The French, the Americans, August and I:

french flagIt may be fair to say that without the French help we would not have won the Revolutionary War. If that is that case we owe France a lot. N’est-ce pas ?

What is true is that our relationship with the French has never run smoothly. Take for instance what happened during WWI. Our military leader General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing is rumored to have said “Lafayette we are here!” suggesting it was time for us to pay the French back for our freedom.

One thing we did not count on when we brought with us some of our black soldier is that they would be treated as equals by French military and its people. That upset a lot of our military brass who tried to explain to the French that the blacks were not equal in America. The result was many black soldiers returned to America believing they should be treated in the same way as the whites. Some even, if you can imagine it, thought they should have the rights to social equality. J. Edgar Hoover did everything in his power to make sure those thoughts did not last too long.

We were appreciated by the French people when we helped liberate their country during WWII.  The French leader Charles de Gaulle though appreciative was bull-headed. He wanted to do things his way rather than how we told him. This caused some friction. But who could forget his figure at the front of the foreign leaders who had come to America for the funeral of John F. Kennedy.

I remember being downtown at main side Quantico during PLC training and seeing the headlines in the paper about trouble in Laos. I had never heard of it before so I scanned the paper and saw it was next to another strange country, Vietnam. The first Vietnamese words that I recall hearing were Dien Bien Phu.  In May of 1954 the Vietnamese communists defeated the French there. I did not follow events closely back then but I found this which sums it up:  “On May 7, after 57 days of siege, the French positions collapsed. Although the defeat brought an end to French colonial efforts in Indochina, the United States soon stepped up to fill the vacuum, . . . ” 

Did we do that to please the French still  thinking we owed them something? The next Vietnamese word I heard was “Diem.” Then many more came along. When we started in 1959 and finished n 1975 filling that vacuum at one point we had more than 500,000 Americans in the field. We decided to shut the vacuum off after suffering almost 60,000 deaths.

The French tried to tip us off after that about getting into war with Iraq. We sought its support but it told us our plan was folly. What are friends for if they won’t follow you over a cliff? You may recall the movement to change the name of French Fries to Freedom Fries. Some in Congress thought that would teach them not to try to stop us from engaging in an inane war! That was in 2003; we’re still there. Are we trying to break the Vietnam record for our longest war ever?

I happen to enjoy visiting France, especially Paris. I have never found the French people to be other than friendly and cordial. My first time there visiting Versailles I needed to purchase some film. I went to a store that I was directed to that sold it. It was a little mom and pop type store. It had a sign on the window: “Closed for the Month.”

I learned that small businesses in France would shut down for a month. Vacation was more important to the owners of the business than making extra money. That is a real alien though to Americans.  Which leads me to the purpose of this post.

To honor the French contribution to our freedom I am instituting the tradition of giving those who work with me on this blog a month to take a vacation as of August 1, 2015.

I have to thank Shiabelle a, my faithful amanuensis who edits and types these posts; Luluisiana our financial wizard who keeps the books and records in order; Doramosa, our legal expert overseeing the operations; Dexter, Freddie and Sid who do so many things backing up, research and the like are equally appreciated. They, and our part-time workers along with the interns will be gone for a month with pay.

I’ll be spending less time here concentrating on going on some field trips with Sparkie, my Boston Terrier, and Pip, my Beagle, who have been cooped up too long.  Even aside from that, not having my staff’s help the posts will be more sporadic and only when the happenings, like the Republican debate this Thursday, call for it.

To all I wish a happy and healthful remaining summer. I expect the staff to return around Labor Day.


24 thoughts on “The French, the Americans, August and I:

  1. * tast … sprained wrist going over handlebars Central Square last week: Relaxed …. tunble rolled … maintained reasurring commentary to the shocked, and landed upright on my cat feet. Turned to face traffic …. balanced on left foot arms out and hands in dervish mudra and said …. TA DAAAAAAAAAAA !!! … Older black Gentleman was already bike ready for me. Remember …. I said to him …. When you spring back up on your feet you’ve always got to say … TA DAAAAAAAAAA ( Good life advice generally btw ) . He gave me that …. YOU WHITE BOYS REALLY ARE F’IN’ CRAZY .. Look 🙂 …. He was a Good Brother of mine. Did sprain wrist a tetch’ though.

