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I can’t get it out of my head

ELO:

What would you do with YOUR 12K?

According to a recent Brown University study, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their ripple effects have cost the United States $3.7 trillion, or more than $12,000 per American.

Philly, listen up

The unChristians of the Westboro Baptist Church plan to demonstrate at tomorrow’s funeral for Michael Strange, the Philadelphia Navy Seal who was killed last week. This kid grew up only a few minutes from my house, and it really galls me that they’re coming here.

So if you’re around, please take part in building a human wall around the family:

A few days ago, Michael Strange, a cryptologic technician and Navy SEAL, was killed when his Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade. It was the single deadliest day for U.S. forces in the nearly 10-year war in Afghanistan. Thirty Americans, including Navy SEAL commandos from the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, were killed, and 8 Afghans. Michael Strange was 25, engaged to be married, and due to come home in November.

Thursday is his funeral, and there are plans to disrupt it. Yes, the Westboro Baptist “Church” is planning to picket. The “Church” (read quote marks as my disrespect) is unnaturally obsessed with homosexuality. Their signs, tiresome, repetitive and unwelcome, read: God Hates Fags. Their flyer refers to Petty Officer Strange as a “fallen fool”. And it ends with the words: Thank God for IEDs. That’s improvised explosive device. That’s what killed him.

Bill Brown, of Veterans for Education is a progressive. He reads Blue Jersey. So when I saw his call for fellow vets – Bill was a Navy SEAL, too – to join him at Strange’s funeral tomorrow, I reached out. He wants to cordon off Strange’s mourners from the sight of the God Hates Fags people, to create a zone of privacy and respect for the family of a fallen brother in arms. Veterans and non-veterans are invited. Personal politics doesn’t matter.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules Westboro has a legal right to do this. But where funerals are concerned, particularly for soldiers, communities have surrounded the grieving family to keep around them the zone of dignity they deserve. We’ve written about that in Moorestown, here and here, and in Cherry Hill.

Where: Cathedral of St. Peter & Paul, 1723 Race Street, Philadelphia.
Google map here.
When: Thursday 2:15pm (funeral is 3pm).

Look for: Bill Brown – wearing brown wool Irish cap and wearing a green Battle Dress Uniform top marked BROWN. He’ll be holding a flag.

Bring: An American flag, if you can.

What to do: Just stand and be respectful of the family’s privacy, create a buffer zone of respect. Show the dignity the “church” will not.

Funny

Anne Hathaway with a rap song she wrote about being hounded by paparazzi:

The Ward Cleaver presidency

What Digby said.

Organize Now!

A group of Florida progressives are trying to raise money for a new computer. If you can contribute, please help:

This minute long video took about a week to edit on Casey’s current computer. A new computer will make a world of difference for Organize Now’s multi-media future. We regularly record town halls, actions, meetings and events but we rarely have the ability to do anything with it because we don’t have a proper machine to edit video on. Please consider donating today and please share this page. You can see all of our videos and subscribe here. Remember, without you, none of this is possible.

Bill Moyers

An interview with David Simon, the man behind The Wire and Treme.

Bill Moyers: It’s also clear from your work that you think the drug war has destroyed the police.

David Simon: That’s the saddest thing in a way, again, because the stats mean nothing. Because a drug arrest in Baltimore means nothing. Real police work isn’t being done. In my city, the arrest rates for all major felonies have declined, precipitously, over the last twenty years. From murder to rape to robbery to assault.

Because to solve those crimes requires retroactive investigation. They have to be able to do a lot of things, in terms of gathering evidence, that are substantive and meaningful police work.

All you have to do to make a drug arrest is go in a guy’s pocket. You don’t even need probable cause anymore in Baltimore. The guy who solves a rape or a robbery or a murder, he has one arrest stat. He’s going to court one day. The guy who has forty, fifty, sixty drug arrests, even though they’re meaningless arrests, even though there’s no place to put them in the Maryland prison system, he’s going to go to court forty, fifty, sixty times. Ultimately, when it comes time to promote somebody, they look at the police computer. They’ll look and they’ll say, “This guy made forty arrests last month. You only made one. He’s the sergeant” or “That’s the lieutenant.” The guys who basically play the stat game, they get promoted.
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Covering up for Wall Street

Matt Taibbi on how the SEC covered up criminal acts on Wall St.:

Imagine a world in which a man who is repeatedly investigated for a string of serious crimes, but never prosecuted, has his slate wiped clean every time the cops fail to make a case. No more Lifetime channel specials where the murderer is unveiled after police stumble upon past intrigues in some old file – “Hey, chief, didja know this guy had two wives die falling down the stairs?” No more burglary sprees cracked when some sharp cop sees the same name pop up in one too many witness statements. This is a different world, one far friendlier to lawbreakers, where even the suspicion of wrongdoing gets wiped from the record.

That, it now appears, is exactly how the Securities and Exchange Commission has been treating the Wall Street criminals who cratered the global economy a few years back. For the past two decades, according to a whistle-blower at the SEC who recently came forward to Congress, the agency has been systematically destroying records of its preliminary investigations once they are closed. By whitewashing the files of some of the nation’s worst financial criminals, the SEC has kept an entire generation of federal investigators in the dark about past inquiries into insider trading, fraud and market manipulation against companies like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and AIG. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the evidence gathered during thousands of investigations – “18,000 … including Madoff,” as one high-ranking SEC official put it during a panicked meeting about the destruction – have apparently disappeared forever into the wormhole of history.
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Punching hippies

As I once famously pointed out, if you want hippies to vote for you, stop punching hippies!

How it’s done

Frank Luntz explains it all to Stephen Colbert:

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