With the plethora of news stories about police misconduct, excessive force, non-indictments, and the understandable corresponding outrage to such perceived injustices in the waning days of 2014, certain law and order types thought it proper to offer some advice to stop the bloodshed. Quite simple advice really: obey the laws and/or cooperate with the police.
But maybe instead of “simple” I should say “simplistic.” It seems most of those who offer such advice are middle aged white guys who don’t fit the profile the police look for when they decide to stop someone who “looks suspicious.” Take this jackass by the name of Kelly Ogle for example:
It use to be simple… when you come in contact with a police officer, you do what they say.
Unfortunately, an unrealistic distrust of police officers is being fostered by some protesters, even some public officials, which is disgraceful.
Just “do what they say” and everything will be just fine huh?
Don’t tell that to NY Jets RB Chris Johnson. Johnson was recently pulled over in Orlando, Florida for rolling through a stop sign. According to a source close to Johnson, the police asked permission to search his vehicle. Because Johnson didn’t feel like he “had anything to hide” or wanted to “be cooperative,” he foolishly waived his Fourth Amendment rights and allowed the police to search his vehicle.
What did “cooperating” with the police get him? A second degree misdemeanor charge for having his lawfully owned firearm improperly stored in the vehicle according to Florida law. There’s a good chance that Johnson didn’t know he was breaking the law. As we have heard ad nauseum, ignorance of the law is not a legal defense for breaking the law (unless of course, you happen to be a cop).
Just over a month ago, I offered what I believe to be more constructive advice than that the aforementioned badge worshiper. There is a way to be respectful of the police while firmly and intelligently asserting your rights. It seems that had Johnson followed advice similar to mine than that similar to Kelly Ogle’s, he would likely not have been arrested.
Here’s their promotional video explaining the project:
Even if this project doesn’t quite get off the ground, its good to see that there are people out there thinking about how to mitigate the reality of the numerous criminal laws on the books. But until that day comes, understand that when you are stopped by the police, they stopped you because they have some suspicion that you are breaking a law that you may or may not be aware of. Don’t help them by waiving your rights (“just cooperating”) as Chris Johnson did. You can’t assert your rights if you don’t know what they are. Now that you have found these links (here,here, and here), there is no excuse for ignorance of these rights.
This image was published by The Onion on September 13, 2012, under the headline “No One Murdered Because of This Image.”
The image to the right may, at first glance, be seen as an insult to the religions whose figures are depicted. Upon second glance, we might see in context that the image pays compliment to those religions, while the insult is instead to the one whose Prophet was omitted.
Vulgarity in satire becomes provocative think piece.
The same Charlie Hebdo images deemed racist by some are interpreted as mocking racism by others. There is no right or wrong answer. Subjectivity is inescapable; offensiveness being in the eye of the beholder, the only way to avoid it is not to speak at all.
A Charlie Hebdo cover: “If Muhammad returned.”
I find some of Charlie Hebdo’s images grotesque and unpalatable, others almost touchingly sweet. I interpret the one on the left as a defense of Islam against those who would distort it with their violence, and the one below as a heartfelt insistence that our common humanity will prevail over all differences.
Others will look through the lens of their own perspective, find different meaning in the same images, and take offense or not accordingly.
It changes nothing.
There can be no “but” because freedom has no meaning if we censor ourselves based on the dictates of any conscience but our own.
A Charlie Hebdo cover: “Love is more powerful than hate.”
The battle between those who would be free and those who would be reverent is not between different races and religions, between east and west, or between nation-states. It is a battle between those who love freedom, in all its messy, imperfect glory, and those who would spill blood in pursuit of their own personal utopia.
We must never fail to love our liberty more than they hate it.
There can be no “but,” because the stakes are too high.
A war not fought with words and ideas, however cutting, will be fought instead with drones and bombs. Rewarding the murder of satirists with suppression of images, rather than publication of a thousand more, foregoes the peaceful power of the Streisand Effect in favor of enhanced interrogation.
Those who would be free, of every race, religion or nationality, must form a circle of defense around the indefensible. We must give rein to that rebellious voice inside that whispers, If you tell me I must not do something, I will do it to prove I can. We must value freedom over respect, not just when it is tasteful and without cost, but always.
It is where we stand in the hard cases that defines us.
