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The Most Dangerous Game

June 17, 2010

Tonight is game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers. If there’s going to be any rough stuff, hopefully it will be confined to the basketball court with the Lakers as the recipient.

The last time these two teams met, it wasn’t, and David Woodman wound up dead at the hands of the Boston Police Department. Today the kid’s family announced a $3 million settlement in a civil suit against the Boston Police Department, which is not nearly enough. It isn’t going to bring their kid back and the cops who did it had previously been cleared of any wrongdoing although they did admit to “missteps”. The victims mother did not agree.

“I think they’re lying,” Cathy Woodman said. “In my opinion, those officers, those nine officers, the ones who handled him and the ones who witnessed, are to blame for his death.”

When the Celtics won in 2008, the Boston PD sent out riot squads to deal with the crowds hitting the streets after the game was over even though there was no riot, just a bunch of happy people celebrating. And it wasn’t just a handful of riot cops either, but enough to stop a small army. This article gives a pretty good rundown of what happened .

It was a terrific night and the Rufos stepped out onto Causeway Street feeling as good as they had ever felt. Within minutes, things turned uncomfortable.

Not with the crowd. But with the police.

“It looked as though they were ready for the south LA riots after the Rodney King verdict. We watched the police unload from buses. They were in riot gear, with batons and shields,” Jim Rufo was saying the other day. “There were hundreds and hundreds of them, and I looked around and said, ‘Is this really necessary?’

“I’m not going to tell you there weren’t a thousand people who had too much to drink or were on their way to having too much to drink, but they were mostly happy. People were high-fiving each other. They weren’t fighting. It was not a hostile crowd.

“But the police kept pouring off the buses, and they were very aggressive and very hostile, and I was thinking, ‘Do they really need this many cops?’ And I was thinking, is this going to make things better or worse?”

It made things worse for David Woodman. He mouthed off walking past a group of cops, with a beer in his hand. Woodman said what Jim Rufo was thinking: that it seemed like there were an awful lot of cops around.

The kid is walking down the street with a half finished beer, makes a smart ass comment, and rather than simply taking the beer away and telling the kid to move it along, or maybe even giving him a ticket, they body slam the kid to the ground and this minor infraction results in a death sentence because some cop couldn’t stand hearing a little lip. And the cops who did it get away with it. Again.

So tonight, Go Celtics! But no matter who wins the game, here’s hoping the cops can manage not to murder anybody in the aftermath this time.

27 Comments leave one →
  1. artemis54 permalink
    June 17, 2010 11:17 am

    Crap – I am supposed to be doing three different things, but am loitering in the house until I can hear Jay Inslee rip into our Wayward Tony. He – Inslee – looks like he is ready to kill someone, which is unusual for him.

    Meanwhile, Pat Buchanan of all people explains Tony’s stonewalling with a reference to the wayward Oddyseus tacking between the Scylla of commiting perjury and the Charybdis of accepting more legal and financial responsibility. I didn’t know Pat could casually riff on the classics, but you never know with Catholics.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 17, 2010 12:01 pm

      Heh. Maybe Pat’s been chatting with Lord Monckton.

  2. cometman permalink*
    June 17, 2010 12:20 pm

    The Cape Wind project is finally set to go ahead and guess who’s already bitching about the higher electricity costs –the cheap bastards at Wal-Mart.

    In filings with the state, Wal-Mart said the high prices set by Cape Wind’s first contract to sell electricity will lead to higher costs for the retailer. Wal-Mart already pays more than $2 million a year to power 28 Massachusetts stores served by National Grid, which negotiated the deal with the offshore wind farm.

    Let’s do a little math and see just how much Wal-Mart stands to be put out by the higher costs. $2 mil per year over 28 stores works out to about $71,500 per store annually, just under $6,000 per month, or about $200 per day per store. I’m not sure how many individual items Wal – Mart sells in each store per day, but based on how much inventory the huge shitboxes have inside, I’m thinking 10,000 items is not an unreasonable guess. 10,000 divided by $.02 is $200, meaning currently $.02 per item goes to pay Wal-Mart’s electric bill. So even assuming the electrical costs double, Wal -Mart would have to raise the price per item a whopping two cents to break even on the added charges, an amount so small the average customer is unlikely to even notice.

    But if that’s enough, to get Wal-Mart to pack up and leave Massachusetts, well, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, jackasses.

