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Campaign Worker Arrested After IDing His Candidate As Democrat

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Here’s a troubling story out of Texas. Mike Siegel is running against Rep. Michael T. McCaul in Texas’s 10th district. This evening I saw a tweet from Siegel which said: “Just learned that my field director was arrested while delivering our letter. He told police he was working for me and the officer asked, “what party is he?” Now Jacob is under 48 hour investigatory detention in Waller County.”

That didn’t seem right, especially the part about getting arrested after being asked what party he’s affiliated with. So I managed to get Siegel on the phone to get some more details.

In the 10th district, there’s a historical black university called Prairie View A&M University. There’s a long history of the local county government (Waller County) trying to prevent the students from voting. There was even a big Supreme Court case about it in 1979. This year there’s a new controversy which has put a new set of obstacles in the way of the students voting.

As Mike Siegel explained to me, Siegel’s campaign wrote a letter proposing a solution to the problem and sent a campaign staffer, Jacob Aronowitz, to deliver to the County Courthouse in Waller County. In Texas, the County Judge (in this case Waller County Judge Carbett “Trey” J. Duhon III) is actually the county executive, not a judge as we usually use the word. In any case, Aronowitz presented the letter to a member of the County Clerk’s staff and then took a picture of himself submitting the letter as a sort of proof of service. It’s not clear whether this was County Clerk Debbie Hollan or another member of the clerk’s office. Whoever it was got upset that he’d taken a picture and called over a bailiff – she apparently thought her privacy had been violated by taking the photograph.

By this time, Aronowitz is walking out of the courthouse, with his mission accomplished when he’s stopped by a county sheriff’s deputy who asks who he is and what he’s doing. Soon enough Aronowitz surrounded by a court bailiff, a sheriff’s deputy and a city police officer. Aronowitz asks whether he is free to go or whether he’s under arrest. He also calls the candidate, Mike Siegel, who’s also a civil rights attorney. So Siegel is listening to the conversation and advising Aronowitz what to do he’s questioned and not allowed to leave.

Siegel didn’t say this to me in so many words. But from his description of the back and forth, it seems like that the law enforcement officers weren’t happy with Aronowitz but weren’t clear what exactly they could charge him with or if they could arrest him. After explaining what he was at the courthouse to do and then identifying himself, one of the officers asked Aronowitz which party his candidate was with.

Aronowitz told them Siegel was a Democrat. A couple minutes later the phone went dead and Aronowitz was placed under arrest for what he was told was “48 hour investigative detention.”

Notably, Siegel heard the party identification question himself, he tells, because he was on Aronowitz’s speaker phone through the whole exchange.

A local lawyer was called in and Aronowitz was released a relatively short time later. But that wasn’t the end of it. He was charged with a misdemeanor for failing to identify himself to a law enforcement officer – something Siegel said he heard Aronowitz do prior to being arrested. His court date, ironically, is November 7th, the day after election day.

I reached out to the County Clerk’s office for an explanation for why Aronowitz was arrested but haven’t received a response. I’ll update this post when I do.

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greglopp
8 days ago
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Houston, TX
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The Harriet Tubman $20 Stamp

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Frustrated that the US Treasury Department is walking back plans to replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman, Dano Wall created a 3D-printed stamp that can be used to transform Jacksons into Tubmans on the twenties in your pocketbook.

Tubman $20 Stamp

Here’s a video of the stamp in action. Wall told The Awesome Foundation a little bit about the genesis of the project:

I was inspired by the news that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and subsequently saddened by the news that the Trump administration was walking back that plan. So I created a stamp to convert Jacksons into Tubmans myself. I have been stamping $20 bills and entering them into circulation for the last year, and gifting stamps to friends to do the same.

If you have access to a 3D printer (perhaps at your local library or you can also use a online 3D printing service), you can download the print files at Thingiverse and make your own stamp for use at home.

Wall also posted a link to some neat prior art: suffragettes in Britain modifying coins with a “VOTES FOR WOMEN” slogan in the early 20th century.

Votes For Women Coin

Update: Several men on Twitter are helpfully pointing out that, in their inexpert legal opinion, defacing bills in this way is illegal. Here’s what the law says (emphasis mine):

Defacement of currency is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code. Under this provision, currency defacement is generally defined as follows: Whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

The “with intent” bit is important, I think. The FAQ for a similar project has a good summary of the issues involved.

But we are putting political messages on the bills, not commercial advertisements. Because we all want these bills to stay in circulation and we’re stamping to send a message about an issue that’s important to us, it’s legal!

