What does it take…

December 19th, 2014

…to lose your job as a cop?

If you’re the police chief in Phoenix, the answer is “insubordination”. Specifically, calling a press conference and demanding a new contract after the city manager said “Don’t DO that!” seems to be a sure way to get yourself terminated.

If you’re with the Austin Police Department, the answer is “running your mouth to a reporter”. Technically, Andrew Pietrowski “retired”, but it seems like his retirement was just ahead of “being canned by Art Acevedo”.

“Now, stop and think about this. I don’t care who you are. You think about the women’s movement today, [women say] ‘Oh, we want to go [into] combat,’ and then, ‘We want equal pay, and we want this.’ You want to go fight in combat and sit in a foxhole? You go right ahead, but a man can’t hit you in public here? Bulls–t! You act like a whore, you get treated like one!”

The way I read this, it wasn’t like Pietrowski was asked for his opinion; he just walked up to a reporter who was there for another reason and started spouting off.

Obit watch: December 19, 2014.

December 19th, 2014

Mandy Rice-Davies has passed away at 70.

Ms. Rice-Davies, you may recall, was one of the central figures in what became known as the Profumo Affair. In brief, she was a roommate and friend of Christine Keeler, who had brief affairs with both Secretary of State for War John Profumo and Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet intelligence agent. This was quite the scandal back in 1963.

Notes on film, 2014.

December 17th, 2014

The latest batch of movies added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry has been announced.

Quick takes:

  • There’s a good representation of historical stuff on here; I’m interested in seeing “Bert Williams Lime Kiln Club Field Day” and “The Dragon Painter”.
  • Also a good representation of horror, with “Rosemary’s Baby” and the 1953 “House of Wax”.
  • “Ruggles of Red Gap” sounds like a whole lot of fun. I’d love to see that, too.
  • You know, I liked “The Big Lebowski” okay when I saw it. I still think it’s a good movie, and I often quote lines from it, but I really don’t get what seems to be the passionate worship of it. In terms of just Coen Brothers films, I think “True Grit”, “No Country For Old Men”, “Fargo”, and “Miller’s Crossing” are all better movies. (“Fargo” is already on the list, of course.)
  • I kind of want to see “Down Argentine Way” for one reason: Carmen Miranda. Same with “The Gang’s All Here”. Maybe we should have a Carmen Miranda movie night one night. (If we do, I’ll try to let everyone know in advance. You might even say I’ll give folks a Miranda warning.)
  • Yes, I will be here all week. Try the veal and remember to tip your waitress.
  • I’d also really like to see “Rio Bravo” and “Little Big Man”. I saw parts of the latter on TV when I was a child, but I’ve never seen either one start to finish.
  • Other things I’d like to see: “Unmasked”, “The Power And The Glory”.

The Taste of Schadenfreude.

December 17th, 2014

From the Austin Chronicle‘s runoff endorsements for District 8:

In October, when we endorsed Scruggs, we noted his bulldog efforts to create a Demo­cratic outpost in Circle C, his attention to thorny issues like global warming and gun control, and his affable leadership style.

Ed Scruggs was also one of the people who lobbied the Travis County Commissioners not to renew the contract for gun shows at the Expo Center.

How did that work out for you, Ed?

ed

Oooooooh. Not so well.

By way of Overlawyered, here’s an Orange County Register article on the Costa Mesa PI case, which I wrote about a few days ago.

I was not aware that the law firm had shut down; that’s a good first start, but nothing in the article indicates that any of the lawyers involved have been forced to surrender their licenses.

Even after the phony DUI report, as the union attempted to distance itself form its former law firm – Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir – and the P.I.’s records show that money continued to flow from the union to the law firm to investigators.
The affidavit shows that even after the union said it fired its law firm, after word of the DUI setup got out, the union continued to pay its elevated retainer rate of $4,500 per quarter to the firm as late as January 2013. Lanzillo and Impola were paid by the law firm through January, as well.

Another thing I’m curious about: why does the Costa Mesa Police Department continue to exist? At this point, given that the department is clearly out of control to the point where they’re threatening politicians, wouldn’t it be better to disband them, fire everyone, and let the county sheriff’s department patrol Costa Mesa until they can build a new department from the ground up?

(Of course, this being California, many of the crooked cops from Costa Mesa will probably end up with jobs in the sheriff’s department or other cities in the area.)

In case you were wondering…

December 16th, 2014

The runoff election was today. The polls closed at 7 PM.

According to the Statesman, Mike Martinez called Not Mike Martinez at 7:15 to concede.

Also, in case you were wondering, Steve Adler was the only candidate who responded to my emailed question about Art Acevedo’s future. That’s why you haven’t seen any updates: because Martinez, Sheri Gallo, and Mandy Dealey couldn’t be arsed to answer.

TMQ Watch: December 16, 2014.

December 16th, 2014

Since we are seeing some activity, mostly around older TMQ Watch items, we thought we’d throw up a general reminder (along with the sash): TMQ is taking a bye this week, and will be back next week.

Obit watch: December 16, 2014.

