The Trials of Snack Team Six: The Contemptening


When last we left our intrepid heroes they were attempting to impeach, post facto, the credibility of Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward. In our most recent installment, however, Ammon Bundy’s attorney has decided that what this trial needs is more references to the late LaVoy Finicum! Maxine Berstein, doing yeoman’s (yeowoman? yeoperson?) at The Oregonian, has the details:

U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown on Thursday threatened to hold Ammon Bundy’s lawyer in contempt of court each time he defies her order and tries to delve into the circumstances surrounding the officer-involved fatal shooting of refuge occupation spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum during trial.

The judge told attorney Marcus Mumford that she’d fine him $1,000 each time he raises the issue in front of jurors in the federal conspiracy trial of Bundy and six others stemming from the 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“I have ruled on this issue and it appears to me you disregard it,” Brown told Mumford after excusing the jury for a morning restroom break.

“Do you understand what I’m saying … yes or no?” the judge asked Mumford as he was about to explain. She cut him off, requesting a simple answer, just as he’s done to witnesses on the stand.

“I don’t understand. Your honor says I’m asking improper questions?” Mumford said.

The judge pointed to Mumford’s questioning of rancher Andy Dunbar, whose property is adjacent to the eastern Oregon refuge, about what he learned on Jan. 26 about the fatal shooting of Finicum.

“You are not to do that,” Brown said.

“You’re telling me I’m allowed to inquire about the shooting, but not the circumstances of the shooting?” Mumford asked.

Brown reminded him: Anything about Finicum’s shooting death, beyond that it occurred and the date, isn’t allowed to be discussed in front of jurors.

“I can understand the words,” Mumford told her.

“I hope you can comply,” the judge said.

The admonition followed days of directions by the judge to Mumford about restricting his questions during cross-examination to the testimony elicited during prosecutors’ direct examination of witnesses. She has frequently sustained prosecutors’ objections to Mumford’s lines of questioning because they were either irrelevant or “beyond the scope” of the direct testimony during the past two weeks of trial.

The judge instructed Mumford and all other attorneys to take any concerns up with her outside the presence of the jury if they want to ask questions that go beyond her order.

Tune back in on Monday for our next installment of How the Snack Team Digests. Same Bundy time, same Bundy station!

Breaking News: Police in Charlotte are Moving Protestors Ahead of the 12:00 AM EDT Curfew

Tremaine Lee of MSNBC is reporting live that police in Charlotte have just fired rubber bullets and what he’s describing as pepper spray (most likely pepper ball less than lethal rounds) into fleeing protestors that were marching peacefully towards I277 over an hour before the midnight curfew. Lee is reporting that the police are moving into the area, they then set up a phalanx, move towards the protestors, and as the protestors begin to move out, the police then fire the rubber bullets and pepper rounds towards them.

Here’s the link to WBTV 3 Charlotte’s live feed.

The next major conflict point will be at 12:00 AM EDT when the Mayor of Charlotte has called a curfew to clear the streets from midnight to 6:00 AM EDT. It is unclear how law enforcement in Charlotte plan to enforce that curfew given the several hundred peaceful protestors and demonstrators in the streets of Charlotte. Earlier this evening Reverend Barber in an interview on MSNBC indicated that the Mayor of Charlotte had agreed during a meeting with faith leaders earlier today not to impose and enforce a curfew.

For everyone in the Charlotte area please stay safe.

I’ll update as new information becomes available.

Update at 11:15 PM EDT

Mayor Jennifer Roberts just told Brian Williams on MSNBC that:

We are 45 minutes away from finding out what this means in practice.

Update at 12:00 AM EDT

The Charlotte municipal curfew is now in effect. Significant number of demonstrators/protestors are still out on the street. Hopefully things stay peaceful.

Update 12:07 PM EDT

Update at 12:12 PM EDT

Update at 12:35 AM EDT

Update at 12:52 AM EDT:


Gimme money, that’s what I want

Kevin Drum made an interesting observation this morning – a lot of major central banks would like to see more inflation right now, but so far no one has pulled it off. A bunch of people replied that maybe one of the central banks should try printing a lot of money, so Drum pointed out that Japan already did that.

So the conclusion is…free money is really free? Can we print out the entire federal deficit? Alexander Hamilton would roll over in his grave, but think of the positive side. America would finally qualify for a decent mortgage rate. The Fed could mail fat envelopes of cash to everyone with a social security number. I bet that would poll pretty well.

I would guess* the answer has more to do with the psychological side of finance. Maybe printing money has no effect as long as everyone thinks that the bank is still being responsible. If international investors get nervous that the bank is really shooting the moon, maybe they will all get worried at the same time and all the bad stuff we associate with an inflation spike will kick in irreversibly all at once. Or maybe it’s not enough for the Fed to print money. Rich folks mostly just squirrel excess cash away in in some foreign account where it gathers fees and puffs up investment bubbles and generally doesn’t do anyone much good.

Perhaps you also need to get that scratchola into the hands of people who will reliably stimulate the economy with it. That is to say, poor people. If you give a poor person ten dollars they will spend most of it right away, in America, on stuff that supports jobs in America. Poor people all having enough money to buy eggs (and a refrigerator) will pretty much a priori make eggs (and refrigerators) more expensive. In my happy fantasy world where Republicans return the value of the air they consume, I can imagine coupling a major QE push with a comparable surge in infrastructure/jobs and safety net spending. Betcha ten bucks we would hit two percent inflation pretty quickly, and without the likely very bad consequences of the Fed just leaving the presses running until China and Europe hit the panic button.