I’m not a lawyer, but as long as your intent isn’t to render these bills “unfit to be reissued”, you’re in the clear. Besides, if civil disobedience doesn’t stray into the gray areas of the law, is it really disobedience? (via @patrick_reames)

Update: Adafruit did an extensive investigation into the legality of this project. Their conclusion? “The production of the instructional video and the stamping of currency are both well within the law.”

Tags: 3D printing   Andrew Jackson   currency   Dano Wall   Harriet Tubman   legal   remix
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greglopp
27 days ago
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Houston, TX
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kbrint
18 days ago
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Nice.
jsled
30 days ago
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hell yeah.
South Burlington, Vermont

Pontevedra, Spain, has banned automobiles

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Not just on a boulevard or two, but for all of the central city.
Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores has been mayor of the Galician city since 1999. His philosophy is simple: owning a car doesn’t give you the right to occupy the public space.

“How can it be that the elderly or children aren’t able to use the street because of cars?” asks César Mosquera, the city’s head of infrastructures. “How can it be that private property – the car – occupies the public space?”

Lores became mayor after 12 years in opposition, and within a month had pedestrianised all 300,000 sq m of the medieval centre, paving the streets with granite flagstones. “The historical centre was dead,” he says. “There were a lot of drugs, it was full of cars – it was a marginal zone. It was a city in decline, polluted, and there were a lot of traffic accidents. It was stagnant. Most people who had a chance to leave did so. At first we thought of improving traffic conditions but couldn’t come up with a workable plan. Instead we decided to take back the public space for the residents and to do this we decided to get rid of cars.”

They stopped cars crossing the city and got rid of street parking, as people looking for a place to park is what causes the most congestion. They closed all surface car parks in the city centre and opened underground ones and others on the periphery, with 1,686 free places. They got rid of traffic lights in favour of roundabouts, extended the car-free zone from the old city to the 18th-century area, and used traffic calming in the outer zones to bring the speed limit down to 30km/h.
Details at The Guardian.
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greglopp
28 days ago
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Houston, TX
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A Win for Justice

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Congratulations to the Institute for Justice for an important victory against the abuse of civil asset forfeiture:

Today, the Institute for Justice dismantled one of the nation’s largest and most egregious civil forfeiture programs.  For decades, Philadelphia’s forfeiture machine terrorized its citizens:  throwing them out of their homes without notice, seizing their cars and other property, and forcing victims to navigate a rigged kangaroo court system to have any chance of getting their property back.  And the property and money forfeited was then given to the very officials who were supposed to be fairly enforcing the law.
After four long years of litigation, IJ cemented a victory for all Philadelphians this morning with two binding consent decrees in which city officials agreed to reforms that:
    1.  Sharply limit when Philadelphia law enforcement can forfeit property;
    2.  Prevent law enforcement from keeping what they seize;
    3.  Establish robust protections for the due process rights of citizens; and
    4.  Create a $3 million fund to compensate innocent people who were ensnared by the city’s abusive system.
My paper, To Serve and Collect (with Makowsky and Stratmann) suggests that this victory will not only reduce civil asset forfeiture it will also change police behavior and decision-making, altering the number, type, and racial composition of arrests.

The post A Win for Justice appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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greglopp
29 days ago
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Houston, TX
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kbrint
29 days ago
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Fuck civil asset forfeiture.

Vietnamese people “learn” how to make pho from American recipes

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From Jenny Yang’s Bad Appetite series, a group of Vietnamese critique questionable recipes for phở from American recipe sites that, for instance, try to substitute daikon radish for the noodles?

Politely, to not hurt your feelings, I’ll eat it.

The title is wrong. The whole thing, the recipe is fine. You want to eat, whatever, you cook it. Not with that name. Wrong name. Rename it. This one’s “Japanese soup”.

Don’t skip the last third of this. After politely dissing the recipes, Yang’s subjects talk about the importance of food in Vietnamese culture and share stories of how they came to the United States.

See also Koreans Learn to Make Kimchi from Brad at Bon Appetit.

Tags: food   Jenny Yang   video   Vietnam
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greglopp
65 days ago
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Houston, TX
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jepler
60 days ago
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this was great! There only seem to be two, the other is specifically about Brad's kimchi...
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm

An entomologist rates ant emojis

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Ant Emoji Ratings

An entomologist rates the ant emoji from a number of services including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter. You can check out more reviews here.

Tags: ants   emoji
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greglopp
67 days ago
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Houston, TX
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emdot
91 days ago
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<3
San Luis Obispo, CA
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