Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year to You! On to 2016!

Fire allows us to be forged into stronger (and shinier!) instruments / Hans Splinter, CC BY-ND 2.0


A lot (I mean, A LOT) of my friends seem to be *really* mad at 2015. And I've definitely given a thumbs up to more than a few of the "Goodbye, and good riddance, 2015, ya bastard!" posts that have come across my Facebook feed the last few days.
I've been through some major life changes this year. And sure, the end of a five-year relationship, the dissolution of my family unit, and renting out part of my ex's house while I shake the trees seeking gainful employment are "not my favorite." Coming in after several extremely, mind-bogglingly, difficult years – to put it mildly – these developments were not initially welcome.
But 2015 has had some magical moments, too. I’ve continued rediscovering my voice and my passion for writing, which has been extremely rewarding. The wonder of modern medicine (and ACA – thanks, Obama!) have helped thoroughly tame a couple of chronic medical conditions that have bedeviled me for most of my life. 2015 has been a year of rebuilding my sense of competence and my self-confidence. At this exact moment in time, I feel so much better – and more at peace – than I have in years, perhaps ever.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Big Short "Market Genius" - We're Heading Toward Another Crisis

Starting young / Source: _Dinkel_, CC BY 2.0 


New York magazine recently posted an interesting interview with Michael Burry, the "market genius" depicted in The Big Short.  For folks concerned about the current state of our economy, it's a quick read and well worth it.

I don't agree with some of Burry's comments, but it's all worth considering.  What I *do* share is a concern that we in industrialized nations cannot seem to get away from our drive to produce "economic growth" at any price.  This usually results in the accumulation of obscene amounts of debt - in the public AND private sectors - until the whole system becomes completely unsustainable.  The related belief that large profits are the birthright of everyone with "enough smarts" to identify and exploit economic opportunities results in the bidding up of residential properties sales and/or rental prices until prices are beyond reach of the vast majority even WITH the aid of consumer debt (at which point, the bubble pops), downward pressure on wages and benefits paid to workers (and eroding wages/hours) coupled with increased workloads ...

We Need to Get Past Simplistic Higher Ed Policy Debates

Contemplating repaying those student loans / Francisco Osorio, CC BY 2.0 


A friend passed along this great, detailed New York Times op-ed by law prof Paul Campos, where he critically examines the prevailing conventional wisdom that skyrocketing higher ed tuition (and student loan debt) is due to eroding state support for higher education. If you, like me, are interested in these issues and missed this back in April, give it a read.

Higher education policy is one of those areas where public - and legislative - debate often boils down to painfully simplistic talking points that completely obscure the *real* sources of our problems with achieving efficient allocation of tax dollars, optimized investment in our people (or our workforce, for those who think talking about "people" is too warm and fuzzy), etc.  The old polarized arguments - We need to support education! vs. Grads make a lot of money & should pay for their own degrees! - don't cut it.


I've been suspicious of the claim that the skyrocketing tuition/fees and increasing student loan burdens are due - or even mostly due - to dwindling state support.  My suspicion is compouded by the reality that we've seen similar inflation in the private schools, who've long seemed to be in a bidding war to prove how "prestigious" they are through their pricing ... and we've seen public graduate and professional programs follow suit.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Brian Kilmeade: Call Me Stupid All Day Long, But FAT Is Fightin' Words!

 Brian Kilmeade / Charlie Cowins, CC BY 2.0


This morning toward the end of Kilmeade and FriendsBrian Kilmeade said something striking.

The show was being hosted by former Senator Scott Brown, apparently because  Kilmeade is busy pontificating about the Million Student March on various other outlets.  Brown was interviewing Kilmeade over the phone (yes, on Kilmeade's own radio show), and asked Kilmeade how he felt about the way he's portrayed on Saturday Night Live.  

Brown first played an audio clip of a NSFW SNL skit about himself, where Speaker Pelosi fantasizes about the former Cosmopolitan centerfold (played by Jon Hamm) when he arrives as a newly elected Senator.
Brown then played an audio clip of one of the numerous skits about Fox and Friends (around 0:18 to 0:32 here.)

Portland Conservative Talk Radio Site Hacked?

