30 October 2014

$172,669 FOR NEW RIOT GEAR AHEAD OF VERDICT…

0000 by Jeff Hess

This internal thread concerning events in and about Ferguson, Missouri,
is stuck to the top of the blog, newer, less vital, posts appear below.

Meanwhile, comments on PZ Myers’ Good Morning, America now exceed 1,600…

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The police department overseeing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old has spent tens of thousands of dollars replenishing their stocks of teargas, “less lethal” ammunition and riot gear in advance of a potential revival in demonstrations.

St Louis County police made the purchases amid concerns that hundreds of demonstrators will return to the streets if Darren Wilson, the officer who shot dead Michael Brown in August, is not indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury currently considering the case.

A breakdown of the department’s spending since August on equipment intended for the policing of crowds and civil disobedience, which totals $172,669, was obtained by the Guardian from the county force.

Since the height of the protests, the department has spent almost $25,000 buying 650 teargas grenades, smoke-and-gas grenades, smoke canisters and “hornets nest” CS sting grenades, which shoot out dozens of rubber bullets and a powdered chemical agent upon detonation.

It has spent a further $18,000 on 1,500 “beanbag rounds” and 6,000 pepper balls, paintball-style projectiles that explode with a chemical irritant when they strike a protester. The department uses LiveX branded pepper balls, which are billed as ten times hotter than standard pepper rounds.

Another $77,500 has been spent on 235 riot gear helmets, 135 shields, 25 batons and 60 sets of shin guards, and other “uniform items”. A further $2,300 was used to buy another 2,000 sets of the plastic handcuffs that have been used to detain dozens of demonstrators plucked from crowds on West Florissant Avenue.

In addition, an estimated $50,000 has been set aside by the department for repair work for damaged police vehicles. However, in a sign that further clashes are expected, they are in fact “not repairing any vehicles until unrest is over”, a department inventory said.

“We purchase these items in hopes that we never have to use any of them,” said Sergeant Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the county police department. “But it is our responsibility to have proper equipment to keep our police officers and all citizens safe should violence break out anywhere at any time.”

Jon Swaine writing in Ferguson police brace for new protests by spending thousands on riot gear for The Guardian.

—***—

An excessive police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of an unarmed 18-year-old earlier this year ran the risk of killing demonstrators and impinged on their human rights, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The report, by Amnesty observers deployed to monitor the protests, found that the militarised reaction to a small minority of violent Continue Reading »

31 October 2014

SHARING A BUCKET AND A BAG OF PEANUTS…

0930 by Jeff Hess

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31 October 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: TIME TO SAY GOODBYE FRANK…

0700 by Jeff Hess

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Now is the time to think about the next mayoral election in Cleveland.

Frank, it’s time to retire. Time to go. Time to say goodbye.

Yet I’m hearing rumors that Mayor Frank Jackson will consider a fourth term. Too much, Frank.

He was originally elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2009 & 2013.

That’s quite enough. Sit out 2017. Time to say goodbye. Adios.

Cleveland City Hall badly needs a shake-up, a house cleaning.

Only problem is who can do it.

The leadership vacuum appears vast. The leadership tank is empty or seems so. City Council is lethargic. Sluggishly go-along.

Jackson doesn’t bring in new blood. His administration is stale. And he doesn’t seem at all concerned. But new blood what is needed desperately.

There’s such a feeling of tiredness—as if nothing new can be tried. Just let’s do it all over again. And the same way. Drift.

The only one thing that seems to proceed is the desire of the Greater Cleveland Partnership and its chief spokesman, the smirking Continue Reading »

31 October 2014

GAVIN AUNG THAN AT WDS 2014…

0630 by Jeff Hess

Gavin Aung Than at WDS 2014 from Chris Guillebeau on Vimeo.

Gavin Aung Than is the creator of Zen Pencils, and told his story about a leap of faith from a day job to pursue creative fulfillment. The World Domination Summit is a worldwide gathering of creative, unconventional people. Every summer, the group descends on Portland, Oregon for several days of speakers, workshops, meetups, and fun. This year, we even set our second Guinness World Record!

31 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V I…

0600 by Jeff Hess

It can be said, therefore, that ideology, as that instrument of internal communication which assures the power structure of inner cohesion is, in the post-totalitarian system, some thing that transcends the physical aspects of power, something that dominates it to a considerable degree and, therefore, tends to assure its continuity as well. It is one of the pillars of the system’s external stability. This pillar, however, is built on a very unstable foundation. It is built on lies. It works only as long as people are willing to live within the lie.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

31 October 2014

WITH SIX BILLION YOU GET EGG ROLL…

0530 by Jeff Hess

Via Zen Pencils

Previously

31 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Oil & gas leases
Nine years in prison for ATM heists
Detroit woman admits to local heroin trafficking
Frontier’s financial future tied to levy
The little house of worship

Top Headlines Poll: Which political party do you think will claim victory after Tuesday’s election

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

30 October 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: TRAFFIC CAMERAS SHOULD GO…

0700 by Jeff Hess

Cleveland traffic cameras are emblematic of the inequality built into so much of what happens in the city.

