Monthly Archives: October 2007

Scattershot Posting

A few random shots:

Rudy Rex?

Even before he started running for president, there were three things I didn’t like about Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor of New York:

  • He said things like this.
  • He tried to shut down legal businesses he disliked, such as strip clubs and adult bookstores.
  • He aggressively defended New York police officers against accusations of misconduct before investigating.
  • After police chief Bratton brought down New York’s crime rate, Giuliani forced him out and took credit.
  • At the end of his last term, Giuliani floated the idea of postponing the mayoral election so he could stay in office a little longer.

(Hmm. That’s actually five things.  I really don’t like Rudy.)

Now Rachel Morris looks back at Giuliani’s mayoral period in this terrific anti-Rudy piece in Washington Monthly. He apparently behaved less like an elected official and more like a king consolidating his power.

I’m beginning to think Giuliani wouldn’t just be a bad president, he’d be a terrifying president.

(Hat tip: Hit & Run)

Obama and the Flag: This Time It’s Interesting


I thought the kerfuffle over Obama not wearing a flag pin was pretty dumb. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody on Obama’s campaign staff orchestrated the whole mess to make his opponents look petty.

Now John Ruberry just pointed out another flag flap for Obama. This time it’s a picture of him and several other people standing for the national anthem. He’s the only one who doesn’t have his hand on his heart.

Somehow, this one bothers me.

I know I don’t always remember to put my hand on my heart. I don’t go to many live sporting events, so I rarely hear the anthem played, and I sometimes forget that I’m supposed to be doing something until I notice everyone else doing it. But I’m pretty sure a Senator and presidential candidate hears it a lot more.

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe he’s been hearing it five times a day, every day, for the last year, and this time he forgot to salute. Maybe he was doing something else when they started playing—carrying a brief case, shaking hands with people in the crowd—and he just didn’t go into “national anthem mode.” Maybe if you watch every candidate all day every day, they all do stuff like this.

(It’s not just a lucky shot by the photographer. There’s also a video of the event which shows him with his arms down for a while. I should point out, however, that if you listen to the singing on the video, you can’t entirely dismiss the possibility that he didn’t realize that was supposed to be the national anthem.)

I can understand why he wouldn’t wear a flag pin. Most people don’t wear them, so by wearing one he would be making a greater show of patriotism than most Americans, and some people are repelled by that. I know I tend to suspect that anyone who puts on an extravagent show of patriotism is faking it because they are trying to sell me something.

But there’s nothing extravagent about putting your hand on your chest. This is probably nothing…but I’d still like to hear his explanation.

An Auto Theft Ring With Badges

The evil lawmaking just keeps on coming.

Automobiles with aftermarket exhaust systems may be seized if they pass through Rossville, Illinois and a police officer thinks the vehicle is making too much noise. The village will also authorize police to grab a vehicle if an unruly passenger “resists” an officer’s commands.

This is, of course, another form of profitable punishment that allows towns and cities to make money off of punishing their citizens, but it’s also something much worse.

The jurisdictions have also come up with a number of clever ways to accuse motorists of crimes meriting confiscation. Rockford and Peoria will seize cars with loud stereos. Oak Forest will seize the car of anyone accused of crimes like shoplifting that have nothing whatsoever to do with driving. In all jurisdictions, the seizure takes place upon a mere accusation by police — not after any finding of guilt in a court of law. Kane County will even keep a confiscated car belonging to a motorist later found innocent.

Confiscation without trial is confiscation without law. If any cop can take your car just because he wants to, then you pretty much have to do what the cop says. You no longer have to obey the law, you have to obey the man with the gun.

This is lawlessness.

By passing laws like this, Rockford and Peoria and Kane County and all the other places have have turned their police forces into predatory street gangs, into auto theft rings with badges.

