Yesterday I provided a quote from the remarkable dissent from People v Weaver, a 1991 Court of Appeals decision involving a drug profile. Today I’d like to share the reasoning (accepted by the Court’s majority, written by Judge Roger Wollman) as the basis of reasonable suspicion for a stop.
[An officer is waiting at the Kansas City Airport, watching people get off of a flight from Los Angeles at 6:45am]. As Weaver disembarked from Flight 650, he caught Officer Hick’s attention because he was a “roughly dressed” young black male who was carrying two bags and walking rapidly, almost running, down the concourse towards a door leading to a taxi stand. Because Hicks was aware that a number of young roughly dressed black males from street gangs in Los Angeles frequently brought cocaine into the Kansas City area and that walking quickly towards a taxicab was a common characteristic of narcotics couriers at the airport, he became suspicious that Weaver was a drug trafficker. - People v Weaver, 966 F.2d 391 (1992) (Judge Roger Wollman).
Wait, are you kidding me? A “roughly dressed” young black man walking swiftly towards a taxi-cab after getting off a 3 or 4 hour flight is suspicious, since Los Angeles is a source city for narcotics in the midwest?
I’ll say it again, are you kidding me? This is a classic example of the way judges - particularly federal judges - accept wholeheartedly and uncritically - the rationales that law enforcement make up for profiling in the war on drugs. While we can lay much blame for racial profiling on the police, the Judicial branch deserves its share of blame for allowing such travesties of justice.
An incredibly ignorant letter to the editor appeared in today’s issue of the Bloomington Pantagraph calling for privatizing Yellowstone National Park and opening it up to investment for things such as timber harvesting.
My letter in response.
To the editor:
The letter about Yellowstone from March 4 is short-sighted and ignorant. Yes, there is limited lodging in Yellowstone, and narrow 2-lane roads. The National Park Service efficiently manages the park’s 3 million annual visitors and provides an appropriate balance between human interaction and the wildlife that exist in its near-wilderness state. The letter writer wants Yellowstone to become the Wisconsin Dells, complete with road-side zoos, water parks, and luxury hotels. He apparently thinks we should also open the park’s pristine forests for timber harvesting, perhaps to reduce the threat of wildfire?
It is only when Yellowstone is experienced from off those two-lane roads that you can truly appreciate its wonder. Venture beyond Old Faithful or the overlooks of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and hike the Hayden Valley’s backcountry in the midst of the great Yellowstone caldera. The park’s majesty is revealed when you encounter a free-roaming herd of bison or elk in their natural environment, or go on a hunt for backcountry thermal mud pots. It all comes into focus when you climb Mt. Washburn, only to slowly detour around the rocky mountain big horn sheep that make the summit their home, before viewing the entire Yellowstone basin. In the Yellowstone Dells the letter writer proposes, that would all be lost. Yellowstone is a jewel of the national park system. It is protected and well managed. It is not the Dells, and thank God for that.
I said in a Facebook status update that I love the book Ender’s Game. I do. I read it every year. It is one of my all-time favorite reads. In both print and even more in the unabridged audiobook. To me Stephan Rudnicki will always be the voice of Ender, and Gabrielle de Cuir the voice of Valentine.
But I had mixed feelings about going to see this film for two reasons:
1) I hate giving more money to the author Orson Scott Card, who has proven himself to be one hell of a bigot in recent years. His anti-gay rants bother me. Big time. But I am not going to allow that to not let me enjoy a dramatization of one of my all-time favorite books, which have NOTHING to do with his close-minded bigotry. His being a bigot does not take away from Ender’s Game being the award winning novel that it is.
2) I was incredibly leery of the film from the first previews. All the kids were teenagers. Enders Game is a story of children. Ender is 6 when he goes to Battle School, 10 when he graduates, 12 when he, ahem… finishes Command School. In this film all the actors are teenagers in the 12-15 year ago; the girls look to be more like 15-17. And the launch group seems to be half-girls.
But I told myself to "forget the book." This is a movie, it is a loose adaptation of the book. Enjoy it for what it is. The teachers are still the enemy, and the enemy’s gate is down. Yeah, ok. So I said that 10 or 20 times, and went to the theater.
