Re: Fuck the police and judicial system.

1

She's full of shit. You can see her throw the elbow 22 seconds in, lower left.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6kceO8vCUm8

She pretty obviously winds up for the elbow strike and then starts to run off before the cops tackle her. She then testified at court she had no recollection of hitting the cop. Give me a fucking break.

Now whether taking a swing at a cop should be a felony (out here it's not) is another issue. But if you're going to tell an idiotic lie at trial you shouldn't be too surprised if a jury doesn't believe you.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:34 AM
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She'll be sentenced on May 19th. Seven years is the maximum.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:40 AM
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I can't see what's going on at all in that video -- that is, immediately after 22 seconds I can see that people are moving fast, but I can't clearly identify either her or the cops. The guy who writes the Cop in the Hood blog also said the video was clear to him, though -- is it clear to everyone and I'm just confused?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:44 AM
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I could make out some tumult, but nothing much clearer than that.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:47 AM
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I see her, and I see the cop, but it is not at all clear that the cop doesn't grab her before she winds up for the elbow; watching it just now I said "oh wait, his arm is across her chest before she winds up", although the first time I watched it I didn't notice that.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:49 AM
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Lower left, she's in a green dress. It's hard to make out the cop but you can see her bend her knees and give a pretty good elbow with her right. She's kind of facing the camera at a diag and starts to run to the left side of the screen.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:49 AM
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The tumult starts with her moving jerkily, but there's no way I could rule out it being responsive to a grab from behind.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:49 AM
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I can see that someone throws a 'bow with force and that then there's running and tumult immediately after, but not at all what came right before the hitting.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:49 AM
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9

Once you've spotted her, look for a horizontal black bar across her chest before she winds up; I think that's the cop's arm.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:49 AM
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Oh yeah, I see that. Could be a lot of things but certainly very compatible with being the cop's arm.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:50 AM
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11

At which point, if she was flailing in response to a grab, not having a clear recollection of whether her elbow connected with anything or not, or whether she just broke free of the guy's hold, seems plausible to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:51 AM
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12

So there is something to debate!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:53 AM
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13

Although, maybe my monitor is badly adjusted. Clearly, my prejudices are in favor of seeing the cop grab her, but I can't. It's all too dark for me to make out details. After repeated viewing I'm clear on her, but anything around her is just a mess.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:54 AM
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14

The cop testified he was walking her out of the park and that's what it looks like right before she elbows him. They are walking in the same direction with pretty decent forward momentum.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 11:58 AM
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I can't really see anything either, but given 14 unless the video is unusually clear, how does the video demonstrate one way or another that there was or wasn't a breast grab? I.e., he could be leading her out of the park and grab her breast and you couldn't really tell one way or another from the video.

(I say that with baseline prejudices maybe running slightly in the other direction from many here, not that it's OK to beat up protesters, but that I wouldn't have thought the Manhattan DA would prosecute this without a pretty clear-cut case, but that's a prejudice that could be totally wrong.)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:03 PM
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16

She does have a pretty wicked breast-bruise with finger-ish marks, not that she couldn't have acquired that during something else, but I'm not sure when she would have.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:04 PM
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I was wondering, are there any pictures of the cop showing any injury? Not that it's okay to hit people if you don't leave bruises, but a felony prosecution on that basis seems like overkill. (There might be pictures. I should look around.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:06 PM
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how does the video demonstrate one way or another that there was or wasn't a breast grab? I.e., he could be leading her out of the park and grab her breast and you couldn't really tell one way or another from the video.

I agree with this. On the other hand, I don't really know how it supports comment 1, either.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:08 PM
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I'm curious about the case itself. Does anyone know: was it clear that the judge/jury didn't believe the cop had grabbed her breast (in which case, I'll defer to them, because I'm not going to spend that much time analyzing this), or was the verdict instead that, whether or not a cop has just grabbed your breast, you still have no right to elbow him in the face? (And doing so is a criminal offense.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:08 PM
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you can see her bend her knees and give a pretty good elbow with her right

Or, you can see her recoil from being grabbed (in part by bending her knees since she's being held) and flail in an effort to get free.

I didn't even see the cop at all the first time I looked at it, so it did look to me as though she just hauled off and hit him. But now that I see where he was and know his testimony about what he was doing, I have no idea what happened.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:09 PM
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21

"For most of the jury, the video said it all," the juror told the paper, referring to this grainy footage in which you can see Cecily McMillan elbow Officer Grantley Bovell (0:20). It's impossible to see in the video whether Officer Bovell violently grabbed her breast, which is what she says caused her to rear back and strike him in the face.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:10 PM
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22

+"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:11 PM
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Her testimony (according to a NY Times article) "All of a sudden I feel somebody grab me from behind, from my right breast, and pull me backward,"... and it's not apparent she gets pulled backwards at all in that video.

She does have a pretty wicked breast-bruise with finger-ish marks, not that she couldn't have acquired that during something else, but I'm not sure when she would have.

Anyone claiming they can tell that bruise is from getting grabbed rather than say, getting tackled to the pavement is spouting nonsense.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:13 PM
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I mean, obviously elbowing a cop in the face and then lying about it by claiming he grabbed your breast should be a criminal offense. (At least to the extent that elbowing a cop in the face should be a criminal offense. Seven years seems harsh, but that's a different issue.) If that's what the jury decided happened, then I don't really see much basis for outrage here. Was the jury biased against her and overly deferential to the testimony of the cop? Probably. I guess that's a basis for potential outrage. But not if the facts about what actually happened are pretty murky.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:14 PM
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... and it's not apparent she gets pulled backwards at all in that video.

Hm, if somebody reached around you from behind, with their arm across your body, and started to forcibly pull you backward, I'm thinking... your knees would buckle, and if you resisted, you would turn to the left. Might look like winding up for an elbow!

Anyhow I don't know one way or the other, but the idea that the video is dispositive about her lying is... an incorrect idea.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:15 PM
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26

I read that the jury didn't see the video, just stills of her elbow in the cop's face.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:18 PM
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27

If you watch really closely, though, one of the other protesters turns into a rabbit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:18 PM
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26: The juror interviewed in the link in 21 says they saw the video.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:19 PM
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On the other hand, I don't really know how it supports comment 1, either.

The idiotic lie part is not the breast grabbing accusation, it's her claiming she doesn't remember hitting him when it's captured on camera and obviously deliberate. She recalls everything that night except the part where she elbowed a cop in the face! It's an OWS miracle!


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:19 PM
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29: so when people do something in the heat of stress that they don't later remember, you can tell that from the way they move on video?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:21 PM
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31

I mean, I'm not saying she's not lying about remembering it. But I have no idea how you'd get that from the video.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:21 PM
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32

Yeah, I don't think you can say either way from that video. What happens before about 0:22 is pretty obscured by other people and/or their shadows, so he very well could have grabbed her.

That bruise does look pretty hand-marky to me. If it was from being tackled, why would she be just bruised right there on the top of her breast? If she was hitting the ground hard enough to do that, why aren't there any facial contusions?

I've been to plenty of demos, and it strains credulity to think that someone who was not even bloc-ed up would just freak out and assault a cop in the middle of a crowd of other cops for no reason. Meanwhile, the likelihood of some cop deciding to sexually assault someone in the dark at a busy demo would just be par for the course.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:21 PM
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25: In the vid you can see him walking next to her the same direction. He's not behind her pulling her backward. At most he could have, maybe reached over and squeezed her tit while they were walking but that's not what she says happened.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:23 PM
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34

At least to the extent that elbowing a cop in the face should be a criminal offense.

I'm trying to defend my snap reaction here, and admittedly I'm having trouble generalizing it. But a felony prosecution for a blow that doesn't appear to have left a mark (that is, some quick googling I couldn't find a picture of the cop with an injury, and I found some comments from other people that they hadn't seen such a picture) seems wildly, but wildly disproportionate to me.

Not so much that it's open season on cops, but I'd be really surprised by a prosecution for that class of blow barring some exacerbating context, and, even in the absence of the breast grab, "the cop was trying to move me out of the park" doesn't seem all that exacerbating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:24 PM
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35

I can't imagine getting a bruise there, getting tackled, because it's a receding, not a protruding, part of the body. Yes, you could hit a rock or something, but you'd think there'd be other bruises, or that the breast itself would have more of a bruise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:24 PM
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36

30- You of all people should be able to recognize footage from one of those special brain-wave scanning video cameras.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:24 PM
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35: Yeah, you'd need to get really 'lucky' and get slammed down onto something sticking up, like a curb or something, to get a bruise there. I can't see how you could on a flat surface.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:27 PM
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38

32: Yes, Natilo, a drunk taking a swing at a cop while being escorted out of a gathering strains credulity while sexual assault by the cops is par for the course.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:27 PM
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39

I agree with 32 and 34. If this is what protesting gets you, the kids may as well just start lighting fires. The jail time is about the same and it's safer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:28 PM
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40

Well, okay, I agree with 34. But in that analysis, the potential breast grabbing is a distraction. The question is just: is 7 years a reasonable sentence for elbowing a cop in the face? I certainly would think not. (Saying "any felony prosecution" is going too far seems a bit of a stretch to me. What's the general puishment for elbowing people in the face? Surely that's usually a felony, isn't it?)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:29 PM
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41

so when people do something in the heat of stress that they don't later remember, you can tell that from the way they move on video?

Sure, things happen and memories are unreliable. But the selectivity of the recall here seems a tad convenient.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:31 PM
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42

The thing about elbowing, though, is that you're hitting something behind you. Not having any clear sense or memory of what your elbow connected with, if it was a reactive blow, seems perfectly plausible.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:33 PM
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43

I don't see any evidence of the cop grabbing her breast before she throws an elbow in the video. There is a line across her chest going from the right shoulder down, but I think that is a handbag strap.

Did anyone offer a reason the cop might have tried the grab, other than perving out at a really unlikely time?

All this time I'd been imagining that the breast grab was something that happened inadvertently during a struggle, which then prompted an equally unconscious response.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:34 PM
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44

But a felony prosecution for a blow that doesn't appear to have left a mark (that is, some quick googling I couldn't find a picture of the cop with an injury, and I found some comments from other people that they hadn't seen such a picture) seems wildly, but wildly disproportionate to me.

Yeah, out here simple assault is a Class B misdemeanor and gets bumped to a Class A if you assault certain people in the course of duty like cops and firemen. You might get some jail but prison isn't on the table and you wouldn't get your life permanently screwed by a felony conviction.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:35 PM
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45

I suppose the breast grab doesn't have to be the cop getting pervy, like he's turned on by it. It could just be a dominance move.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:37 PM
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46

I had formed the impression she elbowed him partly because she didn't see him and thought he was a random molester/assailant, but if he was explicitly escorting her out, wouldn't she have had an idea it was him, even if her back was to him?

I say this having no confidence in the police/prosecutors not being horrible.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:38 PM
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42: I don't find her claims plausible at all.

"As I have no memory of my elbow coming into contact with the officer's face," she said, "I've watched it hundreds of times trying to make sense of what happened."..."All of the sudden I feel somebody grab me from behind, from my right breast, and pull me backward," she said. "I was lifted in the air and then I felt my face slammed to the ground."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:39 PM
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48

Did anyone offer a reason the cop might have tried the grab, other than perving out at a really unlikely time?

The first thing I read on this subject stated that there were numerous reports of breast grabs on this day, pretty clearly claiming that this was a premeditated police tactic.

Sorry, don't recall the source.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:40 PM
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49

They claim 48 in one of the linked pieces.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:41 PM
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50

I have seen allegations that there was a lot of breast grabbing by cops of OWS protesters. I'm pretty agnostic as to whether it's true or after-the-fact concocted support for McMillan.

I do have a fair amount of anecdotally based belief that NYC cops are likely to behave aggressively toward protesters, and that's on the basis of not all that much participation in protests. None first-hand, but a bunch of second-hand from generally calm, not particularly political-activist types.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:42 PM
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numerous reports of breast grabs on this day, pretty clearly claiming that this was a premeditated police tactic.

And yet, with cameras rolling all over the place, no one seems to have captured this tactic.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:46 PM
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38- I can't imagine that certain cops have a record of using excessive force and thinking they can get away with it:


Bovell was disciplined for his participation in the Bronx ticket-fixing scandal of 2011, and has a record of accusations against him involving the use of excessive force, including such activities as "running a motorcyclist off the road [in an unmarked police car] to make an arrest, kicking a suspect in the face while he was on the ground, and slamming an arrestee's face into the stairs on an MTA bus." Another Occupy protestor is suing him for an assault that he claims occurred on the same day. Judge Zweibel ruled that these incidents are not relevant to the establishment of Bovell's credibility or lack thereof in Cecily's case, and the file is now sealed (although Stolar can ask Bovell questions about prior incidents when he takes the stand.) Bovell claims that he did not grab Cecily's breast and that she elbowed him without cause.

Of course note that they're all (aside from the ticket-fixing) just accusations so that must mean he's never actually done anything wrong, just been unlucky to have so many people file complaints against him.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:46 PM
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49: Yep. They say in The Toast piece that tit grabbing was common.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:46 PM
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54

Oh look, that was from the same link as the OP.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:47 PM
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55

Anyone claiming they can tell that bruise is from getting grabbed rather than say, getting tackled to the pavement is spouting nonsense.

