Monthly Archive for August, 2008

In Soviet Minneapolis, a thought crime lands you in jail

Reports are pouring in from the site of the 2008 Republican National Convention that protesters are being rounded up by local law enforcement raids prior to the convention. “Anarchists” are raided, handcuffed, jailed and then released without any charges being filed. If there are charges filed, they are for things like fire code violations. That, of course, is an age old Soviet tactic for shutting up dissent.

The targets of the arrests are calling the raids as blatant attempts to intimidate and stop them from protesting during the convention. This sort of crap belongs in Soviet Russia and has no place whatsoever in the US.

It’s interesting that this is exactly the same sort of stuff that landed the NYPD and New York City in hot water during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. A Supreme Court Judge fined New York City $1,000 per detainee back then. I guess the police in Minneapolis thinks they can get away with it this time.

It is also very interesting that stuff like this doesn’t seem to happen during the Democratic National Conventions. What is it about the Republicans that cause everyone involved ignore things like The Constitution? Oh, wait…never mind.



Russian opposition figureheads continue their dying

Word comes in today that Magomed Yevloev, an owner of the Ingush opposition web site, has been killed. is reporting that Yevloev was killed by a single gunshot in the head. The information is not clear on who exactly killed him, but the implication appears to be that he was killed while in custody of the local Kremlin backed gestapo. The killers dropped him at a hospital critically wounded and simply drove off. Doctors at the hospital could not save his life.

According to reports from the area, the police is claiming a police officer’s gun discharged accidentally and a bullet hit Yevloev in the head. That would most certainly be one convenient accident for the local administration. They have, after all, been trying to silence Yevloev for quite some time., and its operators, have been under constant harassment by the Russian Government in recent months. Earlier this month, the site was ordered shut down by the Russian Government. Roza Malsagova, an editor of the website, fleed Russia to France and is reported to be seeking political asylum there. She’s also facing multiple criminal charges in Russia just because she’s involved with running the website. It looks like she is the lucky one.


Tips for New York City tourists

I recently started working in Manhattan again, specifically right next to Chinatown. There are tourists everywhere. I like tourists, most of the time. Sometimes, though, they just piss me off.

Here are some useful tips for all of you New York City tourists so that newyorkers and you can co-exist in this place without unnecessary aggravation. This is a working list.

  1. If you’re traveling in a group (of more than 1 people), please do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk to gawk at things, read a map or whatever. The sidewalks are always crowded. You are creating a traffic jam by stopping in the middle. It’s annoying. Please don’t do it. If you insist on doing it, don’t be surprised if you end up being at the receiving end of some New York attitude. If you do this in the middle of the rush hour, you’re extremely likely to get bumped, yelled at or even get into an altercation.
  2. Do not stop in front of escalators or subway entrances, or at the top or bottom of the stairs leading in or out of the subway. When you do that you’re creating a bottleneck behind you. The natives are going to get upset, especially during rush hour.
  3. Practically all New York City cab drivers are insane. Be very careful when crossing the street when a cab is approaching you. Never, ever argue with a cab driver. There’s no way of knowing how the argument is gonna end, but one thing is for sure…you aren’t going to win it.


The USCIS going for the easy kill

Not just content on detaining foreign nationals indefinitely while their legal status is getting cleared up, the USCIS is getting increasingly criticized for causing the deaths of several foreign nationals in their custody due to denying chronically ill detainees medical treatment.

The New York Times tells a story of Hiu Liu Ng, who died earlier this month due to an untreated cancer. The officials in charge of his care were claiming he was faking his symptoms for months and did not take him to see a doctor despite many pleas by Mr. Ng. When he died, he had a fractured spine, could not walk or eat and the cancer had spread to his liver, bones and lungs. ICE (the “police” force of USCIS) officials meanwhile deemed him fit to be driven several hours from Rhode Island to Connecticut in shackles. He died a week later. I can’t even begin to think how painful the drive must have been for Mr. Ng.

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. After all illegal immigrants, or people suspected of being illegals, are considered to be worse than common criminals and without any real human rights. This is exactly how they get treated by USCIS and ICE, and a large portion of Americans think that’s just fine and dandy.

I know it’s far too much to hope USCIS and ICE to treat their detainees as human beings, but maybe there’s some hope for change if attitude towards suspected illegal immigrants changes from guilty until proven innocent to innocent until proven guilty. I’m not holding my breath.


It happens

I snapped the photo on the right this morning at Penn Station. One of the LCD screens had developed a White Screen of Death. It seems as though the MTA systems are running on an Oracle database and that the database application decided to have a bad hair day this morning.

The error message is interesting though. Instead of being some sort of application error or a stacktrace of the application, the error message is displaying the entire SQL statement that apparently failed to execute correctly.

I do think some security consultant somewhere is going to be quite horrified in seeing that.