Brickbat: Pointed Discussion

Never point a gun at something or
someone you don’t intend to shoot. Jerome M. Hauer, New York
state’s commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and
Emergency Services, has apparently never heard of that rule. He
recently used the laser
attached to a handgun
 as a pointer during a presentation
to foreign officials. The laser tracked across the head of at least
one of the officials before resting on the map Hauer was pointing

from Hit & Run

Watch: Video, Pictures Convince Public, But Not Jurors, in Kelly Thomas Case

A jury has acquitted two officers on trial for the beating and
death of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man with schizophrenia, as

Scott Shackford notes below.

Reason TV has covered the case extensively for years, not only
because of the brutal, horrific nature of Thomas’s death, but also
because of the integral role that new media and the democratizing
effect of technology has played in the perception, coverage, and
visibility of the incident.

A picture snapped on a cell phone and surveillance footage
uploaded to Youtube both fueled and sustained public outrage in a
case that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. To many, the
picture, the video, and the audio provided incontrovertible
evidence of police abuse. The
images and sound
, accessible to anyone who looked for it, were
enough to lead to the
first murder trial
of a police officer in Orange County

In this case, those same images and sound were not enough to
convince a jury to convict the officers of 2nd degree murder,
involuntary manslaughter, or excessive force.

Regardless of your feelings about the outcome, Reason TV’s
original documentary, produced only months after the beating
occurred, is a must-watch video for anyone interested in this case
or in the role technology is playing in the ever-evolving
relationship between the police and the citizenry:

from Hit & Run

Tonight on The Independents: A-Rod Rage, Christie’s Acting Skillz, Hillary’s Hit List, the French President’s Mistress, Sen. Bernie Sanders on the NSA…Plus a Special Overtime Segment!

Kmele totally called him "Barry Sanders" on air that one time. |||Tonight’s episode of The
, which airs on Fox Business Network live at 9
pm ET and repeats at midnight, features an interview with a real
life independent Senator, none other than the Vermont “democratic
socialist,” Bernie Sanders. Indie Bernie will talk about his
inspired little stunt a few days back of asking the National
Security Agency Director Keith Alexander whether the NSA is now or
has ever been
spying on members of Congress
, and also explain how his idea of
an expanded social safety net can co-exist with exploding

Also appearing on the show: Washington Times Senior
Opinion Editor Emily Miller, who drew the ire of many libertarians
last week when she Tweeted that “No one
gets prison for just smoking pot
,” and wrote a
warning that “Stoned citizens will further burden the
dependency society.” Panelists tonight include Democratic political
strategist Basil
and Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein, who
will chew on
Hillary Clinton’s reported hit list
, New Jersey Gov. Chris
promotional/acting skills
, and the passing of Israel warhorse

Ariel Sharon

Other topics: Alex Rodriguez’s
historic steroids suspension
, French President Francois
Hollande’s daring attempt to
act as French as humanly possible
…plus penis pumps, 420
signs, Times Square costume creeps, and more! Remember to heckle
The Independents on Twitter at @IndependentsFBN; some
of the more choice efforts will be displayed during the broadcast.
Oh–and immediately after the show, there’ll be 10 minutes or so of
a live stream post-game Web-only thing at

from Hit & Run

Officers in the Brutal Beating Death of Kelly Thomas Found Not Guilty

Two former police officers, Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, were
found not guilty this afternoon of all charges in the brutal
beating death of homeless man Kelly Thomas in Fullerton,

The Los Angeles Times is live-blogging

Here is our
coverage of the Kelly Thomas case and below is a video
summarizing the events:

from Hit & Run

Could California’s Bullet Train Head Back to the Voters?

Maybe Brown's hoping to use it to speed away from the state's "wall of debt"?Gov. Jerry Brown shows no sign
of coming to his senses on building a high-speed train running
through California’s heartland, now hoping to use
cap-and-trade revenue
to pay for a project that cannot find any
money elsewhere beyond a relatively small federal (though still in
billions) grant.

So a California assemblyman is having another go at trying to
put the bullet train back on the ballot (an initiative in 2008
originally authorized it) to see if the voters will finally shut it
down. The Sacramento Bee

For the second time in less than two years, a California
lawmaker has filed proposed ballot language to put the brakes on
California’s high-speed rail project.

Assemblyman Jeff Gorell submitted paperwork Friday to qualify
the Stop the $100 Billion High Speed Rail and Reinvest in Education
Act. The proposed November ballot measure is largely identical to
the Stop the $100 Billion Bullet Train to Nowhere Act submitted by
then-state Sen. Doug La Malfa and former Rep. George Radanovich in
March 2012, which failed to qualify.

Gorell, though, is running for Congress this fall, the
Bee notes, so he probably won’t be able to lead the charge
for this one. If somebody else takes the helm for this effort,
they’re going to have to get more than 500,000 signatures to get it
back on the ballots.

from Hit & Run

Reason TV: Guantanamo Bay in 54 Seconds

January 11, 2014 marked the 12th anniversary of a U.S. detention
facility at Guantanamo Bay. The Bush administration opened the
prison to house and interrogate suspected terrorists as a part of
the War on Terror.

