Search This Blog

Friday, December 31, 2010

How to survive a nuclear attack

Be a rich, white man.


From the article:

"Good news! You’ve got a pretty good chance of surviving a terrorist’s nuclear blast in your city -- especially if you’re a rich white man. Women, ethnic minorities and lower socioeconomic classes are more likely to be “stricken by psychiatric disorders,” and once they start going crazy they’re less likely to survive.

That’s just one of the startling revelations in the new second edition of “Planning Guidance for Response to a Nuclear Detonation,” a 130-page report produced, thanks to your tax dollars, by the Obama administration's National Security Staff Interagency Policy Coordination Subcommittee for Preparedness and Response to Radiological and Nuclear Threats."

Top censoried stories for 2010

Amazing stuff.

Check it out!

NEW LAWS for 2011


Starting Saturday, people caught in California with as much as an ounce of marijuana will be charged with an “infraction” – a penalty that is equivalent to a parking ticket. Previously, possession of an ounce of marijuana had been a misdemeanor, which unlike an infraction, can include jail time.
Meanwhile, in Illinois, synthetic marijuana, also known as K2, will be illegal.

Crime is always a focus of state lawmakers, but this year saw an emphasis on reining in the potentially harmful uses of new technologies and social media.

“The rise in social media-related regulations shows that private sector innovations are often followed by laws intended to limit the harmful effects of those innovations,” says Jessica Levinson, an analyst at the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles.
  • California’s SB 1411 will make online impersonation a standard misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Victims will be allowed to sue the imitator for damages and losses. Hawaii, New York, Massachusetts and Texas also have laws targeting electronic impersonation.
  • In Illinois, minors who distribute indecent photos of other minors electronically – known as “sexting” -- may be taken into custody by law enforcement officers and are subject to adjudication or supervision, instead of being charged with child pornography, which is a harsher offense.
  • Also in Illinois, it’s now a crime to sexually exploit a child using a computer or Internet-based software. “The new law is aimed at catching sex offenders who use Internet chat rooms or online video cameras to engage in sex acts with a child,” says the NCSL’s website analysis.

Why we need newspapers

... because it is very dry outside. And there is a real risk of starting a fire.

Unfortunately, the request was made in the local paper.

And since only 40% of people read a newspaper (and even less for 30 minutes or more -- 24%), it's unlikely people got the message.

Just another reason we need newspapers.

Of course, whether people who would typically start a fire with fireworks in dry conditions would be likely to read a newspaper, that is another story entirely! ;-)

Mentally ill? Or an excuse?

This man says " it was a demon that was doing this."

No, actually it was you.

And the "this" is sex crimes against at least one child.

The story brings forth the image of a deranged mentally ill person, popular in media depictions of crime.

One wonders if he is really mentally ill?

Or just making up an excuse?

He's probably just a man who was raised in a religion that blames bad things on demonic influences rather than promoting responsibility for your own behavior and acknowleding that some people need help BEFORE they do things like this.

Local sheriff removes basketball hoops from jail

... because "inmates are not there to have fun."

Well, duh.

But, Mr. Sheriff, don't you know that by doing this you will increasing the danger for your own staff?

Research shows that physical activity is a great way to alleviate stress and in jail, it also is a nice break from the monotony of incarceration.

Assaults on staff will probably go up as a result of this move.


Bottom line: This is pure politics. The sheriff did not like how it looked when people drive by and see inmates playing basketball.

By the way, there is an online game called "Prison Basketball." So they can still play if they have access to the Internet.

Person of the year, 2010

This is a local TV news station's person of the year for 2010.


It reflects, I think, our fascination with the weird, strange, and obscure.

How tragic.

Media focus on a real risk to us -- US!

There are lots of things to be afraid of these days, and the media focus on many of them. As shown in the book, the media tend to promote fear of things that are least likely to hurt us.

In this case, it is focused on things most likely to hurt us -- ourseleves and our unhealthy lifestyles.

From the article:

People across the world continue to smoke, drink and avoid exercise even though they also fear their unhealthy lifestyles will lead to long-term chronic disease, an international study found on Tuesday.
Nearly half of the 12,000 people questioned across 12 countries admitted they only exercise for an hour a week or less, while 70 percent drink alcohol and almost a third smoke."

The bottom line? We know things are bad for us but we keep doing them.

