April 17, 2014
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

— Opening sentence, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

April 17, 2014
LittleBoyProf is getting tall. And smart.

This is an increasingly inconvenient reality at Politicalprof’s house ….

April 17, 2014
Study: People of color breathe air that is 38 percent more polluted than white people’s | The Raw Story

This had never, ever occurred to me.

Cripes.

April 17, 2014
Today’s absurd but great facts of the day …

Monty Python and the Holy Grail was funded by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Elton John. 

Life of Brian was paid for by George Harrison of The Beatles.

Enjoy!

April 17, 2014
Things that cannot be true (weird dreams edition)

—It cannot be the case that my new university president has started a Tardis-like remodel of the top floor of the main administration building (where I had an office for 5 years) such that it now has hundreds of rooms with space for thousands of people, all of whom Mrs. Prof and I had to fight to get through in order to find the entirely hidden president’s office. Right? Especially while pushing strollers with Baby Prof, LittleBoyProf and a grocery cart full of groceries?

—it cannot be the case that the president’s office is now larger than the entire old main administration floor, with an anteroom filled with movie theater seats and a bunch of, for want of a better word, hobos sitting in them. Right? And that it is hidden behind a secret door that leads to an outer office that is itself larger than the old main floor of the administration building?

—it cannot be the case that after hours of searching through all this I was finally admitted to the president’s office only to discover that he was attempting to resolve a standoff in which a Chinese fishing trawler had captured a US submarine (by sitting on it) as Russian submarines arrived to try to take possession of the US submarine and American aircraft threatened from above. Right? Bringing the world to the edge of war? That my university president has to stop?

Two thoughts:

1. I chaired the search committee that led to the hiring of my new university president when he was hired to be VP for Student Affairs. He seemed like a decent guy. But probably not a Time Lord.

2. Last night Politicalprof did not sleep particularly well.

April 16, 2014
letterstomycountry:

portiaofourchambers:

via.
This is a pretty helpful infographic, but like most “know your rights” information out there, it raises more questions than it answers.  
Generally speaking, I tell clients, friends and family that in a police encounter the best thing to do is be respectful and truthful. If you don’t feel like you can tell the truth without getting into trouble or arousing further suspicion, ask if you are free to leave, and if you are told you are not free to leave, inform the officer that you will not be answering any more questions until you have spoken with an attorney.  Then just stand your ground, continue to be respectful and polite but don’t say anything more.
"I’m sorry, officer, I don’t consent to searches," is a great phrase to have in your back pocket.  And you guys — don’t consent to searches.  Even if you believe you have nothing to hide.

LTMC: I like to tell people that it’s not their job to help the Government prove them guilty of anything.  Never consent to searches.  Always say “no” when they ask you if you know why they pulled you over, even if you think you do (you’re not in the officer’s head, and they may have pulled you over for a different reason.  Don’t accidentally implicate yourself to another crime!).  
Never give them more information than they ask for.  Keep your answers as brief as possible.  Even if you think you have nothing to hide, you’d be surprised how often people are breaking the law without even realizing it.  Giving elaborate answers may inadvertently provide police probable cause to search you or your vehicle.
They can ask you for your driver’s license and registration, and in New York, they can ask you to take a breathalyzer (you technically can refuse, but if you do, it’s an automatic license revocation).  Police can also order you to step out of your vehicle.  Even if they start to search you or your car illegally, let them do it.  Don’t be a martyr.  You’ll just get yourself into more trouble.  It’s not fair, but it’s reality.  Remember, they have a gun.  And they’re far more concerned about their own safety than yours.  Challenge it in court, not on the sidewalk.
With that being said, I’m in the process of writing an article premised on the idea that no attorney should advise a client to voluntarily speak to the police under any circumstances—even if they witness or are a victim of criminal activity—because anecdotal evidence suggests it will always be against their penal interest to do so, absent structural reforms in the law.
People do dumb and/or weird things when they’re in stressful situations.  They say things they don’t mean.  They utter sentences that come out wrong.  They misspeak.  They remember things wrong.  They give vague answers that can be interpreted in multiple ways.  This creates a high risk of accidentally implicating yourself in a crime is high when speaking to the police.  It’s even higher when you’re being detained.  
Other times, people simply react as one would expect, and they end up paying for it. Like Kenny Dixon, who discovered his stepson’s dead body in his garage after the latter committed suicide.  A police officer at the scene grabbed Dixon’s arm and tried to push him away from his stepson’s body.  Dixon, who was understandably inconsolable, asked the officer not to touch him.  Dixon was tackled, punched, and beaten by several officers at the scene, then arrested and charged a felony.  Thank goodness the police were there to help the victim’s family cope with their grief!
So yes, don’t talk to the police unless you have to.  If you’re being detained, don’t consent to searches, always answer “no” when asked if you know why you’re being detained, and don’t give them more information than they ask for.  Even fi you think you’re helping your case, it’s far more likely that you aren’t.