    * Deam … of course DEAN.

  2. Tast

    Rather : I dig it . All ” Food on the plate” as UMass English Prof and now Deam, Neal Bruss, metaphorically expressed his view of what he called ” bootstrapping ” in any educational passage. It ALL pulls you up; adding to, newly acquiring , or revisiting
    / refurbishing the ” Knowledge Digs” ( that one is mine 🙂 ) Will check out citation as well. Cool stuff !!!

  3. Matt,
    Sorry to stay on topic, but…..
    Here’s a little more background detail (for my fellow history buffs) on events leading up to the “Louisiana Purchase”….the steal of the century.

    The Louisiana Purchase

    Napoleonic France Acquires Louisiana

    On October 1, 1800, within 24 hours of signing a peace settlement with the United States, First Consul of the Republic of France Napoleon Bonaparte, acquired Louisiana from Spain by the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso. To the distress of the United States, Napoleon held title to the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans.
    Napoleon I, Emperor of France, full portrait, ca. 1812. From an engraving by Laugier, after the painting by Jacques Louis David, 1812. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction number: LC-USZ62-17088 Médaille pour les sauvages de la Louisiane [Medal struck for North American Indians], ca. 1802. From Villiers du Terrage, Les Dernières années de la Louisiane Française, Paris, [1904], p. 380. General Collections, Library of Congress. Call number: F373 .V75
    With the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso, Napoleon sought to reestablish an extended French maritime and colonial empire in the West Indies and the Mississippi Valley. He planned to develop a commercial bloc in the Caribbean Basin that consisted of the strategically important West Indian islands of Guadalupe, Martinique, and Saint Domingue, which in turn would be linked with Louisiana. France would export manufactured goods to the islands, whose plantations would produce sugar, molasses, rum, coffee, and cotton for France. Flour, timber, and salted meat from Louisiana would sustain French troops stationed in the West Indies. Furthermore, French goods were expected to find a ready market at New Orleans, a stepping-stone for settlers into the Mississippi Valley.

    To round out his imperial presence in the region Napoleon intended to pressure Spain into ceding the Floridas to France. Apparently anticipating the success of his plan, he ordered struck 200 copies of a medallionbearing his profile for distribution to Native American chiefs in a gesture of grassroots diplomacy. Napoleon’s plan did not succeed.

    The chief impediment to Napoleon’s designs for a North American empire lay in Saint Domingue, France’s most valued trading resource in the Caribbean and the gateway to the Gulf approaches to Louisiana. In 1791 the island’s slaves, inspired by the French revolution, revolted under the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture. After several years of fierce conflict, L’Ouverture and his army of former slaves had driven colonial forces from the island.

    Because Napoleon did not have enough troops to reconquer Saint Domingue and occupy Louisiana simultaneously, he decided first to subdue the rebel slaves and reestablish French authority on Saint Domingue. In the fall and winter of 1801 he despatched to Saint Domingue an army of 20,000 men under his brother-in-law, General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc. Toussaint surrendered to Leclerc in three months. Napoleon also assembled an expedition at a Dutch port in the winter of 1802-03 for reinforcing Leclerc’s army and, with Saint Domingue as it base of operations, took possession of Louisiana.

    Rumors of the secret retrocession of Louisiana from Spain to France prompted anxiety in Washington city.
    By May 1801 the American minister to Great Britain, Rufus King, had apprised President Thomas Jefferson with some certainty of the transaction, an event that Jefferson said was an inauspicious circumstance to us. Painfully aware of the potential difficulties in having Napoleonic France as a neighbor, Jefferson informed William C. C. Claiborne, governor of the Mississippi Territory, that he regarded Spanish “possession of the adjacent country as most favorable to our interests, & should see, with extreme pain any other nation substituted for them. Should France get possession of that country, it will be more to be lamented than remedied by us ¦” 11 In November 1801 Secretary of State James Madison received a copy of the Treaty of San Ildefonso from Ambassador King, confirming the diplomatic transaction previously denied by France.

