Boxer urges Justice Dept. probe of Ferguson PD

The Justice Department must thoroughly review the Ferguson Police Department to determine whether there’s a pattern of excessive use of force, mistreatment of prisoners, or racial profiling in its searches and arrests, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in a letter Tuesday.

Barbara Boxer“I am writing to express my strong support for the Department of Justice investigation into whether the Ferguson Police Department has engaged in discriminatory policing practices,” wrote Boxer, D-Calif. “It is imperative that we find out if there is a pattern and practice of civil rights violations in Ferguson.”

Boxer noted a lack of diversity on the St. Louis suburb’s police force. “As part of this probe, I would urge you to determine whether the lack of diversity in the Ferguson Police Department contributed to the culture of distrust between local residents and police.”

Meanwhile, here’s how some Bay Area House members reacted on Twitter to the Ferguson situation:

Pelosi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, were among more than 200 who retweeted Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C.:

And Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, was among more than 2,200 who retweeted civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.:


A sweet tweet suite on gun background checks

Shortly before 8 p.m. last night, Elizabeth Emken – the Danville Republican who challenged U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in last November’s election – tweeted out an image of the graphic that ran with my story in yesterday’s editions about gun background checks. What followed was a remarkable string of replies too good not to share here.

Elizabeth Emken ‏@ElizabethEmken
How to buy a handgun in #CA=> 7 steps, 3 docs, 2 tests, background ck + 10 day waiting by @Josh_Richman: pic.twitter.com/EKkfbtiW

Yep, true – no problems there.

Mr. Big ‏@Meester_Beeg
@ElizabethEmken @Josh_Richman … and after you’re done, you’re on a list so the government can confiscate it anytime they want. #2A

Except that it’s never happened. Only when someone becomes legally prohibited from owning a handgun – due to criminal convictions, mental health commitment, restraining order or some other specified reason – has this state moved to confiscate guns based on data submitted via background check. So maybe Mr. Big believes criminals and the mentally ill should be allowed to keep their guns? Say it ain’t so, Big.

Or maybe Mr. Big would contend, “Well, it hasn’t happened, but… it could!!!” To which most might respond:

With all the hue and cry over even running background checks, do you think this nation is ready to allow seizure of those guns from law-abiding citizens? How exactly would that happen? It’d be political suicide, chaos in the streets. Not gonna happen. Besides, if some Congress or administration were to bring this ruin upon themsleves, Biggie would still have his “cold dead hands” opportunity.

But, I digress – back to the awesome Twitter string, from which you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

True Tourtillott ‏@DamnTrue
@ElizabethEmken @josh_richman The waiting period for subsequent purchases is asinine.

California does limit handgun purchases to one per month. I guess True feels he needs to buy more than a dozen handguns a year.

B36Peacemaker ‏@B36Peacemaker
@ElizabethEmken @Josh_Richman Wow, that’s even harder than becoming a illegal alien

Ah, race baiting! NOW we’re cookin’!

Gil DeStefano ‏@Gdestefano95
@ElizabethEmken @Josh_Richman It’s Administrative Infringement of 2nd Ammendment rights! #AdministrativeInfringement

Well, this is the only constitutional right that directly involves an object designed specifically for the purpose of taking other human lives, so yeah, there might be some paperwork involved in trying to keep criminals and the mentally ill from having said objects.

Lurabyss ‏@Lurabyss
@ElizabethEmken @Josh_Richman Background check to buy gun in #CA ? Obama won’t be getting a gun in CA then…

{sniff, sniff} Smells like birther.

Gene Schwimmer ‏@GeneSchwimmer
@ElizabethEmken @Josh_Richman You forgot step one: Be dumb enough to live in CA in the first place.

38 million of us and just one of you, Gene; I like our odds. (I see, by the way, that Gene hails from my hometown of New York City, which outside of California might have the strictest gun controls in the nation.)

And then, this morning:

martin the Great ‏@marttheGreat7
@ElizabethEmken @Josh_Richman can americans actually count to 10,

(Martin is from the U.K.) I dunno, Martin, can Brits properly punctuate their sentences?


‘Mood meter’ says Obama won debate on Twitter

President Barack Obama kept Twitter users happier than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney through most of last night’s debate, according to a Silicon Valley company’s analysis.

NetBase, a Mountain View-based firm that “delivers the enterprise social intelligence platform that global enterprises use to monitor, understand, and engage with customers in real time,” has created a Mood Meter: a dial updated every 10 minutes that captures and measures sentiment expressed by Twitter users about the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Here’s a screen-grab from a short while ago:

NetBase Mood Meter screen grab

NetBase’s natural language processing engine analyzes each tweet about the candidates using its technology that understands how humans speak, including profanity and slang, according to the company’s news release. So the dials represent a moment in time, a cumulative group of tweet sentiment over the past 10 minutes – a real-time look into Tweeters’ opinions.

Here’s how it stacked up during last night’s debate:

NetBase mood meter

Keep in mind that this only surveys those who are actively Tweeting – a younger-skewed demographic – and not the entire debate audience.