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With four or five massive arson incidents involving new apartment construction in Oakland, CA recently, I’m reminded of the most spectacular structure (as opposed to brush) fire in recent Los Angeles history. On December 8, 2014, up in flames went the half-finished Da Vinci apartment complex alongside the Hollywood and Harbor Freeways downtown, near the Cathedral and the Japanese robot from outer space high school.

The developer, who has erected a number of giant semi-luxury apartment complexes downtown, was unpopular with city officials, NGOs, and the media for not catering to “affordable housing” and building slightly cheesy Mediterranean-style buildings that appeal to Asians from Orange County. The city sued the victim for $20 million for damage to city property caused by the heat, eventually settling for a mere $400,000.

Anyway, in all the Affordable Housing maneuvering, the story of who, precisely, committed this spectacular arson and why pretty much got lost. I only found out this week that the arsonist had already been convicted. From the LA Weekly:

Why Did an Arsonist Target One of DTLA’s Most Reviled Buildings?
MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016 AT 7:32 A.M. BY HILLEL ARON

Even before he gave $2 million to a pro–Donald Trump super PAC, Geoffrey H. Palmer was among the most hated developers in Los Angeles.

The people may have forgiven him for accidentally demolishing the last of the 1880s Queen Anne Victorian houses from Bunker Hill (his lawyers said it was an accident); they may have forgiven him for successfully suing to overturn a state law forcing new apartment buildings to provide below-market affordable housing. But forgive him his architecture, they could not.

Though he owns a number of anonymous-looking apartment buildings throughout Southern California, Palmer is best known for his Renaissance Collection, a chain of a dozen or so nearly identical compounds built on the periphery of downtown Los Angeles. Their faux-Mediterranean aesthetic strikes many as cheap, out-of-place, something better suited for Orange County, while the concrete façades of their ground floors deaden the adjacent streets. …

As for a motive, investigators initially focused on Geoff Palmer.

“There’s a lot of people in L.A. that do not like his architectural style,” LAPD Detective Peter Lee says. “It’s not really L.A.-looking, it’s more Mediterranean. There’s a lot of hate.”

… The day after the Da Vinci burned down, commenters on the website Curbed L.A., a local real estate blog that has dubbed Palmer “the worst developer in downtown L.A.,” were positively giddy. “Karmic justice,” one called it. “An act of God — even he couldn’t stand what Palmer is doing to L.A.,” another wrote.

Another comment simply read: “One down….”

But it soon became clear that the man suspected of burning the building knew nothing of Palmer, and that if he did set the fire, it was inspired — perhaps vaguely — by the fatal police shooting of the unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

As one official quipped, “There are probably a million people who wanted to burn down that developer’s building. He just wasn’t one of them.”

It turned out that the arsonist was Dawud Abdulwali, formerly Timothy Roston, an African American career criminal / club promotion operator who picked up his Arab name when he converted to Islam in prison. (I wouldn’t be surprised if he is part Japanese, like L.A. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Abdulwali had a wife from Japan and seems to have had some kind of yakuza drug smuggling ties.)

There was video footage of his car, his license plate showed up on many devices around downtown that record plates, and his cell phone pinged off towers at the scene of the crime at the moment the fire started. In general, the technology these days makes it hard to get away with crimes.

One of the first things investigators did after identifying Abdulwali as a suspect was to send him a friend request on Facebook, which Abdulwali accepted. …

But other posts revealed that he had a political side. On Nov. 25, 2014, he posted a number of photos from a protest in downtown L.A., near USC, following the decision of a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, to not file charges against Darren Wilson, the police officer who’d shot Michael Brown, a black, unarmed teenager.

One photo depicts Abdulwali wearing a blue tracksuit, holding a large yellow sign with bright red letters reading, “Stop killer cops!”

Other posts proved more incriminating. On Dec. 9, a friend posted a photo of the Da Vinci, engulfed in flames.

“Maybe we oughta worry about who set the fire,” someone commented.

“Or why they set the fire!” Abdulwali responded.

Abdulwali then shared the photo, writing above, “Things are only gonna get worse!!!”

On Dec. 23, he posted the following rant:

“I wonder how many crooked cops (f***ing pigs) have to be slaughtered or how many buildings have to be burned to the ground before the DA of the U.S. gets it right. Another pig gets a pass from the DA’s office for shooting a mentally challenged black man over a dozen times and killing him. Of course the pigs feared for — I am sorry, of course the pig feared for his life and claimed self-defense. Smh.”

Friends and acquaintances of Abdulwali lent credence to the theory that he’d set the fire as an act of political protest. Popaul Tshimanga recalled — first to police, and then to the court during Abdulwali’s preliminary hearing — being at a party with Abdulwali the week after the fire.

It was a small affair, Tshimanga said, in a room at the Hollywood Holiday Inn. There was a jacuzzi in the room, and a few girls, maybe seven people in total. They were drinking, smoking weed, snorting cocaine, and the conversation turned to the Michael Brown killing.

“He was mad about it,” Tshimanga told the court. “He didn’t like the way the cops was killing black people.” Then, Tshimanga recalled, Abdulwali said “he burned a building.” …

“Yeah,” said Tshimanga, who lives in San Francisco. “103 or 105 or something like that. 110. Like in the freeway.”

The 110 is the Harbor Freeway next to the Da Vinci.

So this huge arson incident appears to be BLM-related terrorism. But BLM terrorism isn’t really a conceptual category that we are encouraged to possess.

So the bad news is that political arson seems to have become a Thing in America recently. The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.

 
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  1. David K says:

    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can’t read articles anymore without this “feature” getting in the way.

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    • Replies: @theo the kraut
    On the desktop it hogs the double-click mouse action to select text, you have to select it carefully with the cursor. (Ron is hot shit anyway--keep up the good work!)
    , @Frau Katze
    On an iPad this appears if you click on the text. I just ignore it. But I can appreciate that on an iPhone it might be worse.

    It doesn't bother me the way the "View all posts" that appears as an action while you are in a selected thread.

    It should go not to post #1 but to the post that you selected that option on.

    It really wrecks my ability to follow complex threads because I know I can't use "this thread". Unless I feel like scrolling down through dozens of posts.

    My right arm arthritis is bad enough as it is.
    , @Percy Gryce
    Yes, I wanted to quote a line of Steve's and it's now not possible to copy from mobile.
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  2. Thomas says:

    So the bad news is that political arson seems to have become a Thing in America recently. The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.

    I wonder if that latter part matters. I’m not sure how deterrable the kinds of characters who would engage in political arson are. A serial arsonist, like the one probably operating in Oakland, might be a more serious kind of problem worth disrupting early though.

    One thing that’s come up in discussion of the recent Oakland fire is that wood frame construction (e.g., not using masonry above the first couple floors) has become predominant now because it’s cheaper. The problem from a fire-prevention standpoint is that until the building is finished and the wood framing covered in fire-retardant sheetrock and rigged up with fire sprinklers, you basically have a big tinderbox sitting there. Will arson spur a change in construction or at least fire prevention and security strategies around construction sites?

    Read More
    • Replies: @ic1000
    > The problem [with wood-frame construction] from a fire-prevention standpoint is that until the building is finished and the wood framing covered in fire-retardant sheetrock and rigged up with fire sprinklers, you basically have a big tinderbox sitting there.

    Good point. There are an increasing number of four and five story 'masonry' apartment and condo complexes around here, as well. Having watched them being built, they are instead brick-faced wood-frame construction.

    The code's reasoning must be as you say, that sprinklers etc. make these sufficiently fire resistant once completed and occupied.

    Still, one might occasionally wonder if anything could possibly go wrong. In LA, for example, have there ever been earthquakes, and if so, have they ever caused water main breaks?
    , @Jack D
    The biggest fire in decades in my area was an unfinished apartment complex of this type. It was sparks from a welder's torch, not arson. It smoldered until everyone went home for the night. It then spread to a finished complex across the street which also burned despite having sprinklers (no sprinklers on the roof where the burning embers landed). They probably should keep a watchman on these buildings while they are under construction if over a certain size.
    , @The preferred nomenclature is...
    I like my freedom so I absolutely HATE the surveillance society and do NOT call it good news. I do not care one iota that any crime is solved with this total Big Brother society. Give me my privacy back and let me worry about staying out of harms way.

