Your loser update: week 6, 2017.

October 15th, 2017

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Cleveland
San Francisco

What the heck, Denver? You had one job.

At least I don’t have to feel that bad for Infidel de Manhatta: it doesn’t look like the Giants will get that first draft pick, but maybe they’ll end up getting a relatively high one.

I still like Cleveland’s chances.

From the legal beat.

October 12th, 2017

Two quick notes:

1) Remember our old friends Detective Jeff Payne and Lt. James Tracy? The guys who arrested a nurse for refusing to let them draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant?

Detective Payne has been fired. Lt. Tracy has been demoted to “police officer III”.

“In examining your conduct,” Brown wrote to Payne, “I am deeply troubled by your lack of sound professional judgment and your discourteous, disrespectful, and unwarranted behavior, which unnecessarily escalated a situation that could and should have been resolved in a manner far different from the course of action you chose to pursue.”
Brown was similarly critical of Tracy, saying his lack of judgment and leadership was “unacceptable,” and, “as a result, I no longer believe that you can retain a leadership position in the Department.”

Both men have five days to appeal the decision. The criminal investigation into their actions is ongoing.

(Hattip: Reason‘s “Hit and Run”, and Patrick Nonwhite on the Twitters.)

2) The Travis County DA has dropped one of the 13 felony charges against Dawnna Dukes.

Apparently, one of the analysts with the Texas DPS crime lab “examined the wrong date” when looking at Ms. Dukes’s travel activity, leading to “a felony count that erroneously stated Dukes turned in a falsified voucher for Dec. 22, 2013.”

It is unclear how prosecutors, DPS investigators and Texas Rangers failed to notice these holes in the case during an investigation that spanned more than 18 months.

The touch.

October 12th, 2017

Once again, I’m asking you to help somebody out.

Great and good friend of the blog, and founder of Operation Blazing Sword, Erin Palette, was pretty seriously injured Tuesday night. Erin is recovering at home, but has expenses and will probably have more.

There’s a GoFundMe here.

You guys know the drill: tomorrow’s payday, and I plan to donate as soon as the direct deposit shows up. I won’t ask you to give to a cause I won’t give to.

Quote of the day.

October 12th, 2017

I’ve been thinking a lot about Chesterton recently, and this quote in particular:

“The dog could almost have told you the story, if he could talk,” said the priest. “All I complain of is that because he couldn’t talk, you made up his story for him, and made him talk with the tongues of men and angels. It’s part of something I’ve noticed more and more in the modern world, appearing in all sorts of newspaper rumors and conversational catch-words; something that’s arbitrary without being authoritative. People readily swallow the untested claims of this, that, or the other. It’s drowning all your old rationalism and scepticism, it’s coming in like a sea; and the name of it is superstition.” He stood up abruptly, his face heavy with a sort of frown, and went on talking almost as if he were alone. “It’s the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense, and can’t see things as they are. Anything that anybody talks about, and says there’s a good deal in it, extends itself indefinitely like a vista in a nightmare. And a dog is an omen and a cat is a mystery and a pig is a mascot and a beetle is a scarab, calling up all the menagerie of polytheism from Egypt and old India; Dog Anubis and great green-eyed Pasht and all the holy howling Bulls of Bashan; reeling back to the bestial gods of the beginning, escaping into elephants and snakes and crocodiles; and all because you are frightened of four words: `He was made Man.'”

–“The Oracle of the Dog”

Firings watch.

October 11th, 2017

John Farrell out as GM of the Boston Red Sox.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, sitting at a dais without ownership, provided no explanation for the dismissal of the five-year skipper who won a World Series in 2013 and just finished in first place in back-to-back seasons.

Gary Andersen “mutually parted ways” (read: you can’t fire me, I quit) with Oregon State on Monday. Anderson and Oregon State:

…agreed to release each other from the remaining contractual obligations. Andersen was under contract through the 2021 season.

Which is noteworthy, because:

Andersen signed a contract extension in December and had more than $12.4 million remaining on the deal. Oregon State owed him $883,332 for the rest of this season, $2.75 million for 2018, $2.85 million for 2019, $2.95 million for 2020 and $3.05 million for 2021.