So, unfortunately I’ve lapsed a few weeks on the beer reviews. Travel, the holidays, and whatnot… I’ve been drinking good beer, but haven’t had the time to review good beer.
For this week, I’ve decided to trend back over to the “interesting” side of the aisle, with a Gose. Gose is a very obscure beer style, relatively unheard of 4 years ago and now only known to some of the most dedicated beer geeks. I first encountered a Gose at the 2011 Southern California Homebrew Festival, on “pro brewer” night when The Bruery was pouring their Salt of the Earth. My first reaction once I tasted it? “I need to brew this.”
Gose is named after the river Gose, which flows near Goslar, Germany, where the style was invented and first popularized. The style possibly dates back 1000 years, becoming popularized in “nearby” Leipzig, which became known as the home of Gose. It’s not brewed within the Reinheitsgebot due to the addition of coriander, it is a tart wheat ale, with notes of salt (originally supposed to be due to the salty water near the mines of Goslar) and coriander. A possible way to think of the beer would be a cross between a Berliner Weisse and a Witbier, with a hint of salt thrown in.
To me, it’s just delicious. A good Gose is a delicate beer, where the interplay between tartness, salinity, and the malt and spice is all perfectly balanced. It shouldn’t be puckeringly-sour. It shouldn’t really taste salty, but you should be able to detect the slick salinity on the tongue. And the coriander, of course, shouldn’t take center stage lest you mistake it for a Wit. Gose is low in alcohol, generally assumed to come roughly into the 4.5% ABV range.
Given that this is not a popular style, I’m not going to offer the typical BJCP-style tasting notes. Instead, I’d much rather just give broader impressions. Gose is a wide-open playground.
Anderson Valley previously released a Gose that to me did not strike the right balance. They allowed the tartness to dominate, and in such a low-alcohol beer as a Gose, nothing else seemed to come through. It was far more Berliner Weisse than Gose.
Today’s beer is the same Gose, but with some blood orange thrown in for a citrus kick. I still don’t pick up coriander at all, and the hint of salinity that I am detecting is just faint at best, but I think the fruit rounds this one out much more nicely.
Whereas the first Anderson Valley Gose was a one-note sour-bomb, this Gose much better fits the mold of a delicate interplay between uncommon combinations of ingredients. This beer has depth. This citrus note of the fruit contributes to the sourness of the beer, but it does so with harmony rather than with volume. This is a beer that I could definitely sit down and spend some time with. On a hot summer day (or a warm SoCal winter day), hanging out in the sun watching the world go by, this is exactly the sort of beer that I’d love to be drinking. And at only 4.2% ABV, this can definitely be a “day drinking” beer.
Is this the best or most representative Gose I’ve had? No, certainly not. For that, try the Ritterguts Gose. But if you just want a delicious beer to while away a few hours in the sun, this just might be what you’re looking for.
In a stunning, tyrannical ruling, the Supreme Court of Connecticut has ruled that the Department of Children and Families has acted correctly in ruling that a 17 year old girl from Windsor Locks, identified in court documents as “Cassandra C”, was right in taking her from her home and forcing her to undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma:
A 17-year-old Connecticut girl with a highly curable cancer is not mentally competent to make her own medical decisions and will continue to receive the chemotherapy treatments she’s battled to halt, the Connecticut Supreme Court ordered Thursday.
Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers ruled that the teen — listed only as Cassandra C. in legal records — is not mature by any standard.
That means Cassandra will remain at a Hartford hospital, in the temporary custody of child-welfare workers, and will receive her full course of chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors have said her odds at recovery are 80 to 85 percent with chemo, but that she will die without it.
In an interview Wednesday with NBC News, (Mother Jackie) Fortin denied pressuring her daughter into her decision to forgo chemo.
“I am not coercing her at all and that is what this is about, what they think I am doing,” Fortin said.
Cassandra simply does not want to be infused with “toxic” chemicals, Fortin added.
“My daughter does not want poison in her body. This is her constitutional right as a human being,” Fortin told NBC News. “She is almost 18. [Her birthday is nine months away]. If she was 18, I don’t think this would be an issue. She is not 10. She is over 17. She is very bright, very smart.”
In a Hartford Courant editorial, Cassandra told her own side of the story. Her description of what she went through when DCF got involved is surreal and gut-wrenching:
In December, a decision was made to hospitalize me. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I did know I wasn’t going down without a fight.