    Mr. Sailer I very rarely disagree with you but in this case I most certainly do.
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  3. Clyde says:
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  4. @David K
    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can't read articles anymore without this "feature" getting in the way.

    http://i.imgur.com/eVLyCTq.jpg

    On the desktop it hogs the double-click mouse action to select text, you have to select it carefully with the cursor. (Ron is hot shit anyway–keep up the good work!)

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    • Replies: @Ron Unz

    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can’t read articles anymore without this “feature” getting in the way.
     
    theo the kraut:

    On the desktop it hogs the double-click mouse action to select text, you have to select it carefully with the cursor.
     
    Frau Katze:

    It doesn’t bother me the way the “View all posts” that appears as an action while you are in a selected thread.
     
    I'm very glad that I happened to read this thread and discovered all these complaints about various software features.

    I'll give some thought about how to handle them, including just disabling them by default on Mobile devices.

    Also, I'll try to put up a "Software Open Thread" Announcement in the next day or two so that users can provide their complaints and conflicting suggestions.
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  5. Deepy6 says:

    I too once jumped the fence and scurried across that property with gas can in hand. My friend ran out of gas on the 110 and miraculously found a sliver of shoulder next to where Italianate Monstrosity #5 now clings to the freeway. It was a vacant lot then. It was a huge pain in the ass to rescue him, but Friends’ Lives Matter!

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  6. unit472 says:

    I am puzzled that terrorists have not figured out they can …

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  7. OT

    Perhaps foolishly given their worldview, the Guardian is attempting to report on all cases of young people being killed by knives in the UK. On the other hand, they are experts at ignoring the obvious.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/05/what-the-life-of-quamari-serunkuma-barnes-tells-us-about-child-knife-deaths-in-britain

    “National data on the number of children and teens killed by knives in any given year is not publicly available. So this year, in a series called Beyond the Blade, the Guardian has been tracking the fatalities wherever possible, and profiling the victims. When broader themes emerge, such as cuts in youth services, child and adolescent mental health provision, policing or exclusion policy, we aim to pursue those, too. Quamari was the fifth of 21 children and teens who have been killed by a knife this year; the others have ranged in age from a newborn baby to five 19-year-olds. Ten of those who have died have been in London, three have been girls, nine have been white, 11 have been black and one Asian. All of those who were killed in London were black.”

    A blind man could see a broad theme emerging, but there’s none so blind as those that will not see.

    Also related

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/how-londons-knife-culture-is-being-fueled-by-jargon-social-media-and-music-a3579396.html?amp

    “If you wanna understand blade culture, you got to get into the head of how people on road think. The public just see ‘gang member’, but there are different levels. The lowest is roadman. He’s the guy with the handbag, always on road, dealing drugs.

    “The next level is what we call a hitter. He’s a thug who will hit you up and not care. The highest level is mad man. He’s done heavy stuff. You don’t want to test him. A mad man will take on a whole gang on his own. The aim is to get to the next level. To get there, you got to be more violent.”

    What advantage does the next level bring? “Power, status, girls, especially girls.” Did Wayne, who is black British, think you have to be more aggressive today than in the past to earn your stripes? “In the last 10 years, since the Somalis and the Congolese came to London, they taught us a whole new level of violence,” he said.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Frau Katze
    And here I thought diversity was our strength (not).

    The pols and news sites seems to think that just repeating the phrase will make it so.
    , @Mr. Anon
    Here in America, people talk about "gun crime". Apparently, in Britain they now talk about "knife crime". Maybe the UK will ban knives, and everyone can talk about "brick crime" or "bat crime". But we all know what "X" really equals in the formulation "X crime".
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  8. Black Lightning joins Jewish Lightning as a cause of fire:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jewish%20Lightning

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/jan/15/thebritartfire.arts

    At least the Jewish variety makes money for someone, rather than just destroy.

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  9. Da Vinci? Arson? Time for some Graham Parker.

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    • Agree: MEH 0910
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  10. @David K
    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can't read articles anymore without this "feature" getting in the way.

    http://i.imgur.com/eVLyCTq.jpg

    On an iPad this appears if you click on the text. I just ignore it. But I can appreciate that on an iPhone it might be worse.

    It doesn’t bother me the way the “View all posts” that appears as an action while you are in a selected thread.

    It should go not to post #1 but to the post that you selected that option on.

    It really wrecks my ability to follow complex threads because I know I can’t use “this thread”. Unless I feel like scrolling down through dozens of posts.

    My right arm arthritis is bad enough as it is.

    Read More
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  11. @YetAnotherAnon
    OT

    Perhaps foolishly given their worldview, the Guardian is attempting to report on all cases of young people being killed by knives in the UK. On the other hand, they are experts at ignoring the obvious.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/05/what-the-life-of-quamari-serunkuma-barnes-tells-us-about-child-knife-deaths-in-britain

    "National data on the number of children and teens killed by knives in any given year is not publicly available. So this year, in a series called Beyond the Blade, the Guardian has been tracking the fatalities wherever possible, and profiling the victims. When broader themes emerge, such as cuts in youth services, child and adolescent mental health provision, policing or exclusion policy, we aim to pursue those, too. Quamari was the fifth of 21 children and teens who have been killed by a knife this year; the others have ranged in age from a newborn baby to five 19-year-olds. Ten of those who have died have been in London, three have been girls, nine have been white, 11 have been black and one Asian. All of those who were killed in London were black."
     
    A blind man could see a broad theme emerging, but there's none so blind as those that will not see.

    Also related

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/how-londons-knife-culture-is-being-fueled-by-jargon-social-media-and-music-a3579396.html?amp

    “If you wanna understand blade culture, you got to get into the head of how people on road think. The public just see ‘gang member’, but there are different levels. The lowest is roadman. He’s the guy with the handbag, always on road, dealing drugs.

    “The next level is what we call a hitter. He’s a thug who will hit you up and not care. The highest level is mad man. He’s done heavy stuff. You don’t want to test him. A mad man will take on a whole gang on his own. The aim is to get to the next level. To get there, you got to be more violent.”

    What advantage does the next level bring? “Power, status, girls, especially girls.” Did Wayne, who is black British, think you have to be more aggressive today than in the past to earn your stripes? “In the last 10 years, since the Somalis and the Congolese came to London, they taught us a whole new level of violence,” he said.
     

    And here I thought diversity was our strength (not).

    The pols and news sites seems to think that just repeating the phrase will make it so.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hunsdon
    Here you go, I like to keep this handy. It'a dessert topping AND a floor wax!

    “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said.
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  12. Ben Kurtz says: • Website

    “The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.”

    A few license plate scans and cell phone pings doesn’t make a case. At best, it adds another name to what could have been a list of dozens or even hundreds of potential suspects. That the criminal is a low-impulse-control blabbering nincompoop is what made the case.

    Any competent would-be mischief-maker could shut down (or remove the battery from, or bag in Mylar, or leave at home) his cell phone for a while, and even use rental cars to muddy his tracks. It would be hard to take to a jury an entire case built on the single premise that the suspect in question happened to be near the scene of the crime, based on cell phone pings. LA is a big city and the fire was next to a busy freeway — there were plenty of people near the scene of the crime that night.

    By the way, does nobody find it interesting that cell phone network operators apparently maintain long-term records of handset locations based on tower pings? I mean, your location, on a cell-by-cell basis in real time, has to show up on network control systems if your phone is to be able to send and receive calls on the go. But the idea that these control systems maintain some kind of permanent record of each and every user, for all time, that is later searchable by law enforcement? That one exceeds even Orwell’s imagination.

