Month: September 2020

Clearly, Young Skywalker Has Completed His Training

This is not just the best response to the debates, it’s the best possible response to the debates:

That debate was the worst thing I’ve ever seen & I was in The Star Wars Holiday Special.

— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) September 30, 2020

That being said, Weird Al Yankovic is a pretty close second:

It’s actually pretty impressive that he got together a song based on the actual event in such a short time.

Least Surprising News of the Day

Is anyone surprised that Amazon has been systematically deceiving its workers about safety

If you are surprised, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

This is a company that prides itself on abusing its workers at all levels, and their lies, both to regulators and their employees, are a core part of company culture:

On Cyber Monday 2014, Amazon operations chief Dave Clark proudly unveiled the company’s new warehouse of the future in Tracy, California. Behind him, tall yellow racks packed with vitamins, toy rockets and paintball gear zipped across the floor, lugged by the powerful, squat orange robots that would help catapult the company toward world domination. In a checked shirt and with neatly parted hair, Clark looked more the part of a high school teacher than a corporate executive, as he cheerfully called himself “head elf of Santa’s workshop around the world.”


The following July, Amazon rolled out another innovation: Prime Day. The holiday-shopping season was already an intense pressure cooker of warehouse activity known as “peak” inside Amazon. Now the company had just manufactured a second peak in the middle of the year: a brand-new holiday that would become pivotal to the company’s growth.


In fact, as senators have fired off letters to the company and workers have led walkouts over health and safety, Amazon has engaged in an unapologetic public relations campaign. Robots, Amazon insists, are good for workers. “They make the job safer,” Jeff Wilke, one of two CEOs under Bezos, told PBS FRONTLINE last September. And Prime Day and the holiday rush are so well orchestrated, Amazon has claimed, that injury rates stay flat or even go down during these buying frenzies. Thanks to “diligent record-keeping,” Amazon told Business Insider, “we know for a fact that recordable incidents do not increase during peak.”

But a new cache of company records obtained by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting – including internal safety reports and weekly injury numbers from its nationwide network of fulfillment centers – shows that company officials have profoundly misled the public and lawmakers about its record on worker safety. They reveal a mounting injury crisis at Amazon warehouses, one that is especially acute at robotic facilities and during Prime week and the holiday peak – and one that Amazon has gone to great lengths to conceal. With weekly data from 2016 through 2019 from more than 150 Amazon warehouses, the records definitively expose the brutal cost to workers of Amazon’s vast shipping empire – and the bald misrepresentations the company has deployed to hide its growing safety crisis.


Amazon often points to the tens of millions of dollars it has invested to enhance safety practices. Yet Amazon’s injury rates have gone up each of the past four years, the internal data shows. In 2019, Amazon fulfillment centers recorded 14,000 serious injuries – those requiring days off or job restrictions. The overall rate of 7.7 serious injuries per 100 employees was 33% higher than in 2016 and nearly double the most recent industry standard.


And for years, the internal data show, injury rates have spiked during the weeks of Prime Day and Cyber Monday, contrary to Amazon’s public claims. Those two weeks had the highest rate of serious injuries for all of 2019.

Monthly bulletins from Amazon’s environment, health and safety team show that the famously data-obsessed company is well aware of its safety problems. Each month, company officials sent out detailed updates – marked “Privileged & Confidential” – to warehouse safety managers across the country with data, charts and FAQs. They set safety goals and monitor progress closely. But the internal documents show that the company has failed to hit these targets. In 2018, Amazon aimed to lower its injury rate by 20%. Instead, injury rates went up. The next year, the goal was more modest: a 5% decrease. But the rate rose again.


Yet her email didn’t say how the company justifies its claim that these initiatives are working, while injury rates have continued, year after year, to rise.

Notwithstanding is protestations, Amazon does not care about its workers.

Even now that they are effectively a monopoly, they continue to build an empire on the blood of their employees.

They just don’t care.

From the Department of About F%$#ing Time

 The State of Ohio has ordered GM to tax incentives for a factory that it has closed

A better idea is not to pay these bribes to the gods of capital in the first place:

The state of Ohio on Monday ordered General Motors to repay $28 million in public subsidies for reneging on its promise to keep its sprawling Lordstown plant open.

