Archive for the ‘AZ’ Category

Okay, I can’t stand it any more.  I HAVE to say something about Ferguson and the cop shootings that America is now FINALLY paying attention to.  The tipping point came for me yesterday when I finally watched the video of the Tamir Rice shooting and read an article on the audio evidence that proves Officer Darren Wilson was not telling the truth in his accounts of the Michael Brown shooting.

The U.S. is like a drug addict that refuses to acknowledge they have a problem.  All the signs are there.  The data is VERY clear.    Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about.

Some thoughts that are just pinging around in my brain that I have to get out.  Keep in mind, I’m not some uninformed liberal spouting off–I have a Masters in Criminal Justice and I’ve worked in the system.

  • The Prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, in the Brown shooting did not WANT an indictment therefore there wasn’t one.  A typical prosecutor could indict a comatose 90-year old grandmother if he/she wanted to.
    • He dumped a ton of data on the jury without providing any guidance into what was exculpatory, degree of trustworthiness, interpreting (because the forensic stuff can be really tough to understand), etc.  To expect a lay person to be able to sort through, prioritize and understand all of that data is absurd and no real prosecutor would do that.
    • He engaged in victim blaming by telling them that Brown was on drugs when there was no evidence of that
    • He improperly instructed the jury on the law — this is HUGE and if this had been a trial, it would have been excellent grounds for an appeal
    • He should have recused himself.  His father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty by, you guessed it, a black man.
    • He failed to perform his duty as a Prosecutor–they are supposed to advocate for indictment. In fact the vast majority of grand juries in this country return with an indictment.

    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them. 

  • The audio from the Brown shooting proves that Wilson did not tell the truth.
  • White people riot all the fucking time for the stupidest shit and no one blames it on their “culture of lawlessness”.  But let some black people riot and the media and the majority of white people will shake their heads and question why.  Why would they riot when there’s no history of racial discrimination in policing in the U.S. (ht to Bob Cesca)? Why would they riot when they only have themselves to blame?  All of the Fox News coverage has been in this vein, but the best examples are interviews with Rudy Giulani.
  • The Tamir Rice video is horrifying.  The video shows the police lied about many crucial issues.  If you only listen to the police version (as is too often the case), then it sounds like Tamir was a serious threat .  If you watch the video you will be stunned.
    • They said there were multiple people in the park.  The video shows the 12 year old boy was alone.
    • They said they told him to  put his hands up three times.  The video shows less than 2 seconds passed between the car pulling up, the officers got out of the vehicle and when the shots occurred.  So either the officer gave the fastest and clearest commands in the history of human language (award that man a Guinness World Record!) or he didn’t give them at all.
    • Tamir was already down on the ground when they shot him…he reacted immediately to their presence by making himself non-threatening.
    • After they shot him and the boy was clearly no longer a threat they watched him suffer and provided no first aid until a detective and FBI agent showed up.   Although they’re under no obligation to provide first aid IF they felt the situation is unsafe.  But the boy was no longer a threat.  Actually he wasn’t even a threat when they shot him, but why quibble, amiright?  Ironic that the failure to render aid, made sure their version will be the only one we hear (other than the pure luck of the surveillance video from across the street which can’t really tell us the whole story).
  •  The Rice shooting is very scary to me personally.  My stepson is 12 years old, loves guns, and is very familiar with them.   He is also brown–decidedly not white.   We’ve taught him to be safe with them.  He knows not to handle real guns without an adult being present.  BUT he doesn’t know that it’s probably not a good idea to handle fake one’s either.    I am going to make damn sure he never has a fake gun in any public place and when his family is not with him.
  • There was a shooting just reported in AZ of a black man by a white cop.  I’m still waiting for more details to come in.  Cop thought the guy had a gun in his pocket–it was a bottle of pills.

If you listen to what is being said in the media (not just on Fox but on CNN and local stations too), there is a lot of victim blaming and officer excuse making.  White America’s attitude is coming across like this.

‘Don’t black folk know they should never ever carry anything in their pockets AND should always keep their hands in the air AND always have a pleasant or at least non-demonic look on their face.  AND they can’t be too large or physically intimidating because a big black many is very scary, even to really big white men, even when they’re 25+ feet away**.  So if you’re a big black guy, hunch your shoulders.  And whatever you do, don’t be sullen or angry.’

In other words, don’t give the white cops an excuse to kill you and this message is loud and clear to the black community.  Most of their parents have already told them not to do such things.  Not that doing any of that will actually keep black men safe in this country.  When an entire race of people in our society have to raise their sons to live in fear and act more passive and non-threatening with the police than white people do, then something is terribly, terribly wrong.  The sooner white people acknowledge this, the sooner we can address the problem.  But I don’t think white people in general are capable of acknowledging our complicity in this problem because that would mean acknowledging that we’re wrong about something.  As we’ve seen time and time again, too many Americans think that if we’re not exceptional and right all the time, we’re nothing at all.