    Or was the suspect here already under some kind of long-term surveillance — so that his pings were archived even if every man’s pings are not — because he had accumulated a criminal record and seemed to be up to no good? If so, how many other Americans are the subject of this kind of Double Secret probation? Nobody in the mainstream really wants to talk about how much we’ve converged on the East German / Stasi model of crime control and enforcement of social conformity — or like something from a Kundera novel (criticize society’s sacred cows -> get hounded from your high-status job… that sort of thing).

    Read More
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    Is it possible to disable the "phone" bit of a phone (which regularly pings the nearest tower) if you wish, and use say Whatsapp for comms via WiFi? Most towns and cities have free wifi all over the place - shops, bars, malls.

    Looks like you can (quick google) - airplane mode then enable wifi.

    "When the "airplane mode" is activated, it disables all voice, text, telephone, and other signal-transmitting technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be enabled separately even while the device is in airplane mode; this is acceptable on some aircraft."
    , @Jack D
    I think the cell co's keep these ping records for everyone, not just those under surveillance. Data storage is cheap nowadays and each ping is only a few bytes of data. The courts have ruled that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to such things - it's the same as if your friend saw you walking/driving down the street, assuming you had a lot of friends who followed you around 24/7.

    If it bugs you, wrap your phone in heavy duty aluminum foil. Of course you won't get calls or texts that way.
    , @The preferred nomenclature is...
    Agreed. Leave the damn phone at home. Renting a car would be even easier to track you than "accidentally" covering up a portion of your plates in mud.

    Getting away with crime today is definitely an IQ test or a measure of your power (I'm looking at you Goldman Sachs, Clintons, et al).
    , @Rob McX
    In Europe it's standard procedure for police to get access to a suspect's full mobile phone history from the service providers if they think it might be useful. Just off the top of my head I can think of two guys convicted of murder almost entirely because their phone records contradicted their account of where they were at the time of the crime.

    I'm pretty sure it's the same in the US. I came across an American case where the parents of a murdered woman succeeded in having the law changed making it easier for the police to compel phone companies to hand over phone records of a missing person who may have been the victim of a crime.
    , @Paul Jolliffe
    Hmm. So the most-hated developer in L.A. suffers a catastrophic fire (to the delight of major players), yet the arsonist is an unconnected, ignorant "nobody" - a career criminal, a loser who assaults women. But who is a sucker for the MSM version of Ferguson, and a white-cop hater.

    OK. So far, so good.

    But might there be any chance that he told/confided/bragged to his probation officer (yes, he was on probation at the time and had to report regularly) about his desire/fantasy for "vengeance" which was then duly-noted in a computerized report that made its way to those who made sure he would not be caught until after the fire was set?
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  13. ic1000 says:
    @Thomas

    So the bad news is that political arson seems to have become a Thing in America recently. The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.
     
    I wonder if that latter part matters. I'm not sure how deterrable the kinds of characters who would engage in political arson are. A serial arsonist, like the one probably operating in Oakland, might be a more serious kind of problem worth disrupting early though.

    One thing that's come up in discussion of the recent Oakland fire is that wood frame construction (e.g., not using masonry above the first couple floors) has become predominant now because it's cheaper. The problem from a fire-prevention standpoint is that until the building is finished and the wood framing covered in fire-retardant sheetrock and rigged up with fire sprinklers, you basically have a big tinderbox sitting there. Will arson spur a change in construction or at least fire prevention and security strategies around construction sites?

    > The problem [with wood-frame construction] from a fire-prevention standpoint is that until the building is finished and the wood framing covered in fire-retardant sheetrock and rigged up with fire sprinklers, you basically have a big tinderbox sitting there.

    Good point. There are an increasing number of four and five story ‘masonry’ apartment and condo complexes around here, as well. Having watched them being built, they are instead brick-faced wood-frame construction.

    The code’s reasoning must be as you say, that sprinklers etc. make these sufficiently fire resistant once completed and occupied.

    Still, one might occasionally wonder if anything could possibly go wrong. In LA, for example, have there ever been earthquakes, and if so, have they ever caused water main breaks?

    Read More
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  14. JackOH says:

    “But BLM terrorism isn’t really a conceptual category that we are encouraged to possess.”

    Yep, exactly. Simple observation and reasonable inferences to reach a political conclusion are pretty much crimethink, and have been for a half-century.

    This gets to the point of absurdity. Just this morning my local newspaper reported on a mayoral candidates’ forum in which all were said to agree that “racism is a serious problem”, with one candidate adding, “racism is so entrenched we don’t even recognize it”. In a city that’s 47% White and 45% Black, all the candidates were Black, so it’s a certainty that a Black will be the next mayor. (BTW-the city’s first Black mayor was a non-Black Supremacist, a pretty decent guy who actively courted White voters and won against a White political hack.)

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  15. ic1000 says:

    The part of a story that brings the not-quite-informed reader up to speed with the background is often interesting. Such as the LA Weekly paragraph that Steve quotes in the OP.

    On Nov. 25, 2014, [Dawud Abdulwali] posted a number of photos from a protest in downtown L.A., near USC, following the decision of a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, to devalue the pain of a grieving community by failing to file charges against Darren Wilson, the racist white police officer who had cold-bloodedly shot Michael “Gentle Giant” Brown, a black, unarmed future college graduate who had been strolling with a friend.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    What, only a future college grad? Why not future PhD? Future Nobelist? Future POTUS? We will never know what potential was snuffed out that night.

    I've noticed that it's now a thing that leftist journalists (meaning most) now remember and recount recent history in highly twisted versions - these people are living in their own imaginary reality. Even the NY Times does this now.
    , @Mr. Anon
    Quite an objective article, that. I believe that "racist white police officer" was Darren Wilson's official job title.
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  16. In general, the technology these days makes it hard to get away with crimes.

    Via Drudge— “The Tell-Tale Heart” updated:

    Judge: Pacemaker data can be used in Middletown arson trial

    Police then obtained a search warrant for all of the electronic data stored in Compton’s cardiac pacing device, according to court records.

    The data taken from Compton’s pacemaker included his heart rate, pacer demand, and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Police then obtained a search warrant for all of the electronic data stored in Compton’s cardiac pacing device, according to court records.
     
    Why is this not considered a violation of the 5th amendment? If it should someday become possible to electronically scan minds, will courts allow compulsory mind-scan evidence to be used against you?
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  17. Hunsdon says:
    @Frau Katze
    And here I thought diversity was our strength (not).

    The pols and news sites seems to think that just repeating the phrase will make it so.

    Here you go, I like to keep this handy. It’a dessert topping AND a floor wax!

    “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said.

    Read More
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  18. Jack D says:
    @ic1000
    The part of a story that brings the not-quite-informed reader up to speed with the background is often interesting. Such as the LA Weekly paragraph that Steve quotes in the OP.

    On Nov. 25, 2014, [Dawud Abdulwali] posted a number of photos from a protest in downtown L.A., near USC, following the decision of a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, to devalue the pain of a grieving community by failing to file charges against Darren Wilson, the racist white police officer who had cold-bloodedly shot Michael "Gentle Giant" Brown, a black, unarmed future college graduate who had been strolling with a friend.
     

    What, only a future college grad? Why not future PhD? Future Nobelist? Future POTUS? We will never know what potential was snuffed out that night.

    I’ve noticed that it’s now a thing that leftist journalists (meaning most) now remember and recount recent history in highly twisted versions – these people are living in their own imaginary reality. Even the NY Times does this now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jake
    We are as bad off in that sense as the peoples of the USSR ever were. We mouth absolute nonsense, which makes everything worse, because that is what the regnant ideology demands.

    And it seems that we longer we fake it just to get by, the more we come to believe it.
    , @Jim Don Bob
    As long as Ron (PBUH) is taking complaints, what happened to the comment preview feature when you hold your mouse over a reply or a link to the original post? And when it was working, why did previewing comments keep moving right until they were almost off the screen?

