November 26th, 2014
In Minneapolis, a guy drives into demonstrators, a couple jump up on the hood to keep from being run over, and one isn’t so lucky, he hits her, pushes her a ways down the street — a miracle that he didn’t run her over. Watch the video. Crowd pictured trying to lift the vehicle off her, get him to back up, somehow she’s pulled from underneath, and then he hammers down, almost running over a couple more people. What the hell is wrong with people?
That KSTP piece has been updated to note that the driver is now “suspect” and not “victim” as was stated in previous police report, and are looking for victims and witnesses:
The man drove away from the intersection. Police eventually caught up with him and questioned him. No charges have been filed and the man was not taken into custody. Police are now calling him a suspect in the case.
On the good news side, the STrib has also updated its article, and notes that the MPD announced it is now referring to the driver as the “suspect” and not the “victim” and has referred the matter to the County Attorney (important because the County Attorney handles the larger, heavier offenses). Not only that, but about the perp, Jeffrey Patrick Rice:
Rice’s driving history in Minnesota includes three drunken-driving convictions, with the most recent coming in 2003. He’s also been convicted of driving with an open liquor bottle, and driving after his license was canceled and also in violation of restrictions placed on his license. The most recent of these convictions came in early 2008.
From the state’s site (click it for a larger version):
And from the Police Department:
In another incident, later yesterday, a van rams through two groups of demonstrators and the second time, right in front of the cops who go after him, and at the end of this, he’s taken out of the van, into the cop car.
What the hell is wrong with people?
November 26th, 2014
IT’S BUY NOTHING DAY!
DON’T GO SHOPPING TOMORROW OR FRIDAY!
One of the things I love about Alan Muller is his arrest record, he walks the walk. That’s Alan and now Rep. John Kowalko objecting when the public was not allowed to speak at a Delaware legislative energy committee meeting on proposed legislation:
And on to trial:
A jury trial for three of the seven people arrested at Christiana Mall on Black Friday, aka Buy Nothing Day, in November 2005 is scheduled in the Court of Common Pleas on Monday, February 12, 2007, in Courtroom 5A.Sisters Anna and Rachel White and Alan Muller decided to challenge the charge of ‘criminal trespassing’ instead of paying a fine. They are represented by Wilmington attorney Michael Modica.At the time of the arrest, Anna and Rachel White were wearing Santa hats and t-shirts that said “NOTHING – What You’ve Been Looking For!” and “Ask me about NOTHING” and carrying bags labeled “FREE SAMPLES – NOTHING.” Alan Muller was dressed like Santa Claus.
And they were convicted:
Anna White and Muller, who is also executive director of Green Delaware, were each fined $75 and banned from the mall for a year by Chief Judge Alex J. Smalls. Rachel White was fined $25 and barred from the mall for six months.
Anna White said she was disappointed by the verdict and is considering her appeal options, saying the case raises questions about freedom of speech and the limits that can be set on people in quasi-public places such as a mall.
The White sisters were arrested Nov. 25, 2005, by Delaware State Police. The women, who were wearing red Santa hats and white T-shirts with the phrase “Nothing — what you are looking for,” had refused to leave when ordered to do so by non-uniformed mall officials. Muller was with them, wearing a Santa suit.
All three testified that mall officials refused to provide identification, give their names or explain why they had to leave. Frank Kaleta, director of mall security, testified that he did not give his name or identification, but said he did clearly identify himself as mall management.
The three never shouted slogans or accosted shoppers, but only walked, answering questions from shoppers when asked, according to testimony. They said they planned to leave if asked by authorities. Kaleta testified that the three were involved in “political action” and that violated the mall’s ban on solicitation or demonstrations.
The lone alternate juror, Dan Weigman, who did not participate in deliberations, agreed. He said mall security did not properly identify themselves and police never asked the group to leave, so he would have voted to acquit.
