American Samizdat

Sunday, August 16, 2009. *
(Netroots Nation was held in Pittsburgh this year. I couldn't really afford to go but then I remembered that I am the Pittsburgh Progressive Examiner and I got in that way. I even spoke to Markos for a couple of minutes...I don't think he remembered me which is probably why I got a press pass...You know, when he announced this would be in Pittsburgh some months back I got the impression that he did that just to make sure I couldn't attend. Thank goodness for lowly stature in the blogosphere...)

Pittsburgh Progressive Examiner

August 15, 6:35 AMPittsburgh Progressive ExaminerPhilip Shropshire
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Netroots Nation, the annual gathering of Kossacks (derived from the Daily Kos, a political must read by the way) and fellow travelers, ends today In Pittsburgh and I hope to do some reporting on Saturday's events..

I did attend Thursday evening's events at this year's Netroots nation and I ran into people who, and I'm probably incorrect about this, I felt that I had known fairly well because I had read so much of their work and seen so many of their youtube vids.

One of those persons that I met in the flesh was Jack Cole, one of the elder retired spokesman for a really sane group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Every police officer involved in LEAP has done their share of drug arrests which, according to Jack at least, they feel a certain amount of shame about. I think Jack described the work he was doing with LEAP as a kind of penance.

This is a person and a group that I discovered entirely through Youtube and I believe they held a session on decriminalization on Friday which unfortunately I couldn't attend. But here are some of the Youtube vids I first discovered and I immediately put them on rotation at the Acid Jazz Channel. (One note: Jack Cole appears second in this vid and is not Norm Stamper. Repeat: Jack Cole is not Norm Stamper.)

And here's Norm Stamper's interview with Reason magazine:

I did ask Jack one question that I was kind of curious about: I had noticed that most of the cops in LEAP were retired and I asked him if there were any active duty policemen who were members of the organization and was that dangerous? He told me there were 5 to 7 active duty police officers who were members of LEAP, although one of them had been fired but he won a big lawsuit against him worth over 800000 dollars. Apparently, he can't actually do any police work anymore but they can't fire him either. So, there might be a bit of a risk there for active duty police officers to get involved in LEAP. Or a big payday.

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posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:53 PM
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