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“Get Out of Jail Free” Cards

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In the movies I’ve seen people who try to get out of a traffic ticket by telling the police officer they made a donation to the policeman’s ball, but those were comedies. I had no idea that not only does this exist there are official cards. In fact, the police in New York are livid that the number of cards is being limited:

The city’s police-officers union is cracking down on the number of “get out of jail free” courtesy cards distributed to cops to give to family and friends.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch slashed the maximum number of cards that could be issued to current cops from 30 to 20, and to retirees from 20 to 10, sources told The Post.

The cards are often used to wiggle out of minor trouble such as speeding tickets, the theory being that presenting one suggests you know someone in the NYPD.

The rank and file is livid.

“They are treating active members like s–t, and retired members even worse than s–t,” griped an NYPD cop who retired on disability. “All the cops I spoke to were . . . very disappointed they couldn’t hand them out as Christmas gifts.”

A Christmas gift of institutionalized corruption.

Here’s another article on these cards which just gets all the more stunning.

First, there are tiers of cards. Silver cards are the highest honor given to citizens. It’s almost universally honored by officers, and can also help save money on insurance. Gold PBA cards are only given to police officers and their families. You’d be hard-pressed finding a cop who won’t honor a gold card.

Gold and silver cards! It gets better. You can buy these cards on eBay. Here’s a gold New Jersey card on sale for $114. A silver “family member” shield goes for $299. Some of these are probably fake. The gold and silver are rare but remember, cops get 20 to 30 regular cards so you can see why they might be upset at losing them.

The regular cards have become more common as NYC hires more police. The union may in fact be trying to bump up its monopoly profit by restricting supply.

The cards don’t just go to family members. The rot is deep:

Union officials say the cards are also public relations tools and tokens of appreciation handed out to politicians, judges, lawyers, businessmen, civil service workers and members of the news media.

A retired police officer on Quora explains how the privilege is enforced:

The officer who is presented with one of these cards will normally tell the violator to be more careful, give the card back, and send them on their way.

…The other option is potentially more perilous. The enforcement officer can issue the ticket or make the arrest in spite of the courtesy card. This is called “writing over the card.” There is a chance that the officer who issued the card will understand why the enforcement officer did what he did, and nothing will come of it. However, it is equally possible that the enforcement officer’s zeal will not be appreciated, and the enforcement officer will come to work one day to find his locker has been moved to the parking lot and filled with dog excrement.

He’s not kidding. Here is what seems like a real police officer on a cop chat room (from Mimesis law)

It’s important for me to get in touch with shield [omitted] and ask him why he felt it necessary to say “I’m not even going to look at that” to my PBA card and proceed [sic] to write a speeding ticket on the Bronx River Parkway yesterday afternoon to my fukking WIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll show him the courtesy he so sorely lacks by not posting his name on a public forum.

Any help would be appreciated.  Please inbox me.

I will find you.

I find these cards especially odious as more and more police are funding themselves through fines and forfeitures. Discriminatory taxation increases the tax rate. It’s one rule for the ruler and another for the ruled.

The cards are not a secret but I agree with my colleague Mark Koyama who remarked:

Sometimes you find out something about the country you live in that makes it appear little better than a corrupt, tinpot, banana republic.

The post “Get Out of Jail Free” Cards appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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skorgu
17 hours ago
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What surprises me is that this surprises people. PBA cards have been well known in my circles since the 80s.
karmakaze
2 hours ago
Someone in my circles has had one of the gold ones since the 80's (though he no longer lives in state).
wmorrell
19 hours ago
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Police are just another gang, part 8179.
duerig
19 hours ago
Too often, people in power are held to a lower standard than others. But in a just society, they must be held to a higher standard instead. Whether it is cops and traffic tickets or bosses and workplace romance. The price of power should be increased scrutiny and decreased freedom of action.
hannahdraper
4 hours ago
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Washington, DC
vitormazzi
5 hours ago
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Brasil
fxer
10 hours ago
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Bend, Oregon
acdha
14 hours ago
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Washington, DC
popular
16 hours ago
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2 public comments
StunGod
18 hours ago
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Of course this is a thing. We don't have equal justice, we have discretionary justice for sale.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
JimB
18 hours ago
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You have to hope that this is fake news. Corruption is bad news.

Universal Dreams

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"That's ... unsettling." "Yeah, those definitely don't sound like the normal drea– LATITUDE THREE FIVE POINT..."
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popular
3 days ago
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rjstegbauer
5 days ago
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I've had the flying dream and exam dream, but not the undiscovered room dream. What's that about?
DrGaellon
5 days ago
Fear of things missed or forgotten
MaryEllenCG
5 days ago
Never had a flying dream or an undiscovered room dream, but I do have recurring dreams about my teeth all falling out.
HarlandCorbin
5 days ago
Used to have the falling dream. Would always wake with a jump when I hit the ground, but I did remember hitting the ground.
rjstegbauer
5 days ago
Why would many people have these common dreams?
duerig
3 days ago
The worst one is the 'dreaming that you woke up, went through your morning routine or did some unpleasant chore' dream. Because inevitably you wake up and realize that you have to do all those things all over again.
MaryEllenCG
3 days ago
Yeah!! I hate those dreams.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - A Window

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Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Hovertext:
Later, God paints a tunnel on a brick wall and convinces you to run full speed into it.

New comic!
Today's News:

Hey geeks! Just 10 days to get your BAHFest proposals in!

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popular
5 days ago
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acdha
6 days ago
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Washington, DC
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Google Memory Loss

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I think Google has stopped indexing the older parts of the Web. I think I can prove it. Google’s competition is doing better.

Evidence

This isn’t just a proof, it’s a rock-n-roll proof. Back in 2006, I published a review of Lou Reed’s Rock n Roll Animal album. Back in 2008, Brent Simmons published That New Sound, about The Clash’s London Calling. Here’s a challenge: Can you find either of these with Google? Even if you read them first and can carefully conjure up exact-match strings, and then use the “site:” prefix? I can’t.

[Update: Now you can, because this piece went a little viral. But you sure couldn’t earlier in the day.]

Why?

Obviously, indexing the whole Web is crushingly expensive, and getting more so every day. Things like 10+-year-old music reviews that are never updated, no longer accept comments, are lightly if at all linked-to outside their own site, and rarely if ever visited… well, let’s face it, Google’s not going to be selling many ads next to search results that turn them up. So from a business point of view, it’s hard to make a case for Google indexing everything, no matter how old and how obscure.

My pain here is purely personal; I freely confess that I’d been using Google’s global infrastructure as my own personal search index for my own personal publications. But the pain is real; I frequently mine my own history to re-use, for example in constructing the current #SongOfTheDay series.

Competition

Bing can find it! DuckDuckGo can too! Both of them can find Brent’s London Calling piece, too.

What Google cares about

It cares about giving you great answers to the questions that matter to you right now. And I find that if I type in a question, even something complicated and obscure, Google often surprises me with a timely, accurate answer. They’ve never claimed to index every word on every page.

My mental model of the Web is as a permanent, long-lived store of humanity’s intellectual heritage. For this to be useful, it needs to be indexed, just like a library. Google apparently doesn’t share that view.

What I’m going to do

When I have a question I want answered, I’ll probably still go to Google. When I want to find a specific Web page and I think I know some of the words it contains, I won’t any more, I’ll pick Bing or DuckDuckGo.

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wreichard
6 days ago
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I so miss the old days of Altavista and hotbot and all the engines that actually found different things and the sense maybe that something like everything was being found. Today you search for something and get 10 pages of garbage variations of the same thing. Almost none of it useful information.
Earth
cjmcnamara
7 days ago
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"My mental model of the Web is as a permanent, long-lived store of humanity’s intellectual heritage. For this to be useful, it needs to be indexed, just like a library. Google apparently doesn’t share that view."

Huh, interesting to reconsider Google's original aim "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful." If not a mega-library, tough to find some other useful metaphor.
popular
6 days ago
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JayM
7 days ago
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Atlanta, GA
skittone
7 days ago
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matthewjmiller
6 days ago
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Yiiikes. I'm glad this favors DuckDuckGo, though, which I love.
STL, with Nebraska in my heart

Congressional Democrats have so little faith in Trump's leadership that they've awarded him the power to conduct limitless, warrantless mass surveillance of Americans

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When Congress voted last week to renew the NSA's controversial Section 702 powers, which gives the spy agency the power to conduct mass, secret, warrantless surveillance on Americans, they also voted down a bipartisan amendment that would have limited the president's ability to abuse these powers, injecting the barest minimum of accountability and proportionality into a system that Republican and Democratic presidents alike have abused for decades. (more…)

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wreichard
8 days ago
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Our system really just can't conceive of someone as inept and corrupt as Donald Trump. It's a pretty substantial flaw.
Earth
popular
6 days ago
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toddgrotenhuis
6 days ago
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Indianapolis
skittone
7 days ago
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sirshannon
8 days ago
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How Haiti became poor

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haiti.jpg

In case you missed it, the President of the United States called Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries “shitholes,” then pretended like he didn’t say it, but basically said it all over again.

This matters not just because it’s racist (the President is racist, in fact, he is professionally racist), because it’s vulgar (“shithole,” one of the all-time great swear words, is forever sullied by this), and because it’s catastrophically bad for foreign and domestic relations. It matters in part because of the history of Haiti, and the history of racist discourse about Haiti.

Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, a professor of education and scholar who’s closely studied these narratives, writes:

The reason why White nationalists like 45 always name Haiti because the Haitian nation & people are unique. Haiti defeated Napoleon, threw off the chains of slavery, and exposed the lie of White supremacy & European imperialism. So there’s no end to their hatred for Haiti.

Jonathan Katz, a journalist and former AP correspondent in Haiti who wrote The Big Truck That Went By about Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic that followed, has a longer thread spelling out how these narratives about Haiti were generated and how they work. Here’s a thick excerpt:

In order to do a victory lap around the GDP difference between, say, Norway and Haiti, you have to know nothing about the history of the world. That includes, especially, knowing nothing real about the history of the United States… You’d have to not know that the French colony that became Haiti provided the wealth that fueled the French Empire — and 2/3 of the sugar and 3/4 of the coffee that Europe consumed…

You’d have to not realize that Haiti was founded in a revolution against that system, and that European countries and the United States punished them for their temerity by refusing to recognize or trade with them for decades. You’d then have to not know that Haiti was forced to borrow some money to pay back that ridiculous debt, some of it from banks in the United States. And you’d have to not know that in 1914 those banks got President Wilson to send the US Marines to empty the Haitian gold reserve… [You’d] have to not know about the rest of the 20th century either—the systematic theft and oppression, US support for dictators and coups, the US invasions of Haiti in 1994-95 and 2004…

In short, you’d have to know nothing about WHY Haiti is poor (or El Salvador in kind), and WHY the United States (and Norway) are wealthy. But far worse than that, you’d have to not even be interested in asking the question. And that’s where they really tell on themselves… Because what they are showing is that they ASSUME that Haiti is just naturally poor, that it’s an inherent state borne of the corruption of the people there, in all senses of the word.

And let’s just say out loud why that is: It’s because Haitians are black.

Racists have needed Haiti to be poor since it was founded. They pushed for its poverty. They have celebrated its poverty. They have tried to profit from its poverty. They wanted it to be a shithole. And they still do.

If Haiti is a shithole, then they can say that black freedom and sovereignty are bad. They can hold it up as proof that white countries—and what’s whiter than Norway—are better, because white people are better. They wanted that in 1804, and in 1915, and they want it now.

The history of Haiti is weird because it is absurdly well-documented, yet totally poorly known. It’s hard not to attribute that to ideology. We don’t teach the Haitian Revolution the way we teach the American, or the French, or the Mexican, because it’s a complicated story. Kids are more likely to hear variations of “Haiti formed a pact with the devil to defeat Napoleon” (this is real thing, I swear) than Toussaint Louverture’s or Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s names.

Also, while Haiti’s revolution was an early, signature event in world history-the first time a European power would be overthrown by an indigenous army (but not the last)-the causes of Haiti’s poverty are basically identical with those of almost every poor nation around the world: a history of exploitation, bad debt, bad geopolitics, and bad people profiting off of that poverty (almost all of them living elsewhere). And this is basically true about poverty in American cities as well (with all the same attendant racist myths).

Some recommended reading:

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wreichard
10 days ago
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Haiti is what the current capitalist system produces as its scapegoat. It’s an ongoing crime of conscience.
Earth
duerig
10 days ago
The Revolutions podcast goes into absurd and fascinating detail about different revolutions throughout history. While it has gone through some more famous ones (like the French Revolution), I think one of the best seasons was about the Haitian revolution. It also highlights the complicated history between the US and Haiti. And the morally complicated decisions made both by the revolutionaries themselves and outsiders (whether French or from the US).
wreichard
10 days ago
Hear hear. Will definitely look that up--thanks.
fxer
9 days ago
glad someone mentioned Mike Duncan's Revolutions podcast series on Haiti, it is really fantastic
popular
9 days ago
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acdha
10 days ago
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Washington, DC
zippy72
9 days ago
Paul Foot's remarkable lecture on Toussaint Louverture was fascinating and that was what started me being interested in Haitian history: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt4hxbkfibU
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