While looking up the lineup for Portland, Oregon conservative talk radio station "Freedom 970" moments ago, Google gave me the following:


So has KUFO AM 970's website been hacked?  If so, by whom and why?  Or was this just an error on Google's part?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Did the GOP Steal Kentucky Guv's Race? [Spoiler: Not Likely]

The Tea Party GOP Bevin-Hampton ticket won handily in an election with just 30% voter turnout / Photo: Facebook


An article from Alternet is making the rounds in online progressive and Democratic circles today, asking a provocative question:


Did GOP Insiders Steal the Kentucky Governor's Race for Tea Partier Matt Bevin?  

However, once you look at the Kentucky election results and dig a bit more into the dynamics of the race, it seems to be much ado about nothing.  And the bigger story here is that Kentucky's elected state executive offices just flipped party control from 6 Democrats and 1 Republican to 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats.

Some takes on the Alternet piece make it sound like more people voted on down-ballot races than on the Governor's race.  If true, that would be shocking - but it's not true.  Almost 10,000 more folks voted on Governor than Secretary of State, and races further down have, predictably, fewer votes cast. 

Let's look at the actual data:

Donald Trump Shakes His Groove Thing on SNL




In case you missed (or forgot) it, take a moment to enjoy Donald Trump getting jiggy with it on Saturday Night Live about a decade ago.

The Trump House of Wings "ad" features Trump dancing in that middle-aged guy, biting his lower-lip and wiggling his hips kinda way.  Best comparison: Michael Douglas in that club scene in Basic Instinct.

Just picture these moves at a State Dinner ... =/

Monday, November 2, 2015

Arbitration Clauses Everywhere - Where Are Better Options For Consumer Justice?

 Lady Justice at Alexandria, VA Federal Courthouse / Dan4th Nicholas, CC BY 2.0


The New York Times had an excellent piece yesterday about some of the problems with mandatory arbitration clauses.  For example, the agreement for your credit card probably requires you to take any dispute you have about the credit card company's actions to a "neutral" arbitrator and forecloses you from going to court.  So even if the credit card company illegally loads a bunch of fees onto your bill, you can't take them to court.

Three thoughts inspired by the piece:


1. Consumer contracts and corporate employment contracts have grown increasingly chock full of mandatory arbitration clauses for more than 10 years.  This isn't a new phenomenon, but it's still deserving of coverage.


2. The following is largely speculation based on my own experience representing consumers [and tenants] in court.  I'm not sure whether there have been any studies of actual court data to examine these questions.


Even in cases not barred by arbitration clauses, lower-level county courts (where consumer defense cases are usually tried) also tend to have pro-business bias.


This occurs in part because:



a) The laws they're applying tend to have a pro-business bias - even in "liberal meccas" like Washington state.

b) More lower court judges than not seem to assume that large corporations (including credit card companies) have fleets of high-priced (and thus super-genius) attorneys who help them make sure everything they do is at least *barely* legal.  They don't - more than a few of them engaged in pretty egregious limit-lowering and fee-loading behavior when the economy tanked, in some cases resulting in effective interest rates (APRs) in excess of 100%.  This was clearly in violation of federal law.  But because regulations implementing those statutes didn't specifically prohibit the behavior at the time, banks pushed the envelope to maximize their profit during a massive recession.

c) I suspect some of it also comes from class bias, as well.  A lot of Americans - especially in the professional class, which judges certainly are - have a tendency to assume that in any face-off, the person of higher socio-economic status is necessarily more trust-worthy than the other side.  Most folks probably don't think about it concretely, in those specific terms.  It's more of a subconscious response.

3. From an economic standpoint, class action suits seem an incredibly inefficient way to police bad corporate behavior. Bringing and maintaining such a suit is an extraordinarily expensive and labor-intensive proposition.  The result - the vast majority of the penalty extracted from the corporate offender (I say extracted because it seems most cases with a scintilla of merit settle) ends up going to attorneys' fees and other litigation costs, not to the consumers who were injured by the misdeeds.

And on the other hand, we do see a fair number of class actions against pharmaceutical and medical device companies that seem to be based on unrealistic expectations of perfect, fail-safe treatment for serious medical conditions, often premised on the notion that although a given risk was disclosed in the producer's literature, it wasn't made obvious enough.  At least, that's the impression I get from the numerous ads on TV urging people to call law firm X if they ever used medication Y or device Z.


If the point of our legal system is to make injured people whole again, class actions generally do a poor job of it.