Notes:

*I totally understand why the police want bigger and better guns.  When I was a probation officer I always felt like I was outgunned.  I had a Speed 6 Ruger, a “brick” cell phone with a dead battery, no partner or back-up and my crappy little car (VW Fox).  I would go into the field armed with these items.  Here are just some examples of what I faced with those “weapons:

  • walking into crack houses where I was surrounded by dozens of male drug addicts and/or dealers
  • interviewing a probationers with serious anger control issues (child abuser/molester/wife beater) in their dark and dingy homes
  • explaining to VERY angry probationers and their family members why I had to talk to their boss at work about his/her probation and why they lost their job and would soon probably be homeless.  (I took no joy in this task.  I was legally obligated to verify employment with a supervisor a few times a year.  Talk about the system shooting itself in the foot.  The minute they lost their job their risk of recidivism would skyrocket)  

I guess if I couldn’t draw my weapon in time or if I lost it, I could have used the cell phone to brain them.

**Brown was 6 ft 5 in and 290 lbs and Wilson was 6 ft 4 in and 210 lbs.  Wilson isn’t small by any means.  He also had at least two deadly weapons–his pistol and his police car.  Who knows what he had in the trunk–one can safely assume a shotgun.  Plus he had a radio so he could call in reinforcements.  In regards to the distance, the audio article clearly proves Wilson was either lying about the distance or lying about Brown charging him or both.

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Really? Seriously?

Police said Daniel Solomon told them his wife became angry over his “lack of voter participation” in last Tuesday’s presidential election and believed her family would face hardship as a result of Obama winning another term.

Future Darwin Award Winner? Good Lord I hope they don’t have children!

I bet that she signed one of the many secession petitions floating around too. Let’s just hope they stop her from watching the news in jail. She swallowed the GOP bait–hook, line and sinker.

Arizona:

1.  Thanks Joe, you idiot!  Once again, Maricopa County taxpayers will be shelling out money to a victim of Sheriff Joe’s illegal activities to the tune of over $1 million.  Good ol’ Joe has literally cost the County (and in some cases the State) millions in funds that could have been used for infrastructure, education or even tax refunds.

2.  The second major lawsuit against SB1070 is progressing through the Federal courts.  Known as the Friendly House case it is different from the Federal Government challenge.  This “Friendly House” case is based on the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments and represents individuals as a “class action”.  The other case, brought by the DOJ is based on the definition of Federal constitutional authority versus State authority.  Both cases seem to be based on solid and established legal precedence, but what do I know?  I only play at being a lawyer in my head.

3.  Local veterans are advocating the use of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD.  Right now, all they have is anecdotal evidence that it works.  Of course, their VA doctors are against it. I would like to think that if I was a doctor and I had a patient for whom nothing else worked, I would not be so rigid as to deny them access to the treatment.  Medical treatment is always weighing the damage that the treatment can cause versu the possible benefits, so marijuana doesn’t create some new dilemma in this regards.  I’m all for it if it helps veterans cope with their mental and physical scars.

4.  It has been hotter than Hades here this week.  This past weekend it started around 100 and then shifted into high gear by mid-week, June 1, cranking up to 111 (a new record for that day, BTW).  Now it is finally starting to go back down again to 100 today.  Ugh, I really hate summers in AZ.

5.  More on the weather…it is supposed to be windy today.  Combined with high temps, that means we will be under a red-flag warning for wildfires.  Will that stop AZ residents from tossing their lit cigarettes out of their speeding cars or from lighting camp fires, etc?  No, probably not.

6.  There’s Bears in them there hills!  An elderly woman was attacked while she was in her tent and this sent lots of campers scurrying out of the woods back to the city, including a co-worker who saw a bear a little to close to his family.  Whenever you start seeing more Coyotes and Bears getting closer to people, it means it is too dry, too hot and the animals are hungry enough to risk human contact.  And it is only June.

National:

1.  The recall election against Gov. Scott Walker (bought and paid shill for Koch Brothers) is being held in Wisconsin today.  I am disappointed in the DNC’s (Democratic National Committee) response, which was to do as little as possible to support Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret in his bid to replace Walker.  To the people on the ground in Wisconsin, this election is crucial but for some reason the DNC didn’t feel it was all that important.

