More Roca Labs hilarity.
It gets funnier.
More Roca Labs hilarity.
It gets funnier.
It isn’t very often that I take to this blog to praise the police. Well, when a cop does something that shows that he really does want to “protect and serve,” then I’m gonna give it up to the guy.
Gloucester, Massachusetts said “fuck this shit” to the drug war. Police Chief Leonard Campanello declared that the Gloucester Police would no longer arrest addicts who seek treatment. (source)
At a citywide forum Saturday, Campanello announced major changes in how police in this small Essex County city will handle the opioid and drug epidemic gripping Massachusetts and the rest of the country.
“We are poised to make revolutionary changes in the way we treat this disease,” he told residents at the forum.
Any addict who walks into the Gloucester Police Department with drugs and the remainder of their drug equipment – needles, pipes or other paraphernalia – and asks for help will not be criminally charged, Campanello said. Instead, they will be steered into a treatment program to help them detox and recover.
“We will assign them an ‘angel’ who will be their guide through the process,” Campanello said. “Not in hours or days, but on the spot.”
Ok, it isn’t complete legalization, but that’s beyond his power anyhow. But, to understand the significance of his actions, we must understand the drug war in simple terms.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” That “natural progress” went into overdrive when Richard Nixon declared his idiotic “War on Drugs.”
But, in reality, it is not a “War on Drugs.” It is a war on our own people. This war was waged on all of us, even those who have never so much as smoked a joint – because we all live in “occupied America,” where this War claimed constitutional and physical casualties, all for nothing.
The War on drugs cost us the Fourth Amendment, our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The judiciary, stockpiled with out of touch authoritarians, decided that a little rollback wasn’t such a bad thing – we were at war. The Fifth Amendment’s right against self incrimination and the Sixth Amendment’s right to a fair trial? But those let these druggies off the hook too much! Roll them back!
Liberty kept yielding. Logic took a back seat and police forces delighted in their new powers and toys. Our police forces turned into an occupying army. No knock raids, flash grenades in people’s living rooms, asset forfeiture laws that don’t even require a conviction, profiling, the list goes on.
And as the government took away our rights, a lot of us cheered. This didn’t hurt people with access to power. This was a “poor neighborhood problem.” The occupying army clamped down, incarceration rates skyrocketed. Schools and social programs felt the budget knife, but cops got tanks, crowd control weapons, wiretapping gear.
Meanwhile, the negative side of drugs didn’t get better. In fact, the disease of addiction got worse. With marijuana so easy to detect, and so much harder to smuggle, the market pushed back toward heroin, methamphetamine, crack, and prescription drugs. Calling for drugs to be dealt with as a public health problem was political suicide. “To protect and serve” became an anachronistic joke.
Over-aggressive policing is on every front page today, but what did we think would happen? We threw out the Constitution, turned our police into an enemy army, and we’re surprised that they have no respect for us?
Meanwhile, millions suffer from addiction and the public health effects of addictive drugs. Treatment is not a priority in the War. The war is not just unethical, but counterproductive.
We now see a wave of legalization of marijuana sweeping across America – as we should. Possession or use of this harmless (and in some cases, miraculous) plant should never be the basis for any ruined lives, much less millions ruined in the name of the War.
But what about harder drugs? I believe that they should all be legal, as a matter of personal choice, but I can’t deny that certain drugs are dangerous. Is crystal meth really something that we want to allow, with no check or balance? Because addiction is real, and those so afflicted need our help. While the drug war is reprehensible, so is abandoning those in need. But where is the political will to change?
How do we convince any police chief to give up the lucrative forfeiture funds, and the fun new Rambo gear?
Today, we didn’t need to ask. Campanello saw what his community needed, and moved to protect and serve. This isn’t a complete lift of prohibition – but as Campanello stated, it is supposed to be a “revolutionary shift” in how law enforcement looks at drug policy. Campanello even took the position that forfeiture funds shouldn’t go to buying more spy and control toys, but should go to treatment.
Campanello even is willing to buy Narcan for overdosing addicts out of his budget. Narcan is a nasal spray that can save someone who overdoses. He is lobbying for it to be available over the counter.
“The police department will pay the cost of nasal Narcan for those without insurance,” he said. “We will pay for it with money seized from drug dealers during investigations. We will save lives with the money from the pockets of those who would take them.”
Disclosure: I’m from Gloucester, but I don’t know Campanello.
“If you protest, you’re just inciting the police to shoot you, so what do you expect?”
Pretty stupid, huh?
How about, “if you don’t want people to protest, then don’t treat them in a way that they feel like they need to protest.”
Same shit with drawing Mohammed.
If you don’t like people drawing Mohammed, perhaps you shouldn’t incite them to do so by reacting so negatively about it.
Drawing Mohammed is now not only permissible but (I think) absolutely goddamned necessary. It is necessary to defy those who would stifle debate with violence.
Do I like offending Muslims? No. Not at all.
I thought, for example, that “Piss Christ” was fucking stupid. I still think it is fucking stupid. The only thing that gives “Piss Christ” any value, to me, is the fact that it inspired calls for censorship.
But, nobody ever got killed over it. Christians moved on.
If anyone ever killed someone over “Piss Christ”, I’d be peeing on crucifixes like it was an Olympic sport.
Draw Mohammed. Spread pictures of Mohammed. They’ve now made it an imperative.
Killing someone you disagree with is not “wide open and robust debate.” See We don’t shoot people for bigoted views, at CNN.