    Over the course of several years President Thomas Jefferson prepared to handle an impending French presence in the Mississippi Valley and his administration’s first great diplomatic crisis. Jefferson was probably America’s foremost geographical thinker and a student of the American West. The plight of the western farmers evoked his empathy and his support. He was also a long-time friend of France; his stint as ambassador to Paris (1784-89) had familiarized him with French diplomacy and politics. A political veteran of the American Revolution, Jefferson was also an Anglophobe.

    By early 1802 events in Europe led Jefferson to reappraise and reformulate American relations with France, especially in light of her intended occupation of the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans. War between France and Great Britain was expected. Jefferson realized that if France claimed Louisiana, Great Britain would try to capture and occupy the region. (Later, they tried anyway… in 1812
    In an April 18, 1802 letter to Minister Robert R. Livingston, Jefferson revealed that the prospect of potential war with France and the unpleasant consequence of an alliance with Great Britain completely reverses all the political relations of the U.S.

    Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison had hoped to fashion a foreign policy congenial to French interests. They disapproved of the slave uprising in Saint Domingue, intimating through diplomatic channels that the United States might assist France in subduing L’Ouverture. They appointed the pro-French Robert R. Livingstonas American minister to Paris. In May 1802 Madison instructed Livingston to negotiate for the purchase of New Orleans. Livingston was also directed to ascertain whether the cession included East Florida and West Florida, and, if so, to negotiate a price for acquiring them, or at least the right of navigation and deposit on one of the rivers feeding into the Gulf.”

    And the rest is history…………

    Thanks for reading.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Another French gift to America (besides the Statue of Liberty), if I may…

    New Orleans was an overwhelmingly French settlement in the mid 1700’s, then…..
    “In 1762 New Orleans citizens suddenly found themselves subjects of Charles III of Spain; France’s Louis XV had paid a debt to his Spanish cousin by giving away Louisiana. The thoroughly French colony drove out the Spanish commissioner sent to govern them. In the summer of 1763, 22 Spanish warships and 3,000 troops arrived to restore order and install another governor, this time without provoking open opposition. Descendants of these early French-Spanish colonial times are known as Creoles. French-speaking families also began emigrating from Canada’s maritime region, Acadia—now Nova Scotia and New Brunswick—to flee British occupation. Referred to as Acadians, and eventually Cajuns, they found sanctuary in New Orleans and in the bayous of the wide Mississippi Delta not far from the city.

    In 1788 and 1794 devastating fires destroyed most of the buildings in New Orleans’s French Quarter, or Vieux Carre (Old Square); these were replaced by structures of a decidedly Spanish nature. About the same time a process for making granulated sugar made sugar cane an important cash crop in a market soon dominated by cotton. When Spain transferred Louisiana back to France in 1803, U.S. President Thomas Jefferson adroitly bought the territory for $15 million. New Orleans was incorporated two years later. The city was unsuccessfully attacked by British forces during the War of 1812; that same year the first steamboat arrived from Natchez, and Louisiana became a state. The years following the Louisiana Purchase saw rapid development and swift growth in the city’s slave and free population. United States and foreign interests invested in the expanding port and immigration increased.”

    “France can remember Napoleon through the Napoleonic Code of law and a few buildings. But the United States owe him much more, parts or all of 16 states : Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.

    This huge territory, 4 times bigger than present-day France or 9 times the size of Britain, was sold by Napoleon to the United States in 1803 for the ridiculously low amount of 3�� per acre, for a total of $15 million. That is not much for 22.3% of the territory of the modern United States. It could be argued that the land from the Louisiana Purchase would have been acquired by force if necessary, but 200 years ago, and even 100 years ago, France was more powerful militarily (and more populous) than the USA. So there is a good chance that Louisiana would have stayed French until well into the 20th century (if not to this day), or that a second, French-speaking, independent country would have been created in the Mid-West. This would have radically changed the history and shape of the USA we know, and world history. If the US is the huge, powerful country it is now, Napoleon has had a lot to do with it.”

    It looks like Thomas Jefferson “Trumped” Napoleon on the Louisiana Territory back in 1803…..

