Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

Here’s a statue of former Tampa Mayor Nick Nuccio with his trademark cigar and fedora:


One unique thing about Tampa — or Ybor City, anyway — is that you can still smoke cigars if you’re so inclined without becoming a pariah. Not everywhere, of course, but in plenty of places, and it’s socially acceptable to walk down the sidewalk puffing on a big stogie.

It’s another scorcher of a day, but with any luck, it’ll rain sideways this afternoon and cool things off (for half an hour). Open thread!

And Now for the Other Side of Policing: What You Don’t Hear Much About

As valued commenter CMM has reminded us in comments to the previous thread, most law enforcement officers are good people that do a lot of good things that don’t get a lot of press attention. I saw this story earlier this week and had meant to put it up as a late night/early morning feel good open thread, but the events of the past three or four days have overtaken things a bit. So here’s the story:

Police in Barnesville, GA responded to a report of someone sleeping in a tent outside of Barnesville Gordon State College. They found 19 year old Fred Barley who’d come to school early before the start of his sophomore year on his younger brother’s bicycle. From Conyers, GA – a six hour bike ride! He was homeless as the dorms don’t open for another month or so and he was camping out at night while bicycling around looking for a job. While the responding officers couldn’t let him continue to camp out, each of them paid for him to have a night at a local motel. One of the responding officers, Dicky Carreker’s wife posted about Fred on her Facebook post. Donations immediately poured in totaling $70,000 so far, as well as a new, adult sized bike, clothes, shoes, and food. A local restaurant owner created a  job for Fred, which he has accepted, and the motel owner is providing lodging for free until Barnesville Gordon State College can get him into the dorms, which they’ve indicated they will do early.

Maybe you heard or saw this story, maybe you didn’t. But given all the negative things we’ve been exposed to over the past two weeks in the news, its important to remember that despite the “it bleeds, it leads” and “controversy creates cash” models of the news media in their pursuit of profit and the fact that with 24/7 news and social media everything negative is amplified and constantly coming at us, that good things, done by good people still happen. Here’s the link to video of Fred Barley thanking everyone in Barnesville for their support.

Breaking News: 6 Police Officers Shot, 3 Killed in Baton Rouge

Earlier today Baton Rouge Police came under fire from what is being reported out as 3 suspects. Seven Six officers have been shot, with three of them killed as a result of their injuries. One suspect has been reported being shot and killed with two still at large. And one of those reported as being holed up/barricaded into an abandoned building. Here’s the WAFB Chanel 9 Baton Rouge live feed.

This is an ongoing event, many of the initial information is most likely fragmentary and incomplete, and will change over the next 24 to 48 hours.

Update at 12:45 PM EDT

WAFB is reporting, based on an eyewitness posted video, that at least one shooter was dressed in black, with a balaclava/ski type mask, like a ninja or military.

Update at 12:50 PM EDT

An eyewitness being interviewed now by WAFB has indicated that the shooter was wearing a black T shirt and shorts, not in a ninja or military style black outfit, and that he was out walking with a rifle.

Update at 2:25 PM EDT

WAFB Chanel 9 Baton Rouge is reporting as an update that 2 men have been taken into custody in West Baton Rouge Parish. Someone reported two men, driving a car with Texas plates, went into a Walmart dressed all in black, then came back out a short time later in different clothes to police. They have been detained and they are being brought back to Baton Rouge to be questioned by police and the FBI.

They are now replaying the eyewitness video of the woman describing the shooter as dressed all in black, like a ninja, with a black mask. Other reports at this time that are being reported out is that the police responded to shooting between two groups in a parking lot and when attempting to intervene the shooters turned on the cops. So the situation is still very unclear. There is a press conference set for 3 PM with the Governor of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Chief of Police.

Update at 3:35 PM EDT

Here’s the President’s statement on the shootings of police in Baton Rouge earlier this morning. Just a reminder: the President will address the Nation on this immediately after Governor Edwards press conference, which is scheduled for 3:00 PM CDT.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by the President

I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge.  For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault.  These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.

I’ve offered my full support, and the full support of the federal government, to Governor Edwards, Mayor Holden, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Baton Rouge Police Department.  And make no mistake – justice will be done.

We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear:  there is no justification for violence against law enforcement.  None.  These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one.  They right no wrongs.  They advance no causes.  The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best.

Today, on the Lord’s day, all of us stand united in prayer with the people of Baton Rouge, with the police officers who’ve been wounded, and with the grieving families of the fallen.  May God bless them all.

Update at 4:30 PM EDT

At the press conference, the Baton Rouge Sheriff clarified the events. At approximately 8:40 AM CDT a call came in of a man dressed in black was seen near Airport Highway while carrying a rifle. About 2 minutes later law enforcement arrived to check out the situation and a firefight ensued. More officers responded within ten minutes. As a result of the shootout the non police shooter was killed, as well as three law enforcement officers – one sheriff’s deputy and two police officers. There is no active shooter in Baton Rouge. Here’s the remarks on the timeline from the press conference:

State Police Col. Mike Edmonson explained that the initial call came in at roughly 8:40 a.m. Sunday morning for a male armed with a gun wearing all black who was standing behind a beauty supply store on Airline Hwy.

