Category Archives: Idiocy

Cops arrest Arkansas legislator for taking a video


A video, it turns out, which he was legally entitled to record thanks to legislation passed with the legislator’s help.

We’ve been a longtime supporter of the right of citizens to videotape police officers engaged in confrontations with their fellow citizens.

After all, it’s the citizens themselves who are paying police salaries, and police are engaged in a public function.

But that didn’t stop cops in Little Rock from arresting the 79-year-old black man.

Here’s a lengthy Little Rock police car cam video of the arrest, posted by Ean Bordeaux:

Ark State Rep. John Walker arrested for filming LR police

Program notes [excerpted]:

Arkansas State Representative John Walker was arrested on Monday morning, Sept. 26, 016.

Little Rock police were in the process of arresting a stopped driver for theft of property around 11:30 a.m. at 9th and Commerce streets.

Walker, 79, walked into the scene of the traffic stop and began filming the incident. The arrested driver asked what Walker was doing, to which Walker responded, “I’m making sure they don’t kill you.”

After escorting the driver to the patrol car in handcuffs, police found that the passenger of the stopped call also had an outstanding arrest warrant.

As the police were arresting the passenger, Walker and another individual approached the scene in a “antagonistic and provocative manner.” Officers repeatedly told both individuals to stop and stay away from the scene.

Walker told the police he was not going to leave and instructed the police to arrest him. Police obliged and charged him with interfering with government operations. The other individual was also arrested.

At the station, Walker informed the jailers that he only wanted to file a complaint “against the white officers.”

And the story, from the Intercept:

An Arkansas State representative who helped pass a state law protecting people who film police was arrested Monday while filming Little Rock police as they put a black man in handcuffs after a traffic stop.

The charges against Rep. John Walker have been dropped, but his colleague, fellow civil rights lawyer Omavi Shukur, faces charges for obstruction of government relations.

Officer Jeff Thompson wrote in his police report: “I ordered Walker several times to leave or be arrested. Walker replied ‘arrest me’ at which point I did.”

Police on Wednesday released dashcam video of the incident. “I’m just making sure they don’t kill you,” Walker told the man who had been pulled over, according to the police report.

More from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

In one of the videos, Walker can be heard off-camera talking to officer Jason Roberts, a downtown patrolman who was one of four officers who conducted the traffic stop. Shortly after Walker and Kushukuru arrive and start recording, Roberts asks Walker what he’s doing. Walker identifies himself as a state representative and says Little Rock is his district.

“I’m just here as an observer,” Walker says.

Roberts then tells Walker that he has a right to observe. He explains that four officers were on scene because he and officer Thomas Thompson, both veteran patrolmen, were training two rookie officers.

In the video, Walker can be heard saying that he intends to film every instance in which multiple police officers arrest a black man. He then references the Little Rock police killings of two black men, Eugene Ellison, 67, and Deon Williams, 26. Officers shot Ellison to death inside his apartment in 2010. Williams was carrying a handgun when he fled a traffic stop, and officers fatally shot him in 2013.

“There have been too many killings,” Walker says in the video. “The killings on 12th Street. The killings on Asher Avenue.”

Roberts, who is white, then accuses Walker of trying to provoke the police. He says in the video that officers did not know the race of the men they pulled over when they initiated the stop. In a police report, Walker’s behavior is described as “antagonistic and provocative.

If there was ever evidence for the need of Walker’s legislation, this is it.

Headline of the day: Tossing a bone to Trump


Pun intended.