November 25th, 2014
One of the functions of a prosecutor is to prioritize, to make a case that there is reasonable cause. McCulloch didn’t do that. He chose to present a mess with no attempt to persuade. That’s what prosecutors are supposed to do, and he didn’t do that. He emptied several bales of hay and told the jury to go sort through it. Relevance and focus is absolutely what you need to create a case. He didn’t try to create a case.
If you don’t understand why people are really pissed off, take a look in the mirror and at society and confront white privilege, privilege of race and privilege of class — think honestly and deeply. Then do something about it in your world — within your family, at work, at church, in your community, take steps toward justice and equality. If you do understand and are working toward change, keep at it with perseverance and patience. The struggle won’t be over soon.
Yeah, I’m an attorney, sworn to uphold the Constitution. What a concept! I spend my time helping regular people exercise their freedom of speech, association, and protecting their property in their efforts to participate in a legal and administrative system that’s stacked against them, daring them to stand up for themselves. The legal training I have, and the rudimentary experience and knowledge of criminal law and police procedure has me tied up in knots, sick at the Grand Jury decision… but I’d not expected Wilson to be charged. Everything leading up to the start of Grand Jury deliberations pointed up to last night’s release of their decision. But this is not about the law, it is not about justice, it is not about police procedure, it is not about appropriate or legal use of deadly force.
If we presume the facts are as stated by McCulloch, and note what facts were not stated…
McCulloch said that Wilson knew about the reported theft at the store, and yet in the transcripts it’s said that he repeatedly stated he did not know, he was not responding to that call. McCulloch said he had called for assistance, but the transcripts say he did not until after the shooting. In his statements, he said he got out of the car and chased Brown. In what world is it police procedure for an officer to, without backup, get out of his car and run after and shoot at someone who is running away after an altercation and where two shots were already fired from inside a police car? How far away was Wilson when Brown stopped and turned around? Reports and transcripts say about 20 feet… a couple of car lengths. Why didn’t Wilson carry a taser? How far away was Wilson when he fired the final shot? How many shots should be fired at an unarmed man? When shooting an unarmed man, what’s your target? When his immediate supervisor questioned him after the incident, why wasn’t that recorded, why were there no notes taken? When is use of deadly force acceptable? Justified?
Here are the GRAND JURY TESTIMONY & DOCUMENTS.
A chart from PBS (Click for LINK), click image for larger version:
A transcript that jumps out – other officers and Darren Wilson’s testimony.
The federal investigation is ongoing about civil rights violations, and there’s the civil suit, but neither will do much, if anything, to alter the systemic mindset in Ferguson, or in this country (look no further than the police killings in Minneapolis).
Will this provide an opportunity for whites to examine the meaning and impact of white privilege and racism? Will we look at class stratification in our society? Is this a teaching moment? Hardly. It’s necessary, but I’m not holding my breath. From what I’ve observed, so far it’s “circle the wagons” in the onslaught of virulent protests. What will it take to reach an understanding of why people are so pissed off and do something about it, do something different? We have made some progress in the last 50 years, what I’ve seen in my lifetime, but there is so much further to go. I so distinctly remember that day in 4th grade when saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school on a cold winter morning, red stretch pants and a multi-colored red based shirt, when I realized that we don’t have “liberty and justice for all.” Now it’s ~50 years later. We’re not even close. Change of the magnitude necessary is never easy, particularly where so many people believe that equality means less for those with privilege. Change of the magnitude necessary is never easy, particularly where spewing racial hatred has become recreational sport.
I feel very fortunate to have been a near-suburban white teenager who transferred into the Magnet program at Minneapolis Central H.S., when the public school system was trying to avoid a segregation lawsuit. This was a time where part of my education was exposure to race and racism first hand. After high school, I lived in Prestigious East Phillips for 20 years. It was impossible to ignore the impact of race-skewed education funding, racism and death threats in Harry Davis’s Mayoral campaign, the gutting of Minneapolis neighborhoods with a freeway, housing segregation and covenants, and awareness of white privilege. That awareness shifts my perspective, but it doesn’t wash me clean, nope, we all carry those biases. We are all racists, and we each need to look at that. Over the last 50 years, the balance has shifted some, but white privilege remains.