The automaker, which had pledged to keep operations going until 2040, closed its assembly plant last October, drawing criticism from elected officials in both political parties, including President Donald Trump. At the time, GM cited the collapsing market for small cars; Lordstown produced the compact Chevrolet Cruze.

But state officials said the closure violated the terms of two economic development agreements GM signed with Ohio more than a decade ago. Between 2009 and 2016, the company received more than $60 million in tax credits to maintain operations at the massive plant, which employed over 4,000 people.

On Monday, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority said GM must pay back roughly half of those tax benefits, as well as provide an additional $12 million in community support in the Mahoning Valley, the economically depressed region where the plant was located. The funds are targeted for education and job training at Youngstown State University and other colleges, community programs and infrastructure projects.


Although the clawback falls short of the total $60.3 million that GM received, the state’s action is significant, said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonprofit agency that tracks corporate subsidies and violations.

“The $28 million still stands as the biggest clawback we can point to” nationwide, he said. Yet he believes that the state should have pursued a total refund. “It’s kind of a two-thirds of a loaf for taxpayers.”

Unfortunately, it appears that authorities then doubled down on the same f%$#ing failed strategy:


At the same time, the tax authority awarded GM a new tax credit to support the battery plant. In return for a promise to create 1,000 jobs, the company will receive a 15-year tax break estimated to be worth $13.8 million over its term.

The numbers are clear on this:  These incentives never pay for themselves. 

It cost Scott Walker reelection in Wisconsin, but until a few more political “Flaming Datums” are out there, this insanity is likely to continue.

Sober Blogging the Presidential Debates

It’s over. Jeebus.  I need a f%$#ing drink.

Chris Wallace asks the candidates to ask their supporters not to freak out during a progracted recount, and not to declare victory , Trump’s response, “If it’s a fair election ………”

Biden’s response, “Yes, and the fraud issue is bullsh%$.”

Chris Wallace pivots to election integrity.  (He is well and truly sick of Trump not following the rules)

Biden exhorts people to vote, and he weakly implies that Trump is trying to steal the election.

Trump just said, “Crooked Hillary Clinton.”  If this were a drunk blog, I would have finished all the alcohol in the house, and gone to hospital. 

Trump is pushing his fraud strategy, big time.

Did Trump actually suggest dropping a nuke on a hurricane?

Furious Googling: Sweet mother of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, it’s true.

The environment is the next segment.

Trump blusters.

Biden talks a bit about what he plans to do, but it does not sound sincere.

This is a mass-extinction crisis, a literal end of the world as we know it.  I would appreciate some more enthusiasm.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to pay attention.

Shoot me now!!!

Chris Wallace is clearly pissed at Trump, demands that he call out right wing milita groups, Trump refuses, and tells Trump, “We’re done, sir.”

I’m wondering if any of the moderators at the later events are drafting their resignation letters as I type.

Biden says that Trump has been pouring gasoline on a fire.  True, but meaningless.

Now they are spewing crime stats at each other.

Trump is attempting to conflate anti-racism with hating America.

He actually has a point:  Racism in America is as American as Apple Pie.

Biden is stuttering a bit.  It’s the first time that I have noticed it.

Biden flat out says that justice is not administered fairly in the US.

Race comes up, and Biden criticizes him, but Biden should call him a racist using that word.  It will drive him crazy.

OMFG, Trump tells the truth about Biden’s record on crime and race, particularly on the Clinton crime.

This may be the first True thing he has said in the debate.

Wallace actually called out Trump for his constant interrupting.  I did not expect that.

Biden may have had the best line so far, “You had good people, and you fired them.”

More crosstalk, and I am feeling pity for Chris Wallace.

Did Trump just say to Biden, “No, you’re number 2?”

Really mature dude.  This is not middle school.

Trump is arguing that the stock market is the economy.

Biden just called Trump the worst President ever.  Cool.

Wallace asks Trump about his taxes.

Trump evades, and Wallace presses (I’m impressed), and Trump says that he pays, “Millions”.

Trump goes off again, and Chris Wallace is quietly losing his mind.

Trump claims that he saved football.  Yeah, right.

Biden explains the K-shaped economy, raises Trump’s taxes.

It’s an OK strategy for him, and he does sound sincere when he talks about the plight of first responders.

Wallace is pivots to the economy.

