02 February, 2011

Community Policing

After a pleasant drive along 580 in rush-hour traffic, I exited at Lakeshore to find a police car making weird movements in traffic. Stopping behind the cruiser, I noticed the officer seemed to be talking on a cell phone while driving. Now, back in the days of the Wild West, I used to talk on my cell phone in one hand, and drive with the other. Now, it is illegal in the Sunshine State.

So, where am I going with this post? I mean, really! I haven't posted since before snow was a novel thought to our fellow citizens to the East. I have the ridiculous expectation that police officers follow the law, and do their job. Wow! That was very inflammatory!

Ok, I should explain because this is a very radical thought. This officer is breaking the law. I know. You might think the law is stupid, but they should at least follow the law when they are working! Is it really that hard to set an example? Was that Ron Dellums on the line? Even I'd take that call so I could trace it and find out where he's been hiding! Maybe it was Anthony Batts with a good tip on résumé writing.

Here is my other point; this officer is not policing. If the officer is on the phone and driving, attention cannot be sufficiently paid to surroundings. That's why police drive around. To pay attention and be visible. If they are talking on the phone and driving, what are the chances they'll notice someone in need of help or a crime being committed?

Ok, I get it. If a team of bank-robbers crashed through the intersection in the Wienermobile, guns blazing, with a kidnapped giraffe on the roof, it might be noticed. However, policing is about nuances more than it is about responding to the big events. Maybe it's time the officers in Oakland beat the streets more with their feet, than 1.7 tons of steel and glass. Try to develop relationships with the community instead of swoop in with eight cylinders of fury and clouds of acrid, screaming rubber.

I like cops in the community. I like seeing them in public; with the public. I also like it when they act as police officers; not above the law, but working with the community for the interests of the community.

24 July, 2010

Citizens United - How to Handle a Pernicious Ruling

For those of you who aren't familiar, a quick synopsis:

On January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The 5-justice majority, over a stirring dissent by Justice John Paul Stevens, used the case to overturn two prior court decisions that limited the role of corporate money in politics and to issue a sweeping new rule: For-profit corporations have a constitutional right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence federal and state elections. Litigation Group attorney Scott Nelson was co-counsel for the key congressional sponsors of the McCain-Feingold law, who filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court.
The decision is likely to be enormously harmful. Corporations already dominate our political process-through political action committees, fundraisers, high-paid lobbyists, personal contributions by corporate insiders, and more. On the dominant issues of the day-climate change, health care, financial regulation-corporate interests are leveraging their political investments to sidetrack vital measures to protect the planet and its people. Citizens United offers them new tools to influence and intimidate lawmakers.

So where does that leave us?  We are going to see a lot more corporate money in politics.  If they choose to, they can completely overwhelm the process - it will mostly be done through front groups like the Chamber or Commerce.  It's going to have a huge chilling effect on people in office as well as the people who may choose to go into politics.

Corporations don't eat or breathe and they live forever.  That means they don't care about clean food or air, and they don't care about the risk of death.  Bottom line, except for their mandate to maximize shareholder profits, they don't care.   About anything.  They should not be put on equal footing, legislatively, to "natural" people.

The only way to undo this is to overturn it.  It can be done through another court ruling or through a constitutional amendment.  It will be a difficult slog, but it's the right thing to do.  We cannot afford in this country to have elected officials afraid to stand up for their constituents.  Get educated on this decision, get educated on our options, take action before it's too late for humans to maintain our democracy - by, for, and of the people.  Human people.

02 June, 2009

Incorporate California Today!

California needs to become a corporation, fast!  I think it may be the only way to save the State.  Think about it.  If we incorporated, we could be the largest employer in the United States.  Of course, all businesses chartered in the State would become subsidiaries of California Inc.

Why the hell would I suggest this radical course of action?  Bailout money.  California, as a corporation, would be too big to fail and the Federal Government would print money faster than Limbaugh can deliver the smackdown to a dissenting Republicant.

Think of the press conferences!  Geithner and Obama telling us how important we are to the Nation.  Media outlets burning through hours of programming talking about all the superficial and unimportant details of the "painful" reorganization.  Our former State representatives jockeying for a prime spot in the new management team.  

Of course, our CEO would have to be let go as a sacrifice to the pissed off taxpayers.  I wouldn't feel too bad.  If Gray Davis was kicked to the curb over the VLF, Schwarzenegger should have seen this coming from a mile away.

Argh, I can't keep this up.  It's too depressing.


30 May, 2009

Darwin's Taxi - The Evolution of Dry Earth Community Transit

Designs and work photos of the 2009 Mutant Vehicle, "Darwin's Taxi - The Evolution of Dry Earth Community Transit". It's taking shape. The frame is very solid and safe. We are all very excited to get to the "art" part of making and Art Car soon.

For questions or comments, please call T.R. Lingly @ (TBD).

05 April, 2009

Election Integrity - Best Vision I've Seen Yet

By James Strait via Mark Crispin Miller.

Machines, software, and all esoteric voting methods and procedures are forever incompatible with transparency of process. Transparency being defined as a process where the average literate voting citizen may be randomly culled from the population and then be able to perform any function within the elections process.

That is my standard…and it is a hard sell because it is simple. Modern people have come to believe that sophisticated equals complex and shiny, when in reality elegant processes are always a function of accomplishing specified work with the fewest actions.

Jim James Strait


As a consultant who does process redesign for a living, I couldn't agree more.