Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Month: June 2009 Page 2 of 4

US JAG Lawyer for Detainees: “I’ve given up on American media.”

This interview with Major Barry D. Wingard, Jr.  – defense counsel to a number of Guantanamo detainees – has garnered a lot of attention today, but not nearly as much as it should.  Go check it out.

DOD Surplus APCs for your Friendly Local Police Department?

Maybe an enterprising Virginia paper would want to do what the Boston Globe did?

The Boston Globe has been doing some terrific reporting about how small town police departments in Massachusetts have been using the Pentagon’s surplus weapons program to acquire some ridiculously high-powered weaponry. The paper found that 82 police departments across the state have obtained more than 1,000 military-grade weapons over the last 15 years, including…

Police in Wellfleet, a community known for stunning beaches and succulent oysters, scored three military assault rifles. At Salem State College, where recent police calls have included false fire alarms and a goat roaming the campus, school police got two M-16s. In West Springfield, police acquired even more powerful weaponry: two military-issue M-79 grenade launchers.

Police departments need to be sufficiently equipped, yes.  They do not need grenade launchers or armored personal carriers.  I wonder what we’d find in the garages and warehouses of departments in Virginia.

Everyone is an Expert

TBogg nails it:

There was a disputed election in Iran and thousands of political bloggers who have never lived outside of the city in which they were born and who have absolutely no experience in Middle East affairs will now tell you what this all means, how this will impact the region, and what to expect by drawing upon their extensive background in World of Warcraft and a hardly used MCSE certification.

BBC Footage from Tehran

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It’s hard enough getting the straight news in your own language and culture.  So when you spin the globe and move beyond your familiar languages, it can feel nearly impossible.  There are, however, some universals.  Check out TehranLive.org for photos of what’s happening in Iran right now.  It’s not necessarily true that you can believe your own lyin’ eyes, but it’s probably more information than you’re going to get from your usual sources.

Update: As noted below, the photographer responsible for the image below (as well as the TehranLive.org site) has gone missing. Some info (and lots of speculation) in the last comment thread at his site.


Midweek Makeover: Zeebrugge-Hull Edition

Not a lot to say, other than that this was inspired by recent conversations about the P&O Ferry between Zeebrugge and Hull.  I’ve got a couple dozen tracks that are well associated with that route.

OMD’s original:

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Nada Surf’s cover (please, just ignore the video):

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Photo by Simon Barrow

Boyz in tha Clarendon

Against my better judgment, I pass along the following.

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Also, just try me.  I will close comments so fast . . .

Did They Make Them Wear Pink Armbands, Too?

Sometimes I find myself well and truly disgusted with Virginia and its very much accepted culture of bigotry.  This is one of those times.  From the Virginian-Pilot:

For more than a year, Virginia’s largest women’s prison rounded up inmates who had loose-fitting clothes, short hair or otherwise masculine looks, sending them to a unit officers derisively dubbed the “butch wing,” prisoners and guards say.

Dozens were moved in an attempt to split up relationships and curb illegal sexual activity at the 1,200-inmate Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, though some straight women were sent to the wing strictly because of their appearance, the inmates and corrections officers said.

Vote Tuesday

If you live in Virginia, please vote tomorrow.  For any number of entirely uninteresting reasons, I’ve pretty much skipped covering the primary season in Virginia politics.  People like Mike@Blueweeds, Waldo, Vivian, and Steve have given you pretty much all you need to know, though.

I’ll be voting for Brian Moran for Democratic nominee for Governor, Michael Signer for Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, and Miles Grant for Democratic nominee (i.e., general election winner) for delegate in the 47th District.   My first two choices are, perhaps, obvious.  I think Terry McAuliffe is a charlatan of the worst kind, and cringe at the idea of defending him against neo-troglodyte Bob McDonnell in the general election.  See the link to Waldo, above, for more about that.  As to Deeds, I refuse to reward pandering to bigotry when I have other choices.  No matter the infinite ways his supporters try to spin it to you, this man put our fundamental rights up for a popular vote when he supported the Marshall-Newman (anti-equality) amendment in 2006.  So, despite the fact that I think he is generally decent on all other issues and stands a good chance against McDonnell, I simply cannot vote for him.  That leaves Brian Moran.  Moran is a reliable and thoughtful Northern Virginia Democrat.  That means, to me, that his policy positions meet my threshold tests for most important issues (even while he fails in some, like the death penalty, or occasionally panders, as with the asinine move-Gitmo-detainees-to-NoVA matter).  Further, in my limited personal interactions with him, he strikes me as confident without being demanding or needing affirmation (an important quality in a candidate, I’ve decided.)  Further, I am confident that, given the chance, he can beat Bob McDonnell.  On the matter of Mike Signer, I’m going with him because Jody Wagner hasn’t given me any particular reason to vote *for* her.  My personal and public knowledge of Signer – as a competent individual who wants to try to use the generally-useless office of Lt. Gov. as a bully pulpit on some issues – gives me the comfort I need in casting that vote.

And that leaves us with the 47th District for the Virginia House of Delegates.  In conversation, I’ve termed my dilemma as being faced with “an embarrassment of riches.”  We have five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, the gaining of which will almost certainly secure them the seat this fall.  Every candidate has appeared at my door (tho’ I haven’t always been around to answer it) many times.  I have, truthfully, wavered amongst four of the five candidates throughout the primary season.  And the only reason that that isn’t five out of five is that I think Parkhomenko needs some additional time on this planet before he can really represent the 47th (that may sound condescending, tho’ I really don’t mean it to be.  I expect good things out of him, and can imagine supporting him in future efforts).  Every one of the other candidates have strengths that I respect and would like to see brought to bear in Richmond.  That said, I can only cast my vote for one.  And that one will be Miles Grant.  To say that I’ve disagreed with Miles on many things would be an understatement.    I have never, however, been given reason to question his sincerity or commitment to his positions.  And be sure of this – his positions are Arlington’s positions.  There is no watering down of our ideals so they can past muster in Richmond or at some fundraiser on the southside.  In the course of the primary I’ve seen him articulate – forcefully – the idea that Arlington needs to send an outspoken voice to Richmond.  While I think that Tobar, Hope, and Howze would all do fine jobs, Grant’s willingness to act as a pointman for decency and forward-looking policy is what gains my nod.  I truly have no idea who will win this contest tomorrow, but I hope that the winner will seriously examine the constituencies of each candidate and bring them into not just the general election, but his ongoing representation of the 47th District.

Columbia-Highroad Dominates in Philly

The photo sets will have to wait until tomorrow, but I thought some of you might like these finish line shots of today’s race.

Andre Greipel Wins TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship

Ina Yoko Teutenberg Wins Liberty Classic

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