From the London Daily Mail, the estranged hubby of Hillary’s closet pal is at it again:

America’s toughest prosecutor demands Anthony Weiner’s cellphone records after DailyMail.com reveals his sexting relationship with girl, 15

  • Preet Bharara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has subpoenaed the disgraced congressman’s cellphone records
  • The  high school girl, whose name is being withheld by DailyMail.com because she is a minor, revealed the online relationship began last January
  • The girl says she told him she was 15 and a sophomore in high school; messages confirm he knew she was underage 
  • In one message Weiner tells the girl ‘I would bust that tight p***y’ 
  • She claims Weiner asked her to undress and encouraged her to touch herself and say his name over video chat 
  • Weiner did not deny exchanging ‘flirtatious’ messages with the teen.  He declined to comment on the specifics

Adam Zyglis: A case of flagging enthuisiasm


From the editorial cartoonist of the Buffalo News:

There’s nothing as idiotic as pledging allegiance to a flag.
The Seventh-day Adventists have rejected it ever since the pledge was introduced in 1887 and revised into the present form five years later, save for the two words “under God” added during the Cold War.

Incidentally, the the 1892 version was written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy, which should be enough for wingnuts to reject it.

The Seventh-day Adventists regard the pledge, rightly, as a form of idoltry.

Here at esnl, we haven’t recited the pledge since 1964, when we stopped pledging allegiance to a nation that was slaughtering tens of thousands in Southeast Asia, and we haven’t recited it since.

We might recite a pledge of allegiance to humanity and the planet e inhabit, but we can’t hold to the “my country, right or wrong” logic embodied in the pledge. We have more compassion for a single innocent child dying from a drone strike than we do for a piece of colored cloth.

Reciting the pledge became a major issue during the Vietnam War days, but had died out.

We don’t sing the Star Spangled Banner, either. Even those who try to sing it can’t save for a few gifted singers. [The way most folks sing it, the song should be better titled the Star Mangled Banner.] But as a journalist, we would stand for the song, mostly because to not do so would call untoward attention of the sort that might’ve interfered with our reporting assignments. But we have great respect for folks who don’t.

Anway, it’s been years since we attended an event where the song was sung. But if we went today, thanks to the actions of a San Francisco 49ers player named  Colin Kaepernick, we wouldn’t stand.

Kaepernick created a major flap when he knelt rather than stood before the 1 September game between the Niners and the Green Bay Packers, sending Right wing media and pundits into predictable paroxysms of outrage.

Afterwards Kaepernick, an African American, gave his rationale to a National Football League media representative:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick’s actions have also sparked similar moves by other NFL players, and the movement has also spread to players at the nation’s high schools.

All we can say is more power to you all.

As for the pledge, one California teenager has been refusing to say the words for years, CNN reports.

Leilani Thomas is a member of the Elem Indian Colony in Northern California and a student at Lower Lake High School.

She’d been sitting out the pledge for several years, but when she sat it out after Kaepernick’s protest made headlines, her homeroom teacher told her and another Native American who sat it out that they were making “bad choices”:

“She told us that we didn’t have a choice not to stand up for the pledge,” Leilani said. “We told her we have the right to do so. And then she told us that we only have child’s rights.”

“I was dumbfounded,” Leilani said. “She pretty much told us that she could control us. She was forcing everyone in the class to stand up.”

A few days later, Leilani recalled, the teacher met with her privately.

“She decided to lower my grade for my lack of participation, supposedly for not standing up for the pledge,” said Leilani.

Actually, Ms. Thomas was participating, and in a most exemplary American fashion, her punishment also delivered a powerful lesson: In a nation which supposedly prides itself on dissent, actual acts of dissent aren’t tolerated.

Turns out the student was the real teacher in that classroom.

Headline of the day II: He spies on you, but. . .


Facebook, the most popular social media platform in history, requires users to let the software spy on their most intimate habits.

But don’t you day try to do the same to the guy who runs it, because he’ll spend millions to stop you.

Irony, anyone?