December 16th, 2014

Fred “Fuzzy” Thurston, former Green Bay Packer.

Lombardi, the Hall of Fame coach, led the Packers for nine seasons, and Thurston was there for every one of them. The pre-eminent team of the 1960s, the Packers won championships in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967, including the first two Super Bowls, and though much of the team’s success was built on a ferocious defense, some of the game’s great players — including quarterback Bart Starr, halfback Paul Hornung and fullback Jim Taylor, all Hall of Famers — made Green Bay a powerful offensive force as well.

Thurston was a key element in Green Bay’s implementation of the sweep:

In the sweep, sometimes called the Lombardi sweep for the coach’s fine-tuning of a play that originated in an earlier football era, the two guards are required to pull. That is, instead of pushing forward against the defensive players lined up in front of them, they race in tandem along the line of scrimmage toward one sideline or the other before surging upfield, one ideally blocking a linebacker and the other a defensive back, providing an avenue for the runner behind them.
With Hornung and Taylor carrying the ball behind Thurston and Kramer, the Packer sweep was close to unstoppable, even though opponents often knew it was coming. Generally speaking, guards are among the most anonymous players on the field, but the Green Bay sweep was iconic enough that Thurston and Kramer became well known to football fans.

Kings! Kings of Sacramento!

December 15th, 2014

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the Sacramento Kings (who are a basketball team) have fired coach Michael Malone.

Updates to follow.

Edited to add 12/16: It took a long time for the team to make an official announcement, but they finally did.

“Philosophical differences”? So, what, Malone was a Kantian, and D’Alessandro is a follower of divine command theory?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December 12th, 2014

Carolyn Hax 2014 Hootenanny of Holiday Horrors. (The good stuff starts about halfway down.)

My brother turned to me and said in a rather flat tone, “No standards today. If they are alive at the end of it, we win.”

The Dissolve’s “Worst films of 2014″.

Bad boys and losers: December 12, 2014.

December 12th, 2014

Woohoo!

Two private investigators accused of tailing an Orange County councilman with a GPS device and setting up another by calling in a false drunk driving report were charged Thursday with false imprisonment and conspiracy to commit a crime, the district attorney’s office said.

The PIs were working for a law firm that represented “more than 120 public safety unions”, including the Costa Mesa Police Association. I’m hoping that they roll, and that this ends with jail sentences and disbarment.

Philadelphia is currently 2-19. However, that might not be bad enough:

In two games on Friday, the four bottom-feeders of the [Atlantic] division will face off. The 4-20 Knicks will face the 7-13 Celtics, and the 2-19 76ers will face the 8-12 Nets. The good news is that the four teams, which enter with a combined record of 21-64, will by default improve their combined winning percentage. The bad news is that fans will be asked to watch games in which one could argue that no one is trying to win.

Has the NYPD been fabricating gun cases?

Each gun was found in a plastic bag or a handkerchief, with no traces of the suspect’s fingerprints. Prosecutors and the police did not mention a confidential informer until months after the arrests. None of the informers have come forward, even when defense lawyers and judges have requested they appear in court.

But what would be their motivation?

… a group of officers invents criminal informers, and may be motivated to make false arrests to help satisfy department goals or quotas. They also question whether the police are collecting the $1,000 rewards offered to informers from Operation Gun Stop, especially in cases where the informers never materialize.

NYPD officers faking information to collect money from Operation Gun Stop? That’s unheard of!

TMQ Watch: December 9, 2014.

December 11th, 2014

For reasons we’re not clear on, Lawrence has been giving us a little bit of grief recently about why we continue to write the TMQ Watch. Frankly, we’ve been wondering that ourselves, and the best answer we can come up with is: “Got to. This America, man.”

But it does give us a little bit of pleasure to be able to cross the streams this week:

After the jump, this week’s TMQ…

Read the rest of this entry »

Obit watch: December 10, 2014.

December 10th, 2014

Dollree Mapp.

You may remember Ms. Mapp from the landmark court case, Mapp v. Ohio, in which the Supreme Court extended the exclusionary rule to the states.

I noted previously that Ms. Mapp apparently led a hard but interesting life:

Even though Ms. Mapp’s name is etched in legal history, she had lived quietly in recent years, and besides a brief notice on a funeral home website, it took more than a month for her death to be reported. She was believed to be 90 or 91 when she died on Oct. 31, in or near Conyers, Ga.

Her conviction in the Ohio case was overturned. She later moved to New York, where she was convicted of narcotics possession:

…she pursued a series of appeals, claiming that the search warrant used in her arrest had been wrongly issued and that the police had targeted her because of her role in Mapp v. Ohio.
The drugs seized in the case were found at an apartment that Mr. Lyons apparently rented from Ms. Mapp. She lived several miles away. The police searched her home and found rent receipts that prosecutors argued established her as having aided and abetted Mr. Lyons. The officer who had applied for the warrant to search Ms. Mapp’s home was later dismissed from the police force after he was determined to have accepted about $3,500 from a narcotics dealer.

She served 19 years in prison before the governor commuted her sentence.