But much the same can be said of DOJ and State AG cases - those government agencies also have to be reimbursed for costs and labor expended prosecuting violations of consumer law.  Does a $300 settlement share check repair the harm to a consumer's credit (and life) that occurred when Bank of America illegally foreclosed on their home?  NO, it doesn't.  But that's what folks are getting.


I don't have a better answer than those options, though.  If anyone has ideas, please share them below in the Comments section.

Sen. John Cornyn's A Lot of Things, But KKK Member Ain't One of 'Em

Senator John Cornyn / Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0


Today in don't believe everything you read on the Internet: anonymously-made allegations that a variety of politicians are members of the KKK.

The list of politicians allegedly involved with the KKK that was released today looks very, very dubious.  It was released by someone calling themselves @sgtbilko420.  Their Twitter feed says they're not directly involved in Anonymous, but they're sympathetic.

But their identity is anonymous - so how accountable are they, really?  I take a "trust, but verify" approach with most people who've actually earned my trust.  Those who haven't - especially anonymous folks on the Interwebs - get a "be skeptical, and investigate" response, instead.

Knoxville, Tennessee Mayor Madeline Rogero seems on the level to me (see her Facebook refutation.)  She started her career working with the United Farmworkers - an unlikely start for a seething white supremacist.  She participated in a December Black Lives Matter rally.  And here’s a picture of Rogero's multi-racial family.  Not a likely candidate for the KKK.

Also listed - the Mayor of Lexington, KYWho's openly gay.  And has been an openly gay politician since 2005.  In Kentucky.  Not seeing him as a KKK member.

Also listed - U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).  Who's been derided as a RINO by right-wingers for years for offenses such as: saying compassionate things about undocumented kids last year, supporting immigration reform, voting to allow a vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination to the post of Attorney General, supporting President Obama on the need to act in Syria two years ago, and co-sponsoring the Sentencing Reform Act with Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) and others.  I don't know John Cornyn's heart when it comes to race, but a KKK leadership role seems very, very unlikely. 

Here's a report showing the refutations of a number of those listed on the so-called "KKK list."

Additional debunking will be posted as found.


UPDATE at 4:26 PM PST:



Friday, October 30, 2015

Radical Centrist is Moving!

Screen shot of the new Radical Centrist!

Now when you type in www.radical-centrist.us, you'll find a spiffier, newly-designed site!  

The new site IS still a work in progress, so please be gentle in your critique.  =)  Don't worry about bringing formatting issues to my attention yet.  Radical Centrist is a one-person labor of love, so it's just me and email-based Wix and Google customer support trying to sort out issues.

And it's just me handling site and post page design and porting over old posts & formatting them properly (which is turning out to be a bit more laborious than I'd hoped.)

The new site will have some great new features:

1) 
More visually pleasing and easily navigated.


2) Allows incorporation of advertising while blocking ads I don't think my readers want (sorry, if you're looking for get-rich-quick schemes or a side of T&A with your news analysis and commentary, you won't find it at Radical Centrist - maybe try The Daily Caller, The Washington Times, or Politics USA instead.) 


3) Disqus commenting is now incorporated - you can log-in to comment using your Twitter or Facebook account!


4) Twitter feed integrated, too!


So pardon the dust while we remodel.  During the transition, older pieces will continue to be available here at the original blogspot address.  And as always, I hope you enjoy what you find at Radical Centrist - or at least find it thought provoking, [mostly] substantive, and occasionally entertaining.    





Thursday, October 29, 2015

Black Oregon Deputy Sues WA Restaurant That Illegally Made Him Prepay For Breakfast



I wonder how the right-wing racism-denial industry will try to spin this one ...  on second thought, not really.  Obviously they'll just claim this is some guy with a victim mentality trying to get rich off a made up story, and yet another example of the scourge of abusive litigation and the need for tort reform.

But will they change their tune when they realize that the plaintiff is actually a Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy?  Which will win out - their desire to support law enforcement no matter what, or the desire to discredit stories of real life racist treatment no matter what?

Full story at The Oregonian.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

George W. Says "I Just Don't Like" Ted Cruz - Laura Ingraham OUTRAGED

Laura Ingraham / Source: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham was capital M-A-D - MAD - at George W. Bush on her radio show Tuesday morning.  A good part of her commentary came right from this piece she wrote, then went well beyond.  