    PS. Can’t wait to hear Trump tonight…

  5. Bon Soir…mon ami

    The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here
    The worst predicted impacts of climate change are starting to happen — and much faster than climate scientists expected
    By Eric Holthaus August 5, 2015

    Walruses Walruses, like these in Alaska, are being forced ashore in record numbers. Corey Accardo/NOAA/AP

    Historians may look to 2015 as the year when shit really started hitting the fan. Some snapshots: In just the past few months, record-setting heat waves in Pakistan and India each killed more than 1,000 people. In Washington state’s Olympic National Park, the rainforest caught fire for the first time in living memory. London reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit during the hottest July day ever recorded in the U.K.; The Guardian briefly had to pause its live blog of the heat wave because its computer servers overheated. In California, suffering from its worst drought in a millennium, a 50-acre brush fire swelled seventyfold in a matter of hours, jumping across the I-15 freeway during rush-hour traffic. Then, a few days later, the region was pounded by intense, virtually unheard-of summer rains. Puerto Rico is under its strictest water rationing in history as a monster El Niño forms in the tropical Pacific Ocean, shifting weather patterns worldwide.
    Obama Issues Most Dire Warning Yet Over Climate Change »

    On July 20th, James Hansen, the former NASA climatologist who brought climate change to the public’s attention in the summer of 1988, issued a bombshell: He and a team of climate scientists had identified a newly important feedback mechanism off the coast of Antarctica that suggests mean sea levels could rise 10 times faster than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2065. The authors included this chilling warning: If emissions aren’t cut, “We conclude that multi-meter sea-level rise would become practically unavoidable. Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea-level rise could be devastating. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.”

    Eric Rignot, a climate scientist at NASA and the University of California-Irvine and a co-author on Hansen’s study, said their new research doesn’t necessarily change the worst-case scenario on sea-level rise, it just makes it much more pressing to think about and discuss, especially among world leaders. In particular, says

  6. Kerry
    … That would be the tale that wags the concerned dunces 🙂 … Ms. Freeh is always scouting a Dunce Partner just to raise the Elbows’ … ire. ‘ Youse ‘ can in Union …. Dunce the night away 🙂 … Enjoy Time left for chrissake and don’t be a ” Toole. ” … That benighted laddy .

  7. Matt
    just thought you might want to know one of your
    heroes died.
    Richard Schweiker, Critic of JFK Assassination Probe, Dies at 89
    by David Henry
    August 3, 2015 — 4:42 PM EDT

    During the mid-1970s, Schweiker was a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, whose chairman was Frank Church. The Pennsylvania senator was co-chairman, along with Gary Hart, of a subcommittee reviewing the investigation of Kennedy’s assassination. Two members of Church’s committee — 1964 presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and Vice Chairman John Tower — voted against the release of its 1976 report.

    “The evidence the Committee has developed suggests that, for different reasons, both the CIA and the FBI failed in, or avoided carrying out, certain of their responsibilities in this matter,” Schweiker and Hart wrote in their study regarding the role of U.S. intelligence agencies in the Warren Commission’s review. The Warren Report of 1964 found that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the 1963 fatal shooting of Kennedy in Dallas.
    Intelligence Failures

    Schweiker and Hart wrote that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency had neglected to examine Oswald’s possible ties to Cuba’s communist government and to Cuban exile groups in the months before the assassination. Senior officials withheld facts “which might have substantially affected the investigation” and didn’t provide them to the Warren Commission, they wrote.

  8. Kerry … 🙂 … I do know my way around long sentences. Tis’ a paradox cruel my Friend .

    1. JKM,

      Well ‘Confederacy of Dunces’ by John Kennedy Toole needs a sequel. How about ‘Union of Concerned Dunces’?

  9. voulez vous danser avec moi en Octobre Matt?

    Date: Sun, 2 Aug 2015 23:42:37 +0000

    For Immediate Release

    Contact: Kris Millegan TrineDay Publishers (

    David Denton, professor, Olney Central College (

    Leading Experts on the JFK Assassination will gather in New Orleans for conference entitled “Oswald’s Summer of Secrets: New Orleans and the JFK Assassination” Oct. 16-18

    Produced by TrineDay, Conscious Community Events, and the JFK Historical Group

    On October 16-18 2015 nationally known researchers and scholars will gather in New Orleans at the Crowne Plaza Hotel-Airport, 2829 Williams Blvd., Kenner, Louisiana for
    Oswald’s Summer of Secrets: New Orleans and the JFK Assassination.

