Florida Man: Tutu Edition! Updated at 10:15 PM EDT

Another day, another embarrassing act by someone from my home state (Like BettyC, I’m a native. We’re on 6 hour shifts!).

– Two men, one wearing a tutu, broke into Tampa Farmer’s Market to eat fruit and drink soda early Tuesday morning.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released surveillance footage of the suspects breaking into the Fletcher Avenue store in hopes that the public can help identify them.

According to HCSO, the suspects gained access to the store by breaking out the glass door at approximately 1 a.m. on November 1, and proceeded to consume fruit and soda once inside.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson shared the following descriptions of the two suspects:

#1 – white male, thin build, possibly dressed in a cheerleading costume, wearing a TuTu, possibly wearing a wig.

#2-  male (unknown race), wearing a hoodie with an image of an owl on the front.

Anyone with any information reference these suspects is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 247-8200 or anyone with any information regarding the identity and whereabouts of these suspects and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).

There’s video at the link!

Open, night before Thanksgiving open thread!!!

Updated at 10:15 PM EDT

Allow me to regale you with more tales of the nightlife of Tampa!

– Newly released surveillance video could help Tampa Police locate the man who drove his car onto a sidewalk in Ybor City, hitting two people and a bar early Tuesday morning.

Around 3:25 a.m. Tuesday, after businesses had closed, a group of men began fighting outside the Bad Monkey Bar on East 7th Avenue in Tampa.

Surveillance cameras captured the brawl, including one subject involved in the fighting who attempted to leave the scene by driving away in a black Nissan.

“He tries to do a U-turn, and it’s really too tight of a street to do that. He gets hung up on the curb,” said Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department.

The driver jumped the sidewalk and crashed into several men who were still fighting. One of the men was pushed through the window of the Bad Monkey bar when the car made impact, smashing the glass.
After crashing through the building, the driver left the scene.

Detectives are working to determine if the driver intentionally accelerated his car or if the crash was accidental.

“That’s a big question that we have right now. At the very least, it’s a hit and run. There was damage to the building, clearly, someone was injured and he left the scene,” said Hegarty.

Only one of the men on the sidewalk, Michael Silhol, 25, was hurt in the crash. Silhol suffered a minor leg and head injury.

The Bad Monkey bar was left with $15,000 worth of damage. It was closed at the time of the crash.

Video at the link, too, also, again!

Late Evening Open Thread: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid


For those in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area please be extra careful: there’s a creepy clown on the loose!

“Creepy Clown” spotted in Green Bay

Green Bay, WI — Neighbors in Green Bay are on edge after seeing a person dressed like a clown by the intersection of Mason and Adams Street around 2 a.m. Tuesday. 

The pictures are going viral on Facebook. The original post has almost 8,000 shares. A Facebook page has also been created to post future sightings of the clown, called Gags – The Green Bay Clown.

Police say they’ve received a few calls about the clown. 

“A person can walk down the sidewalk dressed however they want as long as they’re in a place they legally can be, and they’re not in a place that has a closing time, like a park,” said Captain Kevin Warych with the Green Bay Police Department. 

Police say their options are limited in dealing with the situation. 

I alerted Omnes directly this afternoon, but any other Juicers in Wisconsin may wish to take extra precautions!

Open thread to complain about clowns, people that are scared of clowns, people that torment people that are scared of clowns, or whatever!

* Image found here.

Don’t Try This at Home or In Public or Anywhere for That Matter!

Some knucklehead in Phoenix decided to see what would happen if he lit an entire fireworks display on fire (h/t: Sploid) inside a Wal-Mart. This is not a very good idea. Aside from starting a low explosive fire, and fortunately there weren’t any higher powered fireworks on the display or this would have been much, much worse, Arizona is a Constitutional Carry state. This means one can open carry without a permit, as well as conceal carry with or without a permit. The prankster is lucky someone didn’t hear several pops and decide there was an active threat that needed responding too!


A Dog’s Life

Canadian commenter NorthLeft12, freshly returned from vacation, wondered this morning at the dearth of posts here on the migrant crisis in Europe. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you why I haven’t addressed it: I don’t know what to say.

I wish there was something I could do besides making donations to relief organizations, an activity that feels like attempting to bail an ocean with a Dixie cup, and supporting politicians with comparatively sane and humane views on this and other issues.

Let me clarify: There is much the United States could and should do. And President Obama, as one of the saner and more humane politicians we’ve got, will probably do as much as he can within the constraints of our political system. But those constraints are straitjacket-proportioned on this issue, so I don’t expect much at all, maybe a relative handful of resettlements and a few large bales of cash. This country doesn’t have the appetite for anything else.