Here are some excerpts from her piece, good chunks of which she seemed to read verbatim on her radio show:


As the hours passed after publishing this article, she apparently grew more perturbed by “the establishment GOP,” the Bush family’s place in it, and the establishment’s supposed disrespect for grassroots GOP folks like the Tea Partiers. [Note 1.] And by show time, she was tearing into her party’s last two-term President on her nationally syndicated radio show. 


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Professor Limbaugh Fail: Rush Don't Know Glass-Steagall

Screenshot from Limbaugh's site.

I don't want to shock anyone, but the self-declared "Mayor of Realville" apparently really doesn't know what he's talking about.

The day after the first Democratic presidential debate, Rush Limbaugh
informed his audience that “Mr. Snerdley” had spent the morning hassling him for his ignorance about the Glass-Steagall Act:


Screen shot from Limbaugh archives

Not sure how “Professor” Limbaugh missed the six or so mentions of Glass-Steagall, and moderator Anderson Cooper’s good quick-and-dirty description to bring viewers up to speed, and all of the talking head discussion about it immediately after the debate.  But whatever. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bank of England Head Makes a Conservative, Economic Case for Action on Climate Change

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has warned that firms and regulators can no longer avoid addressing global climate change / Photo: James Oxley, CC BY-ND 2.0


A few weeks ago, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, who also chairs the Financial Stability Boardgave a speech at Lloyd's of London regarding the economic impacts and challenges of global climate change.  Given his audience, he also paid particular attention to how climate change has impacted the insurance industry, and will continue to do so.

Despite plenty of disagreement on the particulars he advocates, Carney made a compelling case for corporations and financial firms to stop fighting the acknowledgement of climate change and start modifying practices NOW in order to smooth the transition, reduce the ultimate cost of combating climate change and adapting to it, and avoid not just ecological catastrophe, but economic catastrophe, as well.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Trans Lives Matter, But A Below-Average Homicide Rate Isn't A "Crisis"

Kiesha Jenkins / Source: Facebook

Kiesha Jenkins was robbed, beaten, and shot to death by a group of four men a week ago in Philadelphia.  Her death brought the year-to-date count of transgender folks murdered in the US up to 20 or 21.

But as tragic and horrible as Kiesha's death was, it wasn't indicative of a national crisis or "historic rates" of transgender murder.


As discussed here a few months ago, if transgender persons were being killed at the average U.S. homicide rate, we'd likely have seen many more than 20 transgender homicide victims nationwide so far this year.  Given the best available estimates of the trans population, and 2013 CDC homicide data, an average homicide rate would have resulted in 48 transgender victims that year.  This year, it's likely that the "expected" transgender homicide rate will be even higher, as a number of major US cities have seen a dramatic increase in homicides in 2015.



Average frequency of violent crime victimization in the U.S. in 2013.  Source: FBI


A wider array of media sources are paying closer attention to homicides involving trans people this year than has been the case in years past.  Many readers, commentators, and Twitterers seem to be assuming that every murder of a trans person was a hate crime.  This assumption is not helpful, and ignores the reality that transgender people are at least as vulnerable to the vicissitudes of American life that resulted in more than 16,000 people losing their lives to homicide in 2013.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How Small Annual Payments Made a Huge Difference for Kids' Development

Greater economic stability helps families, and children, thrive / Photo: Mike Keran, CC BY 2.0

study newly released by the National Bureau for Economic Research has HUGE implications for US social policy.  And it's all thanks to an accidental natural experiment. 

Four years into a ten-year study of 1,430 rural kids' mental health in North Carolina, the Eastern Band of Cherokees built a casino.  A quarter of the children being studied were affiliated with the tribe, which decided to distribute at least some casino profits as annual per capita payments.  The tribe paid out about $4,000 per person per year, or $16,000/yr for a family with four enrolled tribal members.  The per capitas boosted the families' incomes by just under 20% on average.

The impact on these children's mental health and their development of pro-social personality traits was substantial.  The stabilizing effect of the payments helped reduce family discord, promoted marital cohesion, and resulted in reduced alcohol abuse rates among parents receiving the boost in income, all of which made positive, lasting impacts on the kids.  And the children who'd been struggling the most benefited the most.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy World Mental Health Day!

Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling survived depression and became one of history's best-selling authors.

