stAllio!'s way
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 
syntax points us to, a blog set up to cover the wisconsin cat-shooting issue. lots of links there. for example, more about the wisc conservation congress:

[...]the Wisconsin Conservation Congress was established in 1934 as an avenue for public input and exchange concerning conservation issues. In 1972, the congress was authorized by State Statute (15.348) to be an official advisory body on matters that come before the Natural Resources Board.

The Conservation Congress is an independent organization of Wisconsin citizens elected by county to serve on the congress. County delegates serve on committees and work through an established process to decide which advisory questions introduced at the county level should advance to become statewide proposals the next year.

the governor of wisconsin states unequivocably that this thing isn't going to pass:

"I don't think Wisconsin should become known as a state where we shoot cats," said [Gov. Jim] Doyle, a Democrat who neither hunts nor owns a cat. "What it does is sort of hold us up as a state that everybody is kind of laughing at right now."
Doyle said he respects the Conservation Congress but "on this one I think everybody recognizes it's not going anywhere."

that's it exactly: the issue makes wisconsin into a laughing stock. for example, here's the definition of "deadnecks":

Readers from all over the nation were burning up chat rooms and message boards, flabbergasted that the idea even came to light. At the Journal, we received dozens of e-mails.

"I believe it's about time that we have an open season on 'Deadnecks,' one reader wrote. "For those not familiar with these dangerous creatures they are a carnivorous animal that feeds on anything it can shoot, hook, stab, hit and run over with a pick-up, or otherwise kill for sport and/or food. They are indigenous to northern states of the North American continent.

"Deadnecks get their name due to the lack of brain activity that goes on between their ears (i.e. dead from the neck up). They don't seem to be able to put together any thoughts that make any sense to any other civilized human being. It is said that the next intelligent thought a Deadneck has will be his/her first."

so it looks like there won't be any legalized cat-shooting in wisconsin anytime soon. but i still have to wonder about wisconsin and south dakota... what are their standards for what is a "feral" cat? i know i'll be sure to find out before i ever take my cat into either state.

they shoot cats, don't they?
wisconsin wants to pass a new law that would allow people to kill cats. when i first heard about it, i assumed that obviously they must be talking about mountain lions or pumas or some sort of huge cats that they consider dangerous: similar to how people out west freak out about coyotes and wild bears. of course, my answer to that would be you morons, you move into the animals' land and take it over, and you get upset because the animals didn't magically disappear? but i would be wrong there, because the proposed law isn't about killing big cats: it's about killing small, domesticated cats: housecats. fortunately, even if it passes, it isn't going into effect right away:

There will not be an open season on feral cats, no matter the results of Monday's vote at Wisconsin Conservation Congress meetings around the state.

Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Hassett said there are too many unanswered questions and problems associated with killing stray cats.

Statewide results were tallied Tuesday. Overall, Wisconsin residents supported a controversial plan that would allow hunters to take out wild felines that kill birds and other small mammals. Residents voted 6,830 to 5,201 for the plan. DNR officials said the plan passed in 51 counties, failed in 20, and tied in one.

The question asked residents in all 72 counties whether the state should classify free-roaming cats as an unprotected species. That would allow hunters to kill them at will.

i'm a bit confused what the dnr is actually saying here... simply that the plan hasn't passed yet? or that even if they try to pass the plan, dnr won't let them? i'm confused, especially by the wording of this paragraph:

If enough Wisconsin counties had voted yes on the advisory proposal, the issue could have been brought back next spring as an "action item." If passed then, it could have given the DNR permission to enact it. At least two upper Midwestern states, South Dakota and Minnesota, have allowed wild cats to be shot for decades, just like skunks or gophers.

all that "if they would have" wording suggests that the vote did not pass (though the numbers suggest it did).

speaking of "the numbers", the way this article talks about how "residents" voted, you would think wisonsin had a statewide election on cat-killing, and that only 12,000 people came to the polls. you must check local6's past coverage for a clear explanation that people had to go to their local county meeting of some organization called the "wisconsin conservation congress" in order to actually vote on the issue.

now, you couldn't just shoot any cat: you can't go into someone's house and execute their calico. the plan would only allow people to shoot strays, or "feral" cats. so what determines whether a cat is feral?

[Mark] Smith [a La Cross firefighter who proposed the plan] proposed that the state should classify wild cats as an unprotected species. The proposal defined such cats as those not under the owner's direct control or wandering by themselves without a collar.

clearly mr smith doesn't know much about cats if he thinks "having no collar" indicates that a cat is a stray. i know a lot of cat owners (and a lot of cats), and most of those cats don't wear collars. why not? because cats don't like collars and they tend to be agile and flexible enough to squirm out of their collars should anyone try to make them wear one. keeping a cat under your "direct control" is not exactly easy, either.

so yeah, non-feral cats without collars get outside all the time. my cat doesn't wear a collar; we try to keep him inside, but sometimes he manages to slip by someone, or even to open the back door by himself. and once he's out, he disappears for a few hours. i know he can take care of himself, so i try not to get too worried when this happens, but i can't help it. after all, he's a sick kitty (FeLV+), and if he gets outside and scraps with other cats, he can get even sicker.

if i lived somewhere like south dakota or minnesota, i would also have to worry about some asshole with a hunting rifle shooting him, too. while i'm normally very nonviolent, if someone fucking shot my cat, i would be tempted to get a gun of my own and return the favor.

have bribe, will travel
remember last year when kerry would criticize bush for "outsourcing the hunt for bin laden"? turns out he was right, and that "outsourcing" is responsible for bin laden still being on the loose today.