    Great blog. Best comment system anywhere. I do not do Disqus. Thanks.
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  19. @David K
    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can't read articles anymore without this "feature" getting in the way.

    http://i.imgur.com/eVLyCTq.jpg

    Yes, I wanted to quote a line of Steve’s and it’s now not possible to copy from mobile.

    Read More
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  20. Jack D says:
    @Thomas

    So the bad news is that political arson seems to have become a Thing in America recently. The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.
     
    I wonder if that latter part matters. I'm not sure how deterrable the kinds of characters who would engage in political arson are. A serial arsonist, like the one probably operating in Oakland, might be a more serious kind of problem worth disrupting early though.

    One thing that's come up in discussion of the recent Oakland fire is that wood frame construction (e.g., not using masonry above the first couple floors) has become predominant now because it's cheaper. The problem from a fire-prevention standpoint is that until the building is finished and the wood framing covered in fire-retardant sheetrock and rigged up with fire sprinklers, you basically have a big tinderbox sitting there. Will arson spur a change in construction or at least fire prevention and security strategies around construction sites?

    The biggest fire in decades in my area was an unfinished apartment complex of this type. It was sparks from a welder’s torch, not arson. It smoldered until everyone went home for the night. It then spread to a finished complex across the street which also burned despite having sprinklers (no sprinklers on the roof where the burning embers landed). They probably should keep a watchman on these buildings while they are under construction if over a certain size.

    Read More
    • Replies: @anon
    The use of wood frame construction in midrise buildings is something of a problem. It's naturally the cheapest construction.

    Thanks to trade associations and lobbies, we can get a pretty good picture of what's going on. However, the closest competing technology is 'cold formed steel' construction. These are basically steel studs. http://www.cfsei.org. They are quick to point out that steel is better, even if it is 1/10 of an inch thick.

    The Canadian wood lobby is big on wood, and offers a fairly comprehensive guide to how to build out the cheapest possible way. It is a complex undertaking and reminds me a little of the structured finance creativity a decade ago.
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  21. @Ben Kurtz
    "The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often."

    A few license plate scans and cell phone pings doesn't make a case. At best, it adds another name to what could have been a list of dozens or even hundreds of potential suspects. That the criminal is a low-impulse-control blabbering nincompoop is what made the case.

    Any competent would-be mischief-maker could shut down (or remove the battery from, or bag in Mylar, or leave at home) his cell phone for a while, and even use rental cars to muddy his tracks. It would be hard to take to a jury an entire case built on the single premise that the suspect in question happened to be near the scene of the crime, based on cell phone pings. LA is a big city and the fire was next to a busy freeway -- there were plenty of people near the scene of the crime that night.

    By the way, does nobody find it interesting that cell phone network operators apparently maintain long-term records of handset locations based on tower pings? I mean, your location, on a cell-by-cell basis in real time, has to show up on network control systems if your phone is to be able to send and receive calls on the go. But the idea that these control systems maintain some kind of permanent record of each and every user, for all time, that is later searchable by law enforcement? That one exceeds even Orwell's imagination.

    Or was the suspect here already under some kind of long-term surveillance -- so that his pings were archived even if every man's pings are not -- because he had accumulated a criminal record and seemed to be up to no good? If so, how many other Americans are the subject of this kind of Double Secret probation? Nobody in the mainstream really wants to talk about how much we've converged on the East German / Stasi model of crime control and enforcement of social conformity -- or like something from a Kundera novel (criticize society's sacred cows -> get hounded from your high-status job... that sort of thing).

    Is it possible to disable the “phone” bit of a phone (which regularly pings the nearest tower) if you wish, and use say Whatsapp for comms via WiFi? Most towns and cities have free wifi all over the place – shops, bars, malls.

    Looks like you can (quick google) – airplane mode then enable wifi.

    “When the “airplane mode” is activated, it disables all voice, text, telephone, and other signal-transmitting technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be enabled separately even while the device is in airplane mode; this is acceptable on some aircraft.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @jim jones
    Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, you really think they will respect your privacy?
    , @ATX Hipster
    Given everything that's come out about the NSA and the telecoms, you'd have to be awful trusting to think you're not trackable just because your phone says so.
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  22. George says:

    “Was the Biggest Structure Fire in Recent L.A. History Due to BLM Terrorism?”

    Political arson is possibly West Coast thinking. Here on the East Coast I am thinking a failure to pay protection money, or to pay laborers enough so that they could pay protection money. To me that would explain the weird Yakuza connection. See On The Waterfront, shot in Hoboken NJ. Or maybe an insurance scam. Have American Blacks ever been organized criminally? Maybe they were getting pointers from The Wire?

    Read More
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  23. Jake says:

    But if they are PC-approved, they get away with it in the public mind, because that’s what the media wants.

    Read More
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  24. Jake says:
    @Jack D
    What, only a future college grad? Why not future PhD? Future Nobelist? Future POTUS? We will never know what potential was snuffed out that night.

    I've noticed that it's now a thing that leftist journalists (meaning most) now remember and recount recent history in highly twisted versions - these people are living in their own imaginary reality. Even the NY Times does this now.

    We are as bad off in that sense as the peoples of the USSR ever were. We mouth absolute nonsense, which makes everything worse, because that is what the regnant ideology demands.

    And it seems that we longer we fake it just to get by, the more we come to believe it.

    Read More
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  25. Mr. Anon says:
    @YetAnotherAnon
    OT

    Perhaps foolishly given their worldview, the Guardian is attempting to report on all cases of young people being killed by knives in the UK. On the other hand, they are experts at ignoring the obvious.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jul/05/what-the-life-of-quamari-serunkuma-barnes-tells-us-about-child-knife-deaths-in-britain

    "National data on the number of children and teens killed by knives in any given year is not publicly available. So this year, in a series called Beyond the Blade, the Guardian has been tracking the fatalities wherever possible, and profiling the victims. When broader themes emerge, such as cuts in youth services, child and adolescent mental health provision, policing or exclusion policy, we aim to pursue those, too. Quamari was the fifth of 21 children and teens who have been killed by a knife this year; the others have ranged in age from a newborn baby to five 19-year-olds. Ten of those who have died have been in London, three have been girls, nine have been white, 11 have been black and one Asian. All of those who were killed in London were black."
     
    A blind man could see a broad theme emerging, but there's none so blind as those that will not see.

    Also related

    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/how-londons-knife-culture-is-being-fueled-by-jargon-social-media-and-music-a3579396.html?amp

    “If you wanna understand blade culture, you got to get into the head of how people on road think. The public just see ‘gang member’, but there are different levels. The lowest is roadman. He’s the guy with the handbag, always on road, dealing drugs.

    “The next level is what we call a hitter. He’s a thug who will hit you up and not care. The highest level is mad man. He’s done heavy stuff. You don’t want to test him. A mad man will take on a whole gang on his own. The aim is to get to the next level. To get there, you got to be more violent.”

    What advantage does the next level bring? “Power, status, girls, especially girls.” Did Wayne, who is black British, think you have to be more aggressive today than in the past to earn your stripes? “In the last 10 years, since the Somalis and the Congolese came to London, they taught us a whole new level of violence,” he said.
     

    Here in America, people talk about “gun crime”. Apparently, in Britain they now talk about “knife crime”. Maybe the UK will ban knives, and everyone can talk about “brick crime” or “bat crime”. But we all know what “X” really equals in the formulation “X crime”.

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  26. On the plus side, the organs of the state will probably have a pretty tough time dealing with high agency White mischief makers who can bother to take a few precautions like not carrying your cell phone to do a job.

    Read More
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  27. Mr. Anon says:
    @Jenner Ickham Errican

    In general, the technology these days makes it hard to get away with crimes.
     
    Via Drudge— “The Tell-Tale Heart” updated:

    Judge: Pacemaker data can be used in Middletown arson trial


    Police then obtained a search warrant for all of the electronic data stored in Compton’s cardiac pacing device, according to court records.

    The data taken from Compton’s pacemaker included his heart rate, pacer demand, and cardiac rhythms before, during and after the fire.
     