    I doubt it will be though. Far more likely is that Wal-Mart uses the higher electrical costs to justify an even bigger price increase since the average customer is unlikely to notice even a 3 or 4 cent increase per item, thereby raking in millions of extra dollars, and they’ll keep bitching about the costs until the state gives them a huge tax break so they can rake in even more.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    June 17, 2010 12:36 pm

    Evidently Representative Stearns (FL) is getting tired of Hayward’s sidewinding:

    Is today Thrusday, Mr. Hayward?

  4. cometman permalink*
    June 17, 2010 1:04 pm

    A few spill-related links.

    Peabrained Texas GOP Congressman apologizes to BP. Hope he chokes on a tarball.

    Mother Jones on the sale of hundreds of oil leases that continue to be approved in the Gulf region, including 13 for BP in deep water.

    Video of Rachel Maddow on <O's oil spill speech here.

  5. artemis54 permalink
    June 17, 2010 1:38 pm

    More on what I consider the most under-reported threat out there:

    Wild sharks, redfish harbor antibiotic-resistant bacteria including some resistant to, for instance, cipro. Once these strains develop in the sharks, in the fish, in the seagulls, in the otters, there is nothing to stop them jumping back to humans.


    • cometman permalink*
      June 18, 2010 7:52 am

      I’m with you on that one. If we keep screwing with the environmental balance we may not like what crawls out of the ocean one of these days.

      In recent years it’s become a lot more clear how evolution works and it isn’t always a gradual slow process. Right now human beings are driving more rapid evolution without knowing what the consequences may be. New niches open up as species are driven extinct by human activity and we have no idea what might fill those niches. All the chemicals we pump into the environment force existing species to adapt and evolve a lot faster than they might otherwise.

      I don’t really like being part of this experiment at all.

  6. artemis54 permalink
    June 17, 2010 1:49 pm


    Over a third of Gulf now closed to fishing

    Following the warmest April on record, the warmest May on record with various other records shattered along the way.

  7. Stemella permalink*
    June 18, 2010 8:11 am

    Condolences on the Lakers win. I haven’t been able to watch basketball much since Michael Jordan screwed up the Blazers’ chances when Clyde was glidin’. Yeah, that was a while ago.

    In other “sports” related news, I went to McClatchy this morning to see their latest stories on the Gulf disaster, and this headline popped out as so incongruous to what they normally cover I had to share it.

    I guess the title kind of sums up the wrongness in our decadent decaying Empire. Fitting that the story originates in Manatee. Oh the … Hat tip to Miss D.

    Porn star alleges she had Tiger Woods’ baby

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 18, 2010 3:03 pm

      I hate to mention this, but plans are being made right now to evacuate Florida’s Gulf coast manatees.

    • sisdevore permalink
      June 20, 2010 9:27 am

      How did I forget about manatee? Did that start at pff? I even just remembered those 2 post-pff sites. I should czech them to see if d-tale is still telling everyone I am a racist.

  8. Stemella permalink*
    June 18, 2010 8:40 am

    Activists related to Steve Irwin helped save some blue fin tuna in Libyan waters

    Sea Shepherd release blue fin

    Green activists using helicopters, divers and rotten butter yesterday confronted Libyan and Italian fishermen to release hundreds of threatened bluefin tuna which they strongly suspect were illegally caught off the Libyan coast.

    In the first action of its kind in north African waters, the international crew of the California-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society released around 800 tuna from a cage being towed behind the Italian trawler Cesare Rustico.

    Stocks of bluefin tuna, one of the most valuable but endangered fish in the Mediterranean, have been decimated by ruthless overfishing in the last 20 years to the point where they are now unlikely to survive more than a few more years. Catches are limited to two weeks of the year and shipowners have been given strict quotas by governments, but with little policing, the industry has been easily able to flaunt the law.

    Good on ’em. I wonder who thought of using rotten butter? gag!

    • cometman permalink*
      June 18, 2010 8:47 am

      Very nice. If the governments aren’t going to enforce the laws then somebody’s got to. Based on the number of juveniles they found, I’d be willing to bet that what they were doing was towing the bluefin to some tuna “farm” where they fatten them up before harvesting them, but of course they aren’t really “farms” since they’re using wild stock.