Politicalprof: this is all good advice.

letterstomycountry:

portiaofourchambers:

via.

This is a pretty helpful infographic, but like most “know your rights” information out there, it raises more questions than it answers.  

Generally speaking, I tell clients, friends and family that in a police encounter the best thing to do is be respectful and truthful. If you don’t feel like you can tell the truth without getting into trouble or arousing further suspicion, ask if you are free to leave, and if you are told you are not free to leave, inform the officer that you will not be answering any more questions until you have spoken with an attorney.  Then just stand your ground, continue to be respectful and polite but don’t say anything more.

"I’m sorry, officer, I don’t consent to searches," is a great phrase to have in your back pocket.  And you guys — don’t consent to searches.  Even if you believe you have nothing to hide.

LTMC: I like to tell people that it’s not their job to help the Government prove them guilty of anything.  Never consent to searches.  Always say “no” when they ask you if you know why they pulled you over, even if you think you do (you’re not in the officer’s head, and they may have pulled you over for a different reason.  Don’t accidentally implicate yourself to another crime!).  

Never give them more information than they ask for.  Keep your answers as brief as possible.  Even if you think you have nothing to hide, you’d be surprised how often people are breaking the law without even realizing it.  Giving elaborate answers may inadvertently provide police probable cause to search you or your vehicle.

They can ask you for your driver’s license and registration, and in New York, they can ask you to take a breathalyzer (you technically can refuse, but if you do, it’s an automatic license revocation).  Police can also order you to step out of your vehicle.  Even if they start to search you or your car illegally, let them do it.  Don’t be a martyr.  You’ll just get yourself into more trouble.  It’s not fair, but it’s reality.  Remember, they have a gun.  And they’re far more concerned about their own safety than yours.  Challenge it in court, not on the sidewalk.

With that being said, I’m in the process of writing an article premised on the idea that no attorney should advise a client to voluntarily speak to the police under any circumstances—even if they witness or are a victim of criminal activity—because anecdotal evidence suggests it will always be against their penal interest to do so, absent structural reforms in the law.

People do dumb and/or weird things when they’re in stressful situations.  They say things they don’t mean.  They utter sentences that come out wrong.  They misspeak.  They remember things wrong.  They give vague answers that can be interpreted in multiple ways.  This creates a high risk of accidentally implicating yourself in a crime is high when speaking to the police.  It’s even higher when you’re being detained.  

Other times, people simply react as one would expect, and they end up paying for it. Like Kenny Dixon, who discovered his stepson’s dead body in his garage after the latter committed suicide.  A police officer at the scene grabbed Dixon’s arm and tried to push him away from his stepson’s body.  Dixon, who was understandably inconsolable, asked the officer not to touch him.  Dixon was tackled, punched, and beaten by several officers at the scene, then arrested and charged a felony.  Thank goodness the police were there to help the victim’s family cope with their grief!

So yes, don’t talk to the police unless you have to.  If you’re being detained, don’t consent to searches, always answer “no” when asked if you know why you’re being detained, and don’t give them more information than they ask for.  Even fi you think you’re helping your case, it’s far more likely that you aren’t.

Politicalprof: this is all good advice.

April 16, 2014
"More than anything else, what unites the Russian leadership with the European far Right is a certain basic dishonesty, a lie so fundamental and self-delusive that it has the potential to destroy an entire peaceful order. Even as Russian leaders pour scorn on a Europe they present as a gay fleshpot, Russia’s elite is dependent upon the European Union at every conceivable level. Without European predictability, law and culture, Russians would have nowhere to launder their money, establish their front companies, send their children to school, or spend their vacations. Europe is both the basis of the Russian system and its safety valve."

Timothy Snyder

April 15, 2014
Remember …

When an ideologically racist/anti-Semitic white guy commits gun violence against a group/organization advocating for the groups he hates, that’s not terrorism. It’s an unfortunate side effect of a gun-laden society. If, by contrast, the suspect is brown or dark-skinned, it’s terrorism

At least, that’s what seems to be the case as I see the “news” about the Kansas shootings …

April 14, 2014
Human thinking ….

It takes 10,000,000 years for a photon of light to work its way from the center of the sun to its surface. It takes 8 minutes 20 seconds for that same photon to make it from the sun to earth.

…. and we wonder why people struggle with the concept of evolution … or the Big Bang … or just science.

April 14, 2014
Thought I was kidding about the snow, didn’t you?

Thought I was kidding about the snow, didn’t you?