    Police then obtained a search warrant for all of the electronic data stored in Compton’s cardiac pacing device, according to court records.

    Why is this not considered a violation of the 5th amendment? If it should someday become possible to electronically scan minds, will courts allow compulsory mind-scan evidence to be used against you?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    It has been accepted for a long time that the protection against self-incrimination extends only to "testimony" (the Amendment say "witness") and not to data such as fingerprints, blood type, DNA, etc. Nor to recordings of what you said, etc. It's intentionally a narrow exception - if you have committed some heinous crime, why SHOULDN'T the police be able to use all available evidence against you? Forbidding compelled testimony cuts down on torture, but otherwise there's no good reason.
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  28. Mr. Anon says:
    @ic1000
    The part of a story that brings the not-quite-informed reader up to speed with the background is often interesting. Such as the LA Weekly paragraph that Steve quotes in the OP.

    On Nov. 25, 2014, [Dawud Abdulwali] posted a number of photos from a protest in downtown L.A., near USC, following the decision of a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, to devalue the pain of a grieving community by failing to file charges against Darren Wilson, the racist white police officer who had cold-bloodedly shot Michael "Gentle Giant" Brown, a black, unarmed future college graduate who had been strolling with a friend.
     

    Quite an objective article, that. I believe that “racist white police officer” was Darren Wilson’s official job title.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    In case you don't get the joke, that's not really the article. The real article only mentioned "unarmed black teen", not mentioning that the only reason he was unarmed was that he had failed in his effort to wrestle the officer's gun from him and that the "teen" was the size of a house.
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  29. Jack D says:
    @Mr. Anon

    Police then obtained a search warrant for all of the electronic data stored in Compton’s cardiac pacing device, according to court records.
     
    Why is this not considered a violation of the 5th amendment? If it should someday become possible to electronically scan minds, will courts allow compulsory mind-scan evidence to be used against you?

    It has been accepted for a long time that the protection against self-incrimination extends only to “testimony” (the Amendment say “witness”) and not to data such as fingerprints, blood type, DNA, etc. Nor to recordings of what you said, etc. It’s intentionally a narrow exception – if you have committed some heinous crime, why SHOULDN’T the police be able to use all available evidence against you? Forbidding compelled testimony cuts down on torture, but otherwise there’s no good reason.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    It has been accepted for a long time that the protection against self-incrimination extends only to “testimony” (the Amendment say “witness”) and not to data such as fingerprints, blood type, DNA, etc.
     
    I can't think of anything that is more "you" than your DNA. Using your DNA to convict you certainly seems like compelling "you" to testify against yourself.

    Regardless, what if it should become possible to build a machine that reads your thoughts (or kinds of thoughts) - this is no longer such a fanciful notion. In fact, I think it quite possible that some such device might exist within a few decades. If a judge compels you to submit to the mind-reading machine..............is that okay? Hey - it's not "testimony", so it's fine, right? I don't see that as any different than compelling a DNA test.

    .....if you have committed some heinous crime, why SHOULDN’T the police be able to use all available evidence against you?
     
    Because there are greater goods than what is convenient for the police. There is a term for a state in which things are arranged for the convenience of the police..............Police State.

    Forbidding compelled testimony cuts down on torture, but otherwise there’s no good reason.
     
    Why shouldn't a person who has committed a heinous crime be tortured? If the only exception to the state's authority to compel evidence is "testimony" - i.e. that which you voluntarily give. Then anything obtained involuntarily is fair game, isn't it? Kicking in a suspects door (warrant, schmarrant) is pretty involuntary (for the suspect). So is torture.

    Essentially, you are arguing that the state should have no restraint placed on it in such matters. I don't care that much about crime.
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  30. Thanks media thanks Obama.
    I sometimes wonder if the price we pay to have blacks among us is worth it.

    Read More
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  31. Dawud Abdulwali was convicted on 24 April 2017 after a Jury trial and got 15 years in prison.

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  32. Jack D says:
    @Ben Kurtz
    "The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often."

    A few license plate scans and cell phone pings doesn't make a case. At best, it adds another name to what could have been a list of dozens or even hundreds of potential suspects. That the criminal is a low-impulse-control blabbering nincompoop is what made the case.

    Any competent would-be mischief-maker could shut down (or remove the battery from, or bag in Mylar, or leave at home) his cell phone for a while, and even use rental cars to muddy his tracks. It would be hard to take to a jury an entire case built on the single premise that the suspect in question happened to be near the scene of the crime, based on cell phone pings. LA is a big city and the fire was next to a busy freeway -- there were plenty of people near the scene of the crime that night.

    By the way, does nobody find it interesting that cell phone network operators apparently maintain long-term records of handset locations based on tower pings? I mean, your location, on a cell-by-cell basis in real time, has to show up on network control systems if your phone is to be able to send and receive calls on the go. But the idea that these control systems maintain some kind of permanent record of each and every user, for all time, that is later searchable by law enforcement? That one exceeds even Orwell's imagination.

    Or was the suspect here already under some kind of long-term surveillance -- so that his pings were archived even if every man's pings are not -- because he had accumulated a criminal record and seemed to be up to no good? If so, how many other Americans are the subject of this kind of Double Secret probation? Nobody in the mainstream really wants to talk about how much we've converged on the East German / Stasi model of crime control and enforcement of social conformity -- or like something from a Kundera novel (criticize society's sacred cows -> get hounded from your high-status job... that sort of thing).

    I think the cell co’s keep these ping records for everyone, not just those under surveillance. Data storage is cheap nowadays and each ping is only a few bytes of data. The courts have ruled that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to such things – it’s the same as if your friend saw you walking/driving down the street, assuming you had a lot of friends who followed you around 24/7.

    If it bugs you, wrap your phone in heavy duty aluminum foil. Of course you won’t get calls or texts that way.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    There is no electronic privacy. Period.
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  33. Anonym says:

    Well, it’s 2017 and it seems like they have the massive plumes of flame going on in LA now. Another couple years and maybe we’ll see flying cars.

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  34. jim jones says:
    @YetAnotherAnon
    Is it possible to disable the "phone" bit of a phone (which regularly pings the nearest tower) if you wish, and use say Whatsapp for comms via WiFi? Most towns and cities have free wifi all over the place - shops, bars, malls.

    Looks like you can (quick google) - airplane mode then enable wifi.

    "When the "airplane mode" is activated, it disables all voice, text, telephone, and other signal-transmitting technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be enabled separately even while the device is in airplane mode; this is acceptable on some aircraft."

    Whatsapp is owned by Facebook, you really think they will respect your privacy?

    Read More
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  35. Art Deco says:

    Given the amount of architectural dreck in urban areas today, it’s astonishing that this man is supposedly despised for this

    https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/g-h-palmer-renaissance-collection-debuts-phase-ii-at-davinci/

    I’ll wager that he’s offended shady constituencies agitating for awardable housing and offended the local equivalents of Robert Hughes and Herbert Muschamp. IOW, he’s offended jack-wagons.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fred c dobbs
    Agreed. All the commentary and what not about the crime and the perp are all valid, of course. But additionally I was struck by the architectural criticism ......mostly from the type of LA Weekly readers who fancy themselves as armchair critics.

    What exactly IS LA "style"? As to Bunker Hill.....the mansions of the 1800s were replaced by what were essentially tenements beginning around 1900, and which lasted until the urban renewal of the 1960s. ("Urban renewal" in this case was quite drastic - essentially they scraped the top 100 feet or so off the top of Bunker Hill, as well as everything that sat on it.)

    There are plenty of websites that have "Old Bunker Hill" pics and discussion, and except for some "Mission-revival" themes here and there, the architecture of THOSE buildings isn't much different from similar-era Cincinnati or Buffalo.

    It was mostly a place for lower-middle class factory and office workers. Jack Webb was born and grew up there.