People tend to be innately afraid of “other,” which often manifests in anger and hate. How do we deal with this other than systemic changes from birth — little kids playing together, going to school together — so it’s “us” and not “other.” How do we move away from parental and societal lessons of racism when it’s so deeply instilled? When it’s everywhere we look? When it fills the airwaves and internet?
This is not the world as I want it to be…
November 22nd, 2014
Today we said good bye to our Kady. Above, there she is on her “Gotcha Day!”
K-K-K-Kady… January 28th, 2010
And here she is in our “new” house a few years ago:
And this morning:
She’s been our dog for five years, the first dog that Alan and I got together, found on Petfinder not long after Krie, the doggy with the winglet ears, died unexpectedly. That was January 2010. I was in the middle of the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission project hearing in Newark, New Jersey, camped out officing at the R.Treat Hotel and I saw this photo and knew she was THE dog:
That’s Kady, and her “pup” in the background, peering out. She was no spring chicken, a middle-aged grrrrl found as a stray in Georgia, with her young pup, and was spayed down there, and headed up the I-95 dog underground railroad to 6th Angel German Shepherd Rescue, where she was treated for heartworm and then fostered out on Long Island. She was there for a year before we saw her listed for adoption.
Kate was then “Lady,” and we were told that she was extremely dog aggressive and shouldn’t go to a home with another dog. Sure… whatever… we filled out the application, went to meet her after the hearing in Newark, and took “Lady” and our Kenya for a walk. They fussed a bit at first, but when we got back to the house and put Ken in the van, “Lady” jumped right in. No doubt about it, she wanted to be our dog. So a week later, after the house visit, we went back to Long Island to pick her up.
“Lady” is no name for a dog of mine, and no name for a German Shepherd, so given all our grrrrrrrrls were “K” grrrrrrls, she became “Kady.” And getting to Delaware was kind of a rude awakening for our new grrrrl, she arrived just in time for FOUR feet of snow:
And she was clearly dog aggressive:
After Kenya died, we were inexplicably drawn to our Little Sadie, and life with Sadie was quite an adjustment for our shep grrrrl, but they became fast friends (one faster than the other!):
And then there’s the day that we brought them east to Co. R. E near Oconomowoc, WI to pick up a third sister, the irrepressible Summer!
Next thing she knows, Kady and the big galoot are headed down to St. Louis for BaronFest I for some GSD bonding, and that did it for these grrrrls:
And these grrrrrls got along famously, when they weren’t being bitches and drawing blood:
And then a year later, BaronFest II:
And then the next year, she was on her own for BaronFest:
(where are the rest of those BaronFest photos???)
Kady was a quiet grrrrrrl, a good match for her rowdy sister Sadie. She loved the neighborhood kids and was oh-so-gentle, and loved to be loved up. She was my constant companion every day, spending most of her time under my desk or behind in her spot with her toes curled around the wheels of my chair — YEOW!
It was time… she’d checked out and was just existing, no fun for her. We will miss her every day. Sadie seems to be pissed at us, and when we got home and she smelled us over good, she ran into the living room, jumped up in “her chair,” and was cowering and shaking, so I guess we need to convince her that we won’t be taking her to the vet any time soon.
November 19th, 2014
There’s a “State Rail Plan” and it’s up for comment NOW! But I’m wondering just what it is that they’re trying to do, and it seems like the goal is to secure public spending for necessary private infrastructure. If not, what’s the goal here?
MN DOT has been holding meetings all over the state, Alan went to one in Red Wing last week, and there’s a couple more coming up:
Nov. 24: Moorhead, MN
Hjemkomst Center 5 – 7 p.m.
Nov. 25: Winona, MN
City Council Chambers 5 – 7 p.m.
What’s up for comment?
