I’ve changed the banner at the top of the column at right. A new book, Second …, a collection of thirty-five photographs from 2003, featuring models Abigail, Donna and Meg, three extraordinary models photographed that year and others who have frequently graced the tops of these pages. As with First …, I’m using Blurb’s smallest format (7″x7″) to produce a book that everyone will find to be very attractively priced: $14.95 in softcover (that price increases on February 1). Here’s the cover:
Click on the image above or the link at upper right to see details and order the book.
Beyond Reason Department
I’ve forborne burdening you with multiple instances of police, DEA, BATF, or other law enforcement agency excesses that the press has reported in recent weeks, but this one seems to go so far beyond reason that it deserves attention. The original report appeared on LoHud.com:
A village resident said that police conducting drug raids early this morning targeted the wrong house where they roused his family out bed, pointed a machine gun at his 13-year-old daughter and threatened to shoot their poodle
David McKay said he, his wife, 13-year-old daughter and his brother-in-law were sleeping at 5:30 a.m. when they heard banging on the door of their townhouse at 36 Sharon Drive. When they went to open the door, at least 10 police officers forced their way into the home, he said.
“Their guns were drawn, they were screaming ‘Where’s Michael, Where’s Michael,’ ” McKay recounted hours later in a telephone interview from Nyack Hospital, where he took his terrified daughter for treatment after she had an asthma attack and fainted following the ordeal.
McKay said he was still groggy from sleep but tried to explain that there was no one named Michael in the house.
“They pulled me outside in the freezing cold in my underwear, manhandle my wife, point a gun at my daughter and they won’t even tell me what they are doing in my house,” said McKay. “It was terrifying and humiliating beyond belief.”
Radley Balko reported the original incident, but now it’s gone further. The DEA has apologized, but via a press release and not to the family that was violated. Balko returned to the incident because it appears that the DEA’s and other LEO’s research prior to the raid was woefully deficient.
[T]his isn’t how you treat citizens with rights. It’s how you treat enemy combatants in a war zone. You terrify them, intimidate them, put the fear of God into them. You threaten to kill their pets right in front of them. That attitude also explains why, even after it was clear they had made a mistake, the police rebuffed David McKay when he asked for an explanation, telling him, “You’ll read about it in the paper tomorrow.”
These incidents do nothing to bolster citizen support for law enforcement, drug enforcement, border patrol, or any number of other government agencies that have the threat and use of actual force within their arsenals. The violations of civil liberties are pervasive and gross. Fortunately, as Balko observes, the media are reporting incidents with greater frequency and with fewer allowances made for stupid official actions and decisions.
Tucson Commentary Department
Two cartoons from The NY Times‘s “Week in Review”: from Steve Artley and Patrick Chappatte. Well worth clicking through to view (editorial cartoonists are really sensitive about reproduction of their work, hence the links).
Weird Coincidence Department
So there I was Sunday afternoon, working at my desk with NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” on the radio and “South Pacific” muted on Turner Classic Movies on the TV. (Muted waiting for some of my favorite songs to come ’round.)
One of the quiz answers pertained to inmates in some prison who were making tasty honey buns. After the answer was given, the radio played the song, “Honey Bun” from the musical — and at exactly that moment “Honey Bun” was being performed in the movie!
Inconsequential, but really weird.
Power of Words Department
Those who sympathize with the revision of Huckleberry Finn to remove all occurrences of “nigger,” replacing them with “slave,” should view the movie Lenny, and especially Lenny Bruce’s/Dustin Hoffman’s riff on “nigger” and other offensive ethnic epithets.
Weird Constitutional Possibilities Department
For you Constitution wonks out there (and the few non-U.S. readers who find our constitutional system incomprehensible), here’s a list of eight constitutional non-crises that, absurd as they sound, are probably quite valid. My favorite: the ability of two members of the House of Representatives to stage a coup:
We’ve all seen those late-night C-Span telecasts of the near-empty House chamber where one member is in the chair and the other is on the floor speaking to an empty chamber. Suppose word came during this “session” of the House that the president and vice president had been simultaneously killed. What’s to stop the House member on the floor from moving that he (or the guy in the chair) be elected speaker of the House and the member in the chair saying, “Without objection, it is so ordered.” I’m not saying this would hold up in court, but technically the new “speaker” would then become president by virtue of presidential succession law. It’s a legal House session unless there’s another member present who suggests the absence of a quorum.
Intensity on red satin.