It's appreciated when high-profile people share their own experiences with mental illness.   These testimonies help counter the stigma that prevents too many from seeking help for thoroughly treatable medical conditions.  Folks like J.K. Rowling, Demi Lovato, Mary J. Blige, Wil Wheaton, Ashley Judd, Sherman Alexie, Halle Berry, Stephen Fry, Patrick Kennedy, Brandon Marshall, Richard Dreyfuss, Sheryl Crow, John Nash, Cee-Lo Green, Mike Wallace ... their stories, and those of myriad historical figures who survived and thrived despite struggles with mental illness, have meant a lot to me over the past three years of recovering from a mental health crisis.  

But I've been even more inspired and heartened by others who are regular folks, people it's a little easier to relate to, who stand up and say - despite reasonable concern about the assumptions that at least some others will make about them - I have a mental illness.  It is part of who I am.  But it does not define me.  

So in that spirit, here's a small gesture to help pass along the love, solidarity, and non-linear joy of working toward self-acceptance.  

I struggle with PTSD and chronic depression.  I'm alive and functioning today (such as I am) thanks to modern psychiatric medications.  My conditions have been with me since childhood, and will probably need to be managed with medication for the rest of my life.

I've had some accomplishments in life that I'm proud of.  But I've also some stellar failures, most of which occurred after my untreated conditions snuck up on me and pulled me into a pit.  Of course, the failures only made the pit broader and deeper.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Hillary 2016 Operatives Need Better Message Control

Hillary supporters in Bethesda, MD, May 2015 / Photo: Karen Murphy, CC BY-ND 2.0 

Hillary 2016 campaign operatives have said some unfortunate things to reporters this year at the expense of their candidate.  And on yesterday's episode of With All Due Respect, Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri says a mouthful around minutes 17:40:  

HALPERIN voice-over: Clinton's Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri says her candidate is, in fact, pretty much normal.

PALMIERI: The elements are all there of campaigning like a normal person.  A lot of contact with voters, a lot of one on one time with voters, big town halls, you see her answering a lot of questions.  She loves all that.  Um, a lot of interviews, as well, a lot of local, and national. 


Most of Palmieri's response is fine.  And, granted, it was probably phrased to echo the question she was asked.  But friendly fire still wounds.



Things Hillary's Campaign Shouldn't Say

From the cheap seats out here in Oregon, it seems that Hillary's staff should avoid uttering any phrase asserting that Clinton is behaving like a normal person.  This is as painfully obvious as was the ill-advised nature of telegraphing to a New York Times reporter that the campaign was planning to become more spontaneous and more focused on Hillary's heart and humor.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Frank Rich Is Right About Trump Candidacy's Upside

... and his critique of Hillary 2016's ham-handedness is spot on, too.

Donald Trump / Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0

I don't always read Frank Rich, but when I do, I read this article from New York Magazine: "Donald Trump Is Saving Our Democracy"  

Top two favorite EXCERPTS (emphases mine):


[Trump's] impact on our politics post-2016 could be as serious as he is not. Unsurprisingly, the shrewdest description of the Trump show’s appeal has come from an actor, Owen Wilson. “You can’t help but get a kick out of him,” he told the Daily Beast, “and I think part of it is we’re so used to politicians on both sides sounding like actors at press junkets — it’s sort of by rote, and they say all the right things. So here’s somebody who’s not following that script. It’s like when Charlie Sheen was doing that stuff.” As Wilson says, for all the efforts to dismiss Trump as an entertainer, in truth it’s his opponents who are more likely to be playacting, reciting their politically correct and cautious lines by rote. The political market for improvisational candor is as large as it was after Vietnam and Watergate, and right now Trump pretty much has a monopoly on it. ...

A perfect paradigm of how lame old-school, top-heavy campaigns can be was crystallized by a single story on the front page of the Times the day after Labor Day. Its headline said it all: “Clinton Aides Set New Focus for Campaign — A More Personal Tone of Humor and Heart.” By announcing this “new focus” to the Times, which included “new efforts to bring spontaneity” to a candidacy that “sometimes seems wooden,” these strategists were at once boasting of their own (supposed) political smarts and denigrating their candidate, who implicitly was presented as incapable of being human without their direction and scripts. Hilariously enough, the article straight-facedly cited as expert opinion the former Romney strategist Eric Fehrnstrom — whose stewardship of the most wooden candidate in modern memory has apparently vanished into a memory hole — to hammer home the moral that “what matters is you appear genuine.”