And yet you claim with great certainty to be able to tell from grainy nighttime video what her mental state was. Fascinating.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:51 PM
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56

I picture you saying that in a Spock voice.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:53 PM
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55: That's not what I said godamnit. What I said is that the elbow is clearly deliberate and it strains credulity that she remembers everything but her one act that just happens to be the thing she's on trial for.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:54 PM
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I don't know how she phrased "can't remember", but I can imagine that one bit being an adrenaline blur that she can't reliably disentangle. In other words, she has an intense memory of it, but it's meaningless in terms of answering any questions about factual events.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:58 PM
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SP, if you're working a busy area and having to fight belligerent people, you're going to get complaints. It's a fact of the job and means nothing. I've had two formal excessive force complaints myself. Internal Affairs exonerated me because they were bullshit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 12:58 PM
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60

One thing that seems nearly certain is that she had crappy legal advice. Does anyone know who her lawyers were?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 1:09 PM
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61

Probably some filthy hippies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 1:12 PM
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62

It doesn't seem to have come up in the thread, but the Toast article, as well as some others I've seen around, claim that McMillan was having a seizure of some kind before the incident in question. That would certainly add to the confusion--and possibly would speak to her lack of memory.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:21 PM
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60: He's a superlawyer!

http://www.superlawyers.com/new-york-metro/lawyer/Martin-R-Stolar/51211869-1876-4712-894c-c1820e0e440f.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:28 PM
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62: I think the seizure was after the arrest. She also had seven beers in the four hours before the incident, which sounds to me like no more than mildly buzzed, but could be quite drunk if she's tiny.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:38 PM
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seven beers in the four hours before the incident, which sounds to me like no more than mildly buzzed

This is one of those moments where I realize just how little I drink these days. If I drank 7 beers in 4 hours the only way to describe my state would be "fucking hammered".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:43 PM
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66

She looks like she's coming off the ground. Honestly, I just watched this and my immediate impression was that someone had picked her up.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:44 PM
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Four hours is pretty long. You start at noon, and have a beer every half hour until three thirty, and then see how you're feeling at four? I'm assuming 12oz beers, not pints, but on that I think I'd be definitely unsafe to drive, but not too badly off otherwise.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:49 PM
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She also had seven beers in the four hours before the incident, which sounds to me like no more than mildly buzzed

This would be impressive tolerance.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:49 PM
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69

But the black mark could just be the shadow of her own arm. Hard to tell anything apart from the fact that she did elbow him. 7 years would be bloody ridiculous.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:49 PM
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70

I think I'd be pretty drunk, but perhaps not if I were at the stage of my life when I could have been an Occupy protester.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:53 PM
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Eh, maybe I'm talking big here. Depends a great deal on what a 'beer' is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:54 PM
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Totally depends on the size/alcohol content of the beers. I'm a gentleman of girth. I think I'd probably be a bit buzzed at 7 12 oz. American lagers. 7 pints of IPA? I'd be noticeably drunk.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:58 PM
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I think the seizure was after the arrest.

As I recall she's claiming "seizure or panic attack", with some outlets claiming a panic attack after a seizure. And yes, after the handcuffs went on. Amazing how often that happens. My personal favorite attempt to get out of jail is still the "dead baby inside me".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 2:59 PM
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74

Seven twelve ounce beers is only four pints or so.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:00 PM
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75

Mostly pwned. Talking to real people makes me slow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:03 PM
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76

This the video?

http://m.on.aol.com/video/518201788

No way that isn't a deliberate elbow. That said, seven years is fucking ridiculous.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:04 PM
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77

That video is clearer, and it does look deliberate rather than reactive there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:07 PM
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78

This thread makes me kind of love LB, but I'm pretty sure that 7 beers in anything less than about 8 hours would get anyone drunk other than my 12-15 beers/night every night college housemates. Also, personally, I've been known to get a bit fighty in that state so maybe that's what happened to this woman.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:12 PM
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I didn't watch the video. I'm waiting for a transcript.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:12 PM
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80

That is, I still couldn't rule out the breast grab, but the body language doesn't look like instinctive trying to get free. If it was in response to having her breast grabbed, it looks like a purposeful response.

Of course, the funny thing is that even if the cop did grab her breast hard enough to bruise her, it's not clear to me that that would be any kind of legal defense. If your assailant was a regular person, self-defense, sure. A cop who's arresting you? Even if they use unnecessary force, I don't know offhand if you're ever allowed to retaliate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:14 PM
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By the way, 7 years is the max sentence, not what she will get. I don't know NY sentencing procedure but presumably either the judge has full discretion or there are mandatory minimums that are way less than 7 years. Using the maximum conceivable sentence to describe a criminal charge always bugs me, it's almost as bad as when the press describes a "$50 million lawsuit" just because some plaintiff's lawyer wrote that amount in a complaint when everyone knows the case isn't worth anywhere close to that much.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:16 PM
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4 UK pints in 4 hours wouldn't get me drunk at all, although on an empty stomach I might talk more shit than usual. 7 (pints) certainly would, but if it wasn't strong (5% or more) I coukd probably fake sobriety (but not be at all safe to drive). But I'm a fat bloke.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:16 PM
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78: I'm being careless rather than hardcore -- I'm a fairly lousy drinker. What I was doing was using one drink an hour as a rule of thumb as what you can process without getting progressively drunker, and then thinking that seven in four hours is only three extra. (And possibly misusing buzzed? The state I was visualizing is something like 'definitely much more likely to accidentally bump into a barstool and knock it over, but not yet exhibiting serious large scale bad judgment.")

(Also, Halford? I hate to mention this, but unless you've got the kind of drinking habits that involve being drunk at odd times of day, you've been known to get a bit fighty cold sober.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:18 PM
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Re: 80

It looks like a fairly classic hit-and-run type move that you'd be taught in a self-defence class. Elbow face, or stamp on foot, run.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:18 PM
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It's clearly deliberate, but what I can't tell is whether the black line beneath her right arm just before she strikes is a shadow or the cop's arm. If the latter, he might have grabbed, deliberately or not, her right breast, for which she hit him (which, fair enough). But! Her bruise is above the right breast, which doesn't match up with where the black line is, so if her story is that he grabbed her with enough force to leave a hand-shaped bruise (that's a lot of force!) in that moment, I don't buy it. If her story is that the cops were grabbing breasts (what the fuck is the matter with people?), she got the bruise, and wasn't going to tolerate being grabbed again, plausible!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:19 PM
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Right. My earlier comments about how maybe she didn't know what she hit was based on thinking of it as striking out blindly at something that surprised her. In the clearer video, it looked intentional.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:20 PM
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Yes but you're Scottish so different rules apply.*

*mostly meant as pure stereotyping, but also I do think that IM extremely limited E there's kind of a higher standard for "drunk" in the UK, not only are tolerances higher but also "drunk" is more like what we'd call "beyond shitfaced."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:20 PM
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88

I've been known to get a bit fighty in that state

Exactly. Every night some dillhole gets drunk, takes a swing at a cop, and then fakes an illness to try and get out of a trip to jail. But being a white woman doing it in Zucotti Park makes you a political prisoner.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:22 PM
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83 last -- true. Didn't mean to blame my old friend, alcohol, though it can definitely be a fightyness enhancer.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:22 PM
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85: If the black line is the cop's arm, you can only see it clearly for about a second before she hits him. The grab could have been before that.

But again, I don't know if "He grabbed my breast hard enough to leave a bruise so I hit him" is a defense if the guy grabbing you is a cop, for real.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:23 PM
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What I was doing was using one drink an hour as a rule of thumb

If the online blood alcohol calculators are to be believed, it doesn't work that way--there seems to be a cumulative effect. For example, for a 200lb woman, 4 beers in an hour gets you to .074. But 7 in 4 hours gets you .091. If this page is to be believed, that's drunk, but not sloppy drunk.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:24 PM
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Re: 87

Maybe, yeah. I don't have a high alcohol tolerance now that I'm old, or rather it's unpredictable and X beers will give me a mild buzz one night, and leave me feeling rough as hell another. I had 4 pints on Monday (admittedly in less than 2 hours - Liverpool / Palace game) and felt shit the next morning, and would have been visibly but not excessively 'tipsy'.

But in my undergrad years, and I think this is fairly typical, I'd have thought of 4 or 5 pints as a 'start'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:32 PM
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91: pretty sure the woman in this case doesn't weigh 200lb unless she's got metal legs or something.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:37 PM
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On my friend's 21st birthday, we had 21 drinks, which the calculators tell me resulted in our death, but we threw up somewhere in the middle there, and maybe more than once. Body wisdom!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:37 PM
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doesn't weigh 200lb

I agree, but I picked a high number so people wouldn't complain that I was sexist/rigging the outcome/trolling/something else.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:40 PM
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I have to say, that video changed my mind on this case. There are videos all over the internet documenting clear-cut police brutality. If it's accurate, this seems to clearly document that she just walked up to the cop and threw an elbow, before she was grabbed.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:45 PM
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Of course, 7 years is ridiculous, and a symptom of the deference we show to police in these situations. This is a slightly greater sentence than the one given to the two men who beat Brian Stow into permanent disability and brain damage in a completely unprovoked assault. I'd be surprised if the cop here was even bruised.

I always thought the reason cops were heroes is that they were willing to take *greater* physical risks than the rest of us. But the logic of resisting arrest/assault on a police officer seems to be that even touching a cop is the most awful thing ever.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:50 PM
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Again, she hasn't been sentenced to 7 years or sentenced at all yet. If she did get a 7 year sentence I agree that would be wildly outrageous.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:52 PM
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By the way, 7 years is the max sentence, not what she will get.

whoops, didn't see this. Maybe the sentence will end up reasonable, then.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:52 PM
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I can't even admit to being wrong without getting pwned!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 3:53 PM
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I once tried to take one drink an hour for 24 hours to see if I would be drunk or not. There was vomit at some point, but I don't think it was my vomit. Attending the Mid-Atlantic Beer Fest immediately prior to the beginning of the experiment may have affected its overall validity.

That video looked like a breast grab + fair hit to me.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 4:03 PM
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Personally, the video linked in 76 + knowledge that she was drunk takes me from "huh sounds like a clear miscarriage of justice but I'd like to know more" to "I don't know but am not gonna second-guess the jury."

It still seems excessive to prosecute her on a felony charge; presumably there was some available misdemeanor, and (assuming the jury got it right, which I don't know, but it's not clear they got it wrong) something like 30 days plus community service plus no felony on your record feels more right here than a felony assault charge.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 4:04 PM
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Liverpool / Palace game

I left the pub right after Liverpool scored their third; it was kind of a boring game, I didn't really care that much, and I figured there was no way back for Palace. Boy was that a mistake.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 4:39 PM
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My recent jury experience convinced me that juries don't know shit.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 4:44 PM
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Re: 103

I was with a friend who is a life-long Liverpool fan. He was devastated.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 4:44 PM
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82, after translating from imperial measurements and locution, is me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 4:51 PM
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105: Did you tell him that now he understood what it felt like to be an Arsenal fan?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 5:02 PM
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You also definitely shouldn't send him this .gif.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 5:04 PM
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Using the maximum conceivable sentence to describe a criminal charge always bugs me, it's almost as bad as when the press describes a "$50 million lawsuit" just. because some plaintiff's lawyer wrote that amount in a complaint when everyone knows the case isn't worth anywhere close to that much.

Similarly, all the TWENTY GAZILLION DOLLAR drug seizures where they report the value a short ton of cocaine as if it were being sold by the half gram.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 6:36 PM
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34 -- It's said that pictures of the cop with a black eye were admitted into evidence.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 7-14 10:49 PM
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I always thought the reason cops were heroes is that they were willing to take *greater* physical risks than the rest of us. But the logic of resisting arrest/assault on a police officer seems to be that even touching a cop is the most awful thing ever.

I don't think that's inconsistent at all.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 1:28 AM
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Speaking of dudes in uniform, Group photo of the 'government' of the 'Lugansk People's Republic'


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 5:56 AM
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Somebody should send that to Canada. I think I see Mayor Ford in there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 5:57 AM
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Teacher Tweety is the cog sci guy, so he can say more definitively, but I don't think it is possible to determine whether an action is intentional based on body language alone. I think you need to know a lot of stuff about character and context. And even then its hard.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:13 AM
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Even if I were an avid supporter of anschluss with Russia, I'm not sure I'd be entirely happy about guys like that being in charge of my town.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:19 AM
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My colleague comments: "they look like a pub quiz team".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:23 AM
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And not the winning team either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:24 AM
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112 is marvellous. They really do look like the men who burn witches, herd the Jews into a ravine, comment on the Telegraph web site, etc.

