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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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NYC asks federal court to approve mass arrests of protesters


With our nation in crisis regarding the epidemic of police killings of innocent unarmed citizens, most of whom are young black males, including Michael Brown, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, to mention a few, the NYPD police union president Patrick Lynch pushed back hard on Saturday against people who protest against the killings. In classic right wing nonsequitur fashion, he blamed the predominantly peaceful protesters, Mayor De Blasio and President Obama for the ambush murders of two NYPD officers sitting in a parked patrol vehicle in Brooklyn on Saturday afternoon. Never mind that the killer was not involved in any of the protests and apparently decided to bag two cops after shooting his ex-girlfriend in the abdomen. Terrell Jermaine Starr of Alternet reports,

It was just hours after officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot and killed by a lone gunman, when further inflamed tensions between the police and the minority community during a shockingly divisive and incendiary speech to the media. “There’s blood on many hands tonight,” Lynch said. “Those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did everyday. We tried to warn, ‘It must not go on. It cannot be tolerated.’ That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall in the office of the mayor [Bill de Blasio]. When these funerals are over, those responsible will be called on the carpet and held accountable.”

Fortunately, some cooler heads are attempting today to pull back from the abyss. However, the NYPD continues to rattle the saber as the NYC Law Department will be attempting to persuade the Second Circuit Court of Appeals sitting en banc to reverse an earlier decision by a three judge panel that held the NYPD had violated Occupy Wall Street protester’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly and their Fourth Amendment rights to privacy by making mass arrests without individualized probable cause.

The City is arguing in its legal brief that the three judge panel’s “decision will frustrate, not further, the work of police attempting to facilitate peaceful demonstrations while ensuring both the safety of demonstrators and those among whom demonstrations are staged.” This argument is ridiculous because the Fourth Amendment specifically states that police cannot arrest a person without probable cause to believe he or she committed a crime. Police are also prohibited from entrapping law abiding citizens into committing crimes they did not intend to commit. In this case, officers from the NYPD entrapped Occupy Wall Street protesters by leading and escorting them onto the Brooklyn Bridge only to arrest them en masse for violating an order not to go on the bridge that no one heard.

Steven Rosenfeld of Alternet reports,

“This is the most significant and most defining legal case on protesters’ rights in the last 40 years, since the mass arrests of May Day 1970,” said Carl Messineo, Partnership for Civil Justice Fund legal director, which represented the protesters. “Mayor de Blasio seeks the authority to arrest today’s protesters in the same manner Mayor Bloomberg falsely arrested Occupy Wall Street protesters by the hundreds.”

Seeking to legitimize a practice of widespread false arrests by entrapping protesters is an egregious Fourth Amendment violation that deserves condemnation. This is no way to calm troubled waters. Instead it’s yet another reason, as if we needed one, to increase the protests.

Splish, splash

So I was playing with a "new" strobe setup I got, this unit has variable power and when I turn it down to 1/16 the flash is very quick, probably on the order of 1/10,000 sec or so.

This is the result of setting up a drip of water into a bowl and a foam cup full of water and freezing the splashes with my new flash, kind of a combination macro and stop motion photography.I didn't have any kind of motion trigger so I just timed the shutter presses as best I could, only about ten percent of my pictures had something interesting in them but those were worth the effort.

Canon 350D ISO100 18-55 kit lens at 55mm and f16.

An interesting little con I just found.. "Freeware" that loads your computer up with malware

A software that used to be very useful and that I've used myself has now become a deceptive installer of malware.

If you are accustomed to using a particular software you may not notice that changes can sometimes be for the worse or the much worse.

Click on the blue "See all reviews" link to read a ton of negative comments like these typical ones. I'm glad I looked before I leaped.



None, anymore.


Used to be great, now it's another dishonest product from greedy dishonest people which will install TONS of malicious crap on your computer, slow down your browser, and who knows what else?




Does what it always did. Super fast conversion of video files. A gazillion options as always. Every possible parameter can be changed.


Addware in massive amounts during installation. Just click CANCEL / QUIT to the gree installer button. The SUPER will install anyway, no matter what you are told.

Notice that the software adds metadata in your video that is hard to remove. You can not control this. Will display "Created with SUPER".

So very very obtrusive software, to the extend that makes it almost useless.


There are other players out there which behave as they should. AviDemux etc. Can do same conversion. Some of them even by command line.

This software was put on a pedistal for too long. It has sold it's soul to the devil. Should be avoided as I see it. Find a portable / old version.


If you are a complete noob who has to ask others to "fix" your computer now and then, this is just about the worst thing you can install.

Reply to this review

Video shows John Crawford's girlfriend aggressively questioned after Ohio police shot him dead


Police aggressively questioned the tearful girlfriend of a young black man they had just shot dead as he held a BB gun in an Ohio supermarket – accusing her of lying, threatening her with jail, and suggesting her boyfriend had planned to shoot the mother of his children.

Tasha Thomas was reduced to swearing on the lives of her relatives that John Crawford III had not been carrying a firearm when they entered the Walmart in Beavercreek, near Dayton, to buy crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars on the evening of 5 August.