Today’s NYT reports that Iraqis are taking note of the mass migration from Syria and leaving in droves as well, hoping a European country will take them in along with refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and various war-torn African countries. Who can blame them? I’d sure as hell try to get out if I were them. The Times interviewed one refugee who wants to use Europe as a stepping stone to America:

One of them, Hattam Jabbar, 28, pulled from his shoulder bag an identification card issued in 2008 by the United States Army that said he was a fighter for the “Sons of Iraq,” the United States-backed program that brought Sunni fighters into the government fold to fight what was then Al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to the Islamic State.

“There is nothing to make me sad about leaving,” he said. “There is no humanity here.”

Mr. Hattam said he hoped his journey ends not in Europe but in the United States, where, he said, “even the dogs live well.”

He explained what he meant by telling a story an Iraqi friend living in the United States had recently told him. The friend, he said, had gone to the supermarket and left his dog in his car with the windows up on a hot day. A police officer, seeing this, scolded him, and told him he was putting the dog at risk.

“That means they even respect the dogs,” he said. “Even the dogs have rights in America.”

What Hattam Jabbar fails to understand is that many of us — maybe even most of us — care more about dogs than people. I’m guilty of that myself. People are horrible much of the time. Dogs aren’t. And it feels like we can sometimes save dogs, but there’s fuck-all we can do to save humans.

In America, we don’t give a shit about our own poor and brutalized native-born countrymen, so we’re sure as hell not going to volunteer to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees, particularly brown ones with a religion that millions of us regard as suspect.

Can you imagine what would happen if President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, etc., suggested that we need to resettle the same number of refugees that Germany, a much smaller country by area and population, is taking in?

Forget that the U.S. is more culpable in the regional instability that is driving the migration crisis than any other nation — as far as most of our fellow citizens are concerned, we’ve done our bit by pouring a trillion or so dollars down the rat-hole over there. If some of those planeloads of cash resurfaced here in the form of Halliburton dividend checks, it seems relatively few people give a shit.

So yeah, no. Not gonna happen. Half of our fellow citizens are already in full freak-out mode over the largely Christian undocumented immigrants whom U.S. employers hire to pick their tomatoes and landscape their office parks. If Democrats try to do the right thing about the migrant crisis in Europe, hello, President Trump.

There’s no humanity here either, Hattam Jabbar. Good luck to you, brother.

Problems of a certain subset

I saw this New York Times column by Frank Bruni on the overscheduling of kids and it struck a chord with me:

Scelfo wrote about six suicides in a 13-month period at the University of Pennsylvania; about the prevalence of anxiety and depression on college campuses; about many star students’ inability to cope with even minor setbacks, which are foreign and impermissible.

Those students almost certainly need more sleep. In a study in the medical journal Pediatrics this year, about 55 percent of American teenagers from the ages of 14 to 17 reported that they were getting less than seven hours a night, though the National Sleep Foundation counsels 8 to 10.

I went to a school for undergrad where the unofficial motto was “Choose two: sleep, friends, work”

The cultural expectation was people were expected to run themselves into the ground even past the point of negative returns on work.  People were in the computer labs at two in the morning on Saturday night trying to do homework that was not due until Wednesday as they created more errors than they solved.  If you weren’t zombie-eyed and involuntarily celibate, you were slacking.

I happened to be able to choose all three plus Paris plus a few other amazing adventures while graduating with honors and getting into a top graduate program in my chosen field.  I quickly realized that my best work did not happen at 11:00 at night. Quality went downhill dramatically by 1:00AM.  The one exception was a repeated science experiment which involved filling unused condoms with cheap beer and chucking them off the roof to see if drunk people liked beer from heaven.  Three years worth of data showed most people appreciated it although the campus cops weren’t cool with the non-IRB approved experiment.

There was also a spate of suicides on campus in my freshman and sophomore years.  The underlying cause was most of the people I went to school with were not able to cope with being normal within their immediate peer group.  They never were normal before then.  Not being locally exceptional (while still being globally excellent) was a massive shock to people’s self-conceptualization of worth.

I was lucky in that my neighborhood Irish Catholic parish school had a crazed nun running it.   She made sure 10% to 15% of her graduating classes every year went to Ivy equivilents.  My classmates were like me, the kids of the skilled blue collar tradesmen. The 80 kids who graduated with me plus or minus a year sent three to Harvard, another four to other Ivies, a pair to MIT, me to where I went, one each to Amherst, Stanford and Duke.  Most of us went on near half rides or better.  When we talked in our early twenties, we all agreed 8th grade English was probably the hardest class we had until senior thesis or master level synthesis projects.

I don’t know how to fix this problem, as I was lucky enough to be able to side step it personally but I saw too many of my peers, classmates and friends during undergrad be burned out, lose themselves and lose their passion and potential because they were exhausted eighteen years olds.