I managed, for the most time to keep my “why isn’t this here? why did they do that with that character? etc…” out of my view. i absolutely loved being immersed into the world of Ender’s Game, and thought some of it was really good.
I think Asa Butterfield did a great job as Ender. Same with Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. I loved seeing Mazer sitting in Ender’s room, in that prostrate position. Just like in a drawing of it from the graphic novelization. I was sold. I could live Viola Davis cast as Major Anderson, I guess the major could be a woman. It worked.
I have ONE casting issue that I could not get away from the book with. Ender was a stinking foot taller than Bonzo Madrid? Why on earth would Bonzo even be intimidating, other than that he was a bit muscular? I wanted — No — I needed Bonzo to be a foot taller, and intimidating.
But I tried to think, If I did not know this story, would I walk away understanding it, or persuaded by it? For example, they move very quickly, it seems as if the whole story takes place in maybe a year. Ok, I guess… but did Ender do anything in that short time which would make him stand out as the one last great hope for humanity? I don’t know. It seemed forced. WHY was Ender better than Alai? Or Bean, or Petra? Or any of them?
And I started to cringe when Ender was holding Petra’s hand. I thought, NO! Don’t go there! There is no kissing in battle school!!! Luckily, that didn’t happen. But it was almost there. And if they did, I would probably have burst out swearing in Battle school slang.
My son asked me when it was over - “what was that with Valentine and the dream?” I don’t think they pulled off the ending very well. I got it; but I heard several people walking out kind of shaking their heads, “this is it?” “What happened there?”
I think the film-makers could have kept the film basically the same length and managed to spread out the story a bit. They could have made a transition with something like “two years later” or something like that. And still used the same actors. They were teenagers anyways. It might have made for a more compelling story on its own.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, was I disappointed? Not as much as I expected to be. Indeed, I’ll probably get the Blu-ray. In many ways my criticism of the film is a lot like my criticism of the first JJ Abrams Trek (No, Not about the alternate universe, don’t go there!) in terms of plot holes and plot devices that did not quite work for me (i.e., take a disgraced cadet and make him first officer of the flagship, yeah, that makes sense!). If I were to grade the film, I’d give it a low B. Still a good paper, but not quite where it could be.
Some advice for those of you iPhone and iPad users chomping at the bit for iOS7, which will drop in the next several hours.
1. Backup to itunes and to iCloud FIRST. Gotta make sure you don’t lose everything if something goes wrong.
2. Don’t whine about the new icons. In a week, you won’t even notice them.
3. The iPad beta software was buggy through the last release. No promises it has attained the “smooth as butter” quality of approval. The iPhone 5, however, is so smooth that when you say “Parkay” you will swear you heard “butter”
4. Your battery will initially drain faster - not only because you are using the phone MORE to test out the new features - but because the battery needs to be re-calibrated. After the OS is fully setup, do a hard reset - Hold down Power/Home for about 15 seconds and let it reset. In a day or so, the battery life will be normal.
Be Safe Out There.
It is being reported that the US agreed to a plan to remove chemical weapons from Syria by mid-2014, avoiding military strikes. The Obama administration will claim victory and argue that were it not for the credible threat of US military strikes, the Russians and Syrians would never have agreed to this. Sure, if that’s what they need to do to save face, fine.
But what are the collateral consequences of President Obama’s foray into Bush-like warmongering? The president alienated his already frayed and tattered core constituents, and damaged his public approval ratings. The president gave the GOP the ability to look like they are peace-niks. He forced his own Party to decide between supporting their party leader and sacrificing principles or siding with their disingenuous GOP counterparts (who never met a war in the modern period they didn’t like, but were primarily opposed to this just BECAUSE Obama was calling for it.)
So, now that this war threat is apparently over, the GOP can go back to their traditional hawk stances. They can return to the process of trying to dismantle federal social programs, and further the interest of the extremely well-to-do top 1 percent. Government shut down anyone?
And maybe, just maybe, the news can return to the issue of the crimes being committed by the NSA, FBI, DEA, & others in terms of violating the civil liberties of the American people on a monumental scale.