(*) Professor Krugman is trying to knock a stuck bag of Welch’s fruit snacks free from a vending machine, so I’m just going to sit in his chair here for a minute and write this. Don’t tell him, ok?

Breaking News: Police Deploy Tear Gas at Charlotte Protest


Police and protesters are facing off in Charlotte this evening in the aftermath of yesterday’s police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Charlotte Mecklenberg Police have deployed tear gas against demonstrators and protestors. MSNBC has reported out, via Ely Portillo of the Charlotte News Observer, that someone has been shot.

Here’s the link to WCNC Charlotte’s live feed.

And here’s a live embed:


And here’s a link to Ely Portillo’s twitter feed and to the Charlotte Observer‘s twitter feed.

I’ll update as information becomes available.

Update at 9:40 PM EDT

WBTV Channel 3 in Charlotte has now reported that CMPD Chief Putney has informed reporters that one the person who was shot earlier this evening has died.

Update at 10:07 PM EDT

Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has just reported:

Update at 10:15 PM EDT

Charlotte’s Mayor has just made the following appeal on CNN:

Update at 10:25 PM EDT

Governor McCrory has now issued a statement:

Update at 10:38 PM EDT

Mayor Roberts on MSNBC has just stated the following:

Update at 10:45 EDT

Updated information on the individual that was shot earlier this evening:

Update at 11:25 PM EDT

Tinkle Hell (Open Thread)


My husband and I get along famously because we’re both Pisces. Well, that’s not why — astrology is a steaming load of hooey, of course. But we are both gentle, artistic, empathetic souls who would rather make sure other people are having a good time than assert our will over each other or a group.

Our biggest conflict is usually that neither of us wants to make some dumb minor decision like where to have breakfast. Where do you want to go? No, where do YOU want to go? This can go on past lunch.

But that all fell apart the other day because of a toilet. And maybe because now it’s just the two of us living here, so we can no longer blame household mishaps on our daughter, who has flown the nest for college.

The main toilet, i.e., the one that’s NOT in the master bedroom, overflowed. (HE was the last one who used it, please note!) When it became clear the plunger wouldn’t fix the problem, my husband started taking more drastic measures, like snaking the drain.

As he did so, he was doing the usual grumbling about some people using too much toilet paper or not holding the handle down long enough. This is a recurring theme from him that my daughter and I used to roll our eyes at, but this time, it pissed me off because it was obviously directed at me and not womankind in general, which is annoying enough in its own right.

Well! I told him he could just knock it right the fuck off with that bullshit. I reminded him I’m a grown-ass woman who has been potty-trained for decades and that I know how to flush a goddamned toilet, having done so approximately 100,000 times.

And furthermore, I noted that it’s ridiculous to complain about women using more toilet paper — duh, we sit down to pee! And I assured him my toilet paper usage was well within normal range, thankyewveramuch, so get the fuck over it already and just fix the fucking toilet or let me call a goddamned plumber.

So that shut him up, and he fixed that toilet. Then a few days ago, the other toilet overflowed. He’s been working on it intermittently since, and it came to pass that the entire thing had to be replaced, an operation that is currently underway.

When he removed the bowl, there were these fucking little fibrous roots growing up through the pipe, which is just a horrifying thing, IMO. He poured some chemical down there that may kill every tree on the place, I don’t know. I hope not. But all I could think about was naked mole rats or some eyeless rodent from hell using the roots as a highway system to come bite my ass. Wine! Immediately! The end.

Breaking News: Ongoing Demonstrations in Charlotte

There are ongoing demonstrations against the Charlotte Mecklenberg Police Department’s shooting of an African American man this afternoon.

Early today plainclothes, undercover officers from the Charlotte Mecklenberg Police Department (CMPD) shot and killed 43 year old Keith Lamont Scott.

The shooting happened around 4 p.m. at The Village at College Downs apartment complex on the 9600 block of Old Concord Road. Officers said they were searching for a person with an outstanding warrant when they saw a man get out of a vehicle with a firearm.

When the man, later identified as 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, got back into the vehicle, the officers approached. The report states Scott then got back out of the vehicle “armed with a firearm and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject.”

His family has argued that he was waiting in his truck and reading a book while waiting for his son to be dropped off from school.

And they are directly contradicting the CMPD account that he was armed:

Not that it makes anything better, but WSOC 9’s Joe Bruno has just reported out that the officer who shot Mr. Scott is also African American:

Given the community response to today’s events and the CMPD’s response to the community, this is going to be a fluid, dynamic, and quickly changing situation. As more info comes in, I’ll update until I rack out for the night.

Updated at 11:55 PM EDT

Here’s the link to WSOC TV 9’s Live Feed.

And here’s WBTV 3’s Live Feed.

The Mayor of Charlotte has just tweeted out the following:


Today in Leaderless Resistance

While everyone is still focused on the bright shiny objects of of Ahmad Khan Rahami, now in custody after a shootout with police this morning and Dahir Adan, the claimed by ISIL knife attacker killed by an off duty cop in St. Cloud, Minnesota, there are two other prime examples of leaderless resistance and self radicalization that aren’t getting wall to wall TV coverage. Carey Lee Ogborn was arrested in Houston on Friday and arraigned this morning for plotting to blow up a building and attempting to buy the explosives from an undercover Federal law enforcement officer. Last Wednesday Daniel Shiffmiller, a self proclaimed sovereign citizen, was arrested by the FBI. You will not be surprised to find that Ogborn and Shiffmiller look like this:


(Carey Lee Ogborn)


(Daniel Shiffmiller)