The scene later shifted to the nearby B Quick gas station, which is located less than a mile from BRPD Headquarters.

During the shooting BRPD officers and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s deputies were struck during gunfire exchange. Five of the officers were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. Three of those have died. A 41-year-old officer and a 32-year-old officer were from the Baton Rouge Police Department. The other was a 45-year-old officer with the Sheriff’s Office.

The two remaining officers at OLOL hospital are being treated. Officials say a 41-year-old deputy is in critical condition and the other is in fair condition.

A 51-year-old East Baton Rouge Parish Deputy was transported to the Baton Rouge General with non-life threatening injuries and is in fair condition.

During a call to dispatch an officer said, “unknown where the shots are coming from.”

Officials confirm that officers shot and killed one suspect. However, they noted that they believe two additional suspects were involved in this shooting.

Investigators are currently questioning two men who were detained in West Baton Rouge Parish. Officials say members of the public called 911 about two suspicious men who were seen entering the WalMart in Port Allen. They say the men were dressed in all black, they changed clothes inside the store, then left in a silver Nissan with a Texas license plate.

Police Officers located and detained the men. They are currently being questioned by the FBI at a location in Baton Rouge.

Law enforcement officials are asking the entire community to remain indoors if possible.

In the hours following the shooting, officials say there were reports of gunfire in several areas around the city, but so far those reports have all been unfounded. Law enforcement agencies throughout Baton Rouge are on high alert, including the LSU Police Department.

Update at 4:45 PM EDT

Joy Ann Reid of MSNBC/NBC, via her twitter, as well as CBS News, is reporting that the shooter has been identified as Gavin Eugene Long, 29 years old (today was his birthday), from Kansas City, MO and that he may have ties to the sovereign citizens movement.

President Obama is expected to address the Nation momentarily:


Alrighty Then

Spent the day going to pick up Christion, and since I do not listen to the radio anymore when I drive (I just like the peace and quiet), I was startled to find out Turkey is going through a military coup. I know nothing about what is going on other than what Adam has written, and I didn’t understand all of that, so I’ll just not write about it.

My gut instinct is to support democracy, but Erdogan is such an asshole I’m kind of curious to see if maybe we, the United States, will be better off with their military in control. Either way, I’m sure that somehow or other this will make us more hated in the middle east because reasons.

Thurston was so excited to see Christion that when we pulled up to the house and got out to unload, I swear I thought he was going to break the window with his tail and got so excited he pottied on the floor. I’m glad to have Christion back, too. He’s caught up in this Pokemon Go thing (I guess he is the right age because he grew up playing Pokemon), and the dogs are happy because this means more walks.

We’re celebrating Christion’s return with celebratory steak dinners. Oh, and “adopted” son number #2 leased a car yesterday (Ford Focus), so he is now mobile and looking for a job within the area of his degree rather than one he could just get to. So good things happening in the Cole household.

Trump Rally in Indiana Live Feed

Here’s the live feed. Trump starts at around the -29:30 mark.

Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

big rooster

The mister and I are home from our camping / relative-visiting trip to the northern part of state, and we’re tired and crabby from too little sleep and too much adventure. The gas station poultry ornament above was the most impressive piece of public art we saw. The spring below was one of several awe-inspiring natural scenes we enjoyed yesterday:

suwannee spring

We visited several springs along the Suwannee River. The Suwannee itself is a dark water river, and I almost never swim in it because of the gators. But the springs that feed into it are crystal clear and gorgeous — and if there be gators or snakes, you can see them! Each spring is a shady little oasis:

suwannee spring 2

It was a punishingly hot and humid day, but the spring water is breathtakingly cold. We spent hours just standing around in the cold water, talking, laughing and watching the antics of children and pets. As long as you’re in the water, you’re perfectly cool, even if it’s 100 degrees.

Anyway, good times. Also good to be home, where there is reliable air conditioning and normal toilets. Open thread!

Open Thread: It’s Not 1968 (Fortunately)

I was twelve, going on thirteen, the summer of 1968, and my parents were imploding; the political crises on television seemed a natural backdrop to my own family’s battles. But I do remember very clearly that it was not America’s finest hour, regardless. This summer there seems to be a weird current of proto-nostalgia among certain members of the punditariat in their thirties and forties, social media addicts on all points of the political spectrum, who seem to be half-hoping that “we” (they) can finally get their very own cathartic “war” – against the white supremacists, against the uppity minorities, against the dirty hippie kids or the sclerotic monsters of the political party machines — but this time, our side will conclusively defeat the forces of evil. And we’ll all be heroes for the history books!

That’s not how history works, though. Looks like I may have to get a copy of Michael Cohen’s book…

Read more