    If you want a good look at what Bunker Hill and other parts of LA really looked like the the mid-50s, check out the film noir cult classic "Kiss Me Deadly", 1955, with Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer.
    , @Johann Ricke

    I’ll wager that he’s offended shady constituencies agitating for awardable housing
     
    I see what you did there.
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  36. Alfa158 says:

    I didn’t know the Asians were from Orange County. I thought they were Asians from Asia, just like in all he other Pacific real estate boom areas. The US trade defect has transferred trillions of dollars to Asia, and many of the new manufacturing millionaires and billionaires are frantically getting their money and selves out places like China and into relative paradises like Canada, Australia and the US. Real estate is one way to do it. If you go to one of the new housing developments on the coast in Palos Verdes California on a weekend, all the open house signs have a Chinese named real estate agent.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Anyone who has ever lived in a Communist country or anywhere without the rule of law knows that to the extent the regime allows you to have any assets or freedom, it's strictly at their whim and as soon as the political climate changes or you are no longer in the regimes good graces, they can take it all away from you in an instant. Thus the desire, even in seemingly good times, to put some assets (and maybe your wife and kids too) in a place where they will be safe when things change for the worse as they inevitably will sooner or later.
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  37. Jack D says:
    @Mr. Anon
    Quite an objective article, that. I believe that "racist white police officer" was Darren Wilson's official job title.

    In case you don’t get the joke, that’s not really the article. The real article only mentioned “unarmed black teen”, not mentioning that the only reason he was unarmed was that he had failed in his effort to wrestle the officer’s gun from him and that the “teen” was the size of a house.

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  38. Here’s a black man who took modernist architectural criticism to a whole new level:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/1110359.stm

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  39. Jack D says:
    @Alfa158
    I didn't know the Asians were from Orange County. I thought they were Asians from Asia, just like in all he other Pacific real estate boom areas. The US trade defect has transferred trillions of dollars to Asia, and many of the new manufacturing millionaires and billionaires are frantically getting their money and selves out places like China and into relative paradises like Canada, Australia and the US. Real estate is one way to do it. If you go to one of the new housing developments on the coast in Palos Verdes California on a weekend, all the open house signs have a Chinese named real estate agent.

    Anyone who has ever lived in a Communist country or anywhere without the rule of law knows that to the extent the regime allows you to have any assets or freedom, it’s strictly at their whim and as soon as the political climate changes or you are no longer in the regimes good graces, they can take it all away from you in an instant. Thus the desire, even in seemingly good times, to put some assets (and maybe your wife and kids too) in a place where they will be safe when things change for the worse as they inevitably will sooner or later.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Johann Ricke

    Anyone who has ever lived in a Communist country or anywhere without the rule of law knows that to the extent the regime allows you to have any assets or freedom, it’s strictly at their whim and as soon as the political climate changes or you are no longer in the regimes good graces, they can take it all away from you in an instant.
     
    Not just in Communist countries. Just about any Third World country. That is why a number of wealthy Latin Americans move abroad when the government changes. Now, in Communist countries, the persecution is a lot more severe, and gulags and/or death are a possibility. But in Third World countries, the new government can just make it very difficult for you, either because you're viewed as having supported their opponents or simply because you're a convenient source of funds they'd rather take for themselves.
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  40. @Thomas

    So the bad news is that political arson seems to have become a Thing in America recently. The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.
     
    I wonder if that latter part matters. I'm not sure how deterrable the kinds of characters who would engage in political arson are. A serial arsonist, like the one probably operating in Oakland, might be a more serious kind of problem worth disrupting early though.

    One thing that's come up in discussion of the recent Oakland fire is that wood frame construction (e.g., not using masonry above the first couple floors) has become predominant now because it's cheaper. The problem from a fire-prevention standpoint is that until the building is finished and the wood framing covered in fire-retardant sheetrock and rigged up with fire sprinklers, you basically have a big tinderbox sitting there. Will arson spur a change in construction or at least fire prevention and security strategies around construction sites?

    I like my freedom so I absolutely HATE the surveillance society and do NOT call it good news. I do not care one iota that any crime is solved with this total Big Brother society. Give me my privacy back and let me worry about staying out of harms way.

    Mr. Sailer I very rarely disagree with you but in this case I most certainly do.

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  41. @Ben Kurtz
    "The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often."

    A few license plate scans and cell phone pings doesn't make a case. At best, it adds another name to what could have been a list of dozens or even hundreds of potential suspects. That the criminal is a low-impulse-control blabbering nincompoop is what made the case.

    Any competent would-be mischief-maker could shut down (or remove the battery from, or bag in Mylar, or leave at home) his cell phone for a while, and even use rental cars to muddy his tracks. It would be hard to take to a jury an entire case built on the single premise that the suspect in question happened to be near the scene of the crime, based on cell phone pings. LA is a big city and the fire was next to a busy freeway -- there were plenty of people near the scene of the crime that night.

    By the way, does nobody find it interesting that cell phone network operators apparently maintain long-term records of handset locations based on tower pings? I mean, your location, on a cell-by-cell basis in real time, has to show up on network control systems if your phone is to be able to send and receive calls on the go. But the idea that these control systems maintain some kind of permanent record of each and every user, for all time, that is later searchable by law enforcement? That one exceeds even Orwell's imagination.

    Or was the suspect here already under some kind of long-term surveillance -- so that his pings were archived even if every man's pings are not -- because he had accumulated a criminal record and seemed to be up to no good? If so, how many other Americans are the subject of this kind of Double Secret probation? Nobody in the mainstream really wants to talk about how much we've converged on the East German / Stasi model of crime control and enforcement of social conformity -- or like something from a Kundera novel (criticize society's sacred cows -> get hounded from your high-status job... that sort of thing).

    Agreed. Leave the damn phone at home. Renting a car would be even easier to track you than “accidentally” covering up a portion of your plates in mud.

    Getting away with crime today is definitely an IQ test or a measure of your power (I’m looking at you Goldman Sachs, Clintons, et al).

    Read More
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  42. @Art Deco
    Given the amount of architectural dreck in urban areas today, it's astonishing that this man is supposedly despised for this

    https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/g-h-palmer-renaissance-collection-debuts-phase-ii-at-davinci/


    I'll wager that he's offended shady constituencies agitating for awardable housing and offended the local equivalents of Robert Hughes and Herbert Muschamp. IOW, he's offended jack-wagons.

    Agreed. All the commentary and what not about the crime and the perp are all valid, of course. But additionally I was struck by the architectural criticism ……mostly from the type of LA Weekly readers who fancy themselves as armchair critics.

    What exactly IS LA “style”? As to Bunker Hill…..the mansions of the 1800s were replaced by what were essentially tenements beginning around 1900, and which lasted until the urban renewal of the 1960s. (“Urban renewal” in this case was quite drastic – essentially they scraped the top 100 feet or so off the top of Bunker Hill, as well as everything that sat on it.)

    There are plenty of websites that have “Old Bunker Hill” pics and discussion, and except for some “Mission-revival” themes here and there, the architecture of THOSE buildings isn’t much different from similar-era Cincinnati or Buffalo.

    It was mostly a place for lower-middle class factory and office workers. Jack Webb was born and grew up there.

    If you want a good look at what Bunker Hill and other parts of LA really looked like the the mid-50s, check out the film noir cult classic “Kiss Me Deadly”, 1955, with Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer.

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    • Replies: @David Davenport
    For L. A.'s Bunker Hill section in 1948, see the movie *Criss Cross*, starring Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo. Bunker Hill must have had a cable car at that time.

    Returned war vet, now armored car driver Lancaster lives in a Bunker Hill wooden "gingerbread Victorian" house with his parents.

    Great scene in which Burt heads out to a nightclub to encounter his ex-wife Yvonne dancing with Tony Curtis.
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  43. But BLM terrorism isn’t really a conceptual category that we are encouraged to possess.

    There is new leadership at the Department of Justice. They might be open to a paradigm shift.