At least with alcohol, experts actually advise that you can (and should) drink as part of a healthy lifestyle (in moderation, people, in moderation!).

"For holidays, threats of terror"

That is the headline in a local paper here in Florida.

The article explains that, since al-Qaeda is being so successfully disrupted with our efforts in places like Pakistan, terrorists are settling for easier targets and are more willing to accept soft targets and failing efforts rather than more spectaclar attacks like 9/11.

And, as noted in this earlier article, al-Qaeda is using the media -- including an English magazine -- to encourage attacks in the US by Americans.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oprah Winfrey gets her own channel, and her first show will be ...

... "Breaking Down the Bars" (about female prisoners in Indiana).

One presumes from the title that the show will feature an escape of some kind?

It says a lot that the all powerful Oprah Winfrey, who will now own the OWN channel (Oprah Winfrey Network), will produce a show about crime and criminal justice as her first project.

Note to Oprah: There's already a movie about this, apparently. And it looks a bit more interesting that what you will probably show us, even with the special theme song already written for it.

Your bow tie is too tight

Fox News' Tucker Carlson says:

"Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did it in a heartless and cruel way. And I think, personally, he should have been executed for that. He won't, but the idea that the President of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs?"

It's called a second chance, and credible media reports indicate that Obama actually called the team to discuss the team using alternative energy sources at the stadium. While on the phone he also expressed his support for Vick being given a second chance.

These people will take literally every opportunity to attack Obama, even about something this silly.

Speaking of the death penalty


With a green sun logo.

With a "Beyond Petroleum" marketing campaign.

And with a long history of killing its own employees and polluting the environment for massive profits.

Looks like BP will survive its latest debacle in the Gulf of Mexico after all.

If anyone deserves the death penalty, it is this company.

Killing people for money with defective products equals?

Massive recalls.

Some fines.

But no prison time.

That is the reality of corporate crime in America.

Take Toyota for example. They knew of massive defects that would lead to injury and death. And they did nothing about it.

That's murder in my book.

Look at these regional headlines!

Have we established yet that bad news sells?

And that crime sells?

Even during the holidays?

This is all linked from a story titled "Teens Attack Marine, Wife at  Movie Theater."

Donate a kidney, get out of prison


But really, these women got life sentences for an $11 robbery?

And we wonder why states are bankrupt.

Billy the kid in the news?

In 2010?

130 years later?

And 800 people have called the governor to register an opinion about whether his pardon from the 1880s should be honored, long after his death?


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

... and here are the maps

From the article:

Internal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year's fighting season, countering the Obama administration's optimistic assessments of military progress since the surge of additional American forces began a year ago.
The Wall Street Journal was able to view two confidential "residual risk accessibility" maps, one compiled by the U.N. at the annual fighting season's start in March 2010 and another at its tail end in October. The maps, used by U.N. personnel to gauge the dangers of travel and running programs, divide the country's districts into four categories: very high risk, high risk, medium risk and low risk.

In the October map, just as in March's, virtually all of southern Afghanistan—the focus of the coalition's military offensives—remained painted the red of "very high risk," with no noted security improvements. At the same time, the green belt of "low risk" districts in northern, central and western Afghanistan shriveled considerably.

The U.N.'s October map upgraded to "high risk" 16 previously more secure districts in Badghis, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Laghman and Takhar provinces; only two previously "high risk" districts, one in Kunduz and one in Herat province, received a safer rating.

A Pentagon report mandated by Congress drew similar conclusions when it was released last month. It said attacks were up 70% since 2009 and threefold since 2007. As a result of the continued violence, the Taliban still threaten the Afghan government, according to the report. The White House's National Security Council declined to comment.

Wonder why.

The cold, hard realities of Afghanistan

Here are the facts of Afghanistan:

Surge in troops to Afghanistan.

More spending by US taxpayers.

More dead civilians.

More dead Americans.

Taliban influence increasing across the country.

Yet the President and other high level officials say that Afghanistan is improving.

Glad we have the media -- the Fouth Estate -- to tell us the truth by serving as a check on government power.

This is why it is so critical to be an informed citizen and for there to be an an active and independent news media.

Another reason crime should be going up now

Corporate profits are up.

Stock prices are up.

So where are the jobs?