From the London Daily Mail:

Palo Alto REJECTS Mark Zuckerberg’s bid to demolish neighboring homes and create a family compound after he spent $30m on properties next to his house

  • Facebook founder filed paperwork with the city of Palo Alto in May, stating his intentions to tear down and rebuild four neighboring homes
  • Architectural review board rejected the plans saying a giant compound will violate zoning codes and ideal land use 
  • Plans shows that Zuckerberg will tear down the four homes and rebuild them as smaller properties
  • Zuckerberg bought the four properties in 2013, after a developer threatened to build a house with views right into the billionaire’s bedroom

Headline of the day: Corporate idiocy on the march


From BBC News:

Warner Brothers reports own site as illegal

  • Film studio Warner Brothers has asked Google to remove its own website from search results, saying it violates copyright laws.
  • It also asked the search giant to remove links to legitimate movie streaming websites run by Amazon and Sky, as well as the film database IMDB. 
  • The request was submitted on behalf of Warner Brothers by Vobile, a company that files hundreds of thousands of takedown requests every month.

Political thuggery on the right, U.S. & Greece


Trump blows his horn again

We begin in the U.S., with two of the usual suspects, starting with this from the Guardian:

Donald Trump veered off the teleprompter on Monday night to claim that “inner cities run by the Democrats” were more dangerous than countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Republican nominee was meant to be delivering a scripted speech calling for Hillary Clinton be investigated by a special prosecutor. However, once again he veered off message in an attempt to appeal to minority voters in apocalyptic terms.

“You can go to war zones in countries that we are fighting and it is safer than living in some of our inner cities that are run by the Democrats,” Trump said. The Republican nominee also promised if elected, “we’ll get rid of the crime. You’ll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Now, you walk down the street, you get shot.”

A ZioCon Joe McCarthy brandishes a list

Sen Joe McCarthy became infamous for his self-aggrandizing Red Hunts during the early 1950’s, most famous brandishing a list with the names of 57 alleged secret communists in the State Department

From the Guardian again, the second of the usual U.S. suspects, this time deploying that nasty little trick of publishing a list, this time affixing the antisemite label on anyone who opposes Israeli government actions [a label that’s been attached to esnl for the same reason]:

Sheldon Adelson, the Nevada casino mogul and conservative mega-donor, is leading a campaign against pro-Palestine groups on US college campuses and has funded posters that accuse individual students of supporting terrorism and promoting “Jew Hatred”.

The multimillion-dollar effort, which has launched at six campuses in California, is targeting the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that has become increasingly popular among American university students protesting the Israeli government.

At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), recent Adelson-funded posters named 16 students and professors, saying they “have allied themselves with Palestinian terrorists to perpetuate BDS and Jew Hatred on this campus”. It further claimed BDS was a “Hamas-inspired genocidal campaign to destroy Israel”.

Robert Gardner, a 25-year-old UCLA senior, saw his name on one of the posters outside a grocery market. “I was really shocked and felt really disturbed,” he said.

“They are trying to cast us as antisemitic, that we are somehow a discriminatory group,” said the political science student, who is a member of the college’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organization. “That is a completely spurious accusation. One of our core principles is anti-oppression and anti-racism.”

And a thuggish Greek legislator steps it up

And on to Greece, with a neo-Nazi national legislator joining the fray [literally], via eKathimerini:

Golden Dawn deputy Constantinos Barbarousis has been implicated, along with a relative and at least three other men, in a violent beating of a police officer at a coffee shop in the village of Fiteies in the region of Aetoloacarnania in central Greece Monday.

According to reports, the incident followed an altercation between one of the extreme-right lawmaker’s relatives and the officer over a traffic violation earlier in the day.

The policeman was off duty when he was attacked by his assailants, who, according to witnesses, pulled up outside the cafe in two cars, with Barbarousis and four other men inside. All five barged into the shop and attacked the victim using clubs, brass knuckles and bats.

The officer suffered head injuries and required stitches, while his brother and a friend, who were also present during the incident, suffered light injuries.

Headline of the day: A Microsoft misadventure


From BBC News:

Windows 10 update stops webcams working

  • The update, released earlier this month, stops many cameras being used for Skype or to broadcast and stream footage.
  • The cause seems to be a change in the way Windows 10 handles video so it can be used by more than one program at a time.
  • Microsoft said it was working on a fix but has not given any date for when the patch will be available.