“Guantanamo Bay in 54 Seconds” is Reason TV’s latest video

Like on Facebook.
Tweet to Twitter.

View this article.

from Hit & Run

Uber Van Attacked By French Taxi Drivers

Today, an Uber
van in France was attacked by taxi drivers, who feel that the
independent car service is threatening their jobs. Taxi unions in
France have criticized Uber for “unfair competition.”

Kat Borlongan, co-founder of consulting firm Five by Five, who
was in the van, tweeted about the attack:


For two Uber customers in Paris, their ride was not at all what
they expected. 

Major taxi unions in the French capital staged protests Monday
against startup Uber and other independent car services for “unfair
competition.” The local taxi drivers feel that their jobs are
threatened by new services such as Uber, French
newspaper Le Monde reports.

But the protests turned violent when taxi drivers apparently
attacked the Uber van that was transporting Kat Borlongan,
co-founder of consulting firm Five by Five, and Eventbrite CTO
Renaud Visage.

Read more from on Uber here

Follow these stories and more at Reason 24/7 and don’t forget you
can e-mail stories to us at and tweet us
at @reason247.

from Hit & Run

Feds Investigating Chris Christie for Spending Federal Post-Sandy Marketing Aid on Tourism Ad That Featured Him and His Family

you're killing me smallsFederal auditors are
investigating the state government of New Jersey’s
use of $25 million in post-Sandy federal aid meant for marketing on
ads that featured Governor Chris Christie and his family. In a
press release
last summer
highlighted by CNN, local congressman Frank Pallone
complained that he “fought hard for passage of the Sandy aid
package in Congress by assuring our colleagues that this funding
was critical to our recovery,” calling on the inspector general at
the Department of Housing to investigate how the contract was
awarded for the tourism ads. The winning contract, Pallone argued,
was $2 million more expensive than an alternative that didn’t
include the Christie family in the planned commercial. Like
Christie’s lane closures at the GWB
, this one isn’t just about him either.

Were Christie able to produce an actual traffic study, in the
absence of records of incriminating communications, there would be

nothing wrong
with the state of New Jersey causing a multi-lane
closure and massive traffic delay on the busiest bridge in the
world. Here, the scandal isn’t just that Christie may have favored
a contractor who wanted to put the spotlight on him in ads about
the Jersey shore, or even that elected officials put themselves in
ads on the taxpayer’s dime all the time, but that federal
money sent to New Jersey and other states under the pretense of
being critical to recovery and something the states could not (or
didn’t want to?) fund themselves is OK to spend on ads urging
people in New Jersey itself and nearby states to go visit the
shore. Pallone’s letter to the HUD IG mentions that the Department
issued an actual waiver to the state of New Jersey. The waiver
allowed the state government to spend $25 million in absolutely
necessary disaster aid, that supporters claimed only cold-hearted
ne’er-do-wells could dare to oppose or even ask how it would be
paid for, on tourism marketing.

Rand Paul, among a few others in Congress,
questioned the blank-check-like
request for federal money that
came after Hurricane Sandy and Buzzfeed notes in a compilation of
Rand Paul videos that that skepticism extended to the $25 million
spent on Christie ads during an election season (New Jersey voted
for governor in 2013, the year after Sandy).

and Christie
don’t have much in common, but are both expected to make runs for
the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.   

from Hit & Run

Justices Appear Unhappy with Obama’s Recess Appointments, Canadian Teen Charged over Sexting, Oregon’s Health Exchange Still Broken: P.M. Links

  • If two out of three branches say no, will the president listen?Observers at today’s Supreme
    Court arguments challenging President Barack Obama’s use or abuse
    (depending on your point of view) of
    recess appointments
    seem to think the justices are holding a
    dim view that the president can just bypass the Senate to get what
    he wants.
  • The Supreme Court, however, is declining to get involved in the
    decision striking down of an
    Arizona abortion law
    . The law banned abortion after 20 weeks
    but was ruled unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision not to
    take up the case means that the law is dead.
  • A Canadian teenager has been charged with
    child pornography possession
    over a sexting case.
  • After three months, Oregon’s health insurance exchange still

    doesn’t work at all
    . They’re hoping to have it up by
  • New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Buffalo) is
    retiring amidst a
    host of sexual harassment allegations
  • For the drinkers: Japan’s Suntory Holdings Ltd. has
    acquired the company
    that makes Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark

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and don’t forget to
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from Hit & Run

Ira Stoll Says Chris Christie Should Sell the George Washington Bridge

It’s going to take Governor
Christie more than a confessional press conference and the firing
of some aides to rescue his presidential hopes in 2016 and restore
public confidence in his leadership following the scandal over the
politically motivated closure of entry lanes to the George
Washington Bridge. Ira Stoll says the best thing the governor could
do to turn this story around would be to sell the bridge
outright—and dismantle the rest of the Port Authority of New York
and New Jersey along with it.

View this article.

from Hit & Run