The head of the German intelligence agency, in an interview published here Tuesday, said Osama bin Laden had been able to elude capture after the American invasion of Afghanistan by paying bribes to the Afghan militias delegated the task of finding him.

"The principal mistake was made already in 2001, when one wanted bin Laden to be apprehended by the Afghan militias in Tora Bora," the intelligence official, August Hanning, said in an interview with the German business newspaper Handelsblatt.

"There, bin Laden could buy himself free with a lot of money," Mr. Hanning said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Hanning confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper's account. She said Afghan forces had told Mr. bin Laden they knew his whereabouts and he would be arrested, but they allowed him safe passage in exchange for a bribe.

In the past, other officials - including Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the former American commander in Afghanistan - have acknowledged that Afghan militias who fought on the side of the invasion coalition had allowed leaders of Al Qaeda and the Taliban to get away. But Mr. Hanning is the top intelligence official to say Mr. bin Laden was among them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 
can't we all just get along?
cameras are a protester's friend. at least, when the protesters have the cameras. when the cops have the cameras, they aren't always so beneficial.

Dennis Kyne put up such a fight at a political protest last summer, the arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue.

"We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed," the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. "I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own."

Accused of inciting a riot and resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first of the 1,806 people arrested in New York last summer during the Republican National Convention to take his case to a jury. But one day after Officer Wohl testified, and before the defense called a single witness, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges.

During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints.

it's hardly a complaint that standard operating procedure for police at protests is to aggressively confront the protesters, herd them into tiny areas, arrest them by the hundreds for no particular reason, and beat the shit out of them if they resist too much. and it's nice to see that many of these rnc protesters are being exonerated. but i still must wonder how many millions of dollars have been wasted on these unnecessary trials... not just all that govt money, but the money the protesters must spend on their defense against their wrongful arrests.

Seven months after the convention at Madison Square Garden, criminal charges have fallen against all but a handful of people arrested that week. Of the 1,670 cases that have run their full course, 91 percent ended with the charges dismissed or with a verdict of not guilty after trial. Many were dropped without any finding of wrongdoing, but also without any serious inquiry into the circumstances of the arrests, with the Manhattan district attorney's office agreeing that the cases should be "adjourned in contemplation of dismissal."

So far, 162 defendants have either pleaded guilty or were convicted after trial, and videotapes that bolstered the prosecution's case played a role in at least some of those cases, although prosecutors could not provide details.

emphasis mine. now that digital video technology is getting affordable, more people are buying it... they're taking their cams into the street during protests, and documenting police harrassment. i'm a bit skeptical of the next paragraph, though:

Besides offering little support or actually undercutting the prosecution of most of the people arrested, the videotapes also highlight another substantial piece of the historical record: the Police Department's tactics in controlling the demonstrations, parades and rallies of hundreds of thousands of people were largely free of explicit violence.

now, the times does not offer any actual evidence that the tactics "were largely free of explicit violence", only statements from city and police officials. and of course, a police spokesman isn't going to say "yeah, we beat the fuck out of a bunch of those people."

and even assuming that it was "largely" free of "explicit" violence (meaning there was still some amount of explicit violence, and god knows how much non-explicit violence), i would have to say that if only 9% of the people you arrest actually get convicted of something, then clearly the police are abusing their powers and are wrongfully arresting tons of people. whether those arrestees are getting bruised or not is almost irrelevant: their rights are still being abridged, they're still stuck wallowing in jail, and they still have to pay bail, court fees, and so on. and we know that the police have edited at least one video, though the claim it was a mistake:

Video is a useful source of evidence, but not an easy one to manage, because of the difficulties in finding a fleeting image in hundreds of hours of tape. Moreover, many of the tapes lack index and time markings, so cuts in the tape are not immediately apparent.

That was a problem in the case of Mr. Dunlop, who learned that his tape had been altered only after Ms. Clancy found another version of the same tape. Mr. Dunlop had been accused of pushing his bicycle into a line of police officers on the Lower East Side and of resisting arrest, but the deleted parts of the tape show him calmly approaching the police line, and later submitting to arrest without apparent incident.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney, Barbara Thompson, said the material had been cut by a technician in the prosecutor's office. "It was our mistake," she said. "The assistant district attorney wanted to include that portion" because she initially believed that it supported the charges against Mr. Dunlop. Later, however, the arresting officer, who does not appear on the video, was no longer sure of the specifics in the complaint against Mr. Dunlop.

and i also have to wonder how many more cameras were out there that were confiscated by police.

Monday, April 11, 2005 
stop here for critical mp3
the new mp3 of the week is called "critical stop". it's a little mini-databent track i made during the "true data" sessions. it's not even 2 minutes long, but they're two good minutes. check it out.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 
new purchases
i realized recently that i hadn't been inside a record store in months (perhaps since october!), and it had possibly been even longer since i'd been inside one in my own home town. so today i decided to slurge and make a trip to indy cd and vinyl, my favorite local shop.

here's what i picked up (obviously i haven't gotten to listen to much of this yet)

gameboy variations
mf doom/madlib madvillain
handsome boy modeling school white people
prefuse 73 surrounded by silence

drop the lime
this means forever
doormouse stanley yershonowski presents xylophone jism as the ridiculator
end percussions
beck guero
general patton vs the x-ecutioners
venetian snares winnipeg is a frozen shithole
venetian snares rossz csillag alatt született

then i went to target to get a vcr head cleaner (my vcr could really use it), and i ended up buying a few dvds... saved!, ren & stimpy first and second seasons uncut, and ghost in the shell ii: innocence. i also bought some boxers and a belt.

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