Friday, September 18, 2015

Sanders' Antidote To Shallow Campaign Coverage

Screen Shot of Sanders Economic Inequality Video

Tired of shallow campaign coverage?  Want to hear more about issues that actually impact most of our lives on a day to day basis?  Well, here you go:



I'm not a Bernie Sanders supporter.  [I actually lean toward Hillary.]  But this video was extremely well done and focuses viewers' attention on REAL issues that impact REAL Americans on a day to day basis, rather than all of the silly stuff dominating campaign coverage. 

This is an extremely compelling, engaging presentation of modern American economic realities.  I'm not with Sanders on doubling the federal minimum wage (although it does need a boost.)  But all of the other points made here are solid.


If you're still not sure why life feels like more of a struggle than it was 10, 20, or even 40 years ago, the info shared here helps bring that to light.  Take 8 minutes and give this video a watch and a listen.  


And if you, too, are concerned about the issues discussed here - even if you're not a Bernie supporter - help share the video on Facebook, your blog, Twitter, and any other social media.  Help make the case to all Presidential candidates and the press that a majority of American voters - left, right, and center - are tired of political, legal, and economic systems that have been rigged to benefit a very, very small share of our population, at the expense of the other 90-some% of us.  



Federal and state taxes paid by the profoundly affluent have been slashed again, and again, and again since the 1960s, each time with the promise that this would unleash growth in US GDP that would mean improved quality of life for ALL of us.  While the average American has experienced improved quality of life is some arenas, those improvements have almost exclusively been due to technological change, cheaper goods due to globalized trade (which hasn't been without a downside), economies of scale, and public infrastructure investment - all factors that had little to no connection to any of these tax cuts.

Slashing taxes on the wealthiest in America has never "unleashed growth" in the way that's been promised.  Data point after data point indicate that US policy promoting GDP growth as the primary concern of economic policy has had no discernible benefits for 90-some% of Americans.  To the contrary, our incomes and wealth after inflation is accounted for have SHRUNK

We need to say ENOUGH.  And if you tend to vote Republican and YOU care about these issues, we REALLY need you to help spread the word.  Because you guys have a much better shot at getting GOP candidates to stop pandering to major corporations, banks and financial services firms with their economic policy proposals.

Short Take: Clock Kid School Officials & LEOs Should Have Texan Cards Revoked


Screen shot

A handful of thoughts about the Muslim Texan kid with the homemade clock, and the predictable attempts in some right-wing corners to minimize the story and shift the focus elsewhere.

1. Breitbart, for people who bemoan leftists' "victim mentality," you sure are quick to trot out examples and ask why President Obama hasn't also called THESE families who were the victims of BS at school, implying that it's because he doesn't care about white people, or non-Muslim people, or what have you.


2. The fact that the teacher became aware of the clock "when it's alarm went off in class" should have been their first clue that this wasn't a bomb. Because when a bomb's alarm goes off, the bomb goes BOOM.


3. The adults who looked at this contraption - which is only comprised of electronics and contains no plastique, no massive quantities of fertilizer, no ordnance, no other variety of materiel, and no incendiary device whatsoever - and thought that it was a bomb should be ashamed to consider themselves Texans.  Surely, good Texans are more familiar armaments than THAT by the time they complete elementary school.  


4. In a different story, a school official or law enforcement officer explained that the child was arrested because when asked about it, he said it was a clock, and didn't give any other explanation for it.  It's unclear what sort of other explanation he should have given for it, since it was, in fact, a clock.


Friday, September 11, 2015

Short Take: Another Racially-Motivated Police Brutality Case

James Blake practicing for the 2010 US Open / Photo: Paul VanDerWerf, CC BY 2.0

On Monday, a plain clothes NYPD officer thought this guy standing around in front of a nice hotel was a credit card fraud suspect.  So clearly, he had to apprehend the suspect by bum rushing him.  Because, y'know, you can never be too careful - white collar criminals are renowned for their deadly encounters with police.




Unfortunately, as it turns out, the bum-rushee was actually professional tennis player James Blake, not a fraudster, and not the actual suspect (who, it turns out, wasn't even the perp.)  Oops.  TMZ obtained security camera footage from the NYPD (below.)