Another thing to hold against the modern world - back before gunpowder, the local rapine and pillage specialists would have been more aesthetically pleasing if no better in character. That lot really wouldn't last long in hand to hand combat.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:28 AM
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No, in fact, his full comment was "a pub quiz team that keeps coming fourth".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:29 AM
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re: 114

I think we can make fairly good inferences from body language. Inferences to the effect that by far the most parsimonious explanation for a particular set of bodily movements is that the person was trying to elbow another person.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:29 AM
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114: well, it is certainly the case that people pretty much automatically try to infer somebody's intentions in action, and that they're pretty good at discriminating intentional biological motion from unintentional or ballistic or whatever motion (see here (does that load?) for more information than you want on the topic) but that doesn't mean they are necessarily good at getting it right, especially in situations with, as you say, a lot of complex interaction of character and context and circumstance.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:32 AM
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Oh but first we'd have to solve the problem of other minds!!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:33 AM
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NO, NO WE DON'T!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GILBERT RYLE | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:36 AM
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122: the neural correlates thereof are discussed in the article I linked, you'll be glad to know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:38 AM
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From the way he's standing, I don't think he's glad.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:39 AM
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Incidentally, just because it's interesting, people are far better (at pretty short timescales) at predicting the future trajectory of a moving biological agent than they are at predicting the trajectory of a nonliving object.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:40 AM
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I feel a little bad for trolling gswift with the OP title.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:40 AM
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112: and here, for comparison, is one of the leaders of Right Sector speaking in Maidan Square. Reassuring!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:44 AM
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Why are fascist leaders always either runty little bastards or fat slobs who couldn't run for a bus? The obvious psychological answer somehow seems too simplistic. There must be a deeper reason.

[OK, Oswald Mosley was a partial exception.]


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:48 AM
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that doesn't mean they are necessarily good at getting it right, especially in situations with, as you say, a lot of complex interaction of character and context and circumstance.

Of course if you don't know the backstory you won't know *why* someone is acting intentionally, or whether their intentional action is justified. But even in isolation it seems pretty straightforward to tell whether an action is intentional. Here, the woman plants her feet and torques her body before unleashing the elbow, for maximal force, then immediately tries to break loose after the elbow hits. As ttaM says in 84, this looks like a planned and practiced move.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:50 AM
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Oh but first we'd have to solve the problem of other minds!!

Instead of a lawyer, she should have hired a skeptical philosopher and gone with an epistemology defense.

"Sure, your senses told you that you were elbowed in the face, but maybe you're just a brain in a vat! Ever consider that?"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 6:54 AM
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In the event, I think that ttaM is probably right (although I don't think the torquing necessarily have to do with the elbow so much as possibly instinctive writhing to get away). But an important point about action perception is that we are likely wired to try really hard to see actions as intentional, and figure out that intention, for pretty obvious veldty reasons. It's sort of the same deal as pareidolia; you would much rather see faces everywhere than not notice somebody staring at you, and you would much rather interpret unintentional motion as intentional, hostile motion than to miss intentional, hostile motion because you think it's just random flailing.

But what we really don't know from our automatic reads of her intentions in the video is if she threw the elbow basically instinctually (maybe she really practiced at women's self defense class) because somebody unknown grabbed her tit from behind, or if she threw the elbow because she thought "I'ma get away from this cop with the trick I learned! Wooo! Waaaasted!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:02 AM
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s/have/has


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:04 AM
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s/has/had, Sifu you knucklehead.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:05 AM
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Right, I didn't think there was a debate over whether or not she deliberately threw an elbow. I assumed the debate was whether or not it was instinctual, like Tweety said.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:05 AM
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[OK, Oswald Mosley was a partial exception.]

I'd add Mussolini in his early years to the exceptions.

There was a BBC production of Aldous Huxley's Point Counterpoint in the seventies that made the character "Everhard Webley" far more pompous and blimpish than I think Mosley ever was. Don't know if that reflects the novel, which I haven't read in many years, or whether it's just natural to depict fascists that way.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:06 AM
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"I'ma get away from this cop with the trick I learned! Wooo! Waaaasted!"

That's another thing that bothers me. Trying to get away from the cops would piss off the cops but nobody I ever heard of got charged with resisting arrest or flight or whatever. The cops expected to have to do a little work to catch somebody. I don't know if that has changed or if the cops were less worried because we were apolitically drunk. I suspect both.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:07 AM
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Sometimes I imagine famous people confronting the in-a-vat problem as they do other issues of their days: an arch FT column by Tyler Brûlé detailing his search for an appropriately stylish vessel comes to mind ("Vats for the fat, jars unspeakable, mid-century Scandinavian highball glass intriguing but unaccessionable, but I stumbled (not literally) upon the ideal home-from-home for my grey passenger in a pop-up shop at Narita Airport.")


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:13 AM
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Also presumably grabbing women by the breast is a well-understood, if generally frowned upon, pain compliance technique. Not sure why it's so implausible that cops trying to clear a lot of protesters quickly wouldn't rely on techniques they knew to be effective notwithstanding that the (dirty hippie) protesters might have a legitimate shot to get them in a little bit of trouble for it, possibly (although in the event, if it did happen, not actually).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:14 AM
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Trying to get away from the cops would piss off the cops but nobody I ever heard of got charged with resisting arrest or flight or whatever.

Oh, have you met any black people?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:14 AM
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While trying to get away from the cops? So racist, heebie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:16 AM
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140: The entire black population of my hometown would fit in a police cruiser without anybody having to sit on somebody's lap.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:17 AM
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I think the 'instinctual' issue here is something of a red herring. The only kind of 'instinctual' motion that would normally be an excuse for punching a policeman in the face would be something like 'the brain tumor pressing on my basal ganglia causes uncontrollable spastic motion! Look, here's the MRI!'. The normal sense of reacting instinctually and not really having had time to think is not applicable at all -- e.g. if I was in a drunken argument with someone and a cop came up from behind and grabbed my arm roughly to pull me away, and I instinctually punched him because that's what I do when strangers grab my arm roughly, that would be no excuse at all. Instinctual or not.

What I think the defense is really getting at when they say 'the cop grabbed her breast so she instinctively elbowed him' is that the cop's action is so out of bounds that she was *justified* in elbowing him. Was she supposed to just let him grope her breast or what? Of course she reacted angrily. And such an instinctual angry reaction from a woman being groped is justified, unlike the instinctual angry reaction of a drunk being grabbed by the arm.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:18 AM
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My colleague comments: "they look like a pub quiz team".

I was thinking that they were just one case of beer away from a hunting accident.

(But hunting as a passtime has totally different class associations on this side of the pond.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:20 AM
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I don't think 'instinctual' is a red herring whatsoever. It's supposed to point out that women and men face asymmetric dangers and women are going to have a different set of instinctual responses, and to hold her to a standard of someone without breasts is entirely missing the point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:22 AM
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That's another thing that bothers me. Trying to get away from the cops would piss off the cops but nobody I ever heard of got charged with resisting arrest or flight or whatever.

Did any of them ram an elbow into the cop's face, or did they just run away?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:23 AM
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I can't recall anybody hitting a cop. One guy stole* the cop's car, but they never figured out who did it because he couldn't chase anybody until he found he car. One guy stole the lights off the top of the cops car. He did a couple days in jail.

* He only moved it a few blocks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:25 AM
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145: that is an argument about justification, not about instinct.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:32 AM
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re: 145

True, but I also think to think of what might be natural in the canonical 'dark alley' situation, and what might be natural in the middle of a political protest, surrounded by other people, when you are being escorted by a cop and have a fairly good idea of who might be grabbing you.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:32 AM
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It's supposed to point out that women and men face asymmetric dangers

Men are actually slightly more likely than women to be the victims of violent crime. And the asymmetry becomes much more pronounced for more serious crimes: men are 3-4 times more likely than women to be murdered.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:33 AM
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You know what else I bet cops trying to break up a protest and/or riot and/or mob do? Surreptitiously knee dudes in the balls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:35 AM
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How on earth is 150 relevant to tit-grabbing and fear of sexual harassment?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:35 AM
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That's not nearly as pronounced at the asymmetry in who is likely to be a murdering somebody.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:35 AM
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151: And use bear-spray on seated, non-violent protesters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:36 AM
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True, but I also think to think of what might be natural in the canonical 'dark alley' situation, and what might be natural in the middle of a political protest, surrounded by other people, when you are being escorted by a cop and have a fairly good idea of who might be grabbing you.

Does she know it was a cop? I thought that was disputed. The crowd-factor doesn't seem mitigating whatsoever - women routinely get groped in crowds, so being full of adrenaline and primed to throw an instinctual elbow seems entirely reasonable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:36 AM
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152: it's relevant to the point about asymmetric dangers and why those might justify a violent response from some people but not from others.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:37 AM
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re: 155

Well, the crowd factor is entirely relevant to the question of, 'Am I in danger, such that elbowing someone full force in the face is justified?'

If your instinct, in those circumstances, is to throw an elbow, maybe it's a good idea to recalibrate those instincts.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:38 AM
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I hate sounding like I am defending the 'cop' side, in general. I'm completely on the side, in general, of protestors who are routinely subject to unjustified violence and intimidation by police. And the police do, routinely, get away with completely unacceptable behaviour.

But in this instance, the story being told in her defence, and the video footage, are pretty strongly at odds with each other.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:40 AM
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I also don't think the "she was being escorted out by the cop" is particularly (or at all) clear from the video. In fact I wouldn't have guessed that was the story until it was mentioned in this thread. I suppose I haven't watched the second, clearer, video, though. So what am I talking about!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:41 AM
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If your instinct, in those circumstances, is to throw an elbow, maybe it's a good idea to recalibrate those instincts.

Really. Why is it a bad instinct to throw an elbow when someone gropes your breast?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:41 AM
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152: it's relevant to the point about asymmetric dangers and why those might justify a violent response from some people but not from others.

Oh, were the men with their high risk of murder fearful that they might get shot in this OWS crowd?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:43 AM
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Chance was still pretty low. But they were probably aware of a risk of being assaulted.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:46 AM
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So I think there's a little bit of an interesting disconnect here. ttaM is talking about when it's (legally, as well as morally) justified to use violence as a self-defense technique to escape a dangerous situation as compared to when it's (mostly morally, but possibly legally as well -- I dunno) justified to throw an elbow to the face of the asshole who just groped you, because he just groped you and fuck that dude.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:47 AM
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162: Oh, well then that maps perfectly onto sexual harassment. Case closed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:48 AM
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re: 159

It certainly looks like that is what is happening in the second video, yeah. It might not be. It's not completely clear. But it certainly looks that way.

http://on.aol.com/video/video-shows-woman-elbowing-officer-in-the-face-during-ows-protest-518201788

Just to repeat the link.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:49 AM
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And insofar as the second justification in 163 is not a legal justification that carries legal validity in all situations, that's a fairly problematic manifestation of the social asymmetry that also includes women being subject to groping in the first place.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:49 AM
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160: I agree. Throwing an elbow seems perfectly reasonable to me even if you knew it was a cop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:49 AM
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165: I can't get the link to load in firefox because I assume adblockers and that was enough to dissuade me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:50 AM
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A little tipsy plus pissed at being escorted out of the park and then a boob grab would prompt me to throw an elbow, cop or no. I figure it would come with some real consequences, though. I'm surprised they went for a felony charge - I assume it has something to do with teaching the DFHs a lesson.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:57 AM
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re: 163

Exactly. And under UK law, it would absolutely not be a legal justification.

'I elbowed him, because he was being a fucking arsehole' would not be a legal defence, even if no sane person would disagree that he was indeed being a fucking arsehole. And purely pragmatically, it's stupid.

All of which is an entirely separate question from whether it's _morally_ justifiable.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:57 AM
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169 is basically my position.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 7:58 AM
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'I elbowed him, because he was being a fucking arsehole sexually assaulted me ' would not be a legal defence, even if no sane person would disagree that he was indeed being a fucking arsehole. engaged in sexual assault.

The above seems pretty different, to me, from the original construction.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:00 AM
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145: As a generally entirely non-violent woman who was trying to draw the instinctual/deliberate distinction, I think it's a real one. Something startles me, I am going to move in a non-consciously-controlled fashion, although the results of that motion are often going to be the sort of thing I would have intended if I'd thought about it. The two best personal examples I can think of are both falls. As a teenager, riding my bike, I once hit a patch of sand at a corner, and my bike went down and skidded into a lane of traffic. Which I observed from the spot on the sidewalk where I was standing -- I must have jumped off the pedals as the bike was going down, and landed on my feet, but I'm honestly unsure of what I did or how, and I'm completely sure that I didn't do it as a result of a conscious decision (most ninja moment of my life, but not something I could hope to duplicate on purpose). Just this winter, I slipped on a patch of ice and fell on my ass -- the whole thing happened too fast for me to realize what was going on, but without thinking, I had caught myself on a railing hard enough to soften the impact a little. Again, in some sense purposeful, but not a conscious decision. If someone grabbed me in a way that surprised me, I would guaranteed do something vigorous immediately (twist away, maybe strike out toward the grabber), but probably initially not as a result of thinking about it.

Once I saw the clearer video, that sort of instant, thoughtless reaction doesn't look like a possibility any more. I can't rule out whether or not McMillian hit the cop because he hurt her first, but it looks very likely to me that her hitting him was purposeful, regardless of whether she had some justification for it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:02 AM
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re: 172

Again, I'm not sure. As a matter of law, UK law quite tightly restricts justifiable use of violence to self-defence, and even then there's a question of proportionality. Which is why being alone, or at genuine risk of further assault or violence would mean that an elbow to the face would probably be legally justified. But it would be much harder to mount a self-defence claim against a charge of physical assault in circumstances like these.*

I don't know what US law says.

