When will police departments stop using cheapo drug tests that give false positives?


Mr. Rushing buys a doughnut every other weekOrlando Sentinel

Daniel Rushing probably won’t be eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts in his car any more.

The 64-year-old was arrested on drug charges when Orlando police officers spotted four tiny flakes of glaze on his floorboard and thought they were pieces of crystal methamphetamine…

Cpl. Shelby Riggs-Hopkins wrote in an arrest report that during a traffic stop on 11 December she noticed the flakes on the floorboard. Two roadside drug tests were positive for the illegal substance and Rushing was arrested. But a state crime laboratory test cleared him several weeks later.

“It was incredible,” Rushing said. “It feels scary when you haven’t done anything wrong and get arrested … It’s just a terrible feeling.”

It started on a Friday afternoon when Rushing dropped off a neighbor at a hospital for a weekly chemotherapy session. Then, he drove to a convenience store to pick up a friend who needed a ride home.

Riggs-Hopkins said she was staking out the area for drug activity. Rushing told her he had a concealed weapons permit, according to an arrest report. She asked him to step out of his car and noticed a “rock like substance” on the floorboard.

“I recognized through my eleven years of training and experience as a law enforcement officer the substance to be some sort of narcotic,” she wrote…

Uh-huh.

Riggs-Hopkins and other officers spotted three other pieces of the substance.

“I kept telling them, ‘That’s … glaze from a doughnut,” Rushing said.

He was charged with possession of methamphetamine with a firearm and spent 10 hours in jail before being released on bond.

The Florida’s law enforcement department told the newspaper that an analyst in its Orlando crime lab did not try to identify what police found in the car, only to determine whether it was an illegal drug. They determined it was not and three days after Rushing’s arrest the state attorney’s office dropped the charges.

Mr. Rushing is going to sue the city. The coppers – of course – say the bust was lawful. Going by the book is sufficient as far as they’re concerned.

I think he should sue them for stupid. And probably for cheap. For using a test that gives false positives for doughnuts.

Thanks, Honeyman

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Pentagon supports release of Gitmo detainee who wrote bestseller exposing prisoner abuse

A Guantánamo Bay detainee whose memoir recounting abuse by American interrogators became a best-seller last year has been recommended for transfer out of the wartime prison…

The detainee, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, 45, is a Mauritanian and the author of “Guantánamo Diary,” which he wrote by hand at the prison in 2005.

His lawyers fought for years with the government for permission to publish the book. It finally appeared in bookstores in January 2015 — with many redactions — sold briskly, and has since been optioned for a movie.

Mr. Slahi appeared June 2 before a parole-board-like six-agency panel, the Periodic Review Board, that interviews prisoners and reviews their files. It decides whether they are enough of a threat to national security to continue to be detained. In a July 14 decision memo that was recently made public the board determined that Mr. Slahi should be transferred…

Of the 76 detainees remaining at the prison, 31 are recommended for transfer if security conditions can be met in the receiving country.

In a short statement on its “consensus” decision, the board cited Mr. Slahi’s “highly compliant behavior in detention.”

“The board also noted the detainee’s candid responses to the board’s questions, to include recognition of his past activities, clear indications of a change in the detainee’s mind-set,” it said. “Furthermore, the board considered the extensive support network available to the detainee from multiple sources, including strong family connections, and the detainee’s robust and realistic plan for the future.”…

Mr. Slahi studied electrical engineering in Germany and then joined Al Qaeda to help the Afghan anti-Communist resistance in the early 1990s, a time when Osama bin Laden’s mujahedeen fighters were backed by the United States.

He returned to Germany and later crossed paths with one of the accused plotters of the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Slahi was back in Mauritania by the time of those attacks, and he was arrested and sent to Jordan, which later transferred him to the United States.

Mr. Slahi was taken to Guantánamo and in 2003 was subjected to a special interrogation torture approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Mr. Slahi wrote of extensive sleep deprivation, beatings, dousings with ice water, and of being shackled for days in a freezing cell. He denied involvement with terrorism and was never charged with a crime.