Companies are hiring people all over the world, but are far less likely to be hiring here. We know that unemployment rates are associated with higher property crime rates in neighborhoods, so we could conceivably lower crime rates by providing more jobs.

But as long as this is up to corporations we cannot hold our breaths. What matters is profit. And that is all.

About that drug war in Mexico

This is the drug war in Mexico, fueled by US prohibition, empowering criminal syndicates that are using terrorism (violence for a political purpose), and another result is there are no men willing to be police in entire towns. There, some women have stepped in to try to help.

In others, there are literally NO COPS even left.

Add this to massive corruption, widespread violence and death, and the fact that we are enriching some very bad people doing very bad things.

One wonders how long this must go on before we finally figure out that prohibition is a massive, deadly failure.

Police fatalities way up this year

From the Associated Press ...

Deaths in the line of duty jumped 37 percent to about 160 from 117 the year before, according to numbers as of Tuesday compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that tracks police deaths.

The first reaction is "of course" because this is what happens in an economic downturn. People are mad, and sometimes they take it out on others. This can be directly aimed at the police but can also create other dangerous situations that ultimately impact the police (e.g., robbery, domestic violence).

But amazingly part of the problem is more police dying in traffic. From the article:

"We're asking citizens not to talk and text on their cell phones, but we're providing officers with laptop computers and cell phones and radios," he said. "That means taking their attention from the road. Are we putting too many distractions in police vehicles?"

Seriously. Hang up the phone and drive. And use the computer when you are parked. Duh.

US running secret prisons

... and will not assist with investigations into them, for obvious reasons.

As noted in the book, prisona rarely make the news, even when they need to.

This story, from the St. Pete Times (where I am reading the paper!), spills the beans about US secret prisons used to torture terror suspects.

That these prisons exist is a travesty. That the US will not cooperate with other civilized countries and allies wanting to know the truth is even worse.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Today in the Washington Post

Historic movies (that include crime and criminal justice), new challenges to Roe v Wade, more crime in the banking industry, Portugal's drug policy, their feature titled "The Crime Scene" and so much more.

Overstimulation on TV ... blinking, flashing, moving pictures and words, all at once

Remember when Headline News used to actually be about the news?

When it used to be a summary of the day's top stories, for those very busy people who want a quick recap on what is in the news?

Now, it is a constant stream of stories about crime.

The best example of all is Nancy Grace, who I wrote about in the book.

Her show features the latest crime -- usually against a child (missing kid, kidnapped kid, murdered kid). As this former prosecutor talks about the case, simultaneously we see blinking, flashing, and moving pictures and words across the screen, usually in red boxes with words like "The latest" "Warning" or "Breaking news."

It is overstimulating and not at all even informative.

Plus it keeps us focused on random street crimes that have little importance for people outside of the lives of the victims.

This is obviously profit-generating TV or else we would not be seeing it.

Another warning about crimes on Facebook

Yeah yeah, we know.

And we keep going there, everyday.

Even Facebook is a haven for criminals.

With only 1% of users being victimized, one can see why this is such a big story.,0,7348052.story

Crime never takes a holiday

Here's another heart-warming Christmas story from the local paper.

"Crime never takes a holiday ..."

Neither does media coverage of it either.

These are today's TOP STORIES

I'm sitting in Lady Lake, Florida today reading the Orlando Sentinel and the Daily Commercial (from nearby Leesburg). Here are the top stories in the local section:

* Utility: Be wary of "snake-oil salesmen" (front page)
* Lake man accused of sex attack on Claremont girl (page 2)
*Casselberry police going after man they say rammed cop car (page 2)
* Red light runner killed in crash with police car (page 3)
*Man,womn accused of misusing 911 calls (page 3)
* Newspaper worker jailed in ATM threat (page 3)
* Body found floating in community pond (page 3)
* Pickup crash kills Port St. Lucie man (page 3)

Don't worry, though, there is also some good news. Like "Coast Guard rescues 6 from disabled boat" and "Panther births rise in 2010" (page 3).

A major theme in the book is that crime sells.

So does bad news.

Obviously ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

What do you call a woman who has 12 kids even though she cannot afford them?



Of interest to Americans?

Hopefully none of the above.

So why is this news?

Think about all the real issues we are NOT talking about.

When FAKE news matters

Comedy Central's Jon Stewart is actually impacting policy.

