Hartford, Connecticut

We’re in a hotel near the old state house of Hartford, Connecticut, and there are plenty of other old buildings.

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The old state house in Hartford has fascia, symbolizing strength in unity. It’s the origin of the term Fascist.

 

An iron fence surrounds an old building.

Fascia at the state house

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U.S. Senate approves military detention of citizens

Excuse me if I don’t set foot in your police state for a while.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday crossed a major constitutional line and authorized the American military to arrest and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens within the United States in the war on terror.

The 97-3 vote came after days of bitter debate…. But opponents, who lost a series of attempts to limit the detention to overseas, said it would be a grave mistake of historic proportions to allow the military to arrest and hold American citizens on US soil without the right to a trial or access to civilian courts.

President Obama has pledged to veto the bill, which next goes to the House…. critics, such as Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-CA, whose amendments lost on Thursday, said her proposal to limit the detentions to overseas were the bill’s original text on the matter. The bill emerged from the Senate Armed services Committee without a hearing on the military detention provisions.

The Supreme Court, in a recent Guantanamo case, said the military could arrest anyone, anywhere, in the war on terror. But a handful of Democrats and Republicans said the high court’s opinion was excessive and unconstitutional.They urged their colleagues to put the Bill of Rights — which gives every citizen the right to a trial in American courts — above the urge to expand military arrest powers.

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Police shoot homeowner, make excuses

Shit, shit, shit! This happened in May. Did I miss the national outrage and reorganization of the police force in charge? Arizona SWAT team kills decorated marine veteran in botched drug raid. Choice bits from the article:

Jose Guerena, a decorated Marine, was shot and killed by a SWAT team in a raid gone wrong. The team was looking for a marijuana ring and gave no warning before entering Guerena’s house.

As the SWAT team forced its way into his home, Guerena, a former Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, armed himself with his AR-15 rifle and told his wife and son to hide in a closet. As the officers entered, Guerena confronted them from the far end of a long, dark hallway. The police opened fire, releasing more than 70 rounds in about 7 seconds, at least 60 of which struck Guerena. He was pronounced dead a little over an hour later.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department initially claimed Guerena fired his weapon at the SWAT team. They now acknowledge that not only did he not fire, the safety on his gun was still activated when he was killed. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home. After ushering out his wife and son, the police refused to allow paramedics to access Guerena for more than hour, leaving the young father to bleed to death, alone, in his own home.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Office has now changed its story several times over the last few weeks. They have issued a press release (PDF) scolding the media and critics for questioning the legality of the raid, the department’s account of what happened, and the department’s ability to fairly investigate its own officers. They have obtained a court order sealing the search warrants and police affidavits that led to the raids…. If revealing the details of this investigation — which remember, was initially described by the Sheriff’s Department as a marijuana investigation — could endanger lives, why weren’t the warrants and affidavits sealed from the start?

The raids on the other homes carried out that same morning, all part of the same operation, resulted in no arrests and turned up little if any actual contraband. (When police find illegal substances after these raids — especially raids that end badly — they usually quickly release that information.)

Moreover, if this was all about breaking up a dangerous home invasion ring, where are the suspects, and where is the evidence? According to an advocate for the Guerena family I spoke with this week, the police also mistakenly raided another home near Guerena’s the same morning, and have since replaced that home’s front door.”

“They’re trying to imply that he was dressing up as a police officer to force his way into private homes,” Scileppi says. But when police serve a search warrant they leave behind a receipt what they’ve taken from the residence. According to Scileppi, the only item taken from Gurena’s home that remotely fits that description was a U.S. Border Control cap — which you can buy from any number of retail outlets, including Amazon.com.

“We spoke with several of the neighbors,” Epps says. “And none of them — none of them — heard any sirens that morning. Every one of them told us they didn’t hear anything, no knocking, no shouting, until the shooting started. They didn’t hear anything until the shooting started.” Epps added, “What I found disturbing is that none of the neighbors would give us their names. These people are terrified of the police, now.”

If next-door neighbors didn’t hear the sirens or police announcement at the door, it’s plausible that Guerena, who was sleeping off the graveyard shift he’d worked the night before, didn’t hear them either. Of course, the other possibility here is that the police are lying about the sirens and the announcement.

If you’re not actually a criminal and you wake up to the sound of armed men breaking into your home, your first thought isn’t likely to be that you’re being visited by the police. There may also have been something else on Guerena’s mind: Last year, two of Vanessa Guerena’s relatives were murdered by armed intruders. The intruders also shot the couple’s children. What Guerena is alleged to have said — “I’ve got something for you; I’ve gotten something for you guys” — sounds damning if you assume he knew the men in his home were police, but there’s nothing in that sentence indicating Guerena knew he was confronting cops. It also sounds like something a former soldier might shout out to intimidate armed intruders. And let’s not forget, the same team of SWAT officers who reported hearing Guerena say those words also reported seeing a muzzle flash from Guerena’s gun, which we now know couldn’t have happened.

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department and other agencies involved in the raid ought to be doing anything and everything to make themselves accountable. Instead, they’ve shown arrogance, defiance, and obstinacy — all wrapped in an appeal to public safety.

Having a gun in the house quintuples your odds of being killed by gunfire.
Another link about the story.

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The snowmelt video

A friend sent the record of 41 days of snow conditions in his yard in West Chester, Pennsylvania, after a heavy snowstorm: Snow Fade.

Confusion reigns

Miss California 2009, Carrie Prejean, said that she thought gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Now, one of this year’s competitors is paraphrased by Lean Left blog: “I’m putting all my friends to death because I love them.” This might be proof that religion is confusing.

…when did they go from mouthing mindless platitudes to spewing hateful right-wing bigotry from the stage?

Miss Beverly Hills 2010, Lauren Ashley, went further and quoted the bible as being pretty clear that gays should be executed. She went on to say that she had lots of friends who were gay.

Not any more.

DRS World Conference 2010 cancelled!

Dead Runners Society World Conference 2010 logo with 'cancelled' stamped over it

It must be the state of the economy or something. Or perhaps no one wants to come to Florida. The Dead Runners Society World Conference for 2010 will not be held.

a scene in Gainesville, Florida, possibly the university campus

I’m firm, you’re stubborn…

More of the same: I’ve seen a lot of sudden turnarounds in the U.S. since the last election, from “you must support your president or it’s treason” to “OMG we gotta secede!”

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The only families that have to worry are those making over $250 000 a year.