I was admitted to the same room I’m in now, with someone sitting by my door 24/7. I could walk down the hallway as long as security was with me, but otherwise I couldn’t leave my room. I felt trapped.
After a week, they decided to force chemotherapy on me. I should have had the right to say no, but I didn’t. I was strapped to a bed by my wrists and ankles and sedated. I woke up in the recovery room with a port surgically placed in my chest. I was outraged and felt completely violated. My phone was taken away, the hospital phone was removed from my room and even the scissors I used for art were taken.
I have been locked in this hospital for a month, missing time from work, not being able to pay my bills. I couldn’t celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with my friends and family. I miss my cat and I miss fresh air. Having visitors is complicated, seeing my mom is limited, and I’ve not been able to see all of the people I’d like to. My friends are a major support; I need them. Finally, I was given an iPad. I can message my friends on Facebook, but it is nowhere near like calling a friend at night when I can’t sleep or hearing someone’s voice to cheer me up.
This experience has been a continuous nightmare. I want the right to make my medical decisions. It’s disgusting that I’m fighting for a right that I and anyone in my situation should already have. This is my life and my body, not DCF’s and not the state’s. I am a human — I should be able to decide if I do or don’t want chemotherapy. Whether I live 17 years or 100 years should not be anyone’s choice but mine.
Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is 80-85% curable with chemotherapy, but likely fatal without it.
I need to put forth some of my own perspective on Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families. Growing up poor in Connecticut, DCF was never, EVER the “good” guy. Even in cases where intervention to protect a child was warranted, DCF was viewed by everyone I knew as nothing short of terrorists. They were often called in by people who did not have a child’s best interests in mind – often by a former boyfriend/girlfriend of a single parent to “get back” at their ex – and were known to forcefully remove children from their houses and homes, putting them in a foster care environment that is comparable to prison, with all of the social issues (read: constant larceny, constant beatings, and constant sexual abuse by both peers and superiors) that entailed. The threat of DCF coming into my life was a constant for the child of a single mother that worked full time, and led to other consequences in my life that I will tell publicly at a later time. To put it bluntly: DCF was basically the Ministry of Love in our eyes, and rightly so.
Their actions in this case justify that mindset. They took a 17 year old girl out of her house – someone who can legally enlist to fight in a war – and blew away any idea of a mature minor1, judging her too immature – in a state where the sexual age of consent is sixteen – to reject medication that they are forcing her to take by strapping her wrists and ankles to a bed, drugging her, and sticking a pipe in her chest to inject, while removing any form of communication with her family and friends. You know, for her own good. Just One Child™, and all that.
So she can enlist to get shot at in our (illegal) wars, she can have sex with whoever she wants, and she can work. But she can’t say that she doesn’t want something she’s called “poison” to be forcefully injected into her body by a state that is keeping her prisoner and abusing her Constitutional rights.
The mindset of the state – assuming anyone has any good intentions beyond simply exerting their authority – is likely that she will thank them in twenty to thirty years. This assumes that her fears of not being able to give birth, or that her fears of other side effects, do not come true. The quality of Cassandra’s medical care has been atrocious. Now, she would be right to distrust the state for any reason. She was terrorized by people who ostensibly have her best interests in mind, and has been routinely degraded in demeaned in the one way no one should be: by losing total bodily autonomy. She has had her dignity permanently destroyed, and I would not blame her, or her mother, for leaving the state of Connecticut forever, if they haven’t been put on some No Fly List for daring to cross a few bureaucrats.
This is pure fascism. Hateful, evil fascism. There is no other way to put it. And I am ashamed to say I live here right now.
1 – From a legal perspective, Cassandra, her mother, and her lawyers did not assert the mature minor doctrine, which asserts that minors as young as 15 can make their own medical choices without authorization or knowledge of their parents, though the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut mentioned it in their amicus brief (PDF). Connecticut is not one of the states that has codified a mature minor doctrine into law. DISCLOSURE: I am a member of the Connecticut ACLU.