  9. cometman permalink*
    June 18, 2010 8:54 am

    Greenwald has a very good article trying to piece together what happened that led to the arrest of the guy who released the helicopter footage to wikileaks – The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks.

    He also appeared with Daniel Ellsburg to discuss the case yesterday on Democracy Now!

    And on a related note, with input from Wikileaks, Iceland has changed its media laws to give very strong whistelblower protection to journalists from any country – Iceland rewrites law to create haven for investigative reporting.

    I imagine the Pentagon is drawing up plans to invade Iceland as we speak.

  10. cometman permalink*
    June 18, 2010 8:55 am

    Latest candidate for our new animal overlords – the immortal jellyfish.

  11. cometman permalink*
    June 18, 2010 9:00 am

    Alvin Greene’s “victory” in the SC Dem primary was upheld by SC Dem party. The losing candidate Vic Rawl documented problems with the voting machines that were used, but because the law forbids anyone to actually look at the machines to document fraud, he wasn’t able to prove his case. Of course nobody was actually able to prove the results were accurate either. According to Bradblog:

    The Rawl campaign presented an impressive five-hour case in Columbia today, including two computer scientists and security experts who both asserted that there was no reasonable explanation for election results other than some kind of voting system malfunction in either the hardware or software. Voters testified that they had trouble selecting Rawl on the ES&S iVotronic touch-screen systems, and that their votes were flipped to Greene. Campaign workers testified that they received calls all throughout Election Day concerning problems with the machines and reports that pollworkers were swapping out sensitive memory cartridges.

    Despite the historical record of failure of the ES&S voting system, and numerous state-sponsored studies (in state’s other than SC) which all found that the systems are poorly coded and exceptionally vulnerable to malicious manipulation, Rawl’s team of computer scientists were not allowed access to the voting system hardware and software in order to examine it for bugs or tampering.

  12. cometman permalink*
    June 18, 2010 12:01 pm

    Some links of interest.

    Check out the actions of Barry and Chris Dodd to make sure CEOs will continue to be paid as much as they damn well please no matter how badly they run their companies – White House Flip Flops On Reining In CEO Pay. Now a private business should have every right to pay their employees what they want and if Goldman Sachs and the like want to continue doing this, then they should go back to being private companies and not publicly traded ones. It wasn’t all that long ago that most if not all of these investment banks were private and they traded with their own private money. As long as they are publicly traded, the public owns the company and ought to have some say in how it’s run.

    Citigroup evidently knows that <O isn't really serious about reforming the financial industry so they are proceeding as if there will be no limits imposed on proprietary trading.

    Yves Smith has a good post – Death of an Economic Paradigm – which I liked particularly for the reminder of what Adam Smith actually had to say about the “invisible hand”:

    In 1776, Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations. In it, he argued that self-interested action sometimes produced, as if by “an invisible hand”, results that were beneficial to broader society. Smith also pointed out that self-interest could just as readily do harm. He fiercely criticized both how employers colluded to keep wages low, as well as the “savage injustice” that European mercantilist interests had “commit(ted) with impunity” in colonies in Asia and the Americas.

    And David Michael Green has a new post – President Obama Doesn’t Strike Again. He coins a new term – abysmalosity – and sums up my feelings on the <O administration quite well with this:

    Oh, please. Is there any possibility you could just shut up and govern? Any chance you could take your mandate and put it to work protecting the public, while permitting the Republicans to fulfill the mandate they got to go sit in Siberia for a while? Any chance that you could for once not bring predators to the negotiating table while leaving those who fight for the public interest standing at the White House gate? Any chance you could do away with negotiating tables altogether, and just take some serious actions to benefit the country – you know, like actually using the powers of your office?

  13. cometman permalink*
    June 18, 2010 1:18 pm

    The Mormons lied through their teeth about their involvement with the Prop 8 campaign in California. Now they’ve been found guilty on 13 counts of campaign violations. And what’s the penalty for claiming you weren’t involved and then admitting after the fact that the church itself gave $190,000 and got its members to pony up about $30 million?


    That ought to stop them from doing it again….

  14. cometman permalink*
    June 18, 2010 1:41 pm

    Apologies if I already posted this one, but I ran across a link to website run by a curmudgeon who is also very sick of stupid people called Good Math, Bad Math which I really enjoyed.

    Here’s the article from last year on the financial crisis that led me to it – Financial Morons, and Quadratics vs. Linears. The author takes offense with a particularly stupid graph put out on some literature by JP Morgan.