* although if it wasn't a cop, and there was no serious injury done to the person who carried out the initial sexual assault, I can't imagine it'd ever get prosecuted.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:09 AM
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It is very difficult to see what (if anything) the cop did in the video, but her response definitely does not look like an instinctive startle response. She stops, she braces her feet, she throws the elbow with full force (twisting at the hips as she does so) and then she runs off.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:12 AM
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As far as I'm concerned, that's schools should teach girls to do if somebody grabs their from behind.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:13 AM
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"their" s/b either "them" or "their breasts". I'm not sure which I intended.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:13 AM
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175: Yeah, that's what it looks like to me too, after the clearer video. I couldn't tell what was going on really at all from the first video, which is why I was talking about instinctive(almost certainly the wrong word) responses.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:14 AM
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And at this point, I'm pretty much with gswift in thinking that if she says she doesn't remember hitting the cop, and she does remember the incident at all, she was lying. Not remembering the whole thing? Sure -- alcohol, stress, maybe she got a blow to the head getting arrested. If it had been the kind of startle response I was describing in 173, not having processed what happened clearly enough to remember it? That's my experience of what that sort of thing is like. But the clearer video looks like the sort of deliberate action she should have remembered if she remembered the surrounding incidents.

I still think calling it a felony is nuts, and I'm agnostic about whether the cop grabbed her breast hard enough to bruise, but if he did I'd call elbowing him in the face completely justified, even if that's not a legal defense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:19 AM
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Before she does that, she just seems to be walking along placidly with the cop beside and behind her. What happens after that is that she gets about three steps before the cop she elbowed catches up and takes her down in a sort of a tangle.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:24 AM
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Even in the clearer video, I can't see them clearly enough to say much about what's going on until about two seconds before the elbow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:25 AM
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Legally, I think the instinctual or no thing matters in at least three ways. First, assault has an intent element, so you have to have intentionally thrown the punch; an instinctual elbow throw of "get off me" might not count. To my eye, which could be wrong, the second video makes it very clear that this is not what's going on; she intentionally hit him.

Second, the assault on an officer statute has a requirement that you have been intending to interfere with the officer's lawful duties; sexual assault's not part of an officer's lawful duties, so if she was (even if intentionally) punching him to stop her from sexually assaulting him, the particular crime might not apply. Third, there are the usual self defense justifications; if she was acting reasonably to defend herself from an improper attack, including from sexual assault (but not from the cop just restraining her in an standard way), she can hit the cop.

My take is that the combination of the video and what (from this thread) seems to be her story of the events makes it pretty unlikely that she was acting in legitimate self defense to prevent the cop from sexually assaulting her; that's much much less clear (one way or another) to me from the video than that she intentionally hit him, but given the video I'm not going to automatically fault a jury that heard all the evidence and got to judge everyone's credibility from ruling the way that it did. In particular her story of how the assault happened seems inconsistent with the video evidence, and GSwift is right that testimony that she didn't remember throwing the elbow at all is a (maybe not decisive, but real) blow to her credibility, again given the video.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:26 AM
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She only appears to be walking along placidly in the slo-mo version. In the regular version, this is all a split second.

I'm not convinced that "she's planting her feet and swiveling at the torso" isn't just what an elbow thrown looks like in slo-mo.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:26 AM
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Is the clearer video slowed down? It might be, I guess, but it's not slowed down all that much, people seem to be moving at a fairly natural speed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:33 AM
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Yeah, I still don't think either video is clear enough to say what happened with 100% certainty. Both are very grainy, very dark and the action is partially obscured. As to her memory or lack thereof, I dunno, I can see someone flashbacking into some fight-or-flight mode in that circumstance, especially if there was alcohol involved.

This all just seems too convenient. The OWS protests were almost entirely peaceful, to a fault even, and the police response was grotesquely disproportionate. So now they've got this one case they can prosecute to the fullest extent of the law to smear out the memory of all the horrific police abuse that went down.

I stopped by Zuccotti during the first month, as you may remember, and the whole thing was so NOT militant. Turned me off a bit, frankly. The only way I would believe the prosecution version is if this woman was not an activist at all, but just someone who wandered into a demo and thought it would be fun to elbow a cop. If she really is an activist, I don't believe the cop version for a second.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:35 AM
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They first show it at regular speed, and then slowed down.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:35 AM
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And I also agree, as I said above, that the decision to charge with a felony seems bad and in the unlikely event that she gets a seven year sentence, that would be an outrage. The DA's office was legally justified in doing so, given the law and that video, I think, but this would have been a good case to go with a lesser charge.

Purely pragmatically, I suspect that she was badly served by hiring an activist anti-Cop lawyer who was interested in publicizing the case; he certainly got good publicity for her, but my guess is that if her goal was to avoid a felony conviction, as opposed to making a political statement, she could have done much better with different counsel and taken a deal. That of course also says something bad about the criminal justice system, maybe, but it's just the reality of how it works.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:35 AM
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186: Got it -- I'd clicked away after the full-speed version without realizing there was a repeat.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:37 AM
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Further to 182.1 and .2, I think that to have the requisite intent for this particular offense, she'd have to have known she was throwing her elbow at a cop, which is presumably the relevance of her claim that she thought it was a random bystander that grabbed her.

I was puzzled by the cop's own testimony that just before the incident, she was asking bystanders if they were filming. Which seems like a strange thing to do if you're about to assault a cop. The prosecutor's story is that she was asking to make sure people weren't filming but that's ridiculous. Drunk and provoked, however, makes sense in context.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:41 AM
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If she really is an activist...

She's an activist and a pacifist with a well documented history of pacifist activities and allegiances. This was clearly out of character for her. I think the booze is partly to blame - she's not that big and 7 beers for a lightweight drinker could easily have her buzzed enough to do something out of character.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:44 AM
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The other thing here is that there's a disproportionate response to white activists who claim any kind of police harassment. If this was something that had just happened on the street, with no politics, the DA would certainly have plead out to some misdemeanor with some token punishment. But prosecutors know they can score a lot of points with cops by aggressively pursuing charges against activists, especially white activist kids who aren't particularly sympathetic, because they're just overprivileged college pukes or whatever. There's a long tradition of legal attacks on activists in the US police/judicial system, from before Haymarket on down to Fred Hampton. There's no way that an activist could get a fair trial on a charge like this, regardless of her actual guilt or innocence.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:49 AM
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191: I think it's inarguably true that she was overcharged.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 8:53 AM
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If this was something that had just happened on the street, with no politics, the DA would certainly have plead out to some misdemeanor with some token punishment.

An ordinary, non-political person elbowing a police officer in the face would normally be treated as a misdemeanor with token punishment? That doesn't sound very plausible. In fact it sounds completely implausible.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:14 AM
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193: That's how gswift describes the law in Utah -- simple assault on a police officer is a class A misdemeanor, not a felony. And while clearly that's something that can be charged as a felony in NY, and I don't really have much experience to base my reaction on, I'd find charging a blow that doesn't seem to have resulted in injury as a felony surprising, even if it were against a cop.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:21 AM
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But "token punishment", though?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:30 AM
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And "assault on a police officer" is actually a felony in NY, if I am reading the law right.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:32 AM
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Well, yes. The whole prosecution wouldn't make much sense if it wasn't. Doesn't mean that charging the pictured conduct that severely would be an ordinary result.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:35 AM
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I mean, picture a cop breaking up a non-political crowd of drunks outside a bar, and some woman does exactly what McMillan did. This isn't legal analysis, just my sense of how the world works, but I'd be really surprised if she came out of it with a felony conviction. (I would be less surprised if she came out of it with serious injuries, admittedly.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:39 AM
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So, normally someone in NY who hit a police officer in the face would not be charged with "felony assault on a police officer" but would be charged with misdemeanor assault and given only a token punishment?
I mean, you live there, you know the answer better than I do.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:39 AM
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It definitely looks as if there is an applicable felony statute, but just because a criminal law is available doesn't mean it needs to be charged in a given case. And I don't think (if guilty) a token punishment would be appropriate; a couple months in jail plus community service isn't nothing, but also not a felony conviction.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:40 AM
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I don't know the answer with any solidity -- I'm guessing. Anyone commenting ever hit a cop?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:45 AM
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(So I should back off 'inarguably' in my 192. But I still hold the same opinion very strongly -- I could be convinced otherwise with evidence, but I'd find it really surprising.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:47 AM
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I've seen plenty of drunk people wrestle with cops, but I've not followed up on the charges files.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:49 AM
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My understanding was that they offered a felony plea with no jail time, but were unwilling to let her a plead to a misdemeanor. If so, sounds like the DA was fine with a token (putative) punishment, but obviously wanted to disproportionately fuck up her future and/or send a message to other DFHs.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:50 AM
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I wouldn't consider a felony with no time served a token punishment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:55 AM
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Well, sure, but that's because the felony conviction fucks up your future, which is generally not the overt goal of criminal law.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 9:58 AM
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There's some similarities to Aaron Swartz. In both cases the prosecutors really want a felony on the record for essentially political reasons (that is the prosecutors don't want the accused to have the possibility of a career in politics).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:01 AM
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They may have been worried about Swartz getting into politics, but in this case I think the clear message is that if you do OWS, you can get kicked out of/kept out of the middle class.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:03 AM
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I feel a little bad for trolling gswift with the OP title.

Ha, you're fine.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:14 AM
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And you either have better eyes or a better monitor than I do. I couldn't see anything in the first video enough to have a strong opinion on what happened.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:21 AM
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If she really is an activist, I don't believe the cop version for a second...There's no way that an activist could get a fair trial on a charge like this, regardless of her actual guilt or innocence.

Natilo, you're a good guy but at some point it's time to pull your head out. 1. The whole "believe" factor starts being a lot less important when there's video. 2. "No way a cute young white girl can get a fair trial" is fucking ridiculous.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:27 AM
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Not get a fair literal 'trial' is one thing, but what do you think about the overcharging/hard-plea bargaining issue for a protester rather than a non-political person being disorderly? Ajay seems to think that charging the pictured conduct as a felony isn't weird at all, I'm thinking it's quite unusually harsh. Obviously, you've said that in Utah it per se wouldn't be a felony, but any thoughts generally?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:36 AM
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Anyone commenting ever hit a cop?
Yes! But it was consensual.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:37 AM
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Your personal ad worked quickly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:37 AM
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210: Part of it is likely that I've seen all that stuff a lot of times and know what it looks like. Like ttaM said, that elbow is a pretty standard self defense move and I've lost track of the number of times some idiot has tried to do a quick shove or swing or whatever like that and run off.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:38 AM
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213: That looks like an extremely concise short story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:39 AM
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I feel a little bad for trolling gswift with the OP title.

I firmly believe that it was an instinctual rather than intentional act of trolling.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:39 AM
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Never hit a cop. I've been tackled by cops, at a protest, but I wasn't under the influence of anything stronger than Mello Yello, so I didn't do any elbowing. Cops have done other things to try to provoke me and people I've been around, of course. I have a couple of friends who were tortured, not for information, just sadism. I don't think they hit any cops either, although I wasn't there. I'm sure alcohol played a part here, just to be clear. It sounds like this woman is an activist of some experience, and it seems unlikely to me that she would have thrown an elbow, even if it went down exactly as she said it did, if she had been completely sober. But demos affect people different ways, so who knows?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:41 AM
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Fuck the FPPs and the blogilogical system.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:42 AM
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207 -- a felony conviction isn't a bar to running for political office in the federal system, and (with complicated rules, not applicable in some states) not a bar in a lot of states. Of course it can look bad to be a convicted felon, but in the specific cases of both Swartz and this woman, the conviction would, if anything, help their prospects in politics. So whatever the motive for pushing for felony convictions (which, to be clear, can have lots of bad consequences) preventing a career in politics isn't really one of them.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:45 AM
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Also, I should say that I am so, so thoroughly disgusted with the local radicals right now that I'm angry about Chappaquidick. Lotta people I thought of as some of my closest friends turned into complete assholes last year, and they just keep getting worse. And even so, I'm still going to reflexively take the protestors' side in any given confrontation.

Some very sage advice was given to me recently that I should probably actively try to create a new friend group of people with decent politics outside the traditional confines of the radical activist scene. Which sounds good to me. Sigh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:50 AM
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212: I very much doubt that she was overcharged for that jurisdiction. The standard code out there for assault on a PO is a felony and it's pretty unlikely that brown dudes with gang tattoos and drugs in their pocket are getting a lesser charge than white activist girl. WRT to the deal they offered, it's basically impossible to know if they are sticking it to her or not without knowing what SOP out there is for plea offers on that charge.

But I don't think simple assault on a PO should be a felony. A Class A misdemeanor out here isn't nothing. You can get up to a year in jail on a Class A.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:56 AM
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I guess this is where I do my usual PSA and point out that I live in a state where a person can be found guilty of a felony for being $1000 behind in child support payments (or behind any amount if the child goes on public assistance) and that there's automatic felon disenfranchisement. If you're really nice, the governor can reinstate your voting rights, but wtf?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:59 AM
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but in the specific cases of both Swartz and this woman, the conviction would, if anything, help their prospects in politics

Really? Even in the farthest-left parts of the US, I don't conceive of activism-related convictions as the kind of thing that bolster one's political reputation. Maybe Swartz if he were starting up a Pirate Party, but not, say, Democratic primaries. Do you have examples?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:00 AM
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The child support laws are crazy strict. I can certainly understand why and the canonical "deadbeat dad" certainly was and is a problem. But, on the other hand, I can go to jail basically immediately if the monthly support isn't paid, with pretty much no process rights, and no excuses whatsoever for any reason (you need to go in to get the judgment modified first). This caused me to freak the hell out when my regular auto-check somehow got lost in the mail; in the event everything was fine but a more vindictive/attentive ex could really have caused some problems.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:03 AM
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I haven't followed it closely, but there do seem to be some evidentiary rulings that might be worth raising on appeal. I don't doubt that a judge in NYC is going to lean pretty hard towards the police.

