Saturday, January 17, 2015

Last Call For Losing By Forfeit

Civil forfeiture seizures by greedy cops and cash-strapped municipalities was a win-win situation for the both of them. Cities and counties, beaten into submission where ever raising taxes on taxpayers meant being crushed by the national Tea Party machine, needed the money from the poor and those without political power to defend themselves.  Police, corrupt and increasingly in want of new military gear to terrorize civilians, needed the excuse to treat citizens as the enemy in order to justify using weapons of war on domestic soil.  They were both very happy.

Until Eric Holder came along and pulled the rug out from under them.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.

Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.

Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing.

The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. The program allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.

“With this new policy, effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons,” Holder said in a statement.

Of course cash and property seizures are by no means over with.  It just means more states will turn to state laws in order to conduct pillaging and piracy from citizens...but those may run afoul of the courts.  The federal setup made it simple and easy to take property from people for any reason.

But that's over with.

Hey cops?  Treat us like the enemy, and guess what?  We take away your toys.


Sins Of The Father

Reason number one why Rand Paul has no conceivable shot at winning the White House in 2016: his dad is a complete lunatic.

An institute named for the father of possible presidential candidate Rand Paul has published a piece saying the Charlie Hebdo massacre, like 9/11, was a false flag operation. The claim comes in piece titled, "Charlie Hebdo Shootings: False Flag?," put online today at the Ron Paul Institute. 
"The Charlie Hebdo affair has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation. The attack on the cartoonists’ office was a disciplined professional attack of the kind associated with highly trained special forces; yet the suspects who were later corralled and killed seemed bumbling and unprofessional. It is like two different sets of people," reads the first paragraph of the piece.

Yes, that's a Weekly Standard link, but if even those guys are calling out Rand publicly for this, it's because out of all the Clown Car '16 squad, the neocons hate Rand Paul the most.  It's not going to take long for Ron Paul's peanut gallery to completely ruin Rand's shot at the White House, and the best part is they think they are helping him.

I really hope that somewhere whichever Democrat goes after Rand's Senate seat next year is paying attention, because should Rand dump his White House bid and work on keeping it, the same opposition playbook should be used.  Ron Paul is 10 pounds of batshit crazy in a 5 pound bag, and unlike 2010, Rand's not going to be able to dodge his father's shadow.

A New Way To Clock Pitches

Here's your weekend baseball story courtesy Deadspin.  It seems Major League Baseball has been running into a lot of problem with the fact the average MLB game now lasts on average over three hours.  One way to speed things up?  The pitch clock.

An experiment to speed up the pace of games was apparently successful enough for baseball officials to bring it to the next level: some minor league stadiums at the Double-A and Triple-A levels will be outfitted with 20-second pitch clocks by the beginning of the season. 
The news was first reported by MLB Daily Rumors, and confirmed and fleshed out by Fox Sports. While specifics of where and how often the clock will be tried out have yet to be established, we know how it'll work from its use in the Arizona Fall League: pitchers have exactly 20 seconds from the moment they receive the ball to come to the set position for the next pitch. It'll be tracked by on-field scoreboards visible to pitchers and umpires, and if they fail to come set, the umpire declares an automatic ball.

So in practice, the pitch clock works.  It's cut games from three hours to around 2:15, and hopefully will become standard practice in AA and AAA games.  That's the good news.

The bad news:  it'll never happen in the majors.

MLB is taking this very seriously, using the AFL and now the minors as a proving ground for six new rules, some fairly radical, to get things moving again. In addition to the pitch clock, these experimental minor-league games will also adopt time limits on pitching changes and breaks between innings, and a rule that batters must remain inside the batter's box between pitches.

It's not clear if the other two rules tried out in the AFL—one limiting the number of mound visits a team can make, and one allowing teams to signal for intentional walks rather than having to deliver four balls—will be instituted. 
What is clear is that you won't be seeing any of these changes in MLB this season, if ever. Instituting any of these new rules would require negotiations with the MLBPA, and while the union has said all the right things about speeding up games, whether it will actually support something this drastic—and opposed by a good number of pitchers—is very much in question.

You'll hear massive crying from baseball purists that this will destroy the sport, and MLB games will continue to take three hours plus to watch, the main reason I don't really attend Reds games.  A 7:05 start time usually means you won't get out of Great American Ball Park before 10, if not later.  On a weeknight that's getting home at 11, and that's just too much for a lot of people to handle.  Knocking 45 minutes off that would cause attendance to increase, big time.

Of course, what clubs want is for people to spend three hours plus at the ball park for 82 home games, it means more concession sales the longer people are there.  It also means the city collects more parking fees, so it's not like individual teams are tripping over themselves to shorten games.

We'll see if the players' union gets on board with it.  I think it's a great idea.  I also think that that's why it'll never happen.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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