TMQ Watch: October 10, 2017.

October 11th, 2017

Yes, we’re late. We got tied up on Tuesday.

But, in our defense, TMQ isn’t timely this week either.

Last weekend I attended a ceremonial event, and paid no attention to sports. But how can you miss me when I won’t go away? Please note that I wrote today’s column in advance, not knowing what happened last weekend in sports or current events.

After the jump, 2,000 words, no pictures (except the header), and one subject in this week’s TMQ

Read the rest of this entry »

Norts spews.

October 9th, 2017

Two quick ones, because I have a doctor’s appointment shortly and probably won’t feel like blogging afterwards:

1) Well covered, but at least one person sent this to me, and it does involve blow (maybe):

Chris Foerster has resigned his position from the Miami Dolphins hours after a video surfaced showing the team’s offensive line coach snorting a white powdery substance off what is believed to be his desk at the team’s training facility.

He apparently resigned in lieu of a firing, so I’m putting this into the “firings” checkbox.

Related: “Just who is this model whose snorting video brought down a married Dolphins coach?”

Obit watch: the great Y. A. Tittle.

Tittle threw for dozens of touchdowns and thousands of yards, won a Most Valuable Player award and was selected to seven Pro Bowls. But he endeared himself to New York not as a golden boy but as a muddied, grass-stained scrapper.
He was a balding field general with a fringe of gray who, at 34, in his old-fashioned high-topped shoes, had undeniably lost a step or two, but kept picking himself up off the ground to find a way to beat you, and New York cheered.

And he was a good Texas boy, too. ESPN.

Obit watch: October 9, 2017.

October 9th, 2017

Two obits from the past few days that I find sadder than usual:

Connie Hawkins. As a young man, he was a basketball prodigy.

Even as a playground legend, Hawkins had the jaw-dropping flash that superstars like Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving and Michael Jordan would display, turning pro basketball into a national sports spectacular.
“He was Julius before Julius, he was Elgin before Elgin, he was Michael before Michael,” the longtime college and pro coach Larry Brown once said in an ESPN documentary on Hawkins. “He was simply the greatest individual player I have ever seen.”

But he was banned from college ball and the NBA in 1961.

College basketball at the time was engulfed in its second point-shaving scandal after players had received money from gamblers to affect the final score of games. Hawkins was questioned by the New York City authorities about possible connections with one of the fixers, but he was never accused of wrongdoing.

He played with the ABA and the Globetrotters for a while.

Hawkins’s path to the N.B.A. was buoyed in part by a 1969 article in Life magazine by David Wolf. “Evidence recently uncovered,” Mr. Wolf wrote, “indicates that Connie Hawkins never knowingly associated with gamblers, that he never introduced a player to a fixer, and that the only damaging statements about his involvement were made by Hawkins himself — as a terrified, semiliterate teenager who thought he’d go to jail unless he said what the D.A.’s detectives pressed him to say.”
On Hawkins’s behalf, Roslyn Litman, a civil liberties activist, along with her husband and law partner, S. David Litman, and another lawyer, Howard Specter, sued the N.B.A. on antitrust grounds, arguing that the league had in effect illegally barred Hawkins and deprived him of the “opportunity to earn a livelihood.”
They won. The league paid Hawkins a settlement of nearly $1.3 million and dropped the ban. Hawkins joined the N.B.A. in 1969 and became an instant star with the Suns.

He played seven seasons in the NBA, was a four-time all star with the Suns, and was named to the Hall of Fame in 1992.

John Thompson.

Mr. Thompson was arrested in 1985 and charged with carjacking and an unrelated murder.

After being sentenced to 49 years in prison for the carjacking that he insisted he did not commit, Mr. Thompson was convicted of murder and received the death penalty.

He spent 14 years on death row in Angola.