The snippet I saw about the jury deliberations was maybe a little more troubling. The jurors who initially voted for acquittal were persuaded to go with guilty, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that speculation about how light the punishment was going to be was part of the discussion that moved jurors from acquittal to guilt. Which is annoying because if jurors would follow the fucking instructions -- which do not include horsetrading or speculating about sentences or hippie-punching -- maybe you end up with more mistrials, and more dropped charges where the state is playing on emotion.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:04 AM
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224 -- well, put it this way. I don't think charging a misdemeanor, instead of a felony, would have made much if any difference in any hypothetical political prospects either one had. I don't think either Swartz or this woman would be a very likely candidate for office in any event, but to the extent that they did have such prospects, it would be as protest candidates. I was just responding to UPETGI's claim.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:05 AM
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225: Yeah. IME it doesn't help the kids much financially to have dad spend a year in prison and then have to check off that he has a felony when applying for jobs.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:06 AM
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Anyone commenting ever hit a cop?

I once did something that I realized later could probably have been charged as assault on a cop (grabbed his shoulder and pulled him away from trying to question my then-11 yo nephew, who was strapped to a gurney in the ER and didn't need more trauma), but we both apologized to each other later in the day and nothing more was said.


Posted by: DaveLHI | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:08 AM
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I love that Eggplant isn't elaborating on 213, but I do want to hear more!

And we have some other pacifists here, don't we? I'm pretty sure even if a stranger grabbed my breast, I wouldn't respond with an elbow to the face like that, but I've only been assaulted by people I know and so I guess the dynamic is different.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:11 AM
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New York will take away your drivers license for being delinquent with child support. People really hate that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:12 AM
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Oh, I'd never throw an elbow either. I have all the wrong instincts. I'd probably try to joke with them or smile like a deer in headlights, and then get really angry thirty minutes later.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:17 AM
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I have first hand knowledge of the fact that if I am grabbed by a stranger while holding a .75 liter beer bottle, I will hit the stranger in the head with the beer bottle and run. But I am not a pacifist. Generally peaceable, but not philosophically committed to it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:17 AM
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Garnishing someone's wages seems the most effective way to actually acquire the money, (which I thought they did sometimes), but way more effective than having consequences that interfere with someone's employability.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:19 AM
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(That was in Samoa, at night, in a vacant lot I was cutting across. If it were someplace I felt safer, I would probably have reacted less decisively.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:19 AM
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I think I have a solid flight reflex, although I've never been tested.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:21 AM
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Even in the farthest-left parts of the US, I don't conceive of activism-related convictions as the kind of thing that bolster one's political reputation.

Martin Luther King? OK, the Letter from Birmingham Jail was written before trial, but surely the fact that he'd been arrested and convicted for his part in mass demonstrations helped his reputation somewhat. I mean, not that he would have been ignored without it, but I doubt it harmed him.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:25 AM
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237: Never elected to political office.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:27 AM
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We had a knife stolen from our shop; when the cops came to investigate, I was showing them which knives could have been taken. Without thinking, I kept them in my hand as I was talking, and of course, because I am a hand talker, I started gesturing with them (pointy end out) at the cop. All of a sudden in mid-conversation I realised what I was doing, and blurted out to the very nice officer that I was not in fact intending on brandishing a weapon at him. He just laughed and ignored that I was rather embarrassed at my inability to control my inner monologue, but for a moment I really was terrified that I was doing something verboten even though clearly it was all fine.

Growing up in the US, I never thought about knives as weapons and have a rather cavalier attitude about them that does not fit well with life in knifecrime isle. (Or my job, which involves selling lots of them.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:31 AM
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221: that I'm angry about Chappaquidick.

Nice that it's become shorthand.

I used to be outraged by Wall Street's role in the GFC, but ever since Cecily McMillan elbowed a cop I'm a libertarian.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:39 AM
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I am pleased that when I was groped in college by a big guy on the street, my friends had to hold me back from going after him and his friend. I wasn't necessarily thinking that I would hit him, but I was damn sure in my mind that he was going to apologize to me. My friends have since said they were sorry for holding me back and that they wouldn't now.

In verbal altercations I get real quiet and polite and mad half an hour later. But in a physical encounter? I don't know yet. I know that I'll step into fights to break them up, but I have to decide to do it in the moment.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:40 AM
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230: Sadly, my life is less exciting than I make it sound. This was sparring in a kickboxing club.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:44 AM
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||

Exactly what Bomani Jones was talking about: "Look what wonderful people we all are for denouncing Sterling! Let's give ourselves a pat on the back."

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:47 AM
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More on topic, in middle school a boy grabbed my breast. I punched him in the face. (Somewhat ineffectively.) I really didn't mean to, it just happened (in a classroom, too), which does make me somewhat sympathetic to the 'instinct' argument.* However, no one else ever harassed me. Effective threat deterrent, or just good luck? (Just good luck.)

*I also punched our dorm advisor in my freshman year, when he jumped out of the telephone closet dressed as a clown on Halloween. I apparently am a punchy person when scared.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:49 AM
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Thread-title-appropriate OT question:

||
I got a speeding ticket in Sanderson, TX. It took me a while to send the money order for the fine (about 1.5 months). The money order probably crossed in the mail with the last letter from the Terrell county judge which reads:

As of this date, you have failed to satisfy the requirements of this court. This is your notice that you are to appear for hearing to show cause why you have failed to meet your obligation on this matter on 14 day of May, 2014, at 10:00 AM.

Your failure to appear will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest and charged of $285.00 plus additional collection fees. Your being confined in jail until such time the fines and costs assessed against you have been fully discharged as provided by law.

I have left about 5 un-returned messages on the judge's voicemail asking her to call me back to confirm that they have received my payment and that I do not need to show in court (they also never answered my messages beforehand when I tried to see if I could pay by phone). This place is six hours away, so I would have to spend a fair amount of time away from work, as well as money in gas and a motel for the night, to be present at court at that day/time. Is there any authority other than the county judge that could confirm I am in the clear?

||>


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:52 AM
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There's probably a clerk of the court or prothonotary you should call.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:54 AM
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What I would do in your shoes is find some other numbers at the courthouse and call them. The County Clerk, probably, but just look around the relevant websites for anyone who seems to be in the same building. And then call and explain that you can't make contact with the judge -- is there another number, or can they look up the docket to see if it reflects receipt of your payment and cancellation of the appearance, or can they figure things out for you anyhow?

But specifics are going to be very local. Even here, I'd be telling you to do different things depending on which county of NYC you were in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:56 AM
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I used to be outraged by Wall Street's role in the GFC, but ever since Cecily McMillan elbowed a cop I'm a libertarian Bill Clinton dismissively mischaracterized people's desire for justice, I wish Lewinsky had bitten his dick off.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 11:58 AM
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County clerk says they don't have access to the Justice of the Peace's records, that the JP don't have secretaries or keep hours, and that I will just have to keep trying. Welcome to the Texas miracle.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:02 PM
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Oh my god, that is infuriating.

In other news, I can't believe how fucking lazy I've been, today. I feel a little bad about it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:04 PM
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248: Co-sign.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:04 PM
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Here, there'd be two phone numbers for each judge -- courtroom and chambers. Have you located both and tried both? (I don't know TX, of course, it may not be the same.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:05 PM
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250 was mostly to 249, but I throw it towards 248 as well.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:05 PM
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Bill Clinton, you colossal dickface.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:07 PM
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One number for Terrell County Courthouse.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:07 PM
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There is a fax, so if you faxed something in, there'd be documented evidence of them getting your inquiry. Has your check cleared yet?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:08 PM
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Terrell county has less than 1,000 people. (I looked it up on Wikipedia. Also, it was the setting for No Country For Old Men. The judge probably spends most of her time either being a judge in other counties or has another job.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:09 PM
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256 money order?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:10 PM
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Maybe try the DA? He should be easier to get in touch with, and might have access to the relevant records.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:10 PM
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Sometimes in these tiny Texas counties, there are a total of three lawyers, who alternate between being judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney. Or so I heard somewhere.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:15 PM
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Assuming you don't hear back from the JoP, I think I'd consider seeing if I could get hold of a local lawyer and pay them a few bucks to get it cleared up. Cheaper than making the trip yourself, and better than ending up having a complicated mess on your hands if a warrant issues.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:15 PM
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Has your check cleared yet?

It was a money order, so it's prepaid ("Thank for taking care of this matter. NO PERSONAL CHECKS").

Speeding tickets are clearly the way they fund their operations. It's a one stop light town. The speed limit goes from 80 to 30 (for about one block) in about 1/4 of a mile.

I am gonna try the other justice.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:16 PM
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Is there a way to check with your bank and find out if a money order has been deposited? Or is that a HIPAA violation?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:16 PM
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Some of us grew up in towns with one stoplight. (It now has three even though it hasn't gained population._


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:18 PM
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Some staff person at the nonprofit I'm involved with (hopefully not the director) apparently said personal information on our donors was restricted by HIPAA. I mean, we are health providers among other things, but Christ.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:19 PM
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Even if I knew the money order had been deposited, I'd still be nervous about a warrant issuing if I failed to appear. Probably not likely and even if it happened shouldn't be too hard to clear up, but having known people in TX getting unpleasantly detained over outstanding warrants like this when they went to renew their drivers' license (I guess you probably don't have to do that in person anymore though?), something to be avoided if possible.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:21 PM
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Especially if this is how they fundraise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:24 PM
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Nobody.

Sonora Caverns are on the way at least.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:36 PM
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264: We had zero stoplights for a while. When they put in the first set there were big signs everywhere instructing people how to obey the lights. Still there was an accident within the first 12 hours of operation, and people kept running into the light poles evading collisions to the point where they build little decorative planter/bunker things around the base of the poles.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:36 PM
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248: Speaking for myself, I'm pretty sure Bill is wrong about this. I think that would, in fact, satisfy my blood-lust, at least as far as GS is concerned.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:43 PM
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Well, Criminally Bulgur, I'm guessing they haven't informed the border patrol yet. There's still time to drive way down south to Mexico where you can be free.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:51 PM
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"Give me some water,
'cause I waited too long to send a money order."


Posted by: Opinionated Eddie Money | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 12:57 PM
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I know I was just trying to show my pacifist credentials and all, but Jamie Dimon would way farther up my hypothetical hit list.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 1:01 PM
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In a place like that, if you can't find a lawyer, you might look to a neighboring county - they're probably used to long drives around there. Alpine, Fort Stockton, maybe. Probably not Del Rio, which is sort of a different region.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 1:07 PM
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I am gonna try the other justice.

Hold on there, Charles Bronson. It's just a speeding ticket, no need for a massacre.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 1:59 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 2:00 PM
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It's pretty unfortunate that she is in front of the worst possible judge she could have drawn for this and that's saying something in NY Supreme. What a mess.


Posted by: Violet G. Beekeeper | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 2:05 PM
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Are juries allowed to do this?

Or, I guess, there wouldn't be a rule about who can send letters to whom. I assume the judge will feel free to ignore it.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 3:39 PM
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I lived in a town without a stoplight, and with only 8 stop-signs, when I was little. now they've made it a suburb of the cancerous growth of hilton head (which was a beautiful empty place when my father was a child, with no bridge to take you to the island, just a ferry) and there's a stop light right outside my dad's damn driveway! our driveway is an invisible cut into palmetto scrub woods at the side of a two-lane highway with no shoulder. we have to go down to the end of the lane and put a pillowcase on the gate-post there if someone new is coming or there is no way in hell they'll ever find us.

about this woman--gswift, others: I don't know what your response is to the bruises? I've gotten bruises of actual finger marks, but only when someone grabbed me hard. like when a vietnamese policeman who had been holding my passport and other possessions ransom tried to pull me off the back of a moving motorcycle by my right upper arm (he had our camera and film saved for last, and we said we had to go get more money from our bike, then ditched because we had bought back the crucial things: plane tix and passports). four black fingers on top and a black thumb underneath and a big blue-black smear in between. but the fucker was pulling me off a bike as we gunned it away across the police station lawn! he got me laid almost flat on my back before losing hold. or when a boyfriend of mine kind of threw me just a little ways against the wall by grabbing hold of my forearm, which I had held stiffly away from my body. it was the force of me dragging my arm free from his grip--and him right up into my face, unfortunately--that really left the marks. but you can't mistake them for anything else. awesomely we had been arguing about hilary putnam for ages, before it took a brief personal turn. or, like, fingerprint bruises on your thighs--those one acquires consensually, usually, but somebody's got to grab you damn hard. do I just bruise easy? is it the contention that she's faking in the photo?

ttam: I'm surprised you don't think "automatically fucking hit somebody" is a good response to being groped in a crowd vs being groped in an alley. obviously if you can't tell whose hand is up your skirt in a packed subway car you should grab the hand, viciously scratch it with your fingernails, and start yelling. but if the person is so close that you can feel the front of their body on the back of your body when they grope your breast, automatic elbow to the face seems appropriate regardless of how many people are around. I don't really see your point here and I generally agree with you about everything. what?