Trump: China China China.

Also, I think that Trump is even more orange than normal.

Also Trump:  Democrat governors are conspiring against me.

Wallace is asking about the size of their rallies vis a vis Covid. WTF? 

It’s now dick measuring.


Chris Wallace has the worst job in the world.

Trump objects to Biden calling him stupid.  It’s a raw nerve, hammer on it constantly.

Trump will lose his sh%$ if you do this.

Biden calls Trump a liar again.  When do you call him a con-man and a tax cheat?

The entire back and forth over Covid is heat completely devoid of light.

It’s like some bizarre collapsing star.


Trump is claiming that “Democrat Governors” are praising his actions.

Wallace moves on to the pandemic.

Biden goes first, and tears into Trump, brings up his praise for Xi Jinping’s handling of the pandemic.

Trump’s response, “China, China, China.”


Wallace asks about packing the court and eliminating the filibuster, Biden is very non committal, though I liked his, “Keep Yappin’ man barb to Donald Trump.

And then he pivots back to Obamacare, because he’s trying to run as Obama’s 3rd term.

I think that this is a losing proposition. 9:17pm:
Biden just dropped the, “L-bomb,” and called Trump a liar.

Trump is arguing more with moderator Chris Wallace than he is with Biden.

Biden notes that Trump is trying to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Trump tries to sleaze out of his support of criminalizing abortions.

Trump is a noun, a verb, and socialism.

First question on Amy Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme court.

Trump’s respnse is, “Neener Neener, I have Mitch McConnel, so f%$# you.”

Biden pivots to it being an assault on Obamacare.

Then he compliments Barrett. (No, just no, you moron)

Trump is saying that there are not 100,000,000 people with pre-existing conditions.
Yes, there are.

So Not a Surprise

Is anyone surprised that U.S. tech firms are refusing to obey EU data transfer regulations

Criminality is an integral part of the Silicon Valley ethos.  That’s what, “Move Fast and Break Things,” means.

Technology firms’ compliance with European restrictions on transatlantic data transfers is shockingly poor, Austrian privacy campaigner Max Schrems said on Monday, publishing a survey here of companies including Facebook and Netflix.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled in July that the data arrangement set up in 2016, called Privacy Shield, was invalid under Europe’s privacy framework because of concerns about U.S. surveillance.


Exercising the right of customers to ask companies how their data is handled under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the survey drew a mixed bag of responses – some firms did not respond and others gave misleading answers.


“Overall, we were astonished by how many companies were unable to provide little more than a boilerplate answer,” said Schrems.

“The companies that did provide answers largely are simply not complying with the CJEU judgment. It seems that most of the industry still does not have a plan as to how to move forward.”

This IS their plan for moving forward:  Break the law and force the EU to go after them.

Until assets are seized, or executives are arrested, the lawbreaking will continue.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Just Had a Bull Durham Moment

The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations.

— U.S. Census Bureau (@uscensusbureau) September 28, 2020

Judge Koh Will be Seeing You

It’s never a good idea to call an umpire a c%$# sucker.  As was shown in the classic Baseball Movie Bull Durham.

 If you are a ball player, you are certainly going to get ejected, and likely to get fined.

When a senior administration official does the same thing with a Federal judge, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has just done with the census, this becomes a setup for a privileged asshole to have a very unpleasant day with a pissed off judge.

Even if he only spends a few hours in the slam waiting for a DoJ motion to bail him out, he will not enjoy himself.

An announcement Monday that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is aiming to end census data collection by Oct. 5 took a federal judge by surprise days after she ordered operations to continue through Oct. 31 to get an accurate population count.

“Breaking news,” a lawyer for the Commerce Department told U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh as a hearing was under way on a lawsuit by civil rights groups claiming that the Trump administration’s move to compress the timeline for the once-a-decade census will result in an undercount of minorities.

The government lawyer pointed the judge to a tweet from the Census Bureau about Ross’s intentions.

Koh said she was “disturbed” that “despite the court’s order,” census supervisors have told field workers to wrap up data collection. The judge added that she’s been “inundated” with emails from field workers making similar allegations.

Clearly, I need to bring this to a head sooner than I thought,” she said. “And I’m prepared to do it. So let’s do this.” 