Just 30 days before his scheduled execution, a private investigator hired by his lawyers stumbled upon a forgotten microfiche.
The film included images of a laboratory report that had been received by the district attorney two days before Mr. Thompson’s trial was to begin. The report categorically undermined the prosecution’s case, revealing that the blood type of whoever committed the carjacking did not match Mr. Thompson’s.
Moreover, in a deathbed confession, a former assistant prosecutor admitted he had deliberately hidden the blood evidence from Mr. Thompson’s trial lawyers.
After tests confirmed that Mr. Thompson’s blood type and DNA did not match the perpetrator’s, his robbery conviction was overturned. In 2002, the murder verdict was reversed. A year later, he was retried and acquitted after the jury deliberated for 35 minutes.

Mr. Thompson was awarded $14 million for his wrongful conviction.

But in 2011, an ideologically split United States Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that Mr. Thompson was not entitled to damages after all.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented, said at least five prosecutors had been complicit in violating Mr. Thompson’s constitutional rights because “they kept from him, year upon year, evidence vital to his defense.”
But Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said Mr. Thompson had not demonstrated that the office of District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. (father of the singer) had systematically withheld exculpatory evidence, particularly from black defendants, or had not trained his assistants sufficiently.
“The role of a prosecutor,” Justice Thomas wrote, “is to see that justice is done. By their own admission, the prosecutors who tried Thompson’s armed robbery case failed to carry out this responsibility.
“But the only issue before us,” he added, “is whether Connick, as the policy maker for the district attorney’s office, was deliberately indifferent to the need to train the attorneys under his authority.”

Your loser update: week 5, 2017.

October 8th, 2017

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Cleveland
New York Football Giants
San Francisco

Wow. When was the last time there was a team as seemingly jinxed as the New York Football Giants? Not only did they lose to hapless the Chargers, but they also lost Odell Beckham Jr.

It seems like there’s only one thing you can say about this:

Oh my God, it’s a Mirage…

October 5th, 2017

Interesting article from Topic: “The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar”, an oral history of the Chicago Sun-Times Mirage investigation.

I know I’ve written about this before, but briefly: in 1977, the paper and the Better Government Association bought a bar and secretly recorded city employees taking bribes to ignore violations.

Zay: The payoff parade began before we opened. The health inspector, when he inspected us— I mean, the basement just had maggots glistening on the floor. Upstairs it was no better. He shook us down for a few bucks and passed the place.
Pam: I think one of the things that amazed us is that these inspectors sold out public safety on the cheap. They were not taking huge amounts. We were told to leave $10 for one inspector, and $25 for another inspector.

The paper published the results in 25 parts starting in January of 1978.

TMQ Watch: October 3, 2017.

October 4th, 2017

We’ve got nothing clever to start off with this week. This is the kind of week that sucks all the clever out of our strategic clever reserves. Let’s just get into it.

After the jump, about 5,000 words of this week’s TMQ…

Read the rest of this entry »

Obits, firings, and random: October 3, 2017.

October 3rd, 2017

I didn’t feel much like blogging yesterday: what the hell was I going to say that everyone else wasn’t saying better? Plus, I was trying to dig myself out of a backlog at work most of the day, and then I had a doctor’s appointment (at least that went well) and then I went down to the cop shop to help with the CPA class (which had been moved from Tuesday)…

…so I really didn’t get a chance to blog Tom Petty, which was a good thing. First he was dead, then he wasn’t dead and the LAPD knew nothing, and now he’s really dead. What a mess.

I probably would have inserted a musical interlude or three, but really, you’ve heard them all.

John Coppolella out as general manager of the Braves in a “resignation”:

…after an investigation by Major League Baseball revealed serious rules violations in the international player market.
The Braves announced Coppolella’s resignation Monday, citing a “breach of Major League Baseball rules regarding the international player market.” Gordon Blakeley, a special assistant to the GM who was the team’s international scouting chief, also has resigned.

Longtime readers know of my interest in baking bread. I just found out about this: Modernist Bread. From those wonderful folks who brought you Microsoft Windows Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Right up my alley? Perhaps. But not no damn $562.50 worth. Though I’m sure it is beautifully photographed, and if you have that kind of money, good for you. I’ll wait for it to show up at Half-Price Books.