First and foremost, I’m told that City Council members have a veto over where (and whether) a stationary camera is placed in their ward. How does that square with the claim it is a safety program?

When I looked at the map of where stationary cameras both for speed and red lights are positioned I found that 23 where on the East Side and only eight on the West Side. I don’t see any downtown. No one speeds or runs red lights downtown? No, says one Council member, Joe Cimperman—the downtown council member—doesn’t want them. I guess it might hurt the restaurant business.

There’s little doubt that these cameras are a money-maker for the city. I’m told the take is going down as people recognize where the set cameras are stationed and act accordingly. (Disclosure: I got a camera ticket years ago in East Cleveland.)

One could say that that proves the safety factor. People paying attention so as not to get fined.

However, it doesn’t account for what happens AFTER drivers realize they’ve passed the danger zone. Do they pick up speed to make up for the slowdown? I know that happens.

The city needs revenue. Figures show in 2010 the cameras gained the city $6.7 million and in 2012 the total was $6 million. I’m told Continue Reading »

30 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V H…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Western Sovietologists often exaggerate the role of individuals in the post-totalitarian system and overlook the fact that the ruling figures, despite the immense power they possess through the centralized structure of power, are often no more than blind executors of the system’s own internal laws-laws they themselves never can, and never do, reflect upon. In any case, experience has taught us again and again that this automatism is far more powerful than the will of any individual; and should someone possess a more independent will, he must conceal it behind a ritually anonymous mask in order to have an opportunity to enter the power hierarchy at all. And when the individual finally gains a place there and tries to make his will felt within it, that automatism, with its enormous inertia, will triumph sooner or later, and either the individual will be ejected by the power structure like a foreign organism, or he will be compelled to resign his individuality gradually, once again blending with the automatism and becoming its servant, almost indistinguishable from those who preceded him and those who will follow. (Let us recall, for instance, the development of Husák or Gomukka.) The necessity of continually hiding behind and relating to ritual means that even the more enlightened members of the power structure are often obsessed with ideology. They are never able to plunge straight to the bottom of naked reality, and they always confuse it, in the final analysis, with ideological pseudo-reality. (In my opinion, one of the reasons the Dub?ek leadership lost control of the situation in 1968 was precisely because, in extreme situations and in final questions, its members were never capable of extricating themselves completely from the world of appearances.)

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

30 October 2014

A MONK STOPS AT A HOT DOG VENDER AND ASKS…

0530 by Jeff Hess

Via Zen Pencils

Previously

30 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

The Unitarians
Warren student honored for helping 2 who OD’d
Hearing tonight on city’s oil, gas lease
Monroe Co. pipeline explodes; no one injured
Drainage issues brought to city council

Top Headlines Poll: Do you believe in ghosts?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

29 October 2014

A YEAR OF BARISTAS FOR ABOUT THREE LATTES…

1530 by Jeff Hess

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Nine competing specialty coffee shops from around Cleveland have come together to produce a calendar in support of the Cafe Femenino Foundation. The Cleveland Barista Calendar will be available for $15 at all featured coffee shops and select third party retail partners in November.

Featuring thirty baristas from Phoenix Coffee Company, The Root Cafe, Rising Star Coffee Roasters, Gypsy Beans & Bakery, Loop Cafe, Dewey’s Coffee, Katz Club Diner, and both Erie Island Coffee locations, the Cleveland Baristas Calendar 2015 is a collaborative project designed to showcase the character and sparkle of the baristas in the growing Cleveland coffee scene in support of women and their families in coffee communities around the world.

The idea for the calendar was hatched by Phoenix Coffee staff during a Latte Art Throwdown at the shop of their competitor, Rising Star. “Looking around, we saw baristas from nearly every cafe in the city there, just hanging out together, having a good time. The Barista Calendar came out of that same spirit of collaboration,” recalls Phoenix Coffee’s Coffee Director, Christopher Feran. “It seemed natural. Why not come together as a community to support a cause we all believe in—supporting coffee growers?”

Cleveland-native photographer Angelo Merendino shot the calendar, produced by Sarah Antonik, at Pete Larson Photography at W.78th Street Studios in Cleveland.

All production costs for the calendar were underwritten by La Marzocco, Torani, Caruso’s Coffee Roasters, Serengeti Trading and Jakprints to enable all proceeds from the calendar to go to Cafe Femenino.

Cafe Femenino, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all-volunteer organization provides funding to support grant requests from women in coffee producing regions around the world. The foundation helps promote the integration of women coffee farmers into social, political and occupational organizations by providing grants that help support the women’s efforts and enhance their status within the community.