Scattershot Posting

Interesting stuff around the web this morning:

  • Reason‘s David Weigel watched last night’s Republican debate so you didn’t have to.
  • Maryland Transportation Secretary John D Porcari wants to hit drivers with a $2000 fine for speeding in a highway work zone. I’m sure this is strictly out of concern for workers—even though the most common cause of injuries to construction zone workers is construction accidents—and that the revenue angle is only incidental.
  • Kip talks about Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s absurd attempt to get a list of everyone who reads the Phoenix New Times.
  • In the UK, which is already doing its best to bring 1984 to life through millions of security cameras, they now want to use RFID tags to track school children.
  • Federal prosecutors apparently have nothing better to do than prosecute a retailer for selling porno videos through the mail. As is always the case, nobody is forced to watch pornography if they don’t want to…except the jurors on pornography cases.

I actually started to write a whole post about Sheriff Arpaio, so I’ll end this with an edited excerpt:

Arpaio is an asshole. To give you an idea of how big an asshole he is, he bills himself as the “toughest sheriff in America.” If you don’t already know his story, try to imagine what he must have done to claim that. Did he break up a bank robbery single-handed? Infiltrate a drug gang? Clean out corruption in his own department? Bust an organize crime syndicate?

No, nothing like that.

He’s tough on the prisoners in his jail. They don’t get goodies like coffee or cigarettes or porno mags, they have very limited television viewing, and they spend a lot of time in chain gangs. Also, he makes them all wear pink underwear.

Picking on people who are disarmed, locked up, and dependent on him for basic survival requirements doesn’t make Arpaio tough. It makes him a sadistic bully.

Most of the tough-on-prisoners crap does not rise to Abu Graib levels of mistreatment, but there have been accusations along those lines as well: Arpaio is one of the few Americans ever to be investigated by Amnesty International.

The Phoenix New Times has a lot more about Arpaio.

Scattershot Posting

I’m busy on my day job lately, and I don’t have time to write much, but here are a few stories that caught my eye:

Crime Rampages Out of Control in the 16th Police District!

People running stop signs! Illegal truck parking! Somebody thinks her neighbor might be selling drugs to his friends!

Sigh. That’s the problem with living in a very safe neighborhood. Not much police news.

My second Chi-Town Daily News story is up.

I did manage to work in a bit about lesbians. Well…implied lesbians.

800 Photos of the 2007 Chicago Marathon

The Turn Into Chinatown
Larger ImageThe Turn Into Chinatown

I wasn’t planning to take any pictures of the Chicago Marathon this year because I knew I’d be too busy to process and upload all the photos. However, when I woke up unusually early on Sunday morning I decided I could at least drive back to Chinatown and take some pictures, even if I didn’t post them.

(I like the Chinatown location because I can drive in and out on the expressway without crossing the race course or encountering heavy traffic.)

The First Wheelers
Larger ImageThe First Wheelers

I got there in time to catch the beginning of the race and I took photos for an hour and a half as the lead runners passed by. I would have liked to stay to get the back of the pack—which is a lot more interesting—but I already had 800 photos and I knew I wouldn’t have time to upload any more.

Larger ImageFrontrunners

If you ran in the race and you reached the giant pagoda thing you see in all the pictures of Chinatown before 11am, I might have taken your picture. You can lookup race results at the unofficial Chicago Marathon results page. I was located near 34.5km, so the timestamp at the 35km point should help you out. Just work from when you started and calculate your arrival time in my photo zone.

(I’ve mapped the location on Google Maps or (if you have it) Google Earth.)

The photos are divided into two groups for convenience:

All the photos should be in order (or nearly so). The middle part of the photo name is the time (e.g. CM_102351_0321 means 10:23:51), so if you calculate when you passed this location you can look for your picture.

All photos are 10MP JPEGs. You can order prints right off that page if you want, or you can also download the original full-resolution image by clicking the “save photo” link. Even if you appear small in the frame, at this resolution you should be able to get a nice picture by cropping in on yourself using any photo editing software.

Let me know if I got you.

These photographs may be used freely for non-commercial purposes (blog ads are okay) provided credit is given to Mark Draughn at For other uses, please contact me.

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