You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 26, 2009.

The BART cop shooting resulted in murder charges against the officer, reportedly the first ever official murder charge against a California law enforcement officer pertaining to actions arising while on duty.  The question is whether this particular action is so dramatically exceptional, or whether this police killing would have been treated like any other in the absence of dramatic footage from multiple witnesses with cell phone camera technology.  The thought certain occurred to the BART cops as they frantically tried to stuff the genie back into the bottle.  This article is getting considerable circulation.

Seconds after BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant, police immediately began confiscating cell phones containing videos that have yet to see the light of day.

In fact, the only videos that have been seen by the public were filmed by people who managed to leave the scene before police confronted them.

In one instance, police chased after Karina Vargas after she stepped on the train, banging on the window after the doors closed and demanding her to turn over the camera. The train sped away with Vargas still holding her camera.

The article (which contains some great links) goes on to correctly state that the police, absent a court order, have no right to seize a camera which is not actually being used in the commission of a crime, even if it contains evidence.  The police don’t always understand that law, and unfortunately my office has occasionally had the opportunity to remind them.  The same blog notes the preemptive efforts of the Minneapolis police for the RNC.

This is Karina’s story.

I have not confirmed, but someone recently told me that Minnesota once had a law which required that their highway troopers were required to use their windshield cameras to document by film every pullover resulting in an arrest.  The person told me that the police unions lobbied to have the law set aside.  I wonder if the police unions are going to push for laws which mandate that citizens turn over their cell phones when requested.  I have to admit the idea that nothing will happen anywhere which can’t be documented is a little creepy.  Sort of a grassroots Big Brother.  But in terms of a deterrence to government oppression, your Fourth Amendment right to hold onto your phone may render the Second Amendment obsolete.

Lots going on today!

Coleman had a very bad day in court.  Coleman attempted to submit photocopies of ballots which had been altered – notes being removed, and notes being added.  The Court told his team that they would have to subpoena the originals if they wanted the Court to consider them.  Coleman’s political director Kristen Fuzer had a rough time on the stand, reportedly looking over in Coleman’s directin with apparent nervousness at times.  The story doesn’t mention any deadlines, but ordering those particular ballots is not a trivial matter.  This could take awhile.

Coleman’s camp held a press conference afterward blaming Franken for objecting to the altered ballots.

Probably Coleman’s people were just sloppy, but that’s really sloppy!  Literally and figuratively.


Michigan Representative John Conyers has just subpoenaed Karl Rove on the attorney firing issue.  He had refused to honor the first subpoena citing executive privilege, and as usual the Democrats wimped out.  Is Conyers serious this time?

You can read the subpoena.


Blago’s impeachment trial opened today, but he’s refusing to participate and instead conducted a media blitz showing up on The View among other shows.  You can see some clips in the TPM 100 minutes below.  They’re quite remarkable.

His last remaining attorney quit on Saturday, telling the press it’s because Blago wouldn’t listen to him.  While I can easily sympathize, it’s really inappropriate to comment on why you’ve quit your client’s case in a public forum.  You’ve still got an obligation to his best interests, and those comments could be seized upon by any prosecutors, and even if they’re barred from trial, everything in the media is affecting the jury pool right now.

And yes, he did consider offering Oprah Winfrey the Senate seat.


28th Amendment in the works, which may actually pass.  Sen. Russ Feingold wants to make special elections for Senators mandatory when vacancies come up.


Timothy Geithner was confirmed despite his tax problems and the fact that he’s personally associated with probably half the bank failures.  The no votes included 30 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and 1 Socialist.


More later.

I can’t seem make the embed function work for anything not youtube, but this harmonica playing former Sohum resident blogger has it on his blog.

I recently posted about a tragedy which could be heard on live television in Israel.  It may not have been the direct result of an Israeli attack.

From Israel Matsav:

I’m sure you all remember the story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the ‘Palestinian’ doctor who lives in Gaza and works in Tel HaShomer. You will recall that three of the doctor’s daughters died in their home, allegedly as a result of the house being hit by an IDF shell. You will also recall that I reported that Israel Television’s Channel 1 reported that the doctor’s daughter and niece who were brought to the hospital had shrapnel in their heads that came from a Grad-type Katyusha rocket, which is a weapon used by Hamas and not by the IDF.

On Saturday night, Israel’s Channel 2 presented with the IDF Golani Brigade battalion commander whose unit fired on the house. While the conclusions are still preliminary and he’s careful to present them as such, they also speak for themselves.

There’s a little more through the link, but here’s the interview.  It’s in Hebrew, but if you pull up the menu at the little triangle in the lower right hand corner of the video image and hit the closed caption (cc) button you can get English subtitles.

Setting aside the fact that, besides the videos which have not yet been releases, the only non-IDF individual who could provide any useful information is the physician who removed the shrapnel, it’s really beside the point.  This happens with war, so whomever you blame for starting the war is responsible regardless of whose weapons actually hit the house.


January 2009
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