Start with this 2010 Report from the DOT website:
And updates to consider:
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 1: Vision for Rail in Minnesota (PDF 2.2 MB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 2: Freight Rail Supply and Demand (PDF 6.3 MB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 3: Passenger Rail System (PDF 721 KB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 4: Integration of Freight and Passenger Planning (PDF 1.2 MB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 5: Performance Measures (PDF 190 KB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 6: Investment Needs (PDF 2.0 MB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 7/8: Institutional Relationships (PDF 1.1 MB)
- DRAFT – Tech Memo 9: Financial and Implementation Plan (PDF 296 KB)
Now check this, from last February:
Why is this news? Isn’t it their job to keep the rails in decent shape, to invest in their own infrastructure, not just to put money in Warren Buffet’s pockets!
When the DOT predicts this level of service (LOS) with or without improvements, are they including improvements such as the $5 billion of BNSF? The DOT seems to be cheerleading for PUBLIC spending on PRIVATE infrastructure! These are private for-profit companies (well, some may be “public” in the corporate sense) and they are responsible for their infrastructure. What is the DOT doing to force the rail companies to upgrade to keep their Level of Service (LOS) at an acceptable rate, SAFELY, so they’re able to handle all the freight that they’re wanting to ram through our communities? It’s not the job of government to subsidize the likes of Warren Buffet!
Here’s a freight survey from their site — note it’s called “Metroquest” so go figure.
Something I found interesting when considering rail is this testimony from the Sandpiper pipeline case (go HERE and plug in dockets 13-473 for Certificate of Need and 13-474 for Routing):
They’re framing this Bakken BOOM! as binary, either rail or pipeline, and whenever something is framed that way, that’s a big red flag to take a closer and more thoughtful look.
DOT says there are going to be “stakeholder” meetings — meetings that should be well attended by people like us! From their site:
- Three major stakeholder meetings are also scheduled, coinciding with the November 2014 Passenger Rail Forum, the December 2014 Freight Summit, and the January 2015 Passenger Rail Forum. A second round of open houses will be held in early 2015.
So when are these meetings? Passenger Rail Forum meetings are supposed to happen monthly but don’t. Just this last Monday, Gov. Dayton’s “Rail Summit” was supposed to have happened. MPCA Commissioner Stine mentioned it at yesterday’s meeting and said there would be another next month, and Frank Hornstein’s fb post, but there’s very little about it in the news other than announcements 10/31 that it would happen, in St. Paul, and of course we all weren’t invited: http://hometownsource.com/2014/10/31/gov-dayton-to-convene-minnesota-rail-summit-on-nov-17/
Here’s how it’s framed by our good friends at KSTP — if you click on the link, it’s pipeline promotion:
KSTP.com-Nov 17, 2014Railroad, agriculture and political leaders will be attending the Governor’s Rail Summit to talk about increasing railway safety, addressing the …
Back to the DOT — look at this “Passenger Rail Forum” and how that’s been “working” — meeting after meeting canceled:
All forum meetings are held from 10 a.m. to noon at the State Office Building unless otherwise specified below. Meetings will be canceled when there are insufficient topics to merit a meeting.
State Office Building, Room 5
100 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
St. Paul, MN 55155
Location / Time
Jan. 6, 2014 Canceled Feb. 3, 2014 Canceled March 3, 2014 Conference call April 7, 2014 Conference call May 5, 2014 Conference call June 2, 2014 Canceled July 7, 2014 Canceled Aug. 4, 2014 Conference call Sep. 8, 2014 Rescheduled to Sept. 15 via conference call Oct. 6, 2014 Canceled Nov. 10, 2014 State Office Building, Room 5, 10 a.m. to Noon Dec. 1, 2014 State Office Building, Room 5, 10 a.m. to Noon
Check out their site. What are they really doing here? What’s really at issue? I think we’re looking at a scam to get the public to pick up the tab for infrastructure updates that haven’t been made over the last few decades:
These slides are from this presentation — note the date: November 12, 2009… presented at the November 12, 2010 meeting (That’s what the date is on the site, and the 2009 date matches up with the properties date.) ???