The Comeback Kids

Because I can’t use my left foot or get exercise in the conventional way, I’m trying to get my blood pumping by watching the Ohio State basketball team. So far, my plan is working like a charm.

Today the Buckeyes played Nebraska in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State stunk up the joint at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second and were getting embarrassed, 48-30. My blood pressure was spiking at the pitiful performance, with flushed cheeks and spittle and epithets flying.

But then, improbably, a mop-topped bean pole spurred the Buckeyes. With Amedeo Della Valle hustling his brains out, and LaQuinton Ross making just about every shot he put up, and Aaron Craft playing the tough D that is his trademark, the Buckeyes came back to win, 71-67. That’s a 41-19 run to close out the game — and it was fitting that Della Valle iced the victory by coolly making four free throws with the game on the line.

How do you explain this team? They disappear, then come roaring back. They can’t make a free throw for most of the game, but as the clock winds down they can’t miss. They seem to lose their composure, but as the game ends it’s the other team that is red-faced and stunned.

So, the Buckeyes move on. Tomorrow they play Michigan. The Buckeyes had better bring their A game for all 40 minutes tomorrow, because if they fall behind the Wolverines by 18 there’s no coming back.

Freedom To Photograph

A settlement in Baltimore may clear the way for citizens to more freely exercise one of their First Amendment rights — in this case, their right to take photographs.

IMG_5977The Baltimore case arose from an increasingly common incident. The police were making an arrest, and a citizen was recording the events on his cell phone. A police officer told him to turn off the cell phone camera, claiming it was illegal to make such a recording. It isn’t, but the officers then took the citizen’s cell phone and deleted his recordings — including some personal recordings. He sued, and ultimately the City of Baltimore decided to settle. Part of the settlement is the establishment of new rules and policies governing the behavior of police officers who are being recorded by video. The general rule of thumb in the new policy is that, if a citizen is in a place where they have a right to be, they can take photographs and make recordings — and police officers can’t interfere, intimidate, or confiscate the cameras.

Police officers have been skittish about being photographed since the videotape of police officers beating Rodney King sparked riots. All too often, their response has been to attempt to bully the people taking the photographs, even when those people are acting lawfully and aren’t interfering with police activities. If the Baltimore settlement causes other governmental entities to adopt similar codes of conduct, it would be a great step forward.

Our cell phone cameras are a powerful tool to protect the population against police misconduct — and, for that matter, against other forms of improper governmental actions as well. Once police officers and other public employees realize that their activities may be recorded and then posted to YouTube or some other website, they may temper their excesses and take extra care to make sure that their conduct conforms to law and departmental policy. That’s a good thing for everyone, police included.

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

The old boring guy has been around too much lately. Usually he leaves and Kasey and I have the Leader all too ourselves until it is nighttime. Now, though, the old boring guy is always here. He lies on the couch, grunting and groaning.

1394793257667Kasey and I try to ignore him, but it is hard. He is on our couch! Everyone knows we get to sit there and sleep there, not the old boring guy. It makes us mad. But, the old boring guy also eats there, too, and when he’s lying down he is a messy eater. So, at least we get some scraps out of it.

And then there’s his foot. It’s wrapped in a bandage, and it smells very interesting. It’s got normal foot smells, plus sweat smells, and blood smells, and other smells, too. Kasey and I both think it’s the best the old boring guy has ever smelled! Of course, that’s not saying much.

With so many good smells there, Kasey and I like to walk up and take a big sniff of the foot. For some reason, that make the old boring guy very nervous, and he pushes us away. Ha ha! Stay on your toes, old boring guy! When you least expect it I’m going to jump up for a closer look and smell, and maybe a lick, too.