    The conference will break new ground in unlocking the mysteries of Lee Harvey Oswald’s activities in New Orleans in the summer of 1963 and explore other topics such as David Ferrie, Dr. Mary Sherman, and the Garrison trial,
    according to organizer Kris Millegan.

    Seating is limited so early registration is encouraged. Contact Kris Millegan ( or David Denton ( for more information and or go to

    Presenters include:

    Ed Haslam, author, Dr. Mary’s Monkey;

    Judyth Baker, former girlfriend of Oswald and author, Me and Lee and David Ferrie;

    Ed Tatro, author and consultant to Oliver Stone’s film, JFK;
    Attended Clay Shaw’s trial for one week in 1969.

    Robert Groden, author five best-selling books about the assassination, and the first person
    to bring the Zapruder film to national TV in 1975;

    Jim Marrs, author of four New York Times Best Selling books including Crossfire: The Plot
    That Killed Kennedy; chief consultant to Oliver Stone on JFK for both the film’s screenplay and production;

    Joan Mellen, biographer Jim Garrison, A Farewell to Justice;

    Patrick Nolan, is a forensic historian and the author of CIA Rogues and the Killing of
    the Kennedys: How and Why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK;

    Casey Quinlan, author, Beyond the Fence Line: The Eyewitness Testimony of Ed Hoffman and
    the Murder of President Kennedy;

    Roger Stone, New York Times bestselling author, The Man Who Killed Kennedy—the Case Against

    Daniel Hopsicker, author Barry and “the boys,” The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History,
    which chronicles the exploit of famed Louisiana native Barry Seal, his ties to the drug trade and the Kennedy assassination;

    St. John Hunt, son of infamous CIA agent E. Howard Hunt, who stated that he was a benchwarmer
    during the JFK assassination; author, Bond of Secrecy.

    For more information go to

    in other news

  10. Ms. Freeh … As you and Elbows dance around on the Flying Pond Variety dock, aluminum admiral tricorner’s rakishly canting port to starboard on your noble noggins, roaring …. ” WE’RE HAVING A HEAT DOME … A PERSIAN GULF HEAT DOME ” … Just remember to synchronize ass with elbows as you stomp those boards … ASSES AND ELBOWS MS. FREEH …. ASSES AND ELBOWS !!!!! 🙂

  11. Hiatus … Got it coming and leaving field fallow will allow for enticing prospect of Ms. refusing yet to leave any furrow yet unharrowed by the plough of her intellect; also you managed to leverage in ” amanuensis, ” a favorite word, before the cloistering.

    My Jewish girlfriend then, Susie, and I hit Paris, London, and Dublin in November of 2002 on her frequent flyer miles ; argued through three World Capitals one says ; me 🙂 … God, I love that Jewish Firebrand. She made me carry a 80 lb. backpack of canned goods to save money. Had a vanful of about eight or nine gendarmes keystone cop around a plaza corner as we were processing, and I swear I heard WHITEEEEYYYYY BULGERRRRRRR …. WHITEEEEYYYYY BULGERRRRRRR excitedly caressed by the wind back to our ears. How did they know we were from Boston ??? 🙂 We slipped into Napoleon’s Tomb, caught, kicked out, but saw it. Susie rushed us out of Notre Dame Cathedral when I was halfway through quietly, ecstatically, reciting the Twenty Third Psalm as we sat together there. After a full moonlight night traipsing Dublin to find the Holocaust Museum I felt we, too many ecstatic Catholics in NDC for Susie D. deserved that. Yep. I loved the French. Like the Jews whom I have always been friendly inclined to and treated lovingly , the French fulfilled both love offered and love reciprocated. Susie, I love still . MAIS NATURELLEMENT 🙂 … Enjoy your sabbatical, and we’ll catch you further along the trail Master Connolly !!!

    1. I was wondering if Matt had any experience in Japanese Law
      and would be up for some Pro Bono work?

      Woman convicted of assaulting a police officer with her breast in ……/Woman-convicted-assaulting-police-officer-breast-...
      15 hours ago – A woman has been sentenced to three and a half months in prison after being found guilty of using one of her breasts to assault a police officer.