Without his 30 minute show on the embarrassment of the 9/11 responders bill, one wonders if it would have become law.

And frankly, his "news" on The Daily Show is better in many cases and many ways than the real news.

The ultimate in lifestyle news

And it's NOT just in People magazine.

Hugh Hefner is engaged.


To a 20 something year old former playmate.


And we're supposed to care.

This is consistent with the reality of less hard news in the news in favor of more fluff, soft news/lifestyle news. And it is increasingly taking over.,,20453173,00.html

Goodbye privacy, even on the road

You're being watched.


At every minute.

Even on the road.

And it's all in the name of crime control.

And apparently it works.

But "It's like being forced to walk around with a bar code that a scanner can pick up — except that it's your car," said Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which advocates for consumer and privacy rights. "This is one of those privacy places where the rubber really meets the road."

I suppose this is the new reality of life in America.

I see dead people

And they are increasingly dying from US drug control policy.

The data do not lie. More people are dying every year from drug overdoses. And this is happening for two reasons, both related to the drug war.

First, people are switching to more dangerous drugs manufactured and advertised in the media by prescription drug companies. So instead of using Ecstasy (which is not addictive and does not lead to overdose deaths) they are using painkillers (which are addictive and do lead to overdose deaths).

Second, illicit drugs--which are not regulated for quality because they are illegal--are becoming more pure and thus more dangerous. Virtually every type of drug is more pure now than it was in the late 1980s, for example.

The result is more dead Americans every year. And it's our fault.

Rise of the women on the Supreme Court

An interesting article in every major newspaper today about the rise of the "liberal" judges on the US Supreme Court, all women.

Regardless of your politics, you have to at least be pleased that there are finally three women on the Court at the same time. Only two more and they will just about be representative of their portion of the US population.

An interesting part of this story is about prison overcrowding in California.

NBC News story on the super TASER

Last night on NBC News, they featured a story about the new "Super TASER" being marketed for police agencies concerned about those few people who get "TASED BRO!" who get back up and keep on coming.

The new super TASER is even more powerful than the regular TASER being used across the country by police agencies now.

Reports from the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International show how deadly the regular TASER can occasionally be.

Luckily, police departments are skeptical and want evidence that these super TASERS are needed and not too deadly for use.

Whatever happened to patient policing where suspects are talked down, or simple hand to hand combat!?!?!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another danger of Facebook?

Groups like "Catch the Kensington Strangler, before he catches someone you love."

Where people are falsely accused.

Uh oh.

So did you hear the one about the dead toddler in Arizona who was killed by his grandmother?

No, and did you need to?

Is this a story about how people are most likely to be victimized by their loved ones?


About how kids are more endangered at home than anywhere else?


Is there any context at all about how this happened, how often it happens, or why it matters?


It's really pointless, and you probably don't need to know about it, even if you live in Arizona.

Yet, there it is, front page news on Fox News.

In a single day, CNN goes crime crazy!

All these stories about crime, just in one day.

On their web site, all at the same time.

Serial killer.

Death at a rich person's house.

Body found in suitcase.

NY Governor commutes the sentence of a young murderer.

Are you all excited yet?
I wonder why CNN thinks these are the most important issues of the day? And even on Christmas no less?

Theory of shitty beer

I have a theory of "shitty" beer that explains why alcohol use (especially by young people) leads to so much antisocial behavior.

See here:

I don't know what is more sad, that people fight over "good beer" so that they don't have to drink the bad stuff, or that these people think the good beer is Budweiser. And that they were willing to fight over it. With a gun.

Speaking of shitty beer

Apparently crime and death also follows the makers of the products. Case in point:

It's Obama's (drug) war now

For all the (necessary) talk about the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan (not to mention Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere), there is still this really expensive and massively failing drug war, too.

And now President Obama is the leader of it.

I have already documented elsewhere the positive changes that have happened in drug policy since Obama took office, and will say much more about that here shortly. See here:

In the mean time, it's important to remember that, for the most part, the war wages on, mostly unchanged.

Here is a gread read about one major reason it should end -- MONEY.

From the article: "Could this be the beginning of the end of the drug war, a war that has reportedly cost more than $1 trillion in the past few decades, with little to show for it beyond millions who have been branded criminals and felons, ushered behind bars and then released into a permanent second-class status?"