I recently wrote about the two year FBI investigation into the song Louie Louie. Read it here. The short version, some blueballed fuckhead agents and uptight feminists lost their shit at the thought that Louie Louie might be corrupting our youth.
The FBI had its theories as to what the “dirty words” were. But, they were totally wrong. Here is what the cops and the feminists thought the lyrics were:
The UK-based “virtual band” Flirt With Danger decided to release its own version of Louie Louie, not using the original lyrics, but using the lyrics that the FBI and the Junior Anti-Sex League thought the lyrics were. (source)
Gotta love that.
So who owns the copyright to those lyrics?
Inside the United States, they would be public domain. 17 U.S.C. § 105 states:
Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
17 U.S.C. § 101 defines a government work as follows:
A “work of the United States Government” is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties. (source)
I would say that the faux lyrics to Louie Louie were prepared by an FBI agent as part of his official duties. That would mean that Flirt With Danger might be flirting with some kind of danger, but not the danger of a copyright infringement suit.
Well, wait a sec though…
What if the U.S. Government wants to enforce the copyright to its “work” outside the United States? It could do that. The U.S. Government work exception only applies in the United States. See S. REP. NO. 473, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 56 (1976)). House Report No. 94-1476, p.59 (“The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad. Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government from making licenses for the use of its works abroad.”).
Therefore, the Government could assert its right to the incorrect lyrics to Louie Louie outside the USA. Flirt With Danger is a UK-based band. Do they have a problem?
Well, for starters, the FBI would have to seek to enforce its copyright against Flirt With Danger, which would be a pretty stupid public relations move. But, lets say they tried. The “US Government Works” prohibition would not be a an impediment to their infringement claims in the UK.
So now what? Lets say the FBI was that stupid.
Aha! What about authorship? Is the FBI really the “author?” Wouldn’t the “author” be the person who called the FBI and reported those to be the actual lyrics? Wouldn’t the lyrics have sprung from the dirty-mind of Mrs. Complainy-Pants?
Perhaps. But then, Mrs. Complainy-Pants would need to try and enforce her copyright in the lyrics. But, then again, you don’t have copyright until your work is in a “fixed tangible medium.”
A work is “fixed” in a tangible medium of expression when its embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration. A work consisting of sounds, images, or both, that are being transmitted, is “fixed” for purposes of this title if a fixation of the work is being made simultaneously with its transmission.
So, Mrs. Complainy-Pants only had the lyrics in her mind. The FBI agent “fixed them.” But, did he really? Did he write exactly what she said? What if the wrong lyrics didn’t come from Mrs. Complainy-Pants, but rather from some kid at her daughter’s school? Wouldn’t he be the author?
The real story is likely lost to history – as is any claim of authorship. To the extent that any claim of authorship could ever be extracted from the jumbled mess of history, I think that our friends at Flirt With Danger are in little to no danger of a copyright infringement claim.
Me gotta go….
Roy immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh, and he is precisely the kind of immigrant that fills America’s veins with much needed new blood. He embraced his First Amendment rights with alacrity, and became a prominent blogger, advocating for free expression and free thought.
And for that, some of his countrymen called for his head.
For his advocacy and for his words, he became a target. In late February, he and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, attended a book fair in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Afterward, Islamic fundamentalists attacked them with machetes, killing him and severely wounding his wife. Reportedly, police stood by and watched as the attack went on.
Michael De Dora, the director of the Center for Inquiry’s office of public policy, reacted to news of Mr. Roy’s death in a statement on the center’s website.
“Avijit was brilliant, yes, and a devoted advocate of free expression and secularism, but also just a very good person,” Mr. De Dora said. “Avijit was an inspiration to countless other freethinkers, in Bangladesh and around the world, and he was an inspiration to me.” (source)
Just today, a supposed faction of Al Quaeda claimed responsibility for the murder. (source) Strange in a few ways… for starters, did these particular savages not know that they were responsible more than two months ago? Why the delay? Oh, that fundamentalist bureaucracy.
And worse than that, I can’t imagine the depravity or lack of honor in anyone who would brag that they had any part in this cowardly attack. Mr. Roy and Ms. Bonya were (and are) the best kind of people — people who walked into danger, heads held high, for the cause of promoting freedom of thought and freedom of expression.
Mr. Roy paid the ultimate price for that. Ms. Bonya, some might argue paid even more – losing her husband and being horribly wounded in the attack.
If some goat-fucking animals want to claim responsibility for harming them, then so be it. Let the rest of us simply use the publicity stunt as an opportunity to once again raise them on our shoulders and proclaim them what they are – heroes.
And if these goat-fuckers think that claiming responsibility helps their cause, they are sorely mistaken. I have a dim view of any Abrhamic religion. But, the dimmest view I reserve for Islam. Why? Isn’t it obvious? As bad as any Jewish or Christian fundamentalist can get, it has been quite a long time since there were any serious movements within those communities that would support such a barbaric act. I’m not excusing Jewish or Christian sins here, and there have been plenty worth noting, but Islam seems to have recently given us a very special and low breed of cowardice and dishonor.
Charlie Hebdo could not possibly insult Islam as well as Muslims do on their own, in the name of their religion.
All those who attacked Roy and Bonya have accomplished is to raise their victims to hero status, while lowering themselves and bringing more dishonor to Islam than a Mohammed cartoon etched in bacon.
This is why Mike Tyson is always welcome around here. Tell it like it is, Mike.