Monty Python’s Holy Grail…

…was a documentary:

ku-xlarge-3 And hell, you think that’s bad, check this out:


Holiday brain sploosh has already begun chez Levenson (first relatives show up in minutes), so killer rabbits somehow seem…


BTW: there are a bunch more medieval psychoses on display at Tom Kane’s site, who, it seems, has come up with a socially useful application of writer’s procrastination syndrome.  My awareness of all this comes via @PZMyers, who got it from @SirWilliamD.

And with the honors thus done, you may consider this a “how weird will your holiday get” open thread.

Images:  Axe-rabbit comes from the Gorleston Psalter, England, 14th century.

Rabbit murderers lurk in the Smithfield Decretals, c. 1300

“I am a data fiend,” she told me. “Measure everything. Don’t do anything you can’t measure.”

In 2011 USA Today did an independent analysis of DC test scores under Michelle Rhee. They concluded there was cheating. A couple of months ago, Frontline did a piece on Michelle Rhee. After the piece aired, the reporter received a memo he had been seeking:

I first got wind of the Sanford memo while working on a documentary about Rhee for the PBS series “Frontline.” I spoke with Sanford, who confirmed that he had indeed written a memo but could not turn it over to me because it was “a work for hire.” Producer Michael Joseloff and I filed Freedom of Information Act requests with DCPS, which denied its existence, and with two Inspectors General, who acknowledged that they had it in their possession but refused to turn it over on grounds that the memo was part of the “deliberative process” within the D.C. government and thus not available to the public.
Not long after I blogged about “The Missing Memo” on January 15, 2013,it arrived in a plain white envelope. A second copy–perhaps from the same leaker–arrived in late March.
The original leaker of the memo added a note: “You’ve made some folks here nervous, but Rhee, Henderson and Kamras will all deny knowing anything about what Erin worked on.”

Michelle A. Rhee, America’s most famous school reformer, was fully aware of the extent of the problem when she glossed over what appeared to be widespread cheating during her first year as Schools Chancellor in Washington, DC. A long-buried confidential memo from her outside data consultant suggests that the problem was far more serious than kids copying off other kids’ answer sheets. (“191 teachers representing 70 schools”). A reliable source has confirmed that Rhee and Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson discussed the memo in staff gatherings.
In response to my request for comment, Rhee issued the following careful statement: “As chancellor I received countless reports, memoranda and presentations. I don’t recall receiving a report from Sandy Sanford regarding erasure data from the DC CAS, but I’m pleased, as has been previously reported, that both inspectors general (DOE and DCPS) reviewed the memo and confirmed my belief that there was no wide spread cheating.” After receiving this statement, I sent her the memo; her spokesman responded by saying that she stood by her earlier statement.
Chancellor Henderson did not respond to my request for a response.
“I am a data fiend,” she told me. “Measure everything. Don’t do anything you can’t measure.”
Because of aggressive reporting by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and strong political leadership from two Republican Governors, the situation in Atlanta was investigated from top to bottom. An investigative team led by former Attorney General Mike Bowers and former DeKalb County District Attorney Robert Wilson interviewed more than 2,000 people and reviewed more than 800,000 documents. Because Wilson and Bowers were working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, they were able to put people under oath when they questioned them.
In an interview in February 2013, Wilson said that he had been following the DCPS story closely. “There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that adults cheated in Washington,” he said. “The big difference is that nobody in DC wanted to know the truth.”
At least 25 states have adopted her ‘produce or else’ test-score based system of evaluating teachers.But politicians (and citizens) in those 25 states might want to take a closer look at what she actually accomplished. Sadly, DC’s schools are worse by almost every conceivable measure.

Michelle Rhee came to Ohio and lobbied my state legislature on her last national tour. She was treated like a celebrity. No one questioned any of her claims, which is unsurprising if you actually live in this state because all of her reforms involve union busting, pension looting and shifting public money to private operators. She’s a Right wing ideologue’s dream come true. They bought it because they believed it before she walked onto the floor that day.

The school reform industry response to the Atlanta cheating scandal was to call for better test security. As usual, the reform industry spokespeople are missing the larger point, the bigger picture. The truth is they based their reforms on high profile “turn arounds” in Atlanta and (especially) DC. If the scores in these places where they ran their experiments were bullshit, they “reformed” the US education system based on bullshit. They’re supposedly “data-driven” and most of them are billionaires. I shouldn’t have to point this out.

Hire an independent prosecutor like they did in Atlanta. Let’s find out. In the meantime, get a different opinion on “school reform.” Stop relying on the billionaires who backed this, the politicians who swallowed it without question, the hundreds of lobby shops who now exist because of it and the celebrities who promote it to evaluate it. They’re biased, they’re all in, they believe they are the “best and the brightest” and the top-tier analysts and executives are making a lot of money. It’s a recipe for disaster.