(emphasis mine)

I am an engineer, and not a lawyer, dammit,* it seems to me that this is a judge who is very pissed off at what has just happened.

Hopefully, she will take action against the administration officials behind this, and not just the department of commerce.

*I love it when I get to go all Dr. McCoy!

Well, This Explains the Taylor Non-Indictments

A grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case has asked for, and and been granted, the release of the transcripts and the right to comment publicly on the proceedings.

They are alleging that the attorney general refused to present any evidence against the two officers who were not charged and lied about the proceedings.

Given that Attorney General Daniel Cameron is a long-time protege of Mitch McConnell, his rat-f%$#ing of the prosecution should come as no surprise:

A juror in the Breonna Taylor case contends that the Kentucky attorney general misrepresented the grand jury’s deliberations and failed to offer the panel the option of indicting the two officers who fatally shot the young woman, according to the juror’s lawyer.

The unnamed juror filed a court motion on Monday seeking the release of last week’s transcripts and permission from a judge to speak publicly to set the record straight. Hours later, the office of Attorney General Daniel Cameron granted both requests, saying that the juror is free to speak and that recordings of the session will be made public.


The lawyer said the juror came to him last week feeling anxious after Mr. Cameron repeatedly said at a news conference that the law did not permit him to charge Sgt. Jon Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, the two officers who shot Ms. Taylor on March 13 — and that the jury had agreed with him.

Why there needs to be an office that deals only with law enforcement misconduct in any state prosecutors’ office.  Also, they should  probably be in the chain of reporting from police Internal Affairs (IA) departments.

Prosecutors who have to work with cops day after day will bend, if not break, the law to preserve their relationships with police departments.


All your coffee are belong to us:

Of Course This Drops Just Before Kol Nidre

The New York Times has gotten its hands on more than 20 years of Donald Trump’s income tax returns, and it appears that this is the real deal*, revealing a pattern of massive losses and next nothing in taxes paid.

I’m about to eat, and then fast, so I have barely had a chance to glance at the article.

The nickel tour appears to indicate that he’s a money loser who cheats on his taxes. 

This raises the question:  How has the Trump Org continued to be a going concern over all of these years?

My answer is that he’s been laundering money for the mob, whether it is US, or, as is more likely, foreign organized crime.

To quote Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

*As opposed to Rachel Maddow’s widely mocked expose of a handful of Trump’s tax documents in 2017.

Tweet of the Day

Joe Biden is politely asking a group of cyborg T-1000 Terminators to follow their conscience

— David Sirota (@davidsirota) September 20, 2020

This critique applies not only to Joe Biden, but to the whole of the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment), who have spent their time on the Sunday shows explaining how they are powerless to offer meaningful opposition to Trump’s and McConnell’s court packing.

A Good Take on Woke Politics

I agree with the folks at Redline, “Wokies are the Establishment.”

It’s why we see things like the New York Chapter of DSA black-balling one of the foremost scholars of race and class in the nation, wokeness is a way that people with comfortable lives can pretend that they are doing something to resolve inequality and corruption in our society while benefiting from that inequality and corruption in our society:

In the absence of a better word with which to refer to the rabid activists who claim progressivism while demanding adherence to an increasingly prescriptive set of political beliefs, I call them “woke”. With its roots in Black American slang, the term originally denoted a person or a group who were enlightened on social justice issues and awake to the inequalities in America. As words do, it has evolved from a self-descriptor to more of a term the fed up masses use to describe the drivers of cancel culture and identity politics throughout the anglosphere and indeed most of the West.

Wokeism claims Marxism as not only an influence, but as foundational political doctrine on which their various social justice issues are based. So fierce are their claims on modern Marxism they have all but consumed many of the traditional Marxist organisations and re-educated the world on their new brand of socialist theory. However, even someone with the loosest understanding of the writings of Karl Marx and the complicated history of his movement is able to discern some serious flaws in the woke iteration. Not only does it differ from the previously accepted principles and aims of Marxism, stark contradictions can be seen in much of the behaviour exhibited by wokeists.

For a group of people with an aggressive aversion to binary concepts e.g. binary biological sex, wokeism has pounced on the binary tension between oppressor and oppressed that is at the core of Marxist theory. It is perhaps the only place in which they can be said to really resemble the political theory they have claimed. Unfortunately, however, these usually middle-upper class, educated elites have little time for the analysis of class that is supposed to underpin this exploiter/exploited and oppressor/oppressed concept. Rather they will apply it to whichever pet social justice issue they are espousing at the time.