29 October 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON: OHIO’S RACE FOR GOVERNOR,
VOTE FITZGERALD; DON’T ENCOURAGE KASICH…

0700 by Jeff Hess

There are a lot of voters—Democrats—out there who want to use Ed FitzGerald as their punching bag this November.

[Full disclosure, Roldo most likely count me in that club, for good reasons.]

Henry Gomez already has secured that job.

FitzGerald has turned out to be a sad candidate. He’s taking an ongoing beating in the Plain Dealer for his missteps. Even though they haven’t been major or governmental.

Furthermore, he’s done just about everything the Pee Dee has had on its cheerleading list during his County term. Some gratitude.

The paper was never going to endorse him. But it has made it appear easy to oppose him by repeating his problems over and over again. Same as they did to Jimmy Dimora.

As if there were nothing else to the race for governor but a driver’s license. The lazy PD was always going to go for Gov. John Kasich, as they did four years ago—without good reason then. The made a joke of themselves Continue Reading »

29 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V G…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Because of this dictatorship of the ritual, however, power becomes clearly anonymous. Individuals are almost dissolved in the ritual. They allow themselves to be swept along by it and frequently it seems as though ritual alone carries people from obscurity into the light of power. Is it not characteristic of the post-totalitarian system that, on all levels of the power hierarchy, individuals are increasingly being pushed aside by faceless people, puppets, those uniformed flunkeys of the rituals and routines of power?

The automatic operation of a power structure thus dehumanized and made anonymous is a feature of the fundamental automatism of this system. It would seem that it is precisely the diktats of this automatism which select people lacking individual will for the power structure, that it is precisely the diktat of the empty phrase which summons to power people who use empty phrases as the best guarantee that the automatism of the post-totalitarian system will continue.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

29 October 2014

THE EMPIRE STRIKES OUT…

0530 by Jeff Hess

Via Zen Pencils

Previously

29 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

RED RIBBONS
Bed tax reallocation debated
Man gets jail sentence for selling drugs
Pageant crowns Miss Belpre in Bloom
Homeschool co-op expands learning

Top Headlines Poll: What do you do with your leaves?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

28 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V F…

0600 by Jeff Hess

If ideology is the principal guarantee of the inner consistency of power, it becomes at the same time an increasingly important guarantee of its continuity. Whereas succession to power in classical dictatorship is always a rather complicated affair (the pretenders having nothing to give their claims reasonable legitimacy, thereby forcing them always to resort to confrontations of naked power), in the post-totalitarian system power is passed on from person to person, from clique to clique, and from generation to generation in an essentially more regular fashion. In the selection of pretenders, a new “king-maker” takes part: it is ritual legitimation, the ability to rely on ritual, to fulfill it and use it, to allow oneself, as it were, to be borne aloft by it. Naturally, power struggles exist in the post-totalitarian system as well, and most of them are far more brutal than in an open society, for the struggle is not open, regulated by democratic rules, and subject to public control, but hidden behind the scenes. (It is difficult to recall a single instance in which the First Secretary of a ruling Communist Party has been replaced without the various military and security forces being placed at least on alert.) This struggle, however, can never (as it can in classical dictatorships) threaten the very essence of the system and its continuity. At most it will shake up the power structure, which will recover quickly precisely because the binding substance—ideology—remains undisturbed. No matter who is replaced by whom, succession is only possible against the backdrop and within the framework of a common ritual. It can never take place by denying that ritual.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

28 October 2014

THE SKINNY ON THE SKINNY LAND…

0530 by Jeff Hess

Via Zen Pencils

Previously

28 October 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0500 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

World history
Armory’s ground floor
Plea deal on hold as man changes his story
Family dispute sparks Warren lockdown
Marietta board reviews forecast

Top Headlines Poll: Are you a hunter?

Great pictures of Marietta

What’s going on here

Previously

27 October 2014

HAVEL ON THE POWERLESS: PART V E…

0600 by Jeff Hess

Yet, as we have seen, ideology becomes at the same time an increasingly important component of power, a pillar providing it with both excusatory legitimacy and an inner coherence. As this aspect grows in importance, and as it gradually loses touch with reality, it acquires a peculiar but very real strength. It becomes reality itself, albeit a reality altogether self-contained, one that on certain levels (chiefly inside the power structure) may have even greater weight than reality as such. Increasingly, the virtuosity of the ritual becomes more important than the reality hidden behind it. The significance of phenomena no longer derives from the phenomena themselves, but from their locus as concepts in the ideological context. Reality does not shape theory, but rather the reverse. Thus power gradually draws closer to ideology than it does to reality; it draws its strength from theory and becomes entirely dependent on it. This inevitably leads, of course, to a paradoxical result: rather than theory, or rather ideology, serving power, power begins to serve ideology. It is as though ideology had appropriated power from power, as though it had become dictator itself. It then appears that theory itself, ritual itself, ideology itself, makes decisions that affect people, and not the other way around.

From The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel, 1978

Previously…

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