North Carolina trumps Utah over being naked on your own property

Nude-Sunbather-1
Myron Lee Kipp, right, with his lawyer, Bill Albright

A 77-year-old Utah man charged with lewdness after sunbathing nude in his backyard agreed to a plea deal Tuesday that keeps his record clean as long as he wears a swimsuit.

Myron Lee Kipp pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges in Farmington. But under the terms of the deal with prosecutors, the pleas won’t be recorded if Kipp stays covered over the next year…

Kipp has been taking in the sun in the buff for 30 years, often falling asleep in his backyard, and it wasn’t a problem until new neighbors moved in his lawyer Bill Albright, said.

Last year, police said children could see the nude Kipp from a church parking lot behind his house, which has a chain-link fence without privacy slats and is located about 20 miles north of Salt Lake City. When an officer approached him, Kipp said he could do what he wanted in his own backyard, according to court records.

He was arrested and charged with seven misdemeanor counts of lewdness, four involving a child. The case appeared headed for a trial that would have taken the jury on a trip to see the house…

Kipp wore a T-shirt with a green argyle pattern with jeans at a St. Patrick’s Day court appearance Tuesday. He nodded and answered affirmatively in response to a judge’s questions, and confirmed his plea wasn’t given under the influence by saying, “I don’t drink, smoke or anything else.”

A search of Utah court records shows only a single traffic ticket, more than a decade old, on Kipp’s record before the lewdness charges…

Judge David Connors also imposed $250 in court fees.

All that’s about as invasive ands creepy as I would expect in Utah.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, this happened:

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American Presbyterians vote to recognize same-sex marriage

The largest presbyterian group in the US has voted to recognize same-sex marriage, the latest sweeping move by the church to acknowledge it as Christian.

Presbyterian Church USA voted on Tuesday to amend its constitution to extend marriage rights from “a man and a woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman”.

A majority of the church’s 171 governing bodies ruled in favor of the change, which will affect the church’s more than 1.7 million members, including those strongly opposed to marriage equality.

Individual pastors who oppose same-sex marriages can still opt out of performing same-sex marriage ceremonies or allowing them to be held in their church.

The group’s general assembly approved the constitutional amendment in 2014, but the “two people” measure needed to be ratified before the constitution could officially be changed. On Tuesday night, 87 had voted in favor, and 41 had voted against…

In recent years, the church has adopted more inclusive policies: in 2011, it undid an anti-same-sex marriage amendment by allowing LGBT pastors in the church, and last year ministers began performing same-sex marriages in states where it is legal…

Paul Detterman, national director of the Fellowship Community, a conservative group that opposes the decision, told the New York Times he expects the decision to drive practitioners out of the church. He said, however, that the vote might also compel people to stay in order to defend their stance…

The Covenant Network of Presbyterians, which pushes for LGBT inclusion in the church, praised the amendment. “We rejoice that all couples can now see those relationships solemnized before God and the Christian community in marriage, at the discretion of ministers and sessions,” the group said in a statement.

I like the libertarian sense of the amendment. It allows those church members whose brain and heart are trapped in the Dark Ages to remain there. Of their own free will.

Part of the DOJ report on Ferguson that didn’t make the Network News

protect and serve, my ass

In the city of Ferguson, nearly everyone is a wanted criminal.

That may seem like hyperbole, but it is a literal fact. In Ferguson — a city with a population of 21,000 — 16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police. In other words, if you were to take four people at random, the Ferguson police would consider three of them fugitives.

That statistic should be truly shocking. Yet in the wake of the Department of Justice’s withering report on the city’s policing practices, it has gone almost entirely unmentioned. News reports and analysis have focused on the racism discovered in departmental emails, and the gangsterish financial “shakedown” methods deployed against African Americans. In doing so, they have missed the full picture of Ferguson’s operation, which reveals a totalizing police regime beyond any of Kafka’s ghastliest nightmares…

It turns out that nearly everyone in the city is wanted for something. Even internal police department communications found the number of arrest warrants to be “staggering”. By December of 2014, “over 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants that had been issued by the court.” The report makes clear that this refers to individual people, rather than cases – people with many cases are not being counted multiple times…

This complete penetration of policing into everyday life establishes a world of unceasing terror and violence. When everyone is a criminal by default, police are handed an extraordinary amount of discretionary power. “Discretion” may sound like an innocuous or even positive policy, but its effect is to make every single person’s freedom dependent on the mercy of individual officers. There are no more laws, there are only police

And this is precisely what occurs in Ferguson. As others have noted, the Ferguson courts appear to work as an orchestrated racket to extract money from the poor. The thousands upon thousands of warrants that are issued, according to the DOJ, are “not to protect public safety but rather to facilitate fine collection.” Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for “Manner of Walking in Roadway,” “High Grass and Weeds,” and 14 kinds of parking violation. The dystopian absurdity reaches its apotheosis in the deliciously Orwellian transgression “failure to obey.” (Obey what? Simply to obey.) In fact, even if one does obey to the letter, solutions can be found. After Henry Davis was brutally beaten by four Ferguson officers, he found himself charged with “destruction of official property” for bleeding on their uniforms.

I agree with the authors. The odds that Ferguson is the worst example of institutionalized racism in America is unlikely. The town certainly is representative of the process, though. Whether you take a close look at small town America or urban clusters like Los Angeles or Atlanta, Chicago or New York, the same racist opportunism is at play.

That carries forward to the final conclusion in this piece. Eventually, police departments consider all human beings to be nothing more than a resource for funding. We are objectified into an underclass, nothing more than lumpen targets for scorn, to be harvested like sheep. To be slaughtered like sheep.

Time to grow some horns.

MexicoLeaks launches seeking information on corruption


Blogs – We don’t need no stinking blogs

A group of Mexican media outlets and civil society groups have launched MexicoLeaks, a digital platform to receive information leaks that could lead to corruption investigations.

Representatives of the effort said…that those wanting to leak information can do so anonymously. Information and tips will be investigated and confirmed before anything is published.

The effort includes two civil society organizations and six media outlets, including Mexico’s weekly magazine Proceso, the website Animal Politico and the investigative unit of journalist Carmen Aristegui.

The launch comes at a time when the Mexican government faces scandals of alleged corruption and conflict of interest, specifically in the purchase of real estate, that have come to light through journalistic investigations. Those involved have maintained that the transactions were legal.

“Overdue” is putting it mildly.