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05- 8-14 10:47 PM
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Was it about his "proof" that we're not brains in vats because if we were we couldn't refer to brains or vats and we can? Cause I can see how that could get ugly.


Posted by: Mr. F | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:08 AM
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Re: 279.last

My point was largely a legal one. If say, you broke someone's jaw or nose, as a well-thrown elbow might well do, in the UK that'd be an assault charge. Morally, I guess I go with 'fucker had it coming' in lots of circumstances.* So it's not that I think that arseholes don't deserve it, but that our legal system doesn't, generally, buy that as exculpatory except in specific circumstances.

And, generally, I think it's a good thing that our legal system tends to be that way. I might well want to rock up to some dickhead and flatten him, and I might have really good reasons (that everyone would recognise) for doing so, but the law says, 'Nuh-uh.'

(brief because writing on phone)

* although in some situations it might be really unwise as a practical or legal matter.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:07 AM
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281: proportionate response, isn't it. Self-defence allows you to use what a reasonable person would think is the minimum necessary force to prevent harm to yourself. If someone grabs you, don't shoot her in the face.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:29 AM
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282: this is how I know you're not an american, ajay.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 3:47 AM
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I guess on the proportionality issue, I'd be reluctant to put hard 'numbers' on it. Thinking morally, rather than legally, some cases are going to be clearly disproportionate [breaking someone's arm for looking at you and leering, say] and some clearly not. I don't think that elbowing someone who grabbed you hard enough to leave serious bruising is necessarily out of order.

But, as a matter or law [in the UK, and I assume in the US] physical violence tends to be restricted only to self-defence, not to retaliation.* And, as I said, I'm fairly OK with the legal stance of the state being 'We don't accept retaliation as (generally) exculpatory.' Although, obviously, in any sane legal system, both the prosecutorial apparatus, and the judicial apparatus [judge/jury] would take those sorts of things into account in choosing whether to prosecute, or whether to convict, or how to sentence in the event of a conviction.

*even when any normal observer would accept that the retaliation was justified.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 3:56 AM
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A strict standard of proportionality in self defense seems rough on the generally non-violent and intimidated. I have hit people in self defense (or at all, not counting play-fighting) only twice in my life (beer bottle story, almost precisely similar story also in Samoa except I didn't have a beer bottle so I just clawed at the dude's eyes and ran.) In neither case did the guy injure me first - I was reacting to a grab rather than a blow. But if I'd connected solidly with the beer bottle, I could have seriously hurt or killed the guy.

I would be very unhappy with a legal standard that required me to wait until I was clear on how badly the interaction was likely to turn out for me before I could do everything possible to bring it to an end.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:03 AM
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re: 285

I'm not sure I'd be happy with a system that went the other way, either. I think it's fairly reasonable to expect the response to be proportional to the perceived threat, with caveats that sometimes people [in good faith] get it wrong, or misinterpret situations, or otherwise over-react without any intended malice.

Anyway, in the UK system [and I presume the US too], you aren't required to be injured first. Just have a reasonable fear that you might be so. So, you can hit first, and still get off on a self-defence plea, as long as your reactions are in response to a reasonable fear of assault.

I guess that's where the jury system, and/or prosecutorial discretion comes in. Although that is likely to break down in precisely cases like this, where one person is a cop [or other establishment figure] and the other is a DFH.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:10 AM
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And, 'I was grabbed by a stranger in a dark lonely place' looks like a canonical instance of a case where you have a reasonable fear of assault.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:13 AM
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In situations where nobody has a weapon, I always thought that the defender was still using self-defense if they kept hitting until the attacker either was on the ground or there was considerable physical distance between the two.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:14 AM
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Assuming the defender doesn't actually follow the attacker.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:15 AM
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With the further comment, that if you remove proportionality, that looks more likely to aid the case of those most able to inflict disproportionate levels of violence, e.g. young men, people with weapons, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:15 AM
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287: The initial grab counts as assault legally, doesn't it?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:25 AM
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Sure. In the US system, I'd be fine. With a proportional response requirement, I think that might have meant that I needed to not hurt the guy before I was sure that he actually meant to injure rather than just to restrain me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:28 AM
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re: 291

Yes, I believe so.

But it needn't necessarily. I have a friend who, when we were teenagers [he was about 15 at the time], was walking along a country path near where we live, when a man stepped out and grabbed at the rear of his 80s blouson-style jacket. No physical contact made with my friend, but his intent was pretty clear. The friend shrugged off the jacket, took a swing at the guy, and took off running.

Pretty clear case of self-defence, even if there had been no actual assault on him yet.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:29 AM
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re: 292

I think you are assume that proportionality is going to be measured by robots on some kind of quantitative scale of bashing. Rather than by people, in a 'does it seem reasonable that this person would do this, in response to this apparent threat, given this amount of information that they had at the time?'

So, does it seem reasonable that someone grabbed by a stranger in a situation where there was a risk of assault, and no-one around to help them would react in this sort of way? [Hitting with a bottle, slapping, or whatever] Answer, yes.

Does it seem reasonable that this other hypothetical person [200lb man] beat his partner unconscious in response to a slap in the face? No.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:33 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-defence_in_English_law#Reasonable_force


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:35 AM
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They specify what happens when somebody is voluntarily drunk, but they don't really address the implied state of involuntary drunkedness.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:43 AM
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It should be added that in the English legal profession, and I imagine others, the use of the word "reasonable" in legislation is proverbially regarded as a sort of open cheque, since it can be argued forever, in every case.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:48 AM
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In the American legal system, the various standards have firm statistical definitions:

Reasonable suspicion: p < .80
Reasonable to believe: p < .75
Probable cause for arrest: p < .635
Some credible evidence: p < .25
Substantial evidence: p < .15
Preponderance of the evidence: p < .50
Clear and convincing evidence: p < .01
Beyond reasonable doubt: p < .05


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:53 AM
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I guess I was reacting to your 281. I may have misunderstood, but it looked as if you were saying that breaking someone's nose with your elbow would be a problematically disproportionate response (from the point of view of the UK legal standard) to their grabbing your breast (putting to one side either whether the breast grab actually happened in McMillian's case, or if it happened in the course of the cop's legitimate duties). And if that's the case, I'd be worried about trying to defend myself at all unless I was pretty certain (as opposed to just fearful of) that I was in for serious injury otherwise, because I don't know anything about hitting people in any kind of calibrated way -- if I'm in a situation where hitting someone seems necessary, being careful about it rather than just hitting as hard as I can sounds like a guarantee of being ineffective.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:53 AM
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Seriously injure I'll buy. But killing someone with a single strike with a beer bottle seems pretty ambitious.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:54 AM
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298: No they don't, other than preponderance of the evidence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:54 AM
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Pretty clear case of self-defence, even if there had been no actual assault on him yet.

Actually, there had been: in English and Scots law an assault doesn't have to involve physical harm, or even physical contact. If you have assaulted someone, it just means that you have caused them "to apprehend immediate and unlawful personal violence" which includes any unwanted physical contact. Grabbing at someone's clothes would definitely qualify.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:55 AM
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If nothing else, I thought the .635 would make Standpipe unnecessary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:55 AM
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299: I thought ttaM's point in 281 was more about a crowd vs. an isolated area. In a crowd like that, there would generally be less fear that you're about to have something horrible happen to you. Being grabbed when you're alone reasonably produces quite a bit more panic.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:57 AM
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re: 299

Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I'd guess in UK law, it might well be disproportionate, but it depends on context. Someone grabs your boob on the street, in a crowd, they've assaulted you.

But if you aren't in immediate further serious danger, if you then break their nose with a well-timed elbow, I'd guess you would be at risk of an assault charge. But it'd depend on context. Is it in the context of preventing a further assault, or what you reasonably believe [even if that belief is incorrect] to be the likelihood of a further assault, or is it retaliation? It could be either, depending on the specifics. I'd be surprised if it got pursued by the police unless it was clear that you weren't at further risk, and it was obvious retaliation.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 5:58 AM
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Surely if you're grabbed by the breast so hard it actually leaves bruises in the shape of a hand, it is legally and morally self defence to elbow your assailant?

Most of the nitpicking of the video here sounds like the usual victim blaming of anybody who's shot dead/assaulted by cops.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:00 AM
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300: you should really watch more Mythbusters.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:00 AM
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re: 304

Well, the crowd versus isolated area speaks to what you might reasonably believe to be your risk of further assault, yeah. And thus to the proportionality of some response, versus another different response.

[I hate sounding like, 'Dudes should be able to boob-grope with impunity' guy. That's not my point at all.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:00 AM
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306 see don't think that elbowing someone who grabbed you hard enough to leave serious bruising is necessarily out of order.
.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:01 AM
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306 also see: If say, you broke someone's jaw or nose, as a well-thrown elbow might well do, in the UK that'd be an assault charge. Morally, I guess I go with 'fucker had it coming' in lots of circumstances.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:04 AM
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I wouldn't put much weight on a crowd as providing a sense of security against further assault. A calmly busy street, sure -- someone grabs you in the middle of the day on the sidewalk, you're probably pretty safe assuming that it's not going to go that far. But a chaotically crowded situation, I wouldn't be comfortable assuming that the people around me either would notice, or if they did that they'd be on my side of the altercation.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:10 AM
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re: 311

Yeah. I can certainly think of crowds where that'd definitely be true [that you couldn't rely on help, or worse].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:15 AM
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OT: Toes shoes, I guess they aren't proven yet. I never tried them, but I did try to switch to thinner shoes and switched back after several months of too much pain while running.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:24 AM
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I don't understand the direction this discussion took. Everyone (I think) agrees that it's ok under principles of justification to throw an elbow at someone to stop them from sexually assaulting you. The problem here is that the video plus inconsistencies in her story make it seem reasonably unlikely that this is in fact what happened, which is what the jury found.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:48 AM
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class-action lawsuit brought by customers who were, to put it mildly, dubious of the company's claims that barefoot running shoes could improve health.

Approximately no class action suits are brought by customers. They are brought by lawyers. No one was harmed here. This looks like a classic case of lawyers attacking health claims as unsubstantiated over overstated (which, dont' get me wrong, is a valuable public service), and filing a class action in an effort to earn some legal fees.

The shoe manufacturer will pay out as much as $3.75 million to anyone who purchased a pair of their finger-shoes since March 2009.

$3.75 MM to anyone who purchased shoes?? It's like winning the lottery.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:49 AM
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314: This thread was unusually on topic by any local standard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:50 AM
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315.last: I sort of figured that was $3.75 million combined and split over everybody who bought the shoes and filed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:51 AM
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yeah, in a heaving crowd of people I wouldn't feel very safe at all. whatever it is that lets people get literally trampled to death in a moving crowd would possibly allow for me to just get yanked between two buildings.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:51 AM
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317: but that's not what it says.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:54 AM
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319: It is poorly written. But there's a link and the link says it's $3.75 million combined, minus attorney fees.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:55 AM
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That VOX article gets the entire set of events as to what happened in the class action lawsuit wrong (it was a settlement without admission of fault, which is meaningless for establishing much of anything) and it just cites to an absence of evidence. Which doesn't mean Vibram's claims are correct,either, but is further proof that Vox sucks it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 6:57 AM
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I don't know about the series of events, but making a health claim with an absence of evidence is exactly what the problem was and establishing that Vibram couldn't prove their health claim is exactly the point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:01 AM
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Fron link in VOX article:

FiveFingers will award up to a maximum of $94 per pair, though the agreement acknowledges that based on similar settlements it is reasonable for class members to expect to receive between $20 and $50 per pair.

Some seriously horrible writing at VOX!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:06 AM
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Not really, it was a settlement before any of that was established, and consumer product companies aren't held to rigorous standards of proof in making health claims anyway (as everyone knows -- Vibram wasn't claiming an FDA like standard). So the lawsuit doesn't do much of anything other than show that there were some maybe overhyped claims and Vibram settled a consumer class action, which happens all the time. I personally think the Vibram claims were always overstated, but that is just crap journalism that doesn't understand the legal system.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:09 AM
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re: 318

Yeah. Someone actually tried to do exactly that to my wife, outside the Sacre Coeur in Paris, on New Year's Eve, a few years ago. I was a few feet away, though, and put a stop to it [not via violence, I just yelled].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:10 AM
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There's a reasonably strict standard for health claims. I though that was why HeadOn commercials said you were to apply it to your forehead but were careful not to say for what you might expect to gain by doing so.

I agree that the headline is to strong (i.e. "Bullshit"), but showing that they made overhyped claims doesn't strike me as a small thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:12 AM
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-for


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:13 AM
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Agree with Moby - I think it's a net good to push back against health claims in advertising. If only they'd made homeopathic shoes.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:18 AM
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Right, there will be some claims form and customers who bought under some specified set of circumstances can get some refund according to a formula (as happens in most of these cases). The real cost to the company will be likely less than 3.5 mil, probably (unless they've set it up such that the amount gets divvied up based on a pool of those who make claims, which might explain the possibility of an $85 refund). Or, something like what is happening in each of the other 10 consumer class actions that are settling this week.