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  44. The good news is that the cretins haven’t gone full Euro on us and started car-b-cues the way they do it in good old France and Sweden. Maybe there’s an ethos here that there isn’t in Europe, that you just don’t mess with a fellow man’s ride.

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  45. MULATTO rather than Black, it appears to be.

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  46. @Art Deco
    Given the amount of architectural dreck in urban areas today, it's astonishing that this man is supposedly despised for this

    https://www.multihousingnews.com/post/g-h-palmer-renaissance-collection-debuts-phase-ii-at-davinci/


    I'll wager that he's offended shady constituencies agitating for awardable housing and offended the local equivalents of Robert Hughes and Herbert Muschamp. IOW, he's offended jack-wagons.

    I’ll wager that he’s offended shady constituencies agitating for awardable housing

    I see what you did there.

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  47. peterike says:

    So who is this guy building visually offensive eye sores to exploit an immigrant population?

    Palmer is the son of architect and developer Daniel Saxon Palmer, who was born as Dan Weissinger in Budapest, Hungary in 1920.[

    I, for one, am shocked at this information.

    Though Palmer is in the Adelson mode and was the single largest donor to Trump.

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  48. @Jack D
    Anyone who has ever lived in a Communist country or anywhere without the rule of law knows that to the extent the regime allows you to have any assets or freedom, it's strictly at their whim and as soon as the political climate changes or you are no longer in the regimes good graces, they can take it all away from you in an instant. Thus the desire, even in seemingly good times, to put some assets (and maybe your wife and kids too) in a place where they will be safe when things change for the worse as they inevitably will sooner or later.

    Anyone who has ever lived in a Communist country or anywhere without the rule of law knows that to the extent the regime allows you to have any assets or freedom, it’s strictly at their whim and as soon as the political climate changes or you are no longer in the regimes good graces, they can take it all away from you in an instant.

    Not just in Communist countries. Just about any Third World country. That is why a number of wealthy Latin Americans move abroad when the government changes. Now, in Communist countries, the persecution is a lot more severe, and gulags and/or death are a possibility. But in Third World countries, the new government can just make it very difficult for you, either because you’re viewed as having supported their opponents or simply because you’re a convenient source of funds they’d rather take for themselves.

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  49. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    L.A. does have a tradition of arson-for-profit, too. A certain Eddie Nash comes to mind.

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  50. Rob McX says:
    @Ben Kurtz
    "The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often."

    A few license plate scans and cell phone pings doesn't make a case. At best, it adds another name to what could have been a list of dozens or even hundreds of potential suspects. That the criminal is a low-impulse-control blabbering nincompoop is what made the case.

    Any competent would-be mischief-maker could shut down (or remove the battery from, or bag in Mylar, or leave at home) his cell phone for a while, and even use rental cars to muddy his tracks. It would be hard to take to a jury an entire case built on the single premise that the suspect in question happened to be near the scene of the crime, based on cell phone pings. LA is a big city and the fire was next to a busy freeway -- there were plenty of people near the scene of the crime that night.

    By the way, does nobody find it interesting that cell phone network operators apparently maintain long-term records of handset locations based on tower pings? I mean, your location, on a cell-by-cell basis in real time, has to show up on network control systems if your phone is to be able to send and receive calls on the go. But the idea that these control systems maintain some kind of permanent record of each and every user, for all time, that is later searchable by law enforcement? That one exceeds even Orwell's imagination.

    Or was the suspect here already under some kind of long-term surveillance -- so that his pings were archived even if every man's pings are not -- because he had accumulated a criminal record and seemed to be up to no good? If so, how many other Americans are the subject of this kind of Double Secret probation? Nobody in the mainstream really wants to talk about how much we've converged on the East German / Stasi model of crime control and enforcement of social conformity -- or like something from a Kundera novel (criticize society's sacred cows -> get hounded from your high-status job... that sort of thing).

    In Europe it’s standard procedure for police to get access to a suspect’s full mobile phone history from the service providers if they think it might be useful. Just off the top of my head I can think of two guys convicted of murder almost entirely because their phone records contradicted their account of where they were at the time of the crime.

    I’m pretty sure it’s the same in the US. I came across an American case where the parents of a murdered woman succeeded in having the law changed making it easier for the police to compel phone companies to hand over phone records of a missing person who may have been the victim of a crime.

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  51. anon says: • Disclaimer
    @Jack D
    The biggest fire in decades in my area was an unfinished apartment complex of this type. It was sparks from a welder's torch, not arson. It smoldered until everyone went home for the night. It then spread to a finished complex across the street which also burned despite having sprinklers (no sprinklers on the roof where the burning embers landed). They probably should keep a watchman on these buildings while they are under construction if over a certain size.

    The use of wood frame construction in midrise buildings is something of a problem. It’s naturally the cheapest construction.

    Thanks to trade associations and lobbies, we can get a pretty good picture of what’s going on. However, the closest competing technology is ‘cold formed steel’ construction. These are basically steel studs. http://www.cfsei.org. They are quick to point out that steel is better, even if it is 1/10 of an inch thick.

    The Canadian wood lobby is big on wood, and offers a fairly comprehensive guide to how to build out the cheapest possible way. It is a complex undertaking and reminds me a little of the structured finance creativity a decade ago.

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  52. @Ben Kurtz
    "The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often."

    A few license plate scans and cell phone pings doesn't make a case. At best, it adds another name to what could have been a list of dozens or even hundreds of potential suspects. That the criminal is a low-impulse-control blabbering nincompoop is what made the case.

    Any competent would-be mischief-maker could shut down (or remove the battery from, or bag in Mylar, or leave at home) his cell phone for a while, and even use rental cars to muddy his tracks. It would be hard to take to a jury an entire case built on the single premise that the suspect in question happened to be near the scene of the crime, based on cell phone pings. LA is a big city and the fire was next to a busy freeway -- there were plenty of people near the scene of the crime that night.

    By the way, does nobody find it interesting that cell phone network operators apparently maintain long-term records of handset locations based on tower pings? I mean, your location, on a cell-by-cell basis in real time, has to show up on network control systems if your phone is to be able to send and receive calls on the go. But the idea that these control systems maintain some kind of permanent record of each and every user, for all time, that is later searchable by law enforcement? That one exceeds even Orwell's imagination.

    Or was the suspect here already under some kind of long-term surveillance -- so that his pings were archived even if every man's pings are not -- because he had accumulated a criminal record and seemed to be up to no good? If so, how many other Americans are the subject of this kind of Double Secret probation? Nobody in the mainstream really wants to talk about how much we've converged on the East German / Stasi model of crime control and enforcement of social conformity -- or like something from a Kundera novel (criticize society's sacred cows -> get hounded from your high-status job... that sort of thing).

    Hmm. So the most-hated developer in L.A. suffers a catastrophic fire (to the delight of major players), yet the arsonist is an unconnected, ignorant “nobody” – a career criminal, a loser who assaults women. But who is a sucker for the MSM version of Ferguson, and a white-cop hater.

    OK. So far, so good.

    But might there be any chance that he told/confided/bragged to his probation officer (yes, he was on probation at the time and had to report regularly) about his desire/fantasy for “vengeance” which was then duly-noted in a computerized report that made its way to those who made sure he would not be caught until after the fire was set?

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    • Replies: @Paul Jolliffe
    In other words, is there any chance he was a "useful idiot"?
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  53. @Paul Jolliffe
    Hmm. So the most-hated developer in L.A. suffers a catastrophic fire (to the delight of major players), yet the arsonist is an unconnected, ignorant "nobody" - a career criminal, a loser who assaults women. But who is a sucker for the MSM version of Ferguson, and a white-cop hater.

    OK. So far, so good.

    But might there be any chance that he told/confided/bragged to his probation officer (yes, he was on probation at the time and had to report regularly) about his desire/fantasy for "vengeance" which was then duly-noted in a computerized report that made its way to those who made sure he would not be caught until after the fire was set?

    In other words, is there any chance he was a “useful idiot”?

