Got that Obama!

Who among us is surprised by this?

Sheriff’s deputies and investigators have broken a heroin distribution ring that dished out narcotics across more than half of Sullivan County.

<…>

The alleged dealers were pushing a variety of heroin that they called “Obama.” Chaboty said dealers are known to stamp the glassine wax paper that carries the heroin with brand names — like “Black Death” or “Blue Sunshine” — so that users can identify their preferred brands. This drug ring’s stamp happened to carry the new president’s surname.

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Chaboty said.

Real Life Imitates The Wire, Again: Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon Indicted

Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, frequently critical of The Wire for its “overly negative” portrayal of crime and corruption, was indicted today after a three-year investigation.

Dixon was charged with four counts of perjury and two counts of theft over $500, as well as theft under $500, fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and misconduct in office. The charges stem in part from gifts she received from former boyfriend and developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, who was also charged earlier this week.

A grand jury indicted Dixon on 12 counts, including four counts of perjury and two counts of theft over $500. She was also charged with theft under $500, fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and misconduct in office.

Dixon, a Democrat, has been the target of a nearly three-year probe by State Prosecutor Robert A. Rohrbaugh into corruption at City Hall, an investigation that has centered on allegations that Dixon has used her office to award lucrative contracts to various people including her sister, her then-boyfriend and her former campaign chairman.

Oh man, this doesn’t look good:

Some of the charges center on gift cards that Dixon received from two real estate developers. According to the indictment, Dixon told one of the developers that the gift cards were going to be distributed to needy families in Baltimore. Prosecutors say that in December 2005, when Dixon was City Council president, she used 19 of 20 Best Buy gift cards for herself, purchasing personal items, including a digital camcorder, a PlayStation 2 and other electronics.

Prosecutors say that in December 2006, she used Old Navy, Best Buy and other gift cards intended for needy families for an Xbox 360, a PlayStation Portable, clothes and other items for her own use.

More, from The Sun

Below, Mayor Dixon in happier times:

Life imitates The Wire? Maybe not…

The complete five season box set release has spawned some new Wire reviews and recs.

Ran across this article at CNN.com.   The reviewer offers high praise for the series but grew up in West Baltimore and says he feels The Wire is bleaker than the world he grew up in.

Why did Cutty give Dukie such a hopeless answer? Maybe it’s because some people who never lived in a neighborhood like “The Wire” confuse hopelessness for authenticity. Yeah, I could shock you with stories of violence, but it’s so easy to slip from revelation to titillation. I start off telling you a story about how tough my school was, and soon I’m shooting it out with five drug dealers who want to steal my homework.

But I never remember West Baltimore being so hopeless. A man like Cutty wouldn’t tell a young man that he had no way out — adults rallied around kids with potential.

I even checked with some childhood friends — one who is now an undercover police officer who literally works a “wire” for the Baltimore Police Department — and we all agreed that “The Wire’s” bleakness was exaggerated.

“They made it seem like we grew up in Bosnia,” my friend, another “Wire” fan, told me.

The writer points out another scene that did ring true for him, though.  Read the full article.

Life imitates The Wire, episode 11,876

Rachel Maddow had Princeton’s Melissa Harris-Lacewell on last night to discuss the drama surrounding seats in the US Senate opened by Obama’s appointments. Naturally, the discussion focused primarily on the Blagojevich scandal.  Watch the entire segment to hear Dr. Harris-Lacewell’s parting admonition:

View “Rachel Maddow video: Senate scramble

Bigger than the war

Defeated, gobsmacked and heartbroken.

Copy that.

Nate Fick at DNC 08-”It took seven years of hard experience to get me on this stage.”

Nate Fick was one of the early speakers in the line up for the Democratic National Convention’s final night at Invesco Stadium. He was one of the “American Voices,” a group of Americans selected to tell their stories during last night’s historic event.

Below, the text of Fick’s remarks.

Good afternoon. I’m Nathaniel Fick. My Marine platoon landed in Afghanistan on a moonlit night in 2001. A little more than a year later, we rolled into Iraq. I’ll never forget one dawn after a vicious gun battle. We’d just medevaced one of our wounded Marines, and I turned to see a small American flag hanging from a humvee’s antenna. For a second, it reminded me of the line we all know so well: “And our flag was still there.”

I registered as a Republican at 18 and voted for John McCain in 2000. It took seven years of hard experience to get me on this stage. But we cannot afford more of the same. That’s why we need Barack Obama and Joe Biden to lead us beyond the tired divisions of the past. They have the judgment to make the right decisions, leading our military, and uphold our highest ideals.