To 326, the lawsuit didn't show anything. Other science might or might not have, but that has basically nothing to do with the lawsuit.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:18 AM
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I don't understand how not being willing to argue in court that you can support the health claims you made isn't showing that you made claims you can't support.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:20 AM
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Or rather, not being willing to argue it in court when the alternative is paying out some very large percentage of what you earned selling those shoes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:21 AM
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If any portion of the $3.75 million remains after the claim payments have been distributed and all administrative and legal costs have been paid, the balance will be donated to the American Heart Association for research on the health benefits of running.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:21 AM
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To 328, it may or may not be good to push back against these claims, but a settlement of a consumer class action doesn't establish anything along those lines, and that article sucked.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:21 AM
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328 There's a famous story about homeopathic clothing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:21 AM
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328: Would homeopathic shoes be something like a toe ring?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:26 AM
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330 -- you may be surprised at how many of these kinds of cases go to trial (approximately zero). Vibram earns something like $200 mil in revenue/yr (from a quick Google search) and a 3.5 million settlement is pretty small for this kind of thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:27 AM
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Pwned, of course.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:27 AM
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Wouldn't homeopathic shoes be something like, washing one's feet in water that had had a cow walk through it, then diluted a million times?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:27 AM
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336: I realize lots of stuff doesn't get to to trial, but I was under the impress that getting certified as a "class" was a relatively high bar in the current legal envirnoment.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:32 AM
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I types some of that correctly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:32 AM
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330, 331: All a class action settlement really tells you is that Vibram thought the cost of the settlement was less than the cost of a verdict against it discounted by the likelihood that it'd ultimately win, plus legal fees etc. Given how enormously huge a class verdict can get, even if you're reasonably sure you'd win, it's very often irrational not to settle.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:33 AM
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I really liked running in my toe shoes but first I injured something in my forefoot that made it hurt for two months (stress fracture? I have no idea?), and then, after that got better and I went back to running in them, I gradually realized that while I still liked running in them, and they were comfortable while I was running, my feet hurt all the time the rest of the time. Not injury level pain, just sore. So I gave up on them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:35 AM
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339: Getting a class certified tells you absolutely zero about the merits of the claim. The main bar to class certification is generally about whether there's enough in common between the class members and their claims for it to make sense to adjudicate the issue in one fell swoop, not whether the claim has legs. All class cert means here is presumably that the issue of whether Vibram's health claims were true or false won't vary from class member to class member.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:37 AM
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314: Everyone (I think) agrees that it's ok under principles of justification to throw an elbow at someone to stop them from sexually assaulting you. The problem here is that the video plus inconsistencies in her story make it seem reasonably unlikely that this is in fact what happened, which is what the jury found.

I think we were arguing about the hypothetical where that was what she did -- not as an instinctive flailing response but an intentional tactic (given that this is not the story she told, it probably isn't what actually happened). And there seemed to be some question as to whether an elbow to the face might be legally disproportionate as a response to being grabbed under the UK standard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:39 AM
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341: Vibram also agreed to change their advertising so that they don't make claims that their shoes strengthen muscles or reduce injury. That's pretty much giving the game away as far as any reason to buy their finger shoes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:44 AM
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I really liked running in my toe shoes but first I injured something in my forefoot that made it hurt for two months (stress fracture? I have no idea?), and then, after that got better and I went back to running in them, I gradually realized that while I still liked running in them, and they were comfortable while I was running, my feet hurt all the time the rest of the time. Not injury level pain, just sore. So I gave up on them.

Were you running on grass/dirt or concrete/pavement? Because they're really made for the former. I don't think they are good for the latter.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:45 AM
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Pavement.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:46 AM
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Halford, what would you like to have happened with the Vibram thing? FTC enforcement? I think in absence of government action, this was a second-best outcome - roughly as if a fine had been assessed, and they've agreed not to do it again.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 7:58 AM
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I don't run nearly as much as a Moby, although I do a fair amount of sprinting on dirt and pavement, and a massive amount of walking, but I credit my Vibram minimal soles (not toe shoes; I can't afford to give away the dignity points) with eliminating my knee pain over the last few years. The feedback they provide had helped me change the way I strike the ground.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:07 AM
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348 -- I would prefer FTC enforcement to armchair attorney general consumer class action suits. Maybe the right answer is some sort of hybrid, like with qui tam actions, where you have an incentive for private parties to make complaints, but a regulatory state that makes decisions about how things ought to be regulated.

I haven't looked at the history of this one, but from a defendant's perspective, agreeing to certification, once you've agreed to settle, means you never have to worry about the same issue coming up again.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:10 AM
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Pavement.
Your feet were [puts on sunglasses] rattled by the rush.
YEEEOOOWW


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:19 AM
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Sign of the times: Reading headlines about "Toe Shoe Manufacturer Pays Millions To Settle Lawsuit", I just assumed it was something related to patent infringement.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:25 AM
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Anyway, I always assumed there was a well-founded scientific case for the injury reduction claims and was very surprised by this. I didn't even know the suit existed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:26 AM
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re: 353

Not been following this case, but there is a scientific paper out there where some sports scientists discovered a negative correlation between the cost of shoes and injuries. i.e. people who run in cheaper thinner soled, less motion-controlled running shoes, tend to have less. I've no idea if that's the sort of claim that makers of 'barefoot' type shoes are relying on, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:29 AM
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I thought that was exactly the sort of claim they were making. And I do find it very plausible.

Maybe I should try running in Chuck Taylors again, like I used to in college.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:36 AM
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345 is a good point, although really I think all it tells you is that Vibram wasn't certain enough that its experts would win out over the plaintiffs' experts to make it economically rational not to settle. Anyway, I didn't mean to suggest with 341/343 that Vibram wasn't in the wrong--when in doubt, assume corporate malfeasance--just that the fact of the settlement alone doesn't tell you much. Class action enforcement of this sort of thing is very poorly calibrated, but agree with 348 that it's far far better than nothing. (And of course Vibram has nobody to blame but themselves, they should have required its customers to agree to arbitrate their disputes on an individual basis before breaking the seal on the shoebox.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:39 AM
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I agree with 356 entirely. And my beef isn't with the plaintiff's lawyers or bringing the lawsuit, it's with the Vox article, which was crappy journalism.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:41 AM
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consumer product companies aren't held to rigorous standards of proof in making health claims anyway (as everyone knows -- Vibram wasn't claiming an FDA like standard)

Something I'd like to see changed, incidentally. I don't think the general public realizes that most of what's on labels other than drugs' is BS. Not to impose actual FDA scrutiny and approval, but some level of actual science.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:45 AM
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Actually, I sort of like Vox. Except for too much yellow. It's better than 538, outside of election forecasting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:53 AM
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I don't think the general public realizes that most of what's on labels other than drugs' is BS.

If you are looking for a shoe because your foot hurts, it's sort of hard not to notice that nobody making regular running shoes is saying their shoes prevent injury. I assume they have a better legal department.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:55 AM
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Some running bloggers think that the problem with the fivefingers is that they unnaturally separate the toes, so the runner ends up stressing the feet in a way that's significantly different than the runner would were he or she to run barefoot.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:55 AM
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358: the formula we feed Zardoz recently changed its label to say that it is "Neurocomplete!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:59 AM
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362: That's a polite way of saying "may cause kuru!"


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:01 AM
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And there's a nice mental image of baby cannibals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:02 AM
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Contents: BRAAAAAIIIIINS
For your developing zombie.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:06 AM
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352: and I that it meant pointe shoes, which made no sense because the last claim you'd make for pointe shoes is a *health* claim.

Once taking a stroll on the path between Aquatic Park and Fort Mason on a sunny day (so wide path packed with both locals and tourists - there's a nice view of the GG bridge from the top of the little hill), and two dudes came jogging down the path backwards / sideways alternating in some silly pattern, the "lead" dude very self important and serious, wearing those toe shoe things, his friend in clear social distress not having realized that saying yes to a jog with his lunatic friend on a sunny Sunday afternoon would entail utter & complete public humiliation. Conclusion: jogging very hazardous sport.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:08 AM
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On the veldt, you had to be aware of your surroundings on all sides.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:10 AM
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I wonder if humiliated dude could try and recover from the class award for his injuries?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:13 AM
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We should have a Vox review thread. It's a new model of journalism -- don't tell 'stories', don't pick up the phone to talk to people, just let the reader tag along as a smart Harvard graduate Googles something. Or reads the abstract of a journal article.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:27 AM
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298: one of my partner's law school memories is when a professor asked the class what a 'substantial evidence' standard entailed, and she raised her hand and said '7 out of 10!'. Although she now thinks that's wrong, it's more like 3 or 4 out of 10.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:29 AM
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I have actually mentioned it to my kids as something they might want to look at. I'm not finding it all that interesting, but for teenagers, it seems like it might be useful.

(Sally has a nasty habit of mugging me for 'the story thus far' on major public issues. Trying to summarize the Israel/Palestine conflict over dinner, with careful attention to the etiquette issues involved in talking about it in front of anyone, was a bit of a strain.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:34 AM
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Unless you normally eat seven course dinners, I'd say impossible. "Ask me at the weekend if we're not doing anything."


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:36 AM
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371: "gosh, sweetie, turns out tonight is like all other nights, sorry."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:38 AM
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"Summarize the Israel/Palestine conflict in two sentences or less" is probably a good horrible way to get a handle on someone really quickly, in the "all models are wrong" sense.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:41 AM
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I don't think they are good for [pavement].

Definitely my experience. I have a pair of barefoot shoes I wore happily on all sorts of long walks and even rocky hikes in NM/CO, but whenever I wore them in town, everything hurt. If you're going to be all "But that's how the Tarahumara do it!" you have to recognize that they're not running on concrete.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:43 AM
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374. How many semicolons am I allowed?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:44 AM
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371, 371: OMG, Caroline did that to me last evening in the car. I tried a summary that would fit in her attention span, and she said "So the Israelis are the bad guys," and I said "No, we aren't any anyone's side here. We just want peace."


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:45 AM
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369 is a really great quip, and also I think gets it exactly right. 371 suggests an interesting use.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:46 AM
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376: From which I can draw the (weak) conclusion "this is a waggish but thoughtful educated person." Maybe this does work.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:49 AM
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376: That depends on whether or not you're Jewish.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:52 AM
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I haven't seen anything on Vox yet that isn't boring, but it will certainly be useful for journalists. Just like "WonkBlog" but with baffling design.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:09 AM
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I dunno, it seems equally boring as Wonkblog but less thorough and focused and more glib. Like they put Klein in charge of the boringness department and Yglesias in charge of the glibness department. I guess I'm just a hater.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:12 AM
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The thing is that because Wonkblog was embedded in the DC ecosystem, they had a ready-made storyline, namely 'here are the backstage policy tradeoffs behind the bills and initiatives that are currently moving through the political system'. There really was a layer of complexity in the practicalities of policy that was undercovered in the press. The fact that three of the biggest, most complicated bills ever were moving thru Congress when Wonkblog got going helped with that.

Now that he is doing a general-interest site several steps removed from the inside-DC process, some core weaknesses are showing up -- namely, no feel for good writing (the Wonkblog tone is 'articulate sophomore term paper'), a lack of basic investigative journalism skills, and no skills in constructing a narrative hook. Explanation and narrrative are *not* the same thing.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:36 AM
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Whoops, I meant to say 'the Vox tone is 'articular sophomore term paper'. It's actually worse than Wonkblog writing-wise.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:36 AM
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371: If I had kids, they would quickly learn to avoid doing that:

"Dad, what's the difference between FYROM and the Greek region of Macedonia?"
"Well, small-child-who-we-are-not-compulsorily-gendering, it all goes back to the Second Punic War, when Scipio Africanus retook several cities from the Carthaginians..."


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:39 AM
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If giving too much information in response to questions worked to keep kids from asking them, my life would be very different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:46 AM
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PGD is making tons of sense.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:46 AM
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But then again, I'm a longtime hater, so maybe this is just confirmation bias at work.


Posted by: Den E. Crumb | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:46 AM
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385 -- I always do it that way.

383 -- One wonders what the long term revenue outlook is like. Republican control of the Senate would probably help them, because there would be all kind of crazy legislation that would actually get passed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:53 AM
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347: Pavement.

Well, that was your problem. Don't blame the shoes.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:55 AM
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386: Oh, you have no idea how tedious I can be.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:56 AM
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Oh, I started the I/P conflict from Theodor Herzl, and taught her the rule of thumb that as a general rule, where there is any longstanding, intractable ethno-religious conflict, a close analysis of where blame should be placed generally shows that the conflict was originally the fault of the British Empire, or failing that of any other relevant colonial power.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 10:58 AM
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If you started with Herzl, you'd have to blame the Ottoman Empire, which would be a little unfair.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:09 AM
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"Well, like all things, it began with a sudden catastrophic increase in entropy..."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:16 AM
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Don't you have to start with the Romans?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:18 AM
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395. I raise you the Seleucids.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:37 AM
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395: The Egyptians! The Philistines! And then you can't leave out the Assyrians or the Bablyonians! And of course, the Seleucids!
And of course you can't understand modern zionism unless you have a thorough understanding of the Dreyfuss Affair. And the pogroms of the 1880s.