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  54. @Jack D
    What, only a future college grad? Why not future PhD? Future Nobelist? Future POTUS? We will never know what potential was snuffed out that night.

    I've noticed that it's now a thing that leftist journalists (meaning most) now remember and recount recent history in highly twisted versions - these people are living in their own imaginary reality. Even the NY Times does this now.

    As long as Ron (PBUH) is taking complaints, what happened to the comment preview feature when you hold your mouse over a reply or a link to the original post? And when it was working, why did previewing comments keep moving right until they were almost off the screen?

    Great blog. Best comment system anywhere. I do not do Disqus. Thanks.

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  55. @Jack D
    I think the cell co's keep these ping records for everyone, not just those under surveillance. Data storage is cheap nowadays and each ping is only a few bytes of data. The courts have ruled that you have no reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to such things - it's the same as if your friend saw you walking/driving down the street, assuming you had a lot of friends who followed you around 24/7.

    If it bugs you, wrap your phone in heavy duty aluminum foil. Of course you won't get calls or texts that way.

    There is no electronic privacy. Period.

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  56. Mr. Anon says:
    @Jack D
    It has been accepted for a long time that the protection against self-incrimination extends only to "testimony" (the Amendment say "witness") and not to data such as fingerprints, blood type, DNA, etc. Nor to recordings of what you said, etc. It's intentionally a narrow exception - if you have committed some heinous crime, why SHOULDN'T the police be able to use all available evidence against you? Forbidding compelled testimony cuts down on torture, but otherwise there's no good reason.

    It has been accepted for a long time that the protection against self-incrimination extends only to “testimony” (the Amendment say “witness”) and not to data such as fingerprints, blood type, DNA, etc.

    I can’t think of anything that is more “you” than your DNA. Using your DNA to convict you certainly seems like compelling “you” to testify against yourself.

    Regardless, what if it should become possible to build a machine that reads your thoughts (or kinds of thoughts) – this is no longer such a fanciful notion. In fact, I think it quite possible that some such device might exist within a few decades. If a judge compels you to submit to the mind-reading machine…………..is that okay? Hey – it’s not “testimony”, so it’s fine, right? I don’t see that as any different than compelling a DNA test.

    …..if you have committed some heinous crime, why SHOULDN’T the police be able to use all available evidence against you?

    Because there are greater goods than what is convenient for the police. There is a term for a state in which things are arranged for the convenience of the police…………..Police State.

    Forbidding compelled testimony cuts down on torture, but otherwise there’s no good reason.

    Why shouldn’t a person who has committed a heinous crime be tortured? If the only exception to the state’s authority to compel evidence is “testimony” – i.e. that which you voluntarily give. Then anything obtained involuntarily is fair game, isn’t it? Kicking in a suspects door (warrant, schmarrant) is pretty involuntary (for the suspect). So is torture.

    Essentially, you are arguing that the state should have no restraint placed on it in such matters. I don’t care that much about crime.

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  57. The good news is that we have so much surveillance technology these days that it’s hard for anybody to get away with it often.

    And the people inclined to try are idiots.

    I’d be curious to know how many criminals are convicted because they were too dumb to leave the phone at home, or to restrain themselves from bragging on Facebook.

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  58. @YetAnotherAnon
    Is it possible to disable the "phone" bit of a phone (which regularly pings the nearest tower) if you wish, and use say Whatsapp for comms via WiFi? Most towns and cities have free wifi all over the place - shops, bars, malls.

    Looks like you can (quick google) - airplane mode then enable wifi.

    "When the "airplane mode" is activated, it disables all voice, text, telephone, and other signal-transmitting technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be enabled separately even while the device is in airplane mode; this is acceptable on some aircraft."

    Given everything that’s come out about the NSA and the telecoms, you’d have to be awful trusting to think you’re not trackable just because your phone says so.

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    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    I presume there is (or was) a reason why they didn't want phones on in aircraft, so I imagine airplane mode "works".

    Easy to test. Ever left a phone by a computer or next door to a radio? Every few minutes you'll get a 'dit-did-de-dit-dit' noise as the phone pings the towers? One time at work I discovered it would move the mouse trail on the screen if I left my phone by the mouse.
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  59. Ron Unz says:
    @theo the kraut
    On the desktop it hogs the double-click mouse action to select text, you have to select it carefully with the cursor. (Ron is hot shit anyway--keep up the good work!)

    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can’t read articles anymore without this “feature” getting in the way.

    theo the kraut:

    On the desktop it hogs the double-click mouse action to select text, you have to select it carefully with the cursor.

    Frau Katze:

    It doesn’t bother me the way the “View all posts” that appears as an action while you are in a selected thread.

    I’m very glad that I happened to read this thread and discovered all these complaints about various software features.

    I’ll give some thought about how to handle them, including just disabling them by default on Mobile devices.

    Also, I’ll try to put up a “Software Open Thread” Announcement in the next day or two so that users can provide their complaints and conflicting suggestions.

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    • Replies: @theo the kraut
    The RSS-feed is broken since a couple of days, the "href" with the url is missing from links.
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  60. @ATX Hipster
    Given everything that's come out about the NSA and the telecoms, you'd have to be awful trusting to think you're not trackable just because your phone says so.

    I presume there is (or was) a reason why they didn’t want phones on in aircraft, so I imagine airplane mode “works”.

    Easy to test. Ever left a phone by a computer or next door to a radio? Every few minutes you’ll get a ‘dit-did-de-dit-dit’ noise as the phone pings the towers? One time at work I discovered it would move the mouse trail on the screen if I left my phone by the mouse.

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  61. Alice says:

    Huh. Raleigh recently had a large residential high rise building under construction burn up. Very dangerous, damaged surrounding buildings. 15 agencies got involved including ATF, and I didn’t understand why. Maybe this is why. They’ve concluded they can’t determine what caused the fire…

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  62. @fred c dobbs
    Agreed. All the commentary and what not about the crime and the perp are all valid, of course. But additionally I was struck by the architectural criticism ......mostly from the type of LA Weekly readers who fancy themselves as armchair critics.

    What exactly IS LA "style"? As to Bunker Hill.....the mansions of the 1800s were replaced by what were essentially tenements beginning around 1900, and which lasted until the urban renewal of the 1960s. ("Urban renewal" in this case was quite drastic - essentially they scraped the top 100 feet or so off the top of Bunker Hill, as well as everything that sat on it.)

    There are plenty of websites that have "Old Bunker Hill" pics and discussion, and except for some "Mission-revival" themes here and there, the architecture of THOSE buildings isn't much different from similar-era Cincinnati or Buffalo.

    It was mostly a place for lower-middle class factory and office workers. Jack Webb was born and grew up there.

    If you want a good look at what Bunker Hill and other parts of LA really looked like the the mid-50s, check out the film noir cult classic "Kiss Me Deadly", 1955, with Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer.

    For L. A.’s Bunker Hill section in 1948, see the movie *Criss Cross*, starring Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo. Bunker Hill must have had a cable car at that time.

    Returned war vet, now armored car driver Lancaster lives in a Bunker Hill wooden “gingerbread Victorian” house with his parents.

    Great scene in which Burt heads out to a nightclub to encounter his ex-wife Yvonne dancing with Tony Curtis.

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  63. @Ron Unz

    Can someone please tell Unz that the stupid paragraph selection feature totally ruins the site on mobile? I can’t read articles anymore without this “feature” getting in the way.
     
    theo the kraut:

    On the desktop it hogs the double-click mouse action to select text, you have to select it carefully with the cursor.
     
    Frau Katze:

    It doesn’t bother me the way the “View all posts” that appears as an action while you are in a selected thread.
     
    I'm very glad that I happened to read this thread and discovered all these complaints about various software features.

    I'll give some thought about how to handle them, including just disabling them by default on Mobile devices.

    Also, I'll try to put up a "Software Open Thread" Announcement in the next day or two so that users can provide their complaints and conflicting suggestions.

    The RSS-feed is broken since a couple of days, the “href” with the url is missing from links.

    Read More
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