I will be brief. I apologize for being late. We’ll start with a factual paragraph which will immediately be followed by my opinions. Viewer discretion is advised. Let me make sure I have my bottled water. My voice gets a little shaky if I talk for more than three minutes. Ah, there it is. I’m good to go. –Ed.
Last night, 107 days after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced that a grand jury had decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on any charges.
The press conference to announce the decision took place shortly after 8pm Missouri time. Some critics described this as “unusual timing.”
In a “bizarre” and “whining” preamble to announcing the decision, McCulloch opted to use his special time in the limelight to espouse some opinions. Yeah, that sounds like a really good idea.
Here’s part of what he said:
“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about, following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media.”
–Robert McCulloch, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney
There you have it. Problems #1 and #2 regarding the City of Ferguson and the killing of Michael Brown are, respectively, the 24-hour news cycle and social media.
I think he just called us a society of lookie-loos. And, by the way, what a stroke of genius to seize the opportunity to editorialize, right? Everything has its time and place.
More telling, however, is the prism McCulloch just gave us on this whole ball of wax.
What sort of things were not challenges in the investigation? Presumably things like finding out what really happened. Determining witness credibility. And other various and sundry minutia of the sort presumably ranked #3 in importance/priority (and lower).
Basically what sticks most in McCulloch’s craw is the attack of transparency. No, not a lack of transparency. It’s that we have too damn much of it. McCulloch longs for the good old days where police departments and the various arms of the justice system could operate behind closed doors with impunity. Now all these nosy citizens with their gadgets and opinions and stuff really throw a monkey wrench into the way things are supposed to work. The way they’ve always worked in the past.
Before the shooting and every step taken since this has been a story of control. We’ve all seen the demographics and statistics on how the City of Ferguson works. The racial makeup of the citizenry vs. the power structure, the arrest statistics, the makeup of the police force, etc. That’s the before.
The after includes things like the handling of the scene. If it was a police officer who had been shot an emergency response would have been summoned with all deliberate haste. But it was just a black guy. A suspected “criminal.” Sure, theoretically, he’s innocent until proven guilty in a court of law (and not by Ofc. Darren Wilson) but it’s okay. He’s obviously dead. Nothing to see here. Move along. And it happened at high noon in the light of day and the body was allowed to remain on the street for four hours. The department says there’s nothing unusual about that.
Then came the control and contain phase of the operation. The police were tip-lipped. Very few details were released. They exerted as much control as they possibly could over every little thing. They didn’t release the name of the officer for an amazing amount of time. The chief of police stood his ground and played it out to the bitter end. Adhere to the code. Never admit to anything. Never let them see you sweat.
The press conference last night was just the sprinkles on top of rigid system that refuses to admit it’s fallible. And the thing they care about most is blaming journalists and how they’ve been maligned on social media. Those are the takeaways? Sad.
I live in Portland, Oregon, which mostly receives electrical power from Portland General Electric. Founded in 1888 the company was eventually owned by Enron Corporation from 1997 until 2006 until Enron went bankrupt.
See? I just used a writing technique known as foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come.
By dropping the name Enron, you are now on notice that this story does not bode well. The portends are decidedly not in our favor. It’s time to omen up.
Yes, I’m being mysterious. I’m trying to leave you in the dark. Just like Portland General. Bazinga!
Being a major metropolitan area, the City of Portland is designed with security and reliability in mind. Power outages simply do not happen unless:
- The wind blows up to one (1) mph
- A squirrel gets hungry
- Water magically falls from the sky
- A drunk person, in a trillion-to-one event, rams their car into a pole
Such simple criteria means the city loses power about every 42 minutes. Who knew that cramming 625,000 people in the same area would make stuff happen? Yes, I live in a city where squirrels are frequently blamed for power outages.
At least Portland is safe. No one, not even a terrorist, could ever fuck with this city unless:
- A tweaked out kid needs to take a whiz in a city resevoir
- The wind blows and a branch falls and an entire power grid goes haywire
- Water magically falls from the sky
Portland has many names. The City of Roses. Bridgetown. Stumpdown. Rip City. Little Beirut. PDX. Cloud City. But, during autumn at least, it could also be known as The City of Leaves. (Leaves are the unpredictable byproduct of shitloads of trees.) And the city has a great strategy for dealing with them. “Clean ‘em up your own damn self. You want your storm drains to work? Better get on it. By the way, we’re adding a street fee. You need to pay more taxes for this.”
So it rained on Sunday. We were out running errands. We had to retrace our steps. We drove through St. Johns. Then it started to rain. An hour later we went through the same area. It had already flooded the size of Lake Erie. It wasn’t even a heavy rain.