One more lesson in American hypocrisy the whole world is learning from our self-assigned role as cops of the world. Liberal or conservative in the White House, some things never change.

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Cartoon: the real Republican ticket for 2016

Thanks, gocomics.org

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Republican war on a Free Press escalates at rally for Trump running mate, Mike Pence


“I’m a Christian, conservative and a Republican, in that order”

Donald Trump’s campaign has denied press credentials to a number of disfavored media organizations, including The Washington Post, but on Wednesday, the campaign of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, went even further.

At Pence’s first public event since he was introduced as the Republican vice-presidential candidate two weeks ago, a Post reporter was barred from entering the venue after security staffers summoned local police to pat him down in a search for his cellphone…

Post reporter Jose A. DelReal sought to cover Pence’s rally at the Waukesha County Exposition Center outside Milwaukee, but he was turned down for a credential beforehand by volunteers at a press check-in table.

DelReal then tried to enter via the general-admission line, as Post reporters have done without incident since Trump last month banned the newspaper from his events. He was stopped there by a private security official who told him he couldn’t enter the building with his laptop and cellphone. When DelReal asked whether others attending the rally could enter with their cellphones, he said the unidentified official replied, “Not if they work for The Washington Post.”

After placing his computer and phone in his car, DelReal returned to the line and was detained again by security personnel, who summoned two county sheriff’s deputies. The officers patted down DelReal’s legs and torso, seeking his phone, the reporter said.

When the officers — whom DelReal identified as Deputy John Lappley and Capt. Michelle Larsuel — verified that he wasn’t carrying a phone, the reporter asked to be admitted. The security person declined. “He said, ‘I don’t want you here. You have to go,’ ” DelReal said…

Trump has banned nearly a dozen news organizations whose coverage has displeased him, but reporters have generally been able to cover his events by going through general admission lines.

DelReal’s experience on Wednesday elicited a rebuke from Post Executive Editor Martin Baron.

“First, press credentials for The Washington Post were revoked by Donald Trump,” he said. “Now, law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less. The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.”…

In a statement, Pence press secretary Marc Lotter said blah, blah, blah.

Nothing new about any politicians trying to manage press access to a certain extent. Banning the press is another story altogether. A free press plays a constitutional role in our history starting right from our revolutionary beginnings.

Crap like this is another symptom of the fascist-minded crew in charge under Trump and his populist followers. The herd mentality that rejects constitutional law, history and civil rights controls what used to be the Republican Party. Plausible deniability or not.

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Hillary Clinton won a presidential nomination — These newspapers ran front-page photos of her husband

Fusion’s Kelsey McKinney noticed something important about today’s newspapers that heralded the historic moment of a woman winning a presidential nomination. A lot of them used a picture not of Hillary — but her husband.

Of course it’s true that Hillary Clinton only addressed the DNC briefly through a video Tuesday night. And, having worked in a number of newsrooms, my guess is the editors at these papers wanted to grab a newsy photo from something that happened at the Democratic National Convention last night. That newsy photo ended up, in a lot of cases, to be of Bill Clinton…

Nonetheless, Clinton did something remarkable last night — she became the first woman to win a major political party’s presidential nomination. Certainly that should be enough of an accomplishment to get her face on the front page of more of the country’s daily newspapers. Apparently, it isn’t.

The telling conclusion for me — that not only didn’t these newspapers notice their brains were about a century out-of-date; but, that millions of Americans, mostly male, didn’t notice it, either.

And, then, there likely are thousands of Republicans who wonder what the fuss is all about?

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June set another global temperature record – in case you didn’t notice

This June has joined every other month of this year so far in setting an all-time monthly record for global temperatures, according to two separate federal science agencies — though the globe was not as extremely warm last month as it was earlier in the year.

