Shootings

On Thursday night in Brooklyn a person was shot for no reason by the police:

Two police officers prepared to enter the pitch-black eighth-floor stairwell of a building in a Brooklyn housing project, one of them with his sidearm drawn. At the same time, a man and his girlfriend, frustrated by a long wait for an elevator, entered the seventh-floor stairwell, 14 steps below. In the darkness, a shot rang out from the officer’s gun, and the 28-year-old man below was struck in the chest and, soon after, fell dead.

The shooting, at 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, invited immediate comparison to the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo. But 12 hours later, just after noon on Friday, the New York police commissioner, William J. Bratton, announced that the shooting was accidental and that the victim, Akai Gurley, had done nothing to provoke a confrontation with the officers.

Yesterday in Cleveland a 12 year old was shot by police because he was in possession of a pellet gun:

The shooting came after a man at the park adjacent to the rec center called police when he saw “a guy with a gun pointing it at people.

The caller twice said the gun was “probably fake” and told dispatchers the person pulling the gun from his waistband was “probably a juvenile,” according to audio released by police officials late Saturday.

The rookie officer saw the boy at a park bench pick up what looked like a gun and placed it in his waistband, Follmer said.

The officer ordered the boy to put his hands in the air. Instead, police said, the boy reached for his gun. Deputy Chief Edward Tomba said the boy made no verbal threats to the officer and there was no physical confrontation.

For comparison, here’s some information from a survey of Police Officers in England and Wales:

An overwhelming majority of 82 per cent stated that they do not want all officers to be routinely armed on duty. This is particularly significant given that there has been almost no change in police officers’ opinions since we conducted the previous surveys in 2003 and 1995, and this despite the massive rise in gun related crime.

They do want more officers specially trained to use guns, but then there’s this:

When asked if a decision was made to train and arm all police officers while on duty, 70 per cent of officers would be prepared to do so. However, out of the 6,516 (13.8 per cent) respondents who stated that they would never carry a firearm on duty, a staggering 56 per cent claimed they would resign from the force rather than accept an order to carry a firearm.

Oh and for fun, if you search for Cleveland toy gun you get ads for places like this.

Benghazi!!!!!!

A bit over two years ago, Republicans started complaining about all the terrible things President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had done to cover up their mistakes in Benghazi. The Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has now finished their report:

A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, and no missed opportunity for a military rescue.

It also found no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then US ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest.

But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

Wow, that sounds pretty definitive but hey, there’s still another House committee looking at this and they’re not going to assume anything:

Select Committee on Benghazi Communications Director Jamal D. Ware issued the following statement on the declassification of the House Intelligence Committee’s Benghazi Report:

“The Select Committee on Benghazi received the Intelligence Committee’s report on the Benghazi terrorist attack months ago, and has reviewed it along with other Committee reports and materials as the investigation proceeds. It will aid the Select Committee’s comprehensive investigation to determine the full facts of what happened in Benghazi, Libya before, during and after the attack and contribute toward our final, definitive accounting of the attack on behalf of Congress.”

Benghazi forever!!!!

 

Winter

Officially winter is a month away, but I think it’s safe to say that winter has come to Buffalo

The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 6 feet in places.

The town of West Seneca recorded 45 inches by late morning and Alden, to the east, had 48 inches. But typical of lake-effect snow, areas just a few miles away, including downtown and north Buffalo, had just a couple of inches.

That means we will start to hear jokes about global warming. This is funny because August, September, and October were the warmest on record , the 6 months from April to September were the warmest on record, and the year is on track to be the warmest. And real scientists say that this doesn’t prove anything by itself:

“When you look at all the red in that map, there is no doubt that April through September was unusually warm in most of the world, but it’s the decadal trend that is more significant,” said Gavin Schmidt, GISS director. “Earth has experienced rapid warming in the last few decades, and the most recent decade was the warmest of all. What has happened so far in 2014 extends this ongoing trend. But in the context of climate change, it does not make sense to try to derive much meaning from a single month—or, for that matter, even a single year.”

You can see that trend in this video

That’s not a good sign

Elizabeth Warren has been appointed to a new position:

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday was handed a specially created slot in the Senate Democratic leadership, further elevating her profile as the party’s liaison to liberal groups.

The article wonders if this could be a problem:

But it also could pose complications for the Massachusetts politician who positioned herself as a populist outsider and now must try to thrive in partnership with the party establishment. Under the arrangement, Warren, one of Wall Street’s severest critics, will work alongside New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who often collaborates with financial institutions.

So far that doesn’t seem to be a problem:

A Warren aide said Friday the senator will not support Antonio Weiss, a Harvard-educated Wall Street investment banker the president nominated earlier this week for Treasury undersecretary of domestic finance.

To me, this move tells all of the liberals, like me, what we’ve known for a long time: liberals aren’t considered a real part of the Democratic Party. Otherwise why would there need to be a liaison?

I protest the killing of comets

While I am in one of my classes, the lander from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will harpoon and land on  the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM):

pia18867-main_nov9-15765234852_c16c4097a5_o

If you’re not in class, you can watch the landing live here (well, you can hear talking about it) or you can check out the xkcd comic which updates with the time until landing. This mission was launched on March 2, 2004, so there’s a bit of anxiety as we await word to see if lands successfully.

Update: And it has landed on the comet. Score one for science.

Let’s work together to get nothing done.

So, what’s happening in the Justice Department?

President Obama announced Saturday that he would nominate U.S. Atty. Loretta Lynch to be the nation’s next attorney general

I’m sure Republicans will cooperate with this:

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is expected to become the Senate majority leader next year, did not indicate whether Lynch would be acceptable to his party. But he said the confirmation should be voted on by the new Senate.

“Ms. Lynch will receive fair consideration by the Senate,” McConnell said. “And her nomination should be considered in the new Congress.”

That would be shorthand for McConnell saying they’re going to filibuster so she won’t be confirmed this year and it’s quite likely that she won’t be confirmed next year either. And if President Obama wants it to go forward this year, I guarantee that Republicans and many a newspaper will decry him for not working with the Congress.

Back to Iraq

So, Republicans will be in control of the House and Senate. I hope President Obama will not bend too much towards them. Ah well, I guess he will:

A senior military official says that American military advisory teams will now go to Iraq’s western Anbar province where Islamic State militants have been gaining ground and slaying men, women and children.

The teams are part of President Barack Obama’s new directive to expand the U.S. mission in Iraq by deploying another 1,500 U.S. troops to serve as advisers, trainers and security personnel.

Ok, at least the ACA has passed its Supreme Court challenge. Nope:

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law that threatens subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their health insurance premiums.

The justices said they will review a unanimous federal appeals court ruling that upheld Internal Revenue Service regulations that allow health-insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act for consumers in all 50 states. Opponents argue that most of the subsidies are illegal.

And the new Republicans won’t show up until next January, I can hardly wait.

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