The woke appropriate the struggles of various marginalised groups and collect their oppressions in order to rail against their perceived oppressors. They have entrenched themselves in the politics of race and transgenderism in particular and while there are of course some valid discussions to be had in regards to inequalities and discrimination faced by people of colour and transgender people, the narrative set by woke activists is riddled with disingenuity and gaslighting.

It is time that society catches up and realises that wokeism is not the movement for the disadvantaged and oppressed. Wokeism is the establishment. It is inextricably linked to corporate politics and capitalism. Woke activists have disproportionate social power in today’s fraught world. They are the establishment in the culture wars. Consider this:

Wokeism is performance. It is mostly educated, establishment youths LARPing the struggles of truly marginalised groups. It is time we stopped letting them pretend to be saviours when they’re just malignant power in a different outfit.

This critique strikes at the core of both “Wokism” and “Identity Politics.”

American Exceptionalism , Huh?

Minnesota has had to Stop Corona Virus surveys in Mennesota because of the racism and violence of the “Real Americans” in the state’s agricultural heartland.

This is not a surprise, but it has gotten MUCH worse over the past few years.

It’s almost as if people were deeply and pervasively bigoted, and they were only waiting for permission.

So, now they are letting their bigotry put their lives, and the lives of their loved ones, to promulgate their racist fantasies:

A door-to-door COVID-19 testing survey has been halted due to multiple incidents in greater Minnesota of residents intimidating and shouting racial and ethnic slurs at state and federal public health survey teams.

The CDC pulled its federal surveyors out of Minnesota this week following reports of verbal abuse and intimidation, including an incident in the Iowa border town of Eitzen, Minn., in which a survey team walking to a house was blocked by two cars and threatened by three men, according to state health officials. One man had his hand on a holstered gun.


Surveyors had been fanning out to 180 neighborhoods this month — offering free diagnostic testing for active COVID-19 infections and blood antibody testing to identify prior infections — to understand the true prevalence of the coronavirus causing the pandemic.


The surveyors trapped in the Eitzen incident were permitted to leave and did not file a police report about the gun-toting man or the two others who approached them.


The frequency of problems became clear last weekend when surveyors discussed their experiences, Yendell said. A Hispanic surveyor was called one slur “more in the last week than in her entire life,” she said.


The forced end to the study is an amalgam of 2020’s overriding tensions — the anger over prolonged business restrictions to limit COVID-19 and the racial tensions following police killings of Black people that resulted in protests and riots, and some predominantly white counterprotests.


Incidents occurred mostly in central and southern Minnesota, rural areas where there has been pent-up resentment over the spring statewide shutdown, the indoor mask mandate and the bar and restaurant restrictions. Such measures were seen as overkill in small towns where virus transmission has been less prevalent.

If, as the Republicans insist, these sorts of rural communities are the “Real America,” then the “Real America” is a profoundly nasty place.

H/T Stephen Saroff      o o  The Bear who Swims      
oo oo

Pass the Popcorn

A New York judge has ordered Eric Trump to give a deposition on the Trump Organizations’s business practices by October 7

Trump wanted it deferred until after the election, but the judge was not buying that sh%$.

Assuming that the deposition is leaked, and that is not beyond the realm of possibility, we will either see him incriminate himself, because he is very stupid, or constantly taking the 5th, because he understands just how stupid he is.

In either case, it’s pretty obvious that the Trump Org is a criminal enterprise, even if you ignore the obvious, that they are mobbed up as f%$#:

A state judge on Wednesday ordered Eric Trump to be deposed no later than Oct. 7 in the New York attorney general’s examination of the Trump Organization’s financial practices, rejecting a protest by President Trump’s son, who has said he is too busy to meet with investigators until after November’s election.

The ruling was handed down by New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron after nearly two hours of arguments in a lawsuit brought by state investigators conducting the civil investigation.

The president’s company is managed now by his two sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., both of whom have taken active roles in their father’s reelection efforts. An attorney for Eric Trump said during Wednesday’s hearing that the president’s son travels nearly seven days a week to make campaign-related appearances.