“Warmer to much-warmer-than-average conditions dominated across much of the globe’s surface, resulting in the highest temperature departure for June since global temperature records began in 1880,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Globally averaged temperatures in June were 0.9 degrees Celsius (1.62 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than the average across the 20th century, according to NOAA. That slightly surpassed temperatures measured in the prior record June of last year…

Overall, the data suggest the fading strength of the dramatic 2015-2016 El Niño event is slowly taming the record-breaking spike in global temperatures. Current Pacific Ocean conditions are neutral, with a shift into La Niña conditions expected later this year, according to NOAA…

Nonetheless, it has been a staggering run for the planet of late. “This was also the 14th consecutive month the monthly global temperature record has been broken — the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of recordkeeping,” NOAA reported. Both NOAA and NASA have rated every month this year so far as a record-breaker…

Right now, 2016 is running far ahead of the prior record year, 2015, for temperatures. In a press conference Tuesday, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who directs the agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, provided a temperature analysis not just for June of 2016, but for the first six months of this so-far record warm year.

“This is the first time that we’re doing an analysis mid-year, mainly because the average temperatures for the first half of this year are so in excess of any first part of the year that we’ve seen,” Schmidt said.

Increases in temperature are Yuuge – except where Republicans and other Know-Nothings control the media, perception of reality for folks who don’t read beyond sports scores.

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Native American teenager confronts a year in prison for possessing one gram of weed


Maybe the Feds want Chemawa students to live like this – again

An Oregon teenager could be sentenced to a year in prison for possessing about one gram of marijuana in a federal case that has sparked widespread outrage about the ongoing “war on drugs” – even in US states that have fully legalized cannabis.

Devontre Thomas, a Native American 19-year-old, is accused of possessing a small amount of weed – enough for about one joint – and will face a federal trial that advocates say is a waste of resources and a stark reminder that US law enforcement agencies continue to target people of color for low-level pot offenses.

The one-count charge brought by the US attorney’s office – which could also result in a $1,000 fine – is the latest illustration of growing tensions in US laws on marijuana. The drug is sold recreationally in four states but remains outlawed at the federal level.

The government’s decision to file charges against Thomas, which criminal justice experts say is a perplexing move that directly contradicts federal guidelines, has also raised questions about how the US Department of Justice enforces laws on Native American territories…

Thomas’s public defender, Ruben Iñiguez, told the local paper Willamette Week that the charge was for “about a gram” of weed and that the case stemmed from an incident at Chemawa Indian school, a boarding school operated by the federal bureau of Indian education.

Thomas, a member of the Warm Springs tribe, did not actually have weed on him at the school – which is located in Salem, Oregon’s capital – but he may have been involved in a $20 sale of marijuana, Iñiguez told local news station KGW-TV.

It’s unclear how or why US law enforcement officials got involved, but more than a year after the alleged incident, prosecutors pushed forward with a charge that carries a maximum sentence of one year behind bars.

Folks have been told time and again – in the face of a groundswell of legalization and decriminalization – that minor busts like this were over. Folks in states with updated laws would not be affected by out-of-date laws. We have been promised at a minimum the Feds would back off from the travesty of using the so-called War on Drugs to destroy the lives of the young and innocent.

Someone in Washington must have noticed that Native Americans may as well be Black or Hispanic in the eyes of law as practiced in America.

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Pentagon testing Toyota, Ford, trucks for warfare


Pentagon will figure out how to make these cost $300K

No other country in the world spends $600 billion on its military. The Pentagon, giant hub of the most advanced and most expensive war-fighting apparatus ever known, spends a lot of money on new, advanced, and expensive vehicles, from stealth fighters to stealth bombers to bomb-resistant troop carriers to aircraft carriers. Yet what if there was a versatile, flexible weapon of war, used the world over, that combines discretion with horsepower?

Technically, there is, and U.S. Special Operations Command is about to test them out.