Everyone who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan has left something: a friend, a limb, a piece of their youth. In those palm groves and on those ridge lines, this is personal for us. I don’t want to retreat; I want to win.

The past seven years have been hard, often heartbreaking. Our flag, however, is still there. Let’s move forward in our quest to live up to the idea of America.

I can’t find a video of it on the DNC site yet, but I did see Fick speak. It was very moving. The part about everyone who was there “left something” reminded me of something that completely tore me up when I saw it during one of the video segments aired earlier during the convention: a young Marine spoke about how seeing the boots and helmets of  fallen comrades, arranged in lines for a memorial service, was so powerful for soldiers because they had each spent so much time living and fighting in those exact same uniforms, wearing those exact same boots.

Episode 6: Like fucking for virginity

Sorry so late. Satellite went out this week, I had to scramble.

Patrolling with NVGs on, Kocher and his team snatch up a lone armed Iraqi. Aside from interrupting the guy taking a dump, which I don’t think the Geneva Conventions covers anyway, it’s by the book.  Then Captain America comes flying over the the side of the berm like he was shot of cannon and fucks everything up, because yeah, that unarmed guy Kocher’s now got cuffed and is pushing in front of him?  Yeah, that guy was trying to kill Eric, man!

Just in case anyone had a doubt, Captain America has lost his fucking mind. Officially. The guys in his platoon aren’t even bothering to talk behind his back about him anymore. Though, the guy who tells him his hamster’s jumped the wheel does call him “Sir.”

Thus opens the next-to-the-last episode, Stay Frosty.  Frosty, because, see?  Captain America, hell, everyone, not so frosty. Get it?  I’ll just say here at the beginning, that therein is my problem with the episode.  Too much telling, not enough showing.  No stray unconnected dots, pretty much every punch is telegraphed. A few examples:

Manimal being a dog to the Iraqi woman on the roadside/Manimal being a bigger dog to the female Marine later.

Exposition about the Iraqis using helmets to escape detection by thermals/Gabe finds an Iraqi helmet/his team gets shot at by the reservists.

Unnamed character out of nowhere shoehorned into scene so that we completely understand about the reservists about to show up.

Just like every other time I have a negative criticism of anything Simon/Burns & Co have done, I feel like a schmuck for saying so, because they are who they are and have done all the awesome they’ve done, and I’m sitting on my couch, barely able to crank out a post per show.   Nonetheless, this episode felt off-target, not of a piece with the others. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it.

Of course, it’s still pretty great…

The scene of Colbert dancing or flying or whatever he was doing was the highlight. Wonderful, though it would have been perfection without the exposition between Ray and Evan. Still, there was enough wtf? left in, and jesus did we ever need a palate cleanser right there after the dee-secration of the filtration dee-vice scene. Now we know why Sixta exists.  Because when you routinely condition people to act like violent animals, well, they aren’t going to stay inside the lines and someone has to be there to kick them in the head and make them stop. Remember Ray’s reference to pit bulls?  I once saw a pit bull attack another dog. There were dozens of people around, some of whom tried their best to separate the dogs but the pit bull was like a machine without an off switch.  Then two guys ran up with their cooler and threw the ice, freezing water, cans of beer, all of it, on the dogs and that did the trick.  That’s what Sixta is for.

Is it just me, or did anyone else have the same sick feeling at that first long shot of the refugees on the road, like any second we were going to see them blown up by an artillery attack?  That rubber band just keeps twisting and twisting and twisting all through that scene, aaaaaand sure enough, there goes an old man’s head.   You have to feel for these soldiers, I guess, because any man, woman, child, or small animal in their vicinity seems to die violently no matter what they do.  I mean they are supposed to be expert killers, not killing people by accident. Which, of course, is one of the things this episode hit us over the head with.  We’ve seen it every week, so we didn’t need Poke and Ice Man to spell it all out for us.

That’s what Stay Frosty was about though, more than anything. Drive around the head, run over the body.  You can’t win. Simultaneously blowing the shit out of a country and saving it at the same time is pretty close to impossible, especially when the whole premise is a lie to begin with, especially when you don’t do it with enough personnel and resources, and especially when even the good guys have to throw away the rule book because it’s irrelevant because…see beginning of sentence, and repeat.   Eight thousand Sixtas couldn’t unfuck things at this point, and remember: this is only a month in.

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