“You lie to me and you might be on your way to jail,” detective Rodney Curd told Thomas, as she wept and repeatedly offered to take a lie-detector test. After more than an hour and a half of questioning and statement-taking, Curd finally told Thomas that Crawford, 22, had died.

“As a result of his actions, he is gone,” said the detective, as she slumped in her chair and cried.

Video and more reporting at the link.

A hawk at the flea market

Two or three of us go to the flea market most Saturdays when the weather is good and it was outstanding today. The flea market is held in the parking lot of what was originally a Walmart but has been an antiques mall type place for a long time now. While I was walking around I noticed this young hawk sitting in a pecan tree about twenty feet from the crowd and commotion and about twenty feet up, he or she was surveying the scene regally as hawks are wont to do and didn't seem disturbed by the crowd at all. I had my camera in my pocket and whipped it out for these shots.

Lumix ZX15 1/200 at F5.6 and ISO100, five megapixel mode.

Bloomberg: Ferguson to Increase Police Ticketing to Close City’s Budget Gap


Ferguson, Missouri, which is recovering from riots following the August shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman, plans to close a budget gap by boosting revenue from public-safety fines and tapping reserves.

The strategy by the St. Louis suburb, which suffered a second round of violent protests last month after a grand jury refused to indict the police officer, may risk worsening community relations with increased citations and weakening its credit standing by reducing a rainy-day fund.

To close a projected deficit for fiscal 2014, which ended June 30, the municipality will deplete a $10 million capital-projects reserve, Jeffrey Blume, Ferguson’s finance director, said in a telephone interview. For the current year, the city is budgeting for higher receipts from police-issued tickets.


Revenue from violations, which already represents the city’s second-largest source of cash after sales taxes, will rise to 15.7 percent of receipts in fiscal 2015, from a projected 11.8 percent this year, he said. In 2013, fines brought in $2.2 million, or 11.8 percent of the city’s $18.62 million in annual revenue, according to budget documents.


Some free Photoshop plugins I find useful

I use a couple of the plugins here quite often, Local Contrast Enhancement gives a nice sharpening and overall detail enhancement effect while avoiding some of the problematic artifacts associated with the usual sharpening algorithms such as Unsharp Masking. I've also employed the High Pass Sharpening plugin and the Selective Saturation plugin to good effect. I'm using a truly ancient version of Paintshop Pro and these plugins work fine with that, I suspect they will work with almost any image manipulation program that will accept Photoshop .8bf plugins.



Maddie & Tae - Girl In A Country Song

If you're tired of a certain type of bro-country song this is the antidote.


Morning Moon 12-11-2014

It was really clear here at five am and since I was up and about I decided to shoot the Moon again.

Lumix ZS15 pocket zoom + cheapo tripod, 170 exposures at 1/500 f6.3 ISO100 3 megapixel mode aligned, stacked and enhanced in Registax 6.

My flabber is absolutely gasted at how good the lens is on this camera, the thing is about the diameter of a nickle and the camera is the size of a pack of cigarettes.

Stiglitz: China now has the largest economy in the world


When the history of 2014 is written, it will take note of a large fact that has received little attention: 2014 was the last year in which the United States could claim to be the world’s largest economic power. China enters 2015 in the top position, where it will likely remain for a very long time, if not forever. In doing so, it returns to the position it held through most of human history.

Comparing the gross domestic product of different economies is very difficult. Technical committees come up with estimates, based on the best judgments possible, of what are called “purchasing-power parities,” which enable the comparison of incomes in various countries. These shouldn’t be taken as precise numbers, but they do provide a good basis for assessing the relative size of different economies. Early in 2014, the body that conducts these international assessments—the World Bank’s International Comparison Program—came out with new numbers. (The complexity of the task is such that there have been only three reports in 20 years.) The latest assessment, released last spring, was more contentious and, in some ways, more momentous than those in previous years. It was more contentious precisely because it was more momentous: the new numbers showed that China would become the world’s largest economy far sooner than anyone had expected—it was on track to do so before the end of 2014.

The source of contention would surprise many Americans, and it says a lot about the differences between China and the U.S.—and about the dangers of projecting onto the Chinese some of our own attitudes. Americans want very much to be No. 1—we enjoy having that status. In contrast, China is not so eager. According to some reports, the Chinese participants even threatened to walk out of the technical discussions. For one thing, China did not want to stick its head above the parapet—being No. 1 comes with a cost. It means paying more to support international bodies such as the United Nations. It could bring pressure to take an enlightened leadership role on issues such as climate change. It might very well prompt ordinary Chinese to wonder if more of the country’s wealth should be spent on them. (The news about China’s change in status was in fact blacked out at home.) There was one more concern, and it was a big one: China understands full well America’s psychological preoccupation with being No. 1—and was deeply worried about what our reaction would be when we no longer were.

Of course, in many ways—for instance, in terms of exports and household savings—China long ago surpassed the United States. With savings and investment making up close to 50 percent of G.D.P., the Chinese worry about having too much savings, just as Americans worry about having too little. In other areas, such as manufacturing, the Chinese overtook the U.S. only within the past several years. They still trail America when it comes to the number of patents awarded, but they are closing the gap.

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