SOCOM is ordering Toyota and Ford SUVs and trucks, with options to improve their armor and add-on other features that turn the civilian vehicles into covert military machines. Known collectively as “technicals,” civilian vehicles converted for war use are so common there’s even a Twitter account documenting them under the name “Toyota Wars.”

SOCOM’s current deal is with Ohio’s Battelle Memorial Institute to modify up to “556 vehicles — 396 armored and 160 unarmored” over five years, according to Military Aerospace, for a total payout of up to $170 million. At roughly $300,000 apiece, that makes the vehicles about half the cost of the heavy, IED-resistant MRAP troop carriers sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike MRAPs, however, converted trucks have one modest edge: until the shooting starts, they don’t stand out as explicitly military vehicles, which is an advantage special operations forces are likely to use to their advantage.

Leave it to the GOUSA to figure out how to make something terrorists build for peanuts cost more than middle class housing. Small nations – and not-so-small nations roll these things out for less than six figure$ all the time.

But, Uncle Sugar has to come up with designs that suit the number one priority of our military-industrial complex: Big Profits!

Jordan’s Desert Iris – In production for a decade-and-a-half

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Scientists have had it with the Federal Coal Program


AP/Matthew Brown

Enough, already.

That’s what 67 prominent scientists are telling Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, whose department is conducting a review of the U.S. program to lease federal lands for coal mining.

“The science is clear: to satisfy our commitment under the Paris Agreement to hold global temperature increase well below 2°C, the United States must keep the vast majority of its coal in the ground,” the scientists, including Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, and James Hansen from Columbia University’s The Earth Institute, wrote in a letter delivered to Jewell on Tuesday. “We urge you to end federal coal leasing, extraction and burning in order to advance U.S. climate objectives and protect public health, welfare and biodiversity.”

More than 40 percent of coal produced in the United States comes from federal lands, under a leasing program that has not been reviewed in more than 30 years.

President Obama announced the review during his State of the Union address in January, and the White House issued a report last month detailing how the American taxpayer is being short-changed by the leasing program. While coal mined on federal lands brings in millions of dollars in revenue, it is far cheaper than coal mined on private land.

But even if the government increased the terms of the leasing program — at present, taxpayers are supposed to get 12.5 percent royalty on federal coal, but audits have shown the real rate is much lower — the price would likely still not account for the environmental and climate impacts of coal mining…

Once again, taxpayers are subsidizing the most reactionary sector of American capitalism. We’re paying these pigs a profit while they continue to destroy the world’s environment.

“If they do give a full and honest look at how the federal coal program is impacting our climate — and with associated harms to public health and biodiversity — then they would have no choice but to permanently end coal leasing on public lands,” Shaye Wolf, climate science director for the Center for Biological Diversity, told ThinkProgress…

By and large, scientists agree that the vast majority of the remaining fossil fuel resources in the world must be left unburned if humankind is going to avoid raising the global temperature and causing catastrophic climate disruption.

Coal mining is certainly incompatible with maintaining a livable climate,” Wolf said.

Coal producers know what their profits do to the environment, to peoples’ lives. Anyone see the Koch Bros living downwind from one of their coal storage yards or coal-powered power generation plants?

Not a chance.

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Utah law lets authorities take down drones at wildfires


Click to enlarge

Utah’s governor has signed into law a measure that makes the state the first to let authorities jam drone signals and crash the devices specifically for flying too close to wildfires.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s office announced Monday that he signed the law over the weekend, just days after lawmakers met in a special session to pass it and a handful of other bills.

State Sen. Evan Vickers, who co-sponsored the law, says it technically allows firefighters and law enforcement to shoot down drones, but they probably won’t do that because it’s too difficult. Instead, authorities are expected to use technology that jams signals and crashes drones.

Utah passed the law after a drone recently was sighted five times over one wildfire, causing firefighters to ground their aircraft and slow their work.

But, but, but…some idjit was seriously getting some dynamite images and video for his YouTube account. Might’ve gone viral and got him a real job.

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