And since I don't know much about any of this, I'm afraid I can't answer the question.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:37 AM
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Surely you should start with Abraham.

Anyway, a great bit of advice (which I follow to a T) is never talk about Israel with mathematicians.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:38 AM
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396: You did not. That was me while he was running off fighting and leaving me alone.


Posted by: Opinionated Apama | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:41 AM
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Now that he is doing a general-interest site several steps removed from the inside-DC process, some core weaknesses are showing up -- namely, no feel for good writing (the Wonkblog tone is 'articulate sophomore term paper'), a lack of basic investigative journalism skills, and no skills in constructing a narrative hook. Explanation and narrrative are *not* the same thing.

I think this is the "male brain" approach to journalism. Like how economics is the "male brain" approach to explaining human behavior.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:42 AM
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That's kind of insulting towards men.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:44 AM
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Huh, I hadn't actually looked at the Vox "understand the news" thing for a while. "Articulate sophmore term paper" is pretty generous -- they read like insets in a textbook for ninth graders.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:58 AM
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+o


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 11:59 AM
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Now that he is doing a general-interest site several steps removed from the inside-DC process, some core weaknesses are showing up -- namely, no feel for good writing (the Wonkblog tone is 'articulate sophomore term paper'), a lack of basic investigative journalism skills, and no skills in constructing a narrative hook. Explanation and narrrative are *not* the same thing.

This seems basically correct but, to be contrarian, I think it may be a good sign for the vox launch. They've said all along that what they're doing is an experiment and that they know it will take some time to figure out exactly what they want to be doing.

The fact that their initial launch is so clearly neither fish nor foul seems like a sign that they really believe that, and that they're willing to flounder a bit as they work things out.

Now, they still may not pull it off, but I'm happy to think that they are still ambitious to try something new.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:01 PM
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402: Which was exactly my reaction. I mean, current events on a ninth grade level is useful -- I have a ninth grader.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:26 PM
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My daughter asked me about the relationship between Scotland, England, and the United Kingdom (she has a friend from Scotland who speaks English, which she finds mysterious). I launched into a 20 minute explanation talking about James I and the 1707 Act of Union. At the end of which I wondered if an answer that long made me a good parent or a bad parent.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:31 PM
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406: You really can't talk about that properly without going at least as far back as the petty kingdom of Northumbria and the migration of Norman/Breton adventurers north. Should probably play it safe and start at the end of the last ice age.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:49 PM
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Technically, we're still in the last ice age.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:51 PM
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Pretty much, my kids ask me about anything, and I start talking prokaryotes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:52 PM
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407 -- Start with the Clive Owen Keira Knightly movie. The frozen lake fight scene is ice agey enough.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:54 PM
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408: Fair enough: the end of glacial sheets over Northern Europe 10kya or thereabouts.

History books should be more explicit about how they, by necessity, are starting in media res, ideally by a Star Wars-style opening crawl.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:55 PM
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410: That poster art just screams historical accuracy. But I think that'd teach you more about the Welsh or the Cornish than the Scottish. And they didn't even get an Act of Union.

You should probably mention the Darien Scheme at some point, too, because, woah Scotland, for the most part you seem pretty sensible as European nations go but that was fairly silly.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 12:58 PM
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I've been excited to see that Vox's science coverage would be like, but this effort got panned pretty hard on Twitter. I dunno, just like the rest of it, it's an experiment.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:14 PM
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413: that's pretty silly, but I do appreciate the not making the gifs animate visibly until mouseover. I don't think that saves on loading time or processing, but it is easier on the eyes.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:18 PM
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414: I think that happened after the complaints. It's an improvement, for sure.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:19 PM
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I hadn't actually gotten around to checking Vox and just clicked on the link in 413. Jesus Christ I am not going to read a site with that fucking layout.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:19 PM
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Speaking of history, have we ever discussed the Halifax Explosion here? Because I believe that running across a reference a couple of weeks ago was the first I had ever heard of it. Probably the largest man-made* explosion before Hiroshima, and it's completely elided from standard US history curricula. Weird.

*Per the Wikipedia explanation, the proximate cause of the explosion seems to be a couple of male ship captains acting like total entitled assholes, so "man-made" is most appropriate.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:24 PM
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415: That's impressively responsive. I haven't seen that done anywhere else and it's not something you get for free.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:27 PM
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417: At no point in my history education did I even learn that Atlantic Canada existed.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:28 PM
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418: I thought so too.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:32 PM
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My kids will not stand for an answer pitched at the wrong level. If I try to talk over their heads, they will get upset and tell me to stop talking like a college teacher. If I try to simplify things, they get upset and tell me to answer their question for real.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:33 PM
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417: I suspect that American kids get taught about the Texas City disaster and Canadian ones about the Halifax explosion. Certainly, American chemistry textbooks cannot get enough of Texas City.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:34 PM
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422: I'd never heard of it until just now. Maybe I should have read the textbooks.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:39 PM
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dalriata is definitely a bad parent.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:39 PM
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402: ha. Yeah, there is a certain air of condescension clinging to the entire enterprise. A kind of peppy, enthusiastic condescension, but still.

I haven't really read deeply in Vox -- which is itself evidence of a problem, since like I'm sure other Unfoggeders I am always in search of good procrastination material -- so I can't say that my take is totally accurate. But another thing that struck me is that they don't seem super interested in doing analysis, i.e. in analyzing the numbers themselves as opposed to summarizing other peoples' takes. (Yglesias is a partial exception, but only partial). I prefer 538.com there -- for all their faults, they seem to genuinely like engaging with the raw data to count stuff in a new way. In my own former field of social science, I noticed that the Vox takes on social science articles were very uncritical (restate the authors' conclusions, basically) and did not try to go into the data to either question how the article was being reported (scientific articles are usually reported terribly) or get another take on the findings. E.g. the Vox report on the Princeton poli sci paper re oligarchy was terrible.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:45 PM
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If I try to talk over their heads, they will get upset and tell me to stop talking like a college teacher.

"How should a college teacher answer a question?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:45 PM
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424: Ha, I do parent all my children badly, but only vacuously so. For now.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:50 PM
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398.2 Anyway, a great bit of advice (which I follow to a T) is never talk about Israel with mathematicians.

My rule is similar but different: "never talk about anything even vaguely political with Israeli physicists". Also, "never talk about climate change with physicists over the age of 40".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:51 PM
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I'm a Canadian by birth and know about the Halifax Explosion because my family on both sides is entirely from Atlantic Canada, always called by them the older name, "the Maritimes."

I don't know about it being taught in the schools, because I didn't go to high school in Canada. Most of what I knew about it was through Barometer Rising, Hugh MacLennon's first novel.

There was a second explosion at the end of WWII, that made a huge impression on my parents. It flattened the Depot, but only killed one person. I grew up on stories of it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:56 PM
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Is the issue there actually Israeli or is it former Soviet?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:56 PM
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Also, "never talk about climate change with physicists over the age of 40".
Huh. Both cousin and father are not even slightly crazy on the topic. How does it go wrong? They think it's a natural warming cycle?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 1:59 PM
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There's enough overlap that I'm not sure. Maybe the intersection is the most problematic.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:00 PM
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432 to 430.

431: Surprisingly many of them think it's caused by cosmic rays or something nutty like that. Or they acknowledge that it's anthropogenic but deny that we should do anything about it, or launch into a tirade about how the real problem is China and India and I wouldn't want to deny all those people a chance at a decent lifestyle, would I?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:02 PM
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433: Cosmic rays? Seriously? Hasn't there been a lot of research showing other bodies in the solar system aren't warming up? Shouldn't this be the one thing physicists aren't nutty about?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:07 PM
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435

or launch into a tirade about how the real problem is China and India and I wouldn't want to deny all those people a chance at a decent lifestyle, would I?

I read a book which made the case pretty convincingly that the real (short-term) problem is coal burning in China and India. But the author didn't think that was a reason for the US/Europe to ignore the issue but, rather that they needed to spend less time and money promoting renewable energy domestically and more on figuring out what sort of a deal would offer Chine and India enough incentive to reduce their use of coal.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:10 PM
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434: has there? I would be surprised if we had percent-level precision on the temperature on Mars over decades, say.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:13 PM
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Clearly the best option there is to formulate a counter-trade agreement between China, India and the UK. The Indians and Chinese would get a certain amount of brown ale, and the British would get coal to replace what had previously been mined, and open the pits to dig it out again. With this "Newcastle-to-coal" plan, everybody wins!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:14 PM
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433: Wow. That is interesting. I wouldn't have guessed the first, although the second makes some sense why it would be a sensitive topic. I'm used to the ex-Soviet particle physicists, who have many thoughts about politics in general, so I stay clear of anything where I might be treated to a forceful monologue. I have two rules for physicists that aren't sciencey: try not to be offended when they are tactless or otherwise oblivious to people's feelings and never try to outdrink one.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:20 PM
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436: You're right, I'm conflating a few things--I was thinking about solar irradiance declining disproving "global warming is caused by the sun warming up," and from that figured that meant other planets weren't warming, but that isn't sufficient to conclude that global warming isn't caused by some other astronomical phenomenon.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:22 PM
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I would've thought a temperature measurement of Mars would be relatively easy. No complicated oceans or much of an atmosphere. Can't we just measure its black body spectrum?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:28 PM
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Shockingly, brief googling reveals it's more complicated than I thought.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:33 PM
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although the second makes some sense why it would be a sensitive topic

I was about to say I've never heard this from people from India or China, only from white Republicans, but then I checked FB and saw that the libertarian Chinese guy whose office is across from mine had posted something about how schools teaching children about global warming are teaching propaganda, not science.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:39 PM
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Although he's also younger than I am, so deviates from the rule of thumb in more ways than one.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:40 PM
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I KNOW YOU'RE WATCHING ME.


Posted by: Opinionated Libertarian Chinese Guy | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:42 PM
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I'd guess more than half my coworkers from those countries think that way - that it would be unfair for the rest of the world to cripple their economy for the sake of having a livable planet. I also sit next to a doctor who doesn't believe in evolution, FWIW.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 2:55 PM
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And nearly 100 years later, Boston is still milking its do-gooderism from the Halifax Explosion.


Posted by: O Christmas Tree | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 3:20 PM
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I don't know any Chinese libertarians, but all the Chinese people I know are pretty worried about global warming. They're also pretty worried about domestic pollution, including from coal burning. Where I live many, if not most, rely at least partially on solar power, e.g. my hot water is solar heated. They do get pissed when Americans talk about how Chinese should cut down on pollution and greenhouse emissions, because 1) we export our pollution and polluting activities to China and other parts of the developed world, so it's a bit rich to say that "their" pollution isn't also "our" pollution, since we're the beneficiaries of the manufactured goods, and 2) they feel (with some accuracy) that everyone in America has 3 TVs and 2 refrigerators and 5 SUVs, so they think it's a bit rich that we should be allowed to gobble up the world's resources and then complain that Chinese families own refrigerators and TVs and are now buying cars (and it's still mostly 1 car per family here). For stats, per capita carbon emissions are 17.2 in the US and 7.2 in China in 2009. Ours our going down and theirs are going up, but that's still a pretty huge gap. Australia, with a mining boom, is at 18.3.

Anyways, there is a sense that Americans talk about 'what about China' like the CCP is polluting for shits and giggles or something, without a recognition that a good chunk of China's pollution comes from various levels of govt looking the other way while multinational corporations pollute like crazy. Then when the govt does enforce environmental or labor laws on the books, you get the standard sources screaming about how China's becoming too 'expensive' and 'difficult' and corporations are going to move to Laos or wherever where they can pollute and exploit the masses with impunity.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:43 PM
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Fuck the politically minded
There's something I want to say
About the state of the nation
And how they treat us today

At school they give you shit
Drop you in a pit
Try, and try, and try to get out,
But you can't,
Because they've fucked you about

http://www.doc.state.mn.us/pages/files/8113/8488/7552/Tips_for_Incarcerated_Parents_-_Color_Design_Eng__Spanish.pdf


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:45 PM
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The most honest thing I heard from a Chinese person (in translation) was: "How the hell did he get so fat?"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:48 PM
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something about how schools teaching children about global warming are teaching propaganda Propagandhi, not science.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:52 PM
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Also, some of my best friends used to be Laotian.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:54 PM
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for complete accuracy on the stats: the US per capita emissions were 17.2 in 2009, China's were 7.2 in 2011. In 2009 they were around 6.2, or something. (from wikipedia)


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 8:55 PM
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Do you know they have the same moon in China that they have here?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:12 PM
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FiveThirtyEight had a real stupid article about the AL East this week, in which they said it had suddenly become the worst division in baseball. How that could be true when they had a winning record against all the other divisions, and 4 of the 5 teams were at or above .500, I'm not sure. Must be one of those magical sabermatic things I don't understand.

I'm fine with Vox at a sophomore level. That sounds about right for what I want to read. Sure, I could read PhD thesis stuff, but that would take a lot more effort on my part.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:12 PM
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On the other hand, I just looked at that element 117 Vox article. I will not abide another Buzzfeed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 9-14 9:14 PM
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