2.  And speaking of Gov. Walker, the corruption and scandal emanating from this man smells worse than a shit house door on a tuna boat.  One his aides have been convicted for embezzlement and campaigning on the taxpapers’ time and four more are charged.  Of courses, his aides are starting to sing and Walker isn’t looking so good (go figure).  Odds are good he will face an indictment; even Gov. Walker thinks so as evidenced by the legal defense fund he has already established from his campaign money.  ONly problem is, it is illegal in Wisconsin for the Governor to establish the fund BEFORE he is indicted.  There was a rumor floated about Walker having a love child but that has been debunked already.  The right is claiming that it was a just a desperate ploy by activists on the left to smear Gov. Walker’s name, but the left doesn’t have to work very hard at that since he’s doing a fine job all by himself. (And note bloggers on the left admitted it was debunked, something bloggers on the right hardly ever do).

3.  If Romney wins the Presidential election, he will get a $5 million raise.  Good news for the bank workers in the Cayman Islands!  Looks like the rich do sometimes create jobs.  /snark

4.DougJ over at Balloon Juice makes an excellent point:  The Republicans created the current fiscal crisis we are in with the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars, and the Recession that have pushed up our Debt to unacceptable levels and it will eventually threaten funding for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.  They also have purposely obstructed any attempts to make the economy better (reduce Health Care Costs, provide sufficient stimulus, etc).  So they created this huge economic problem, they are doing everything in their power to make that problem continue, and they are using it not only as a campaign point but also as an excuse to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.  This is the new GOP playbook.  It happened in Wisconsin under Gov. Walker.  When he entered office he had a surplus of $56.3 million and then he gave a huge tax cut to corporations, which created a big deficit.  Walker then used the existence of the deficit as an excuse to gut the unions.  In the military this called “false flag” operations.  In psychology, there is a syndrome for individuals called “Munchausen by Proxy” or “Induced Illness”.  Ironically, while the GOP has been using this strategy ever since Pres. Obama has been elected, you will see that there are many cons online that will accuse Pres. Obama has engaging in “artificial crisis creation” in order to gain more power for himself and “soshulism”.  And that my friends is called “projection.

I just finished watching the last part of the GOP debate that occurred in Mesa, AZ tonight.  I saw the foreign policy discussion.  Americans are notoriously bad about understanding other countries and the role we play in the world.  So, I think it’s important that we pay attention to the foreign policy aspect of the GOP candidates.

Romney, Santorum and Gingrich all were talking very tough about Iran to the point of advocating for pre-emptive strikes.  Their reasoning is that “we can’t allow Iran to have nuclear weapons”.  Well no one disagrees with that….even Pres. Obama doesn’t want them to have nuclear weapons.  The difference between the President and the GOP candidates is that he doesn’t do sabre rattling.  And sabre rattling is a key component when playing on the “politics of fear”.

The key here is that most of the Republican candidates  believe that Iran has nuclear weapons already or has the capability to make them already.    Ron Paul, in Congress for 22 years and in a better position to know, said [paraphrasing here] that there was no intelligence to say they have nuclear weapons capability.  Ultimately Paul is the only one who advocated talking to Iran and he makes a good point.  If we talked to Russia who had 30,000 nuclear missiles, why can’t we talk to Iran that might only be developing one of them?  It’s a valid question.

Unfortunately, all four of them said that the sanctions being imposed were not working when they are not only working, they are exactly what Israel wanted. Actions such as European boycotts and China cutting it’s oil imports from Iran by 10 to 20% have caused the Iranian currency to devalue by half in the last 6 weeks.  That means everything Iran buys has doubled in cost and that’s fantastic!  There is no better means of stopping any progress toward weaponizing nuclear material than cutting off their ability to purchase what they need.

But it’s a fine balance.  While we want to punish the Iranian government we don’t want to punish it’s people who are victims of their own dictatorial radical Islamic government.  In the end there is no way we can spare the Iranian people entirely.  However, if we bomb the crap out of them as 3 out of the 4 GOP candidates want to do many innocents will surely suffer.  War should never be the first choice in foreign diplomacy. It should be the last choice when all other efforts have failed.

Afterward, Gov. Jan Brewer spoke to CNN and said all the candidates did wonderful.  So wonderful, in fact, that she is more confused than before and doesn’t yet know who she will endorse.  Don’t kid yourself…Gov. Brewer will bide her time and see who is going to come out on top and that is who she will endorse.  On a very unimportant note…her hair looks much better but I swear her skin gets more and more leathery every time I see her.  I think all that sun has also affected her brain but that’s another post for another night.

Buenas noches, mis amigos!