    2. Not seeing anything John King McDonald on amazon under books. When I do, I’m buying it.

    3. reminds me of the story about the black man dating
      a white woman,eh?

      see link for full story

      Alabama officer kept job after proposal to murder black man and hide evidence

      Secret recording played for local officials, in which police officer says resident ‘needs a god damn bullet’, resulted in $35,000 payout to prevent man from suing
      Troy Middlebrooks
      Alexander City police officer Troy Middlebrooks. The secret recording of his comments was played to police chiefs and the mayor.

      Tuesday 4 August 2015 10.19 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 4 August 2015 10.37 EDT

      A police officer in Alabama proposed murdering a black resident and creating bogus evidence to suggest the killing was in self-defence, the Guardian has learned.

      Officer Troy Middlebrooks kept his job and continues to patrol Alexander City after authorities there paid the man $35,000 to avoid being publicly sued over the incident. Middlebrooks, a veteran of the US marines, said the man “needs a god damn bullet” and allegedly referred to him as “that nigger”, after becoming frustrated that the man was not punished more harshly over a prior run-in.

      The payment was made to the black resident, Vincent Bias, after a secret recording of Middlebrooks’s remarks was played to police chiefs and the mayor. Elected city councillors said they were not consulted. A copy of the recording was obtained by the Guardian.

      “This town is ridiculous,” Bias, 49, said in an interview. “The police here feel they can do what they want, and often they do.” Alexander City police chief Willie Robinson defended Middlebrooks. “He was just talking. He didn’t really mean that,” he said in an interview.

      Within months of the recording, Middlebrooks was the first officer to respond to a controversial fatal shooting by a colleague of an unarmed black man in the city. He was closely involved in handling the scene and gave a key account of what happened to state investigators. His fellow officer was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing and both men continue to police the city of about 15,000 people about 55 miles north-east of Montgomery.

      Middlebrooks, 33, made the threatening comments to Bias’s brother-in-law during a May 2013 encounter at his home, which Bias was visiting. Police came to the home after they discovered an unleashed dog.

      A lawsuit from Bias that the city paid to settle before it reached court stated that while Bias remained inside the house and out of earshot, the officer remarked to Bias’s brother-in-law, who is white, that he was tired of “that nigger” being released from jail.

      Middlebrooks had arrested Bias on drug charges earlier in the year and Bias had been released on bail after paying a bond, according to Bias and his attorneys.

      Middlebrooks expressed his frustration. “Something’s going on with that fucking lawyer he knows, and that fucking … the judge or something,” he was recorded saying.

      Middlebrooks allegedly went on to say “the police were going to pull [Bias] aside on a routine traffic stop and [Bias] would get killed.” According to the lawsuit, which has since been filed to court in a separate ongoing case against the city, this prompted the brother-in-law to retrieve a voice recorder that Bias had been carrying around with him in an attempt to monitor alleged harassment by police, and then return to the conversation with the officer.
      The Counted: people killed by police in the United States in 2015 – interactive
      The Guardian is counting the people killed by US law enforcement agencies this year. Read their stories and contribute to our ongoing, crowdsourced project
      Read more

      On the recording, Middlebrooks is heard suggesting Bias had been behaving threateningly towards his relatives. The officer said if he were in the same position he would “fucking kill that motherfucker with whatever I had in that fucking house”.

      “And before the police got here, I’d fucking put marks all over my shit and make it look like he was trying to fucking kill me. I god damn guarantee you,” Middlebrooks said. “What would it look like? Self fucking defence. Fuck that piece of shit. I’m a lot different from a lot of these other folks. I’ll fucking tell you what’s on my fucking mind.”

      Middlebrooks also mocked the brother-in-law for allowing Bias to get the better of him. “That motherfucker right there needs a god damn bullet,” he said. “And you fucking know exactly what I’m talking about. The way he fucking talks to you? Like you’re a fucking child? Like he’s your … Are you his bitch or something? He talks to you like that.”

      Robinson declined to make Middlebrooks available for an interview. Reached by telephone and asked whether Middlebrooks could discuss the incident, his wife said: “We’re not interested in making any comment about that, thank you,” and hung up. Middlebrooks subsequently said in a text message that he did not wish to comment in detail.