On Wednesday morning at about 11:30am local time, militants stating they were from Al-Qaeda in Yemen attacked the Paris offices of satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, killing twelve and injuring eleven:
Two gunmen in balaclavas and bullet-proof vests, armed with a pump-action shotgun and an automatic rifle, stormed into the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo at about 11.30am as about 15 journalists had gathered for the weekly editorial conference. They called for the editor by name and then murdered him before spraying the room with gunfire, killing nine more and wounding others. Laurent Léger, a Charlie Hebdo writer, managed to sound the alarm, calling a friend and telling him: “Call the police. It’s carnage, a bloodbath. Everyone is dead.”
As they made their getaway, the gunmen shot dead two policemen, including one who they shot in the head at close range as he lay injured on the pavement.
Charlie Hebdo has courted controversy regarding depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in the past, starting in 2006 when they responded to the Jyllands-Posten controversy with images of the Prophet Muhammad of their own. Their offices were firebombed in 2011 in response to a cover changing the name of the paper to “Charia” (for Sharia) Hebdo with a “guest editorial” by the Prophet.
There is some question as to how Islam regards depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. The Qu’ran does not ban depictions of the Prophet. However, some variations of the hadeth – a collection of Muhammad’s teachings that I could best compare to Proverbs – outlaw the practice.
Reaction has been swift, with French President François Hollande denoting Thursday as a day of mourning. The United Nations and United States were also quick to condemn. Muslims not affiliated with the Islamic State were quick to denounce the killings. Jon Stewart took some time on The Daily Show to talk about it. While some outlets are censoring the covers that Charlie Hebdo has put out, others have reacted with spiteful malice towards this attitude. Of course, the usual suspects in America have ratcheted up the Islamophobia.1
It should also be noted that French Muslims have dealt with considerable discrimination despite their heavy presence in France’s population when compared to the rest of Europe; in 2010, a French government panel recommended banning the Hijab in public buildings. The response by some on the French right has been openly hostile to Islam, and many Muslims are bracing for retaliation.
It is my personal belief – one that I will concede risks politicizing this topic at a sensitive time – that one thing bears mentioning: I don’t know of too many children who have the ability to write who put down “I want to kill people when I grow up!” on paper. That’s because just about any form of extremism is born from desperation. The Islamic State isn’t an uprising of well-to-do people; it, along with Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups, is an uprising of people who feel that they have nothing else to live for, being taken advantage of by people who are teaching a perverted form of Islam to those that don’t have the means to know any better. When you live every day in abject poverty, in fear of drone strikes, a bunch of virgins start to sound enticing.
Times like this bear a link to what Afghanistan used to look like. Miniskirts, uncovered heads, a useful economy… it’s hard to place those images with what has replaced them in my lifetime. But a populist revolt overthrew the King in 1973, and starting in 1979, the Soviet Union invaded as part of their larger proxy war against the United States, leading to a civil war that lasted ten years and only ended thanks to American intervention. The country never recovered.
I bring up Afghanistan in this context because that’s basically been the entirety of the Arab middle east: a pawn for the two big superpowers to play with, damn the consequences. Those countries’ destruction opened the way for many extremist groups to come about; The Islamic State is little more than a Pokemon evolution of all of the movements before it. Those groups, for many in this area, are the only way to get out of their sorry way of life. Those groups teach the bastardized form of Islam that educated Muslims denounce on a daily basis. Every time a drone strikes a wedding party in one of these countries, we make those groups a little stronger.
Free speech and free thought are the antithesis of what extremist Muslims – or really, extremists of any religion – want or believe in. If we want to create less extremists, we must allow the way of life in these countries to improve. Until that point, what happened to Charlie Hebdo, the girls kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram, the beheading of the Western journalists and aid workers, and other cases of extreme terrorism will continue, the head-shaking will continue, the hatred will continue, and the cycle will get stronger and stronger, not unlike the circling of water around a toilet drain.
UPDATE @11:46AM ON 1/8: Charlie Hebdo’s Patrick Pelloux has defiantly announced that, instead of printing the standard run of 60,000 magazines, their next issue will print 1m copies.
Charlie Hebdo will publish next Wednesday to defiantly show that “stupidity will not win,” columnist Patrick Pelloux told Agence France-Presse, adding that the remaining staff will soon meet.
“It’s very hard. We are all suffering, with grief, with fear, but we will do it anyway because stupidity will not win,” he said.
1 – I will not link to or mention any of these people or their hashtag. I refuse to give them oxygen.