Smokies in the Pews


Mike Meno at The Gazette (a Maryland weekly) called to say his paper ran additional local coverage about the Maryland State Police surveillance program's activities in Takoma Park, Md. His interview with Maryland Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20), who represents Takoma Park, brings up a good point:

[Raskin] also questioned how effective Maryland is in using grants from the U.S. Homeland Security Department, which provided much of the money that paid for the surveillance.

"I believe this is a tremendous threat to civil liberty and a terrible waste of taxpayer dollars," he said. "It reflects a perverse allocation of scarce public resources."

Read the whole Gazette story here.

Some of the surveillance in Takoma Park took place at Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, which I find disturbing for two reasons: A) Presbyterians are harmless, and B) It sounds a lot like Huckabee advisor Jim Pinkerton's suggestion that we "put a cop in front of every mosque."

Jesse Walker blogged on the spies in Baltimore here.

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  1. Presbyterians are harmless


  2. It sounds a lot like Huckabee advisor Jim Pinkerton’s suggestion that we “put a cop in front of every mosque.”

    At least one can justify with a strongly jaded view of the world that putting a cop in front of a mosque is a “proper” use of counterterrorist funds. What the hell did the presbyterian’s do to warrant such? I’m not aware of any presbyterian fundamentalist suicide bombers any place.

  3. What the hell did the presbyterian’s do to warrant such?

    They eat the teeth of the unwary.

  4. They don’t look like Presbyterians to me.

  5. Interior. Church. Day. Fozzie: “They don’t look like Presbyterians to me.”

  6. “The best face you can put on this is that it’s a misallocation of police resources,” Frosh said. “Tailing citizens who are engaged in public and nonviolent activities is a dubious benefit at best. There’s plenty of crime for police to prevent and solve and plenty of criminals to catch, and it just doesn’t seem to me to be a smart allocation of resources”.

    That’s what I see. Cops investigate something stupid, they keep records (a good thing IMRO), they didn’t assault people or encourage illegal activities. To my knowledge they didn’t do any illegal wiretapping or open people’s mail. Investigating peace protesters and especially death penalty opponents is stupid, but I’m resigned to stupidity in law enforcement. It doesn’t seem that any state illegality was involved.

    This should spark the outrage of “Don’t you have real crimes to worry about?” come budget time.

  7. God. Damn. It. How can somebody beat me to a Muppet Movie reference? Whoever you are, you suck.

  8. Muppet references = awesome. That is the sign of a true genius – being able to fit a muppet reference into a thread about presbies

  9. That anything that orginate in Scotland is now considered harmless is sad. True, we Presbyterians aren’t quite as radical as those Free Will Baptists, but I should still think that some of our potlucks would frighten James Lileks into a coma!

  10. Cops get paid overtime (probably double time, since it’s Sunday) to sit on their butts in church.* Nothin’ to see here, folks. Move along. Move along.

    *What sort of “records” did they keep, I wonder? “Subject aggressively advocated double predestination and criticized the doctrine of transubstantiation. Recommend further surveillance.”

  11. Google Presbyterian uprising. Maybe those cops were onto something after all. 😉

  12. Presbyterians are harmless

    Nowadays they are. The Covenanters sure did like them some killin’ back in the day.

  13. The Nuclear Free Republic of Takoma Park?

  14. I thought the cop in front of every mosque was to put an end to the epidemic of bombings and assaults directed at Muslims after 9/11.

  15. R C Dean | July 24, 2008, 5:37pm | #
    I thought the cop in front of every mosque was to put an end to the epidemic of bombings and assaults directed at Muslims after 9/11.

    Yes. Fundamentalist Christians, like Mennonites and Amish, have formed long-lived cells in the rural mid-west and north-east. Officers have been posted and encouraged to be on high alert for the sound of hoofbeats, the smell of home-made butter, and the sight of ugly quilts.

  16. So little happens in Takoma Park I wonder if all this surveillance wasn’t just an excuse for these cops to catch up on sleep.

  17. in my parlance, ‘Smokies’ means marine corps drill instructor (DI).

  18. “All Presbyterian churches are shops of sedition.” – Banastre “Bloody” Tarleton.

    Oddly enough, when I went to the link there was an advertisement for Staunton, Virginia – which supplied many of the men whose deaths gave Tarleton the appellation “Bloody”.

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