nouveau fascism

San Francisco’s BART Blocks Protester Cell Phones For (Totalitarian) Fun

fascist hippies!We would not have picked San Francisco for the first American city where “They” would start using autocratic control tactics on its disgruntled citizens, but here it is: civil liberties advocates are binging on tinfoil hats full of margaritas because the apparently fascist hippies running popular urinal and firing range the Bay Area Rapid Transit District blocked cell phone service at select rail stations where activists were planning a protest, to “safeguard safety with silence” or whatever nonsense alliterative Orwellian word combination sounds creepiest. (The BART actually has cell phone service, unlike the rest of America’s hobo transit, haha.) The protest was organized to call attention to the always-controversial BART transit police’s killing of homeless man Charles Hill, a protest which to transit officials must have sounded like “London riots in ur subway system.” Good thing they have an “off switch” for their customers’ phones! FIRST AMENDMENT SAY WHAT??

Hacker group Anonymous also did not like this, and they broke into BART’s allegedly “world’s easiest to hack website” and posted a bunch of BART usernames online in protest of the measure. BART responded with a butthurt call for Anonymous to quit violating the rights of its customers, which to some rang “a wee hypocritical.”

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The hack attack sent BART scrambling to protect its websites, and it infuriated some riders whose information was leaked. It came as the hackers also called for a 5 p.m. protest today at BART’s Civic Center Station, where a police officer fatally shot a knife-wielding man on July 3.

BART, which ignited a debate about technology and free expression when it shut down cell phone service last Thursday, has not ruled out blocking it again tonight, agency spokesman Jim Allison said.

“We’re going to take steps to make sure our customers are safe,” Allison said. “The interruption of cell phone service was done Thursday to prevent what could have been a dangerous situation. It’s one of the tactics we have at our disposal. We may use it; we may not. And I’m not sure we would necessarily let anyone know in advance either way.”

Yeah, free speech is overrated. [AP/ SFGate]

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273 comments

    1. ChuckieJesus

      It's the suede/denim secret police
      They have come for your uncool niece…

      CALIFORNIA! UBER ALLES! Also.

        1. Cicada

          BART TO CRANK TANGO: COWABUNGA, DUDE!

          Have pity, I'm running out of Bart Simpson references here.

          1. Cicada

            I would never Castro aspersions, that would make me a real Nob Hill.

            Er…something something Fisherman's Warf.

          2. Crank_Tango

            yeah I was trying to figure out how to massage Chinatown in there somewhere, but alas there are no happy endings.

          3. mayor_quimby

            The popo have gotten the meaning of Taylor's Automatic all wrong. Hollow points are sooooo not refreshing.

  1. 4TheTurnstiles

    Once on a ride from Fremont to Oakland I watched a man eat his own flesh, in strips, starting with one of his fingers and working his way up one arm. Al Davis is definitely in decline.

  2. hagajim

    One way to avoid that B.S….don't own a cell phone. Actually I thought Bart was a pretty cool dude, what with his skateboard and all. I guess Montgomery Burns got to him.

  3. HelmutNewton

    What's next? President Bachmann shuts down the entire internet because some blogger criticizes First Lady Marcus' wardrobe?

  4. MissTaken

    YAY! As if the cell service wasn't craptastic in BART stations enough now Big Brother is just cold killing the phones.

    BTW – I'm one who had her info posted by Anonymous this morning. I'm so glad I got punished for BART's bullshit.

    1. finallyhappy

      did I hear you on the radio being interviewed? It's ok- I have no memory but there was a woman who said it was her.

      1. MissTaken

        Seriously, I'm cool with what Anonymous does by exposing hypocrisy and the bullshit of corporations and governments. But going after people like me who just ride BART because they are just going to work and don't really have any other option is fucked up.

        1. mormos

          you don't know too much about anon do you? They are basically anarchists with exceptional computer skills. They are quick to react to what they perceive as injustice, but they don't always react in meaningful or constructive ways. And since they have no recognized leader, and since they agree