Another voice of reason on drug policy

The day has finally come where I can see a valid point by Pat Robertson.

Just another voice of sanity about prohibition of marijuana.

List me the reasons you think marijuana should remain illegal and I will happily respond with all the facts you need to know to show you while you're probably wrong.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The blog will be "closed" for the next two days as I travel here and there for Christmas.

Hope you enjoy your holidays!

In the mean time, try to stay away from guys like this (keep your new goods safely tucked away):

Friday, December 24, 2010

A unique look at recidivism

Criminology texts are filled with discussions of recividism, usually defined as repeat criminal offending.

And media accounts of crime tend to focus on cases where a criminal is released from prison and then commits yet more crimes.

And almost all of is focused on street crime.

Thanks to, we get this look at what recidivism really is.

Take a look at corporate behavior, where greed is good and crime is normal. And normal again. And again.

Income inequality still growing

Income inequality is still growing.

From the article:

"The richest 1% of U.S. households had a net worth 225 times greater than that of the average American household in 2009, according to analysis conducted by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think tank. That's up from the previous record of 190 times greater, which was set in 2004."

With the recent tax cut extension, you can expect income inequality to grow even more. Since the rich pay more taxes and thus will get more taxes back, their income will grow more than that of the middle class and poor.

The net effect of this reality? More violent crime and murder, according to analyses by criminologists. Studies show that nations with higher levels of income inequality are related to higher rates of violent crime and murder.

Look at the bright side, though. If you have more money when you are murdered (assuming you are not robbed of it all), at least you can afford a nice funeral.

Law Firm Features

US News and World Report currently features a law firm series.

Some very interesting stuff there about law firms and law schools.

Legal Industry Faces Major Changes
The legal industry is under intense pressure to change its business practices.
How Holland & Hart Weathered the Recession Out West
Denver firm finds that the downturn offers an opportunity for a makeover.
Legal Expert: Industry Has Fundamentally Changed
Law professor William Henderson speaks about the future of the legal industry.
Law Tuition Climbs Despite Industry Recession
Interest in legal education remains high, despite diminished job prospects.

Even when I went through the scanners, I knew it made NO difference

As I traveled through the San Francisco airport, I got pulled out of line and was told I did not need to go through the metal detector. "That won't be necessary," the screener said.

"You need to step over here instead."

So I was instructed to walk through the full body scanner and "raise your hands above your head" like a common criminal.

I had to take off my shoes AND my belt!

Then it was just a matter of waiting to be cleared by security. One agent, sitting in a hidden room, called the agent standing in front of me on his ear plug phone, and I heard him say, "Male all clear."

Well, duh, I'm not a terrorist. And I did not have any weapons on my person.

Then I heard, "Male subject, check back right pocket." The agent with the ear piece turned to me and said, "We need to check your right back pocket."

"It's my wallet," I said.

"We need you to take it out."

"Where is your warrant?" I wanted to ask. But I didn't.

I took out my wallet and showed it to me.

"Why is it so thick?" he asked me.

"It's a pocket bomb, duh!" I wanted to say.

But I told the truth. "I have a lot of pictures of my children. That's why it is so bulky."

"You'll have to open it to show me if you want to get on the plane," he said.

So I did. Then I was cleared to board the plane, after I gathered my things, put my belt and shoes back on, and walked away feeling like a criminal.

Does it makes us safer?


And I knew it then. Because of the three lines of passengers, only two were even subject to the scanners. So a terrorist just has to get in the right line, which he easily could just by watching for a moment where the lines move.

And only about every fifth person in the two lines was being screened.

It doesn't matter if this technology does not work.

This is the America where there is no longer a 4th Amendment.

More evidence of the media ignoring the harsh realities of prison

As noted in the book, life inside prison mostly goes unnoticed in the media. With the exception of unrealistic infotainment shows such as Lockup (MSNBC), major events like the protest of conditions inside Georgia prisons go mostly uncovered by the mainstream press.

Simply stated, the inmates claim "slavery."

Consider that about half of the inmates are being locked up for non-violent crimes.

And consider that since you have most likely committed some kind of felony in your life, you could very well have ended up inside.

You would think this might make the story relevant to the press. Apparently not. Instead, you see more and "lifestyle" and "soft news" stories in the corporate owned media.