four recipients of the 13 permits either issued or renewed last year donated at least $1,000 to Smith’s re-election efforts, including to her formal campaign or to the independent Santa Clara County Public Safety Alliance that supported her...

Corruption is what happens when police are allowed to decide what civil rights a citizen may have.
It's the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Needs.

If someone meets all the qualifications (aside from 'in good with the local PTB') for issuance of a
conceled weapons permit, they should be given one. Period.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 11, 2019, 10:47 AM (0 replies)

This Map Shows If Your Town's Police Are Tapped Into Ring's Surveillance Network


Ring, the smart doorbell home security system Amazon bought for over $1 billion last year, is involved in some fairly unnerving arrangements with local law enforcement agencies. Wouldn’t you like to know if the cops in your town are among them?

That’s precisely what Shreyas Gandlur, an incoming senior studying electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign put together, using Amazon’s own demands for narrative control over the law enforcement agencies it works with to help build an interactive map...

Note: Map is at link above

...“I started out with the map created by Fight For The Future,” Gandlur told Gizmodo over Twitter DM, referring to the activist group’s broader project to visualize the state of facial recognition. The initiative includes other programs, like those spun up by the TSA, as well as tracks which cities and municipalities have passed legislation specifically banning the use of such technology. Where ring is concerned, FFTF’s map only includes about 50 cities, a far cry from the “more than 225" police departments reported by Gizmodo late last month. (Ring has declined to share the exact figure.) Finding the rest was, in a sense, trivial.

“Ring pre-writes almost all of the messages shared by police across social media, and attempts to legally obligate police to give the company final say on all statements about its products,” my colleague Dell Cameron wrote, a detail Gandlur seized on.

More at the following:


Everything Cops Say About Amazon's Ring Is Scripted or Approved by Ring


Cops Are Giving Amazon's Ring Your Real-Time 911 Caller Data


Amazon's Ring Is Teaching Cops How to Persuade Customers to Hand Over Surveillance Footage

Amazon’s home security subsidiary Ring wields tremendous power over the messaging used by its law enforcement partners about its products, including by pre-writing and approving police statements about Ring’s services. But according to a new report, Ring is also instructing cops on how to persuade customers to hang over surveillance footage even when they aren’t responsive to police requests.

According to a police memo obtained by Gizmodo and reported last week, Ring has partnerships with “over 225 law enforcement agencies,” Ring is actively involved in scripting and approving how police communicate those partnerships. As part of these relationships, Ring helps police obtain surveillance footage both by alerting customers in a given area that footage is needed and by asking to “share videos” with police. In a disclaimer included with the alerts, Ring claims that sharing the footage “is absolutely your choice.”

But according to documents and emails obtained by Motherboard, Ring also instructed police from two departments in New Jersey on how best to coax the footage out of Ring customers through its “neighborhood watch” app Neighbors in situations where police requests for video were not being met, including by providing police with templates for requests and by encouraging them to post often on the Neighbors app as well as on social media.

In one such email obtained by Motherboard, a Bloomfield Police Department detective requested advice from a Ring associate on how best to obtain videos after his requests were not being answered and further asked whether there was “anything that we can blast out to encourage Ring owners to share the videos when requested.”...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 9, 2019, 12:16 AM (0 replies)

DU EXCLUSIVE: Transcript of McConnell's 911 call after his recent mishap:

"Help! I've fallen, and I can't obstruct!"

EDIT: Not original from me, it's a caption from a cartoon that I now can't locate...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 6, 2019, 01:59 PM (11 replies)
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