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September 2007
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As the silly season of Presidential campaigning kicks off in high gear, it was good to have Lewis Black remind me of how it works (yes, it was an old rerun of his comedy special, but it still connected).

You see, in our two-party system, the Democrats are the party of no ideas and the […]

The ballad of Ramos and Compean

Alex Koppelman has a pretty good piece in Salon detailing: How the anti-immigration right — and Lou Dobbs — turned two rogue Border Patrol agents into heroes and got Congress on their side. The Ramos/Compean saga has always been primarily an immigration tabloid story — a bent tool for drumming up outrage. Where it has […]

Daddy’s home

Thanks to Tom for sending me this extraordinary piece…
From the SFGate: Law enforcement team raids projects to net alleged drug dealers by John Koopman (a reporter who is embedded with the police)
Now I’m not sure about Koopman — he’s either an opportunistic hack with a flair for over-the-top clichÚd imagery, or he’s a brilliantly subtle writer who is pleasing his ride-along companions while exposing them as buffoons simultaneously. Because anybody with a brain reading this puff piece about a drug sting has got to come away convinced by its utter futility and stupidity.

The sun peeks over the hill at Candlestick Point to the east, casting Ingleside in a warm glow.
“Somebody’s going to jail today,” predicts Lt. Ernie Ferrando, head of the Gang Task Force.

Yeah. The whole article is like that.

Violence has spiked recently in the Ingleside area. The Police Department wants to send a message, and it will be delivered by cops with guns and battering rams.

Because nothing sends a message about spiking violence than adding more violence. But of course, this is different. This is violence that will make the other violence stop. Why?

“I suppose it’s a little like being a dad,” Ferrando says. “The kids have been bad. It’s time for Dad to step in and settle things down.”

I’m sure that’s how the drug dealers see it.
Go ahead and read the whole thing. It’s a marvel of writing — the use of the word “thwack” for the battering ram. And breathless moments like this one:

But what, or who, is inside? The first cop in will find out, one way or another.
The cops rush in, one right behind the other, like a big blue clump.

So how did this violent confrontation end? Did they get all the bad guys?

The cops are coming out of the two apartments. At one unit, the person named in the warrant is not home. The police find nothing inside. No guns. No drugs. They do find gang graffiti, though. Some of it links a young man the cops know to a local gang. With the city attorney’s office turning more and more to civil injunctions to help break up gangs, this is considered a good haul for the morning. […]
At the home with the now-broken door, three people are led out in handcuffs. They sit on the front stoop while the officers search the house. No guns are found, but the cops do find a small amount of drugs.

Did the thwack of the battering ram make the streets safer? Will the clump of blue find another door to attack? Tune in next week to the long-running soap opera: The Dumb and the Clueless.