      The officer did say he had been cleared by a state inquiry into the incident and referred the Guardian to the state bureau of investigation (SBI) and Larkin Radney, the city attorney for Alexander City. A spokesman for the SBI, however, said: “We have no record of us investigating this case.” Radney said: “I really don’t know what he’s talking about.”

      During the interview at his office, Robinson said Middlebrooks “was disciplined” when the recording came to light, but declined to elaborate. Asked if the officer was ever suspended from patrols, Robinson repeated: “He got disciplined.” When it was put to him that some agencies might have terminated the officer’s job, the police chief said: “I don’t know what other departments do, but I made that call, and I’m going to live with that.”

      Robinson tried to stress that Middlebrooks was in fact proposing that the brother-in-law carry out the killing. “He wasn’t saying that he was going to do that,” said the police chief. “He was talking about the man doing it himself.”

      The police chief said he opposed the decision by city authorities to pay Bias the $35,000 sum, which was confirmed by several people familiar with the case. The chief said he believed they should have opposed the legal action publicly. “I wish we’d went to court. I wish we had,” he said. “It’s a whole lot different if you hear both sides.”

      Radney, the city attorney, said the lawsuit was passed immediately to the city’s insurers, who made the decision to settle with Bias and pay him. “The city didn’t ask me to get involved,” he said. Bias said the settlement stated that the city did not admit any wrongdoing.

      Eric Hutchins, an attorney for Bias who also represents the Alabama branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said the incident “requires an immediate investigation” by state officials.

      In a letter to Tallapoosa County district attorney E Paul Jones and Alabama attorney general Luther Strange, Hutchins said the officer’s remarks were not only “unprofessional and inappropriate” but also could amount to a criminal offence.

      Sources familiar with the case said investigators for the attorney general had made preliminary inquiries. A spokeswoman declined to confirm the status of any inquiry. “Our policy is to not confirm if we may or may not be investigating something,” she said.

      City councillors in Alexander City said they had not been told about the case or the payment to Bias. One councillor, Tony Goss, said he was “absolutely flabbergasted” to learn of the details while another, Sherry Ellison-Simpson, said: “This alarms me.”

      “This is absolutely unbelievable,” said Goss. “Thirty-five thousand dollars is a lot of money and our city council is being left out of deliberation.” While stressing he had not heard the recording, Goss said: “If an officer is recorded saying something like that there are potential grounds for termination.”

      During the May 2013 incident, Bias was given a citation for the illegally unleashed dog at the home, he said, even though police were told that the animal belonged to his brother-in-law. Bias was also blamed by Middlebrooks for an illegal electricity connection the officer had found at the property. Bias, who insisted he was not responsible for this offence either, was warned by the officer that he would be fined.

      Bias alleged in his lawsuit that at the time he was being repeatedly harassed by city officers, including Middlebrooks. In an interview, he claimed he was singled out both because he was black and because he was in a relationship with a white woman. The 49-year-old, who has a criminal record and has spent time in prison, said for some two years he had been targeted with an “exorbitant number of traffic tickets, citations and concocted city code violations”.

      Robinson denied Bias was unfairly targeted by his o

  12. The Matt Connolly irregulars , not to be confused with the
    Sispey Street Irregulars ( )
    find themselves experiencing the pangs of separation anxiety upon
    hearing MTC would abruptly end his Lexicon Fix for the best minds of
    my Pro Bono generation.

    Let us hope he brings a wet bulb thermometer with him.

    Killing Heat — It Felt Like 165 Degrees in Iran Today

    In Iran it was 115 degrees Fahrenheit today (46 C). Add in humidity and the heat index was a stunning 165 F (74 C). But what they really should be concerned about is the wet bulb reading…

    A Limit to Human Heat Endurance

    Thirty five degrees Celsius. According to recent research, it’s the wet bulb temperature at which the human body is rendered physically unable to cool itself in the shade. At which evaporation not longer cools the skin. A temperature that results in hyperthermia, heat exhaustion and heat stroke — even when sitting still and out of direct sunlight over the course of about 1-3 hours. Basically, it’s the physical limits of human heat endurance.

