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1. Rick Steve is the best. Period !!!
2. Very easy layout
3. Stayed on Rue Cler at Hotel Du Cadran as suggested by Rick in the book, AMAZING hotel and street !!!
4. Only ate at places suggested in the book, great food.
5. Maps in the book were very helpful.
6. Bought Rick's Italy books for the next trip.
Radley Balko's book on the rise of militarism of American police forces reads like a slow moving train wreck. The abuses of liberty by the police that are revealed in this book did not suddenly develop overnight, but rather have occurred over the course of a half century beginning with the tough-on-crime measures (including stop and frisk) of Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York and the development of one of the first SWAT teams in the late 1960s by Darryl Gates who would become Chief of Police of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Balko's telling of the police and civil libertarian abuses is very readable in that the developments are told in chronological order starting with the history of writs in ancient Rome and the Founding Fathers concerns over standing armies and the inserting of the Third Amendment into the Bill of Rights that dealt with the quartering of troops. The book comes up to the present day.
In the opinion of the author, the two main culprits in strengthening police power were the drug war and the war on terror. In the drug war, the doling out of massive grant money from the federal government to local police forces depended on the perverse incentives of multiple drug arrests and the padding statistics to justify funding. Also, police were given the power to seize assets on drug crime suspects even before they were convicted of crimes. Militarization reared its ugly head in the Waco fiasco where military vehicles were utilized to break down David Koresh's compound. Today, the war on terror is used as an excuse for even small police departments to obtain military hardware including armored personnel carriers. As of this writing, the Concord, New Hampshire city council approved the acceptance of a federal grant to obtain a tank-like vehicle for its police department even though the prevalence of violent crime is next to nil in that part of the country. Needless to say, the Fourth Amendment is in serious jeopardy according to Balko as the growth of no-knock raids exploded over the past several decades.
When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated that the New York Police Department is the seventh largest army in the world, then one must conclude that the barrier between the military and the police has been blurred to a substantive degree. The author does give us hope that the abuses can be curtailed. He cites the rising use of smartphones and cameras to record police abuses as one method in restoring the restraints on unlimited police power. He also suggested many reforms that need to be considered to restore an air of liberty in our cities and towns. Balko correctly notes that we are not in police state yet as we still have habeas corpus and can travel somewhat freely (a notion that I dispute with TSA checkpoints at airports and along highways), but if left unchecked, police power can swallow our liberties within a short period of time. This excellent book is 336 pages long with and end note section and index. I highly recommend this book for those who are concerned about their liberties. Five stars
Under Bush, liberals loved to remind us that "dissent is patriotic." As soon as Obama was sworn in, dissent became "racist." Coulter made a partial list of the many, many words or actions proving a racist heart in the age of Obama:
* stating the obvious fact that Obama was helped by his race;
* running a campaign commercial against Obama;
* mentioning that Obama's friend Bill Ayers is a terrorist;
* not voting for Obama;
* Scott Brown's pickup truck;
* opposing Obama's policies;
* using Obama's middle name;
* demanding to see Obama's birth certificate;
* arresting a black Harvard professor;
* being a Republican;
* supporting the Second Amendment;
* requesting answers from Attorney General Eric Holder for Operation Fast and Furious;
* reference to Obama playing basketball;
* using the term "kitchen cabinet" in relation to a black person.
When it comes to the issue of race in America, the political left is stark raving insane. Liberals lie to themselves, they lie to the rest of us, and they reflexively smear and seek to silence those with whom they disagree.
They hate Ann Coulter more than anyone else because her careful research unmasks the habitual deceit of the race-hustlers, so-called "journalists," and various professional racial grievance mongers. Even better, she writes with such wit and panache as to leave the reader doubled over in laughter at just how ridiculous these charlatans are.
"Mugged" is Coulter's best work to date. If you read nothing else by this writer, read "Mugged."