End Immunity For The Dirty Prosecutor

Hard as it is to hold a cop accountable for his violation of constitutional rights, given Qualified Immunity, liability does occasionally accrue. Yet, the prosecutor holding his hand walks away unscathed because his immunity isn’t qualified, but absolute.* Senior United States District Judge Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York says it’s time to end this travesty.

According to Taylor v. Kavanagh, based upon Supreme Court law, “The falsification of evidence and the coercion of witnesses…have been held to be prosecutorial activities for which absolute immunity applies. Similarly, because a prosecutor is acting as an advocate in a judicial proceeding, the solicitation and subornation of perjured testimony, the withholding of evidence, or the introduction of illegally-seized evidence at trial does not create liability in damages.”

Subornation of perjury? Concealment of evidence? Introduction of illegally-seized evidence? Not the sort of stuff that brings the majesty of the law to mind, that gives you faith in a system that puts people in cages. So when these acts, some of which are crimes, happen, what possible reason could there be to give the wrongdoers, the criminals, a free pass? Continue reading

Bad News Or No News

It was announced by twit: The Denver Post would be cutting 30 people from its newsroom, a third of its staff. That’s 30 more people, as it’s the third round of cutting in the past two years.

The Denver Post recently cut 10 positions in 2017, according to the Denver Business Journal. More than 20 staffers also took buyouts or were laid off in 2016, according to Westword.

It was a good newspaper, the major paper of Denver, which is a real city and should have a real paper. Now it will be a shell. The paper is owned by a hedge fund, Digital First Media, which is being blamed for putting profit above people, savings above mission. But then, newspapers are cutting, closing all over. And not just old dead tree papers, but digital media as well. And the ones that remain are too often staffed by children, who work cheap and know nothing, with maybe a star journalists here or there to maintain the facade of credibility. Continue reading

Short Take: The Doctor Is Not In

Just maybe, the problem isn’t men and the New York Times isn’t the right place to go to fix what ails you?

Dear Sugars,

How do I deal with my anger toward men? I go to therapy, I’m on anti-depressants and I’m trying to practice self-care. But I’m still angry. I don’t think it’s unwarranted. I’ve been sexually assaulted at least twice. We live in a time where women have more rights than ever, but our president is an alleged sexual predator. Men are socialized to be condescending toward women, and even the few who check themselves often fail. Continue reading

Why Dead Black Guys Aren’t News Anymore

Wesley Lowery asks a question that has been at the forefront of my concerns about reform for years.

Police are still killing black people. Why isn’t it news anymore?

His subtitle provides a hint as to the answer.

The activism never stopped. But the attention to it vanished.

He assumes, wrongly, that the “activism” was the reason people cared, people paid attention. For a brief, shining moment, following a list of names of unarmed/innocent black people being killed by police for no cognizable reason, people gave a damn. Not just activists, but people. White people. black people, green people. People.  Continue reading

Kansas Sex Offender Registry, But No Sex Offense

When Sex Offender Registries were all the rage, despite their fundamentally false premise that people needed to know where sex offenders lived to protect the children from this uncontrollable animals, they were an easy sell to an angry public. But after they were created, after the rules were formed, the shame was established, where else would they go?

In Kansas, drugs seemed like a good idea.

[U]nder Kansas law, having a drug conviction means that her photograph and other identifying details are displayed in the same public registry that includes more than 10,000 convicted sex offenders. Many registrants also appear on third-party websites like “Offender Radar” and “Sex Offender Spy,” and it’s easy for a visitor to miss the single word—“drug”—that differentiates Byers’s crime from those the public judges much more harshly. “People who don’t know me are going to look at me like I’m a horrible person for being on that list,” she said.

Continue reading

Kentucky State Police: Write When We Tell You To Write

The unholy relationship between media and police is nothing new. The former relies on the latter feeding it stories, press releases, details of crimes and emergencies, and when the cops don’t feed them the story, they have no story to tell. The upshot is that newspapers can’t afford to piss off the cops or they could end up with empty pages.

An email from Shane Jacobs of the Kentucky State Police made this abundantly clear.

Good afternoon, I would like to start out by saying that I feel I have a great working relationship with the media in our area. I work many hours and sometimes on my days off to relay information to the media outlets.  I want you guys to know I do have a personal life and sometimes I can’t respond to your emails as quick as you would like. I am out of town at times spending it with my family. I have trainings, State Fair, Trooper Island, and other events I have to attend, which  causes me to be out of town also.

Continue reading

Instead Of A Medal, 15 Months In Prison

All those icky old cellphones, slow computers, nasty laptops, have to end up somewhere. You don’t mind the planned obsolescence of buying a new one every couple years, even if it means you piss away a good deal of money, because you get the newest, shiniest iToy available, the old one, with its heavy metals and not-even-remotely biodegradable contents gets dumped somewhere. Mostly, where other people live.

Eric Lundgren wanted to do something to end this massive waste, and the harm it did to the environment. Just because it was out of your sight, replaced by something new and shiny, didn’t mean it wasn’t a problem. And Lundgren was the guy who was willing to do something about it. Continue reading

At The Intersection of Farrakhan and Reality (Update)

Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have been an important positive and stabilizing force in the black community. He says some pretty awful things about Jews, women, gays and transgender people, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t made a significant contribution as well. And therein lies the dilemma, or to be more precise, reveals the fallacy of the social justice movement’s effort to reconcile the zero sum game of self-interest.*

The national co-chair of the Women’s March, Tamika Mallory, was present at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviour’s Day event in late February, where Farrakhan railed against Jews for being “the mother and father of apartheid,” declared that “the Jews have control over those agencies of government,” and surmised that Jews have chemically induced homosexuality in black men through marijuana.

Mallory, Shaun King, and others find themselves caught in the middle of their claim to prominence by supporting Farrakhan while denying Farrakhan’s very clear, very explicit, very discriminatory words. You can be for equality or you can be for Farrakhan. You can’t be for both. Continue reading

The Bus From Baltimore

Students plan to descend on Washington, D.C, on March 24th to participate in the “March For Our Lives.” And the mayor of Baltimore wants to help.

Mayor Catherine Pugh’s announcement this week that Baltimore will pay as much as $100,000 to hire a fleet of buses to help transport city school students to a planned “March For Our Lives” national gun control protest in Washington, D.C., on March 24. In a different school district or a different time, it might be regarded as an inappropriate use of tax dollars to support what is essentially a political protest. Certainly, it’s not difficult to find $100,000 in unmet needs in city schools, from malfunctioning furnaces to undrinkable water.

It’s political protest. It’s a gift of tax dollars, levied for other purposes and repurposed to pursue a political goal. So it’s an improper use of funds? Continue reading

Short Take: A Thousand Words

A commenter responded, “It’s a photo, sweetie. It can’t hurt you.” But it wasn’t just a photo, but a photo of Charles Murray.

I wish to explain the photograph on page A1 to the readers. I recognize that it may be especially jarring, particularly for students of color who feel that Charles Murray’s rhetoric poses a threat to their very humanity.

The mere exposure of students to a pic of Charles Murray demanded an editorial explanation by Ethan Brady at Middlebury College. He doesn’t mention what rhetoric poses a “threat to their very humanity,” but that’s likely because few, apparently including Brady, have bothered to read Murray’s Bell Curve and are instead working with some vague notion that he’s a known facscist and white supremacist. Reading is a lot of work. Believing the outrage on Facebook is much easier. And good enough when it comes to identifying evil people. Continue reading