    The primary factors involved in determining wet bulb temperature are atmospheric temperature and humidity. The temperature of an air parcel cooled to saturation (100 percent humidity). Basically, it’s the coolest temperature human skin is able to achieve by sweating.

    One of the reasons why high heat and high humidity seem so oppressive is the fact that it interferes with water evaporating from your skin keeping your body at its natural temperature (98.6 F). High heat + high humidity means less cooling at skin level, which can result in a pretty rapid over-heating. We’ve all experienced it, that sense of stifling on a hot, muggy day. And there’s a bone-deep reason why it feels so bad. Hit a too-high intensity and it’s a killer.

    Persian Gulf Heatwave

    (An oppressive heat dome high pressure system settles in over the Persian Gulf. Image source: Ryan Maue.)

    At 47 percent relative humidity and 115 degrees Fahrenheit, it felt like 165 degrees (F) today in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran. That’s a wet bulb temperature of 34.7 C. A temperature near the edge of human limits and the second highest heat index value ever recorded in any official or unofficial measure (the highest unofficial measure was 178 F). It’s the kind of heat that is, quite frankly, deadly.

    Heat Dome Settles Over Persian Gulf, Sea Surface Temperatures Spike

    Bandar Mahshahr sits at the Northern end of the Persian Gulf. A region of water that features some of the highest sea surface temperatures on Earth. Over the past week, an oppressive heat dome high pressure system began to settle over the region. Air temperatures around the Gulf hit well above 110 F in many locations. In Baghdad, they soared to 122 degrees F (50 C). Yesterday and today, the sea surface temperatures also sweltered — ranging as high as 34.6 C (94 degrees F).

    Since ocean surface temperatures produce latent heat and determine the maximum moisture loading of the Earth atmosphere, maximum sea surface temperature is a good basic yardstick to determine if surface wet bulb temperatures are capable of hitting or exceeding the human survivability threshold at 35 C. And what we are seeing is that the near Persian Gulf region is steadily entering this dangerous range.


    (Sweltering sea surface temperatures like those now visible in the Persian Gulf can support heatwaves that the human body did not evolve to endure. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

    As the heat dome continues to settle in over the next week, there is increasing risk to the people living in the Persian Gulf region. Some have access to cooled shelters, life saving ice and water. But many do not. At particular risk are the over 3 million Iraqis displaced by the violent conflict wracking that fractured state. Chronic electricity and water cuts throughout the region also lends to the overall vulnerability. It’s a current crisis. But it is one that occurs in an overall worsening context.

    As the world’s oceans continue to be warmed by heat trapped through human greenhouse gas emissions, sea surface temperature thresholds will be driven inexorably higher. The potential moisture content in the near surface atmosphere will rise and so will temperatures. This will increasingly generate heatwaves which the human body simply does not have the physical capacity to endure. Overall, this is one of the reasons we see more mass casualty events as a result of heatwaves — like the events occurring this year in Pakistan and India. It’s a case of pushing the atmospheric heat and moisture loading beyond human survivability thresholds. And we’re steadily doing that now. Let’s hope that this week’s Persian Gulf heatwave doesn’t add another hothouse mass casualty event to the growing list.

    in other news

    1. word down in the whisper stream at Flying Pond Variety
      is Matt has booked a flight to India.

      in other newd about Savin Hill

      Worst Flood in 200 Years — 1.2 Million People Displaced by Rising Waters in India

      When you’re rolling with loaded climate dice the situation, as Indian disaster relief officials stated earlier today, is indeed grim.

      * * * * *

      The Earth has been warmed by 1 degree Celsius over the past 135 years due to hundreds of billions of tons of fossil fuels burned. That’s a pace of warming more than 10 times faster than at the end of the last ice age. And with that one degree Celsius of global temperature increase, we get a 7 percent increase in the rate of evaporation and precipitation. Unfortunately, that heat-driven alteration in the hydrological cycle is not even. In some places, where the heat piles high into great atmospheric domes and ridges, we see excessive drought. In other places, the moisture finds a weak spot in the heat and then we see inundation. The ridiculous country-spanning floods that have now become all-too-common.

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