I’ve had a lot of changes in my life recently and I wanted to reflect some of that on the blog.  Here’s a few things you might notice on the blog and some things in my life (that you wouldn’t notice if I didn’t tell you)

  • Well, you’ve probably noticed by now the change in the style of my site.  So that’s a biggy.  I never got around to doing my own CSS so I just used a standard, free WordPress theme.
  • I updated my Gravatar to be my own custom-made emoticon of unhappy, confused face more in keeping with the title.  So you will only see my emoticon when I post on your blog from now on.
  • I changed  “Mrs. D. Ranged” to “Ms. D. Ranged” instead.  My URL stays the same so no worries about finding me.
  • I’ve lost about 12 lbs in the last month and I did it all by simply eating less.  15 years of sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day has finally taught me that I don’t need to eat as much as before.
  • I am already doing more writing than I have in previous months and it’s because I’m not mucking about looking for “the One” anymore.  I intend to spend this weekend redrafting a scene from my novel and hope to post that next week.  I also hope to spend some time doing some world-building for my novel.  If you don’t know what that is, here’s a link.
  • Evidently it is Arizona Beer Week and no one told me…how rude!  Anyway, if you want to meet up somewhere in the Valley for a frosty pint…or two, or three, or lots…then chat me up.  Apparently there are tons of events going on and I will be sans kids this weekend.  Momma is going to have a little fun this weekend (nothing crazy, mind you).
  • After the past few weeks of insanity and the assault on women’s rights by the Republicans I decided to get off my butt and do something substantive.  So this week I’m joining Women for Obama and Obama’s Truth Teams (for the site where you can get the truth about Pres. Obama’s positions and past actions go to ActionWatch.com) to help out the campaign in any way I can.

I think that’s enough change for now.  Slainte!

“Grief makes one hour ten” –William Shakespeare

Christina Taylor Green

Shooting victim Christina Taylor Green

Every time I see a photo of Christina Taylor Green I start to tear up.  It has only been a year since the massacre in Tucson but I’m sure the survivors and family of those we lost it seems only yesterday.  Grief doesn’t care about time…it comes and goes as it will, different for each individual.  While I sympathize with all those who lost someone that day, I identify most strongly with Christina’s parents because my little girl is about the same age.  My poor prose can not do justice to the victims so all that I can offer are my thoughts and prayers in their honor.  The six who perished are listed below, and in addition to them there were 13 other people who were injured and will never be the same again.

Christina-Taylor Green, 9
Dorothy “Dot” Morris, 76
John Roll, 63
Phyllis Schneck, 79
Dorwan Stoddard, 76
Gabriel “Gabe” Zimmerman, 30

Like Riding a Bike

Posted: January 4, 2012 in AZ, Personal
Tags:

So I went skiing on Monday for the first time in 20 years and managed to make it home in one, solid piece.

Taking a break

Me on a break at midday, Snowbowl, Flagstaff

I wore my new Angry Bird winter hat and prayed that it would not somehow curse me to run into things the way the birds do in the game.  Lady Luck was with me.  I had no major wipe-outs, of which I was proud.  However, I did come close.  At one point approaching the end of a run, near big yellow flag/signs that said “SLOW” next to the lift lines, I snow plowed to a stop but had moved too far to the right onto a very icy patch.  Unfortunately an attempt to turn around and face the lift lines resulted in my skis being pointed downhill and angled outward, stuck in ruts.  I ended up sliding downhill, my feet moving ever further apart until I was finally able to arrest myself before performing a full split position.  Although embarrassed, I was grateful that while I am not as strong, svelte or as swift as I once was, at least I was still flexible.

I skied for about half the day before I called it quits.  I had, a few days before the trip, tore half of the toenail off my left big toe and the skiing was just killing it.  Also, the slopes were pretty icy and in some spots bare, making control a major issue for me.  I’ve never liked skiing on icy snow…its just an accident waiting to happen, particularly in my case.  And here’s my last bit of whining about the day–the rental boots just didn’t feel right.  No matter how much I adjusted them, my right ankle and heel just felt like it was rattling around in there (I have narrow, long elegant feet, thank you very much!).  So every time I planted that ski it felt unsupported.  By my final run my feet were actually cramping, something I have never had happen to me before.  In any case, I repaired to the bar where I spent the afternoon and got in some decent writing on my nascent novel.

Middle of the Day

Middle of the Day, looking up to Agassiz Trail at the top of the mountain

It was a beautiful day though and by early afternoon I didn’t need anything more than my long sleeved shirt and synthetic/wicking undershirt.   The high was about 50 degrees.   Of course, other people were running around in mukluks with their faces fully covered…I scoffed at their wussiness in the face of such temperatures.  It was like a mild Spring day to me.  Not that I love the cold, but I have found since the birth of my son that I just don’ t handle the heat well any more.  I suspect hormones, but who knows.

The opposite direct

The opposite direction, looking away from the mountain, notice lack of snow

There were two things that I had forgotten in the intervening years since I last skied.  The first thing is just how boring the lift rides are.  And the second thing was just how steep the beginning of a run appears.  Every time I’m about to begin a run it seems too steep and the lizard part of my brain  says, “whoa, wait a second”, and then the human part reasons with the lizard and  says “if you start out too slow the initial turns will be difficult and scary,  better to just go and get some momentum”.  Then that is precisely what I did.

Sunset

Sunset, End of the Day looking out from Bus