    A couple of weeks ago, some idiot at JP Morgan circulated a chart that was supposed to summarize just how bad the financial disaster has been. The chart circulated for a couple of weeks – bounced from mailbox to mailbox, sent from one financial genius to another.

    Only the chart was blatantly, obviously, trivially wrong, and anyone who had the slightest damned clue of the assets those businesses managed – i.e., the kind of thing that the idiot who drew the chart was supposed to know – should have been able to tell at a glance how wrong it was. But they didn’t. In fact, the damned thing didn’t stop circulating until (of all people) Bob Cringely flamed it. Go look at the chart – it’s up at the top of this post.

    Check out the graph at the link – the guy who did it evidently can’t tell the difference between the diameter of a circle and the area. For a bunch of people who we are constantly told deserve all the money they make because they are so damn much smarter than the rest of us, they sure have a hard time showing it.

  15. artemis54 permalink
    June 19, 2010 3:59 am

    Yesterday the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit in New Orleans to collect $4,300 per barrel of oil released into the Gulf from BP under the Clean Water Act (since no one else, including the Obama administration, is bothering to).

    In one of those strange synchronicities, I was wondering yesterday how the CBD was managing to pull all this off. Besides the hundred or so lawsuits it has going at any one time and various other campaigns, it has kicked into overdrive with Gulf related activity. Sure enough, not ten minutes later I got a call from a lovely woman with CBD.

    They are in dire need of cash.

    Now in all other cases a cold call asking for money gets a mouthful of trash talk from me. But I had such a delightful talk with this woman that I’m going to try and dig a little deeper somehow. (It would have been a hell of a lot easier without this extra vet bill – sigh.)

    • cometman permalink*
      June 19, 2010 11:50 am

      Good on you. I don’t remember how I got on it, but I am on the Center’s email list. I managed to get on quite a few of those lists over the last few years, probably from signing email petitions, and the Center are about the only ones I haven’t unsubscribed from with a trash talking email. I’m a little short on cash these days and just had to turn down a request from the Nation, but I’m going to talk to Mrs. Cometman and see if we can’t scrape something together for them.

      And BTW, I did get a chance to tout that group to the city planning committee. The guy I gave it to seemed quite interested. We’ll see if anything comes of it since there is a good sized area in town that I and a lot of other people would like to see redeveloped from cheesy paved over cheap looking strip malls into something better that people might actually want to go to. If not, I’ll keep bringing it up.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 19, 2010 11:55 am

      Meant to also mention that it’s quite interesting the amount the Center is suing for is just about the same amount that <O claims he's making BP set aside. Sounds like they might have to up that figure by a few billion more. If Obama can't be bothered to stop giving them new leases or shut down the current operations which BP hasn't proven are in any way safe, hopefully massive lawsuits like this one will put them right the hell out of business.

  16. artemis54 permalink
    June 19, 2010 4:44 am

    We weren’t using it anyway:

    The Haida Nation officially returned the name “Queen Charlotte Islands” to BC Premier Campbell on Thursday. With typical panache, they gave it to him in a nice bentwood box.

    • cometman permalink*
      June 19, 2010 11:41 am

      Nice. Considering everything else happening in that region with the protests against salmon farms, oil drilling, etc, I wonder if the bentwood box was a subtle way of telling the Canadian government to get bent.

      • artemis54 permalink
        June 19, 2010 11:57 am

        They’re on a bit of a roll, having just got their version of the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area approved. Next up, the Haida Nation will probably officially denounce the Enbridge pipeline, as several communities on the islands have already done.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    June 19, 2010 12:22 pm

    My favorite review of Glenn Beck’s “book,” from Amazon customer reviews:


    I love Glenn Beck and I love this book. In fact, I put it into a blender with vanilla ice-cream and a little chocolate syrup and drank the whole thing. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm… it was delicious. Rather than wasting your time reading this book, I recommend you eat it. You won’t be disappointed.

    Beck is apparently going to war with the WaPo, devoting whole segments of his show to bitching about their negative review. This is something you seldom saw Nabokov or Borges doing.

    • artemis54 permalink
      June 19, 2010 12:38 pm

      Jesus, I just switched on his ridiculous show for about twenty seconds. Sure enough, he is comparing himself to George Orwell.

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