There had been a few brief gusts of wind. So, yeah, the power was already out. We pulled into a bar just as thunderous lightning spooked everyone in the place. They were amazed. Lightning? Wowwee. Perhaps Portland has exactly the power company it deserves?
We continued on our way and that’s when I noticed it. The traffic signals were are dark. None of them were red. None were yellow. None were green.
You know what that means, right? The entire city went Starman on steroids. Perhaps we can add “Starport City USA” to our lengthy list of nicknames?
[Starman is driving the car, and speeds across a recently turned red light, causing crashes for the other motorists]
Jenny Hayden: Okay? Are you crazy? You almost got us killed! You said you watched me, you said you knew the rules!
Starman: I do know the rules.
Jenny Hayden: Oh, for your information pal, that was a *yellow* light back there!
Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.
Apparently the collective wisdom of the hipster lumbersexuals in PDX is this: No street light, go very fast.
That’s weird because the law says an unpowered traffic signal is to be treated as a four-way stop. It’s so weird that no one in Portland knew that. Keep Portland weird.
So we sat at an intersection watching an endless stream of cars whiz by at top speed and we never got a turn. To pass the time we celebrated several birthdays. And I plotted revenge. Now I understand where Joker, Riddler and Penguin are coming from.
This may be my last blog post for a while. I’ve decided to keep my computer turned off when I think Portland General will be unable to keep the grid powered. By my calculations that means I’ll have a 42-minute window of electricity per day.
The promise of cell phones: “I’m a parent and I have to be able to reach my kids.” The reality of cell phones: “Did you see The Real Housewives of #PDX last night?” I’ll bet the lofty reasons happen less often than matching all the balls in the lotto. All hail self-justification.
Originally posted on Shouts from the Abyss:
Here’s a little instant chat transcript between me and an associate (codenamed “Xi”) the other day. You must start by reviewing the link that prompted the following exchange…
Xi: that is class
Xi: why do they care so much if you’re on your cell phone
Me: personally i’d guess because it’s rude as hell to relate to another human being (like during a commerce transaction) with one of those things pressed against your face. that’s just my guess, though. :)
Xi: and personally I don’t care what anyone at the counter thinks- If I have to call my baby sitter and tell them I”m running late, who are you (as in the counterman) to be offended for my parenting.
Xi: or been on hold with cable company for 45 minutes, Im not about to hang up for the counterman!
Me: hey you set me up :)
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I’m thankful for this post so it’s my reblog of the week.
Originally posted on Partner Xchange Blog:
1. The TV dinner and Thanksgiving. In 1953, Swanson overestimated the demand for turkeys that Thanksgiving by a mere 26 tons. Luckily, someone quickly thought that the way to remedy the flub would be to cut up the turkey and package it with trimmings. And hello TV dinners!
2. No shopping if you’re a plumber. Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers! Sorry, no black Friday shopping for you!
3. Living in Turkey. There are four U.S. places named Turkey–Turkey Creek, Louisiana; Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot, Pennsylvania.
4. Thanksgiving brought to you by Abe Lincoln. Good old honest Abe was the one who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday after a magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied for the holiday. Hale also is responsible for writing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
5. Gobble. Male turkeys called “Toms” gobble, but female turkeys…
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Eight Simple Rules For Mating My Mid-Twenties Plotter
Who says there’s no good news anymore? A wedding?!? For reals? Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah! I, for one, am ready for a healthy, deep-cleansing cry. Somebody get me a hanky.
Charles Manson, 80, and Afton Elaine Burton (using the known alias of Star), 26, are getting ready to say the big “I do.” Reportedly the State of California has issued these rambunctious youngsters a license to marry.
I was wondering about the rules in a situation like this. Here goes.
- No touching!!! Daddy horny, Michael.
- Write your own vows. I obtained an advance copy of Charlie’s. “If you look down at me you will see a fool; if you look up at me you will see a god; if you look straight at me you will see yourself.” That’s some deep fucking shit. I wasn’t able to get my grubby mitts on a copy of Star’s but I imagine it would be something along the lines of, “These shrooms are making me so high, man.”
- Sometimes a crazed look in the eye is more than enough.
- A single serving of Viagra is worth a carton of cigarettes.
- An appropriate color scheme is crucial to complement the swastika tattoo between your eyes.
- Scheduling early is crucial if one wishes to be joined together by an officially licensed Church of Satan representative.
- As a musician, Manson can also be the wedding singer performing his own original songs. No one should have to sit through that. (I offer my services performing the song, Halloween In Heaven; Christmas In Hell.)
- The couple wishes no gifts from this physical plane of existence (other than Depends) and asks that donations are made in the couple’s name to Toys For Tots.