“This court finds that application unpersuasive,” Engoron said, referring to Eric Trump’s stated need to put off an interview until mid-November. He added that he felt Eric Trump’s attorney had cited no legal authority to support a bid to delay the deposition.


The probe is a civil matter, not a criminal one. James’s office has said the Trump Organization potentially misled lenders and duped tax authorities. The state attorney general’s office began investigating the company last year after the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, a former executive with the company, gave Congress copies of financial statements from 2011 to 2013.

This should be fun.

Yes, Genocide

In addition to detaining millions, and forced reeducation, we now knwo that thousands of mosques in Xinjiang have been destroyed. (Also here)

When you look at actions that indicate genocide and ethnic cleansing, systematic destruction of religious buildings is a pretty clear indicator:

Thousands of mosques in Xinjiang have been damaged or destroyed in just three years, leaving fewer in the region than at any time since the Cultural Revolution, according to a report on Chinese oppression of Muslim minorities.

The revelations are contained in an expansive data project by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), which used satellite imagery and on-the-ground reporting to map the extensive and continuing construction of detention camps and destruction of cultural and religious sites in the north-western region.

The thinktank said Chinese government claims that there were more than 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang and that it was committed to protecting and respecting religious beliefs were not supported by the findings, and estimated that fewer than 15,000 mosques remained standing – with more than half of those damaged to some extent.

“This is the lowest number since the Cultural Revolution, when fewer than 3,000 mosques remained,” the report said.

It found around two-thirds of the area’s mosques were affected, and about 50% of protected cultural sites had been damaged or destroyed, including the total destruction of Ordam mazar (shrine), an ancient site of pilgrimage dating back to the 10th century.

A lot of people will be asking, “What can be done?”

The answer is, “Quite a lot,” because while the “Hanification” of outlying regions has been a priority of the Chinese Government since before the founding of the People’s Republic of China, this particular case of aggressive genocide is very specifically the initiative of current President Xi Jinping.

An aggressive policy of economic and political isolation, one that applies to all of the Chinese elites, would put pressure on them to change the policy or change the President.

A Handmaiden’s Justice

As promosed, Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This woman is a serious right wing nut-job.

Donald Trump’s pick for America’s highest court, Amy Coney Barrett, is an “ideological fanatic” who threatens abortion rights, healthcare and the environment, activists warned on Saturday, before Trump unveiled his third supreme court nominee in the White House Rose Garden.

Barrett is the ideological opposite of the woman she will succeed if confirmed, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died earlier this month aged 87.

She’s a member of a group called People of Praise, whose ideas of gender roles is exemplified by the fact the highest role for a woman in the group was called for a long time called a “Handmaids”.

 As Anna Russel would say, “I’m not making this up, you know.”

Just when I think that I have been inured to the vacuous evil of the Trump administration, they take it up a notch.

Support Your Local Police

Over at Mother Jones, they tell the story of  a police officer who resigned rather than act as a mercenary for real estate developers who wanted to expel minorities from a neighborhood:

Three years in, I had basically arrived—I had been transferred to the day shift. It was the premier shift. You wanted to get the day shift because those are the best hours, good days off.

On my beat, they started telling me: “We really want you to start policing this section of Boulevard and Ponce de Leon Avenue, basically the Bedford Pines Apartments. We think there are dope boys in there. We think there’s a lot of illegal activity happening and we want to really focus there. So we’re gonna put up signs that say you can’t park on the street. I want you to go and write tickets on every single car that’s on the street and I want you to get those cars out of there; if they don’t move, tow ’em. I want you to start running checks on everybody standing on the street; if they have got warrants, I want you to lock ’em up.”

It became this very aggressive policing strategy in the Bedford Pines. Which was strange. Because it was extremely rare for them to tell you to do anything. It’s unusual for them to give you very specific directions, and then for them to be very serious about it and follow up—I’d have supervisors show up and say, “Hey I drove by, there were some cars parked out there, did you ticket them?”

It made me very curious. So on my own time—I live in Atlanta, I live in the zone I policed, which is super rare—I drove over there and had a conversation with some people. I was like: “Hey, this is what I’m being asked to do. Why do you think that is? What’s going on?”

A homeowner in the area was very frank with me. He said the guys who own Bedford Pines got their tax bill last year, and their taxes were assessed based on all the gentrification that’s happening in the area. And so they wanted to move everybody out of these apartments and knock ’em down and rebuild these nice expensive apartments and the government said no. And so then they said, “Well, that’s ok, we’ll just increase the rent.” They tried to increase the rent and the Section 8 guys came back out and said, “No, you can’t do that either.”

The only way you can evict or do anything like that is if the person who owns the apartment is convicted of a felony. So the Bedford Pines guys just went to the police department and said: “We want you to police in here, and we’re going to give you a section of Bedford Pines to actually have office space. And I want you to lock up as many people as possible so we can make these apartments vacant and we can knock ’em down.”

I go to my supervisors: Is this what the case is? And they looked at me like, what are you, stupid? Of course, why else would we be doing this?


There was something about that that made me think now, when I clock into work, I’m not doing any good. I’m actually doing harm.


It dawned on me that the entire system, the entire thing, was just a sh%$ty mafia system. If you tried to do a good job and say, “I’m going to be a good cop, and I’m going to obey commands,” they would abandon you, charge you, leave you behind, and not even think twice. If you didn’t obey the rules, then they were gonna charge you for that. And if you tried to remain quiet and do your job, you are going to be a piece of modern-day redlining that way, too. There was no way that I could exist and feel good about it. And because I didn’t have to—and that’s the privilege part—I just decided not to.

When I told the department I was quitting, they said, “Good for you. If I could quit, I would quit.” My supervisor literally said: “Can we get together after work and you tell me what else I can do? I don’t know what else to do and I cannot stomach being here.”

The rest of the story is that when he quit, someone in the department swore out false allegations of child and pet abuse to harass him.

It is all, “Just a sh%$ty mafia system.”

Still Can’t Make Planes

It’s time for more fun with Boeing.

According to the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), Boeing’s 737 Max fixes do not address the problem

Specifically, requiring both pilots to simultaneously operate the manual trim wheel when MCAS goes insane is bat sh%$ insane:

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has told American aviation regulators that the Boeing 737 Max needs better fixes for its infamous MCAS software, warning that a plane crash which killed 149 people could happen again.


In public comments submitted to the FAA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), BALPA warned that one of the proposed workarounds for a future MCAS failure could lead to a repeat of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302.


The NPRM, published here, proposes various fixes to the 737 Max design, its software and procedures for pilots to follow in the event of a problem. One of those procedures includes disabling the airliner’s automatic trim system, operated by MCAS when the software kicks in, and having the two pilots use a manual backup trim wheel instead of the aircraft’s powerful electric motors.

BALPA said: “Requiring both crew members to turn the trim wheel simultaneously in a non-normal scenario is extremely undesirable and goes against all philosophies of having one pilot fly and one run the QRH [quick reference handbook: reading out the emergency checklist]. No flight control system should require both pilots to operate it at any stage, let alone in an emergency.”

The trade union added: “It is felt that this should be reconsidered (particularly in light of the smaller diameter trim wheel as fitted to the MAX to enable the new larger screens to fit, and as per the scenario observed in the Ethiopian Airlines accident).


Its pilots disabled electric trim motors that had been activated by MCAS and, crash investigators believed, tried to use the manual trim wheel in the cockpit to physically undo what the software had done – following Boeing procedures published after the Lion Air crash. Thanks to the aircraft’s excessive speed, built up as MCAS forced its nose to point downwards at the ground, the pilots were unsuccessful. Aerodynamic forces on the control surfaces made it impossible for them to rotate the trim wheel and point the airliner’s nose back at the sky.

Meanwhile, back with the FAA’s NPRM, the Joint European Max Operators’ Group, which includes Ryanair, Norwegian, and Tui, among other airlines, made some minor suggestions for textual edits while reassuring the FAA that they “are not intended to impact on the planned RTS [return to service] programme” for the 737 Max. Some airlines believe all will be well when their Maxes are allowed to fly again. ®


The 737 Max will be known as the 737-7, 737-8 and 737-9. In Ryanair’s case it will be known as the 737-8200, a reference to the base -8 Max model having been fettled to fit 200 seats rather than the stock -8’s 180ish.

International Air Transport Association aeroplane type codes will be B37M, B38M and B39M should you want to avoid booking a flight on one.