Robo-vigilantes are a unique solution to the problem of "undesirables" congregating near one's property, but regardless of the results or intent, this sort of thing is illegal. I kind of wish it wasn't, but hosing people down to make them go away when you aren't the cops is clearly an assault.
The police power is an aspect of sovereign authority, and as such any attempt by persons who are not agents of the sovereign to exercise any kind of police power will usually be illegal. Security systems are one thing, but this isn't that. The fact that the locals call the thing the "bum-bot" shows what's really going on here: the property owners don't like the homeless. It's hard to blame them for that, but homeless people are allowed to exist, and they have to do that somewhere.
...but the courtroom scene last night was just awful. People quibble about this season's presentation of the newsroom, and I would tend to agree that the characters there are the flattest and least interesting.
But when Clay Davis finally goes up on trial, it's just shameful (no spoilers to follow, for those who care). I've now sat through two trial advocacy courses, not taken them mind you, just watched them, and even I know that the incompetence we observed in last night's episode would get even the lowest state's attorney fired. You do not let the witness speechify like that. The witness may answer the questions put to him by the attorneys, but in general he may not pontificate, orate, or otherwise offer information which has not been asked of him. You have a bit more leeway on direct than on cross-examination, but of you wander too far from the scope of the question, opposing counsel will shut you down.
And that's not all. A politically-sensitive case like this one should take weeks. Voir dire, i.e. jury selection, will probably take a week, and it's likely that no one from West Baltimore would have been eligible to serve on the jury. The state would have presented at least a week's worth of evidence, especially considering just how long they spent gathering it, and the defense would spend almost that long rebutting it. This case, including voir dire, opening arguments for both sides, presentation of evidence, closing arguments, and jury deliberation, took one day. Completely unbelievable.
Given all of that, the verdict really isn't important. It's inherently incredible.
It's an absolutely hilarious takedown of everything pretentious, self-important, condescending, and irrational about upper-middle-class white people. I'll admit to being guilty of a few of these myself, but on the whole the lifestyle described requires far more money than I've got (or, as seems more and more likely, will ever have).
Some excerpts (errors in original):
#40: Apple Products:
"On the surface, you would ask yourself, how is that white people love a multi-billion dollar company with manufacturing plants in China, mass production, and that contributes to global pollution through the manufacture of consumer electronic devices?
Simple answer: Apple products tell the world you are creative and unique. They are an exclusive product line only used by every white college student, designer, writer, English teacher, and hipster on the planet."
#44: Public Radio:
"White people love staions like NPR (which is equivalent to listening to cardboard), and they love shows like This American Life and Democracy Now. This confuses immigrants from the third world. The see the need for radio as a source for sports, top 40 radio and traffic reports but they don’t quite understand why people who can afford TVs and have access to Youtube, would spend hours listening to the opinions of overeducated arts majors."
#47: Arts Degrees:
"These degrees enable white people to spend four yeas of their lives reading books, writing papers and feeling great about themselves. It is a known fact that Arts students firmly believe that they are doing you/society a favor by not getting a job and reading Proust. They use this to protest for reduced tuition, more money for the arts, and special reduced student rates on things like bus passes.
But what about the white people who study Science, Engineering or Business? Unless they become doctors, they essentially lose white person status (and can only be regained by working at a non-profit)."
#48: Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops:
"These stores are excellent for bringing children, as there is nothing that they actually want.
“Oh, mommy, look chocolate!”
“No Joshua, that’s carob.”
“I want it.”
The child will then take a bite and realize that nothing in the store can be trusted."
So there's this phenomenon in Britain right how where women will "adopt" ultra-realistic life-sized baby dolls and treat them like real children. There's a video documentary on the subject, though only the first clip is currently available online.
I'm not sure I can express just how much this creeps me out.
Archbishop Rowan Williams is saying, on the record, that not only is UK adoption of Sharia law "unavoidable," but that it would be a good thing. And I quote, "Muslims should not have to choose between 'the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty.'"
Yes, actually, you do. States, particularly representative ones, cannot exist without a cohesive social fabric. The idea that Sharia does not represent an "alien and rival system" is complete lunacy.
I tend to think that a fence along the Mexican border is a reasonably good idea. So when I heard that the President of the University of Texas Brownsville had denied an entry request from US Customs and Border Protection to survey in preparation for construction, my first thought was "Damn hippies."
Yeah, not so much. Check the map. The proposed fence would cut the campus in half, leaving their golf course and International, Technology, Education and Commerce Campus on the wrong side of the fence. Not cool.
So my new thought is that I'm in favor of a fence along the Mexican border, but I'd kind of like it to actually be on the border.
He got off on the tax fraud and conspiracy charges. The jury apparently believed that he was misled by his co-defendants, who they convicted on all counts. That's something anyways. Could be worse. The real bastards go to jail, and Snipes was convicted of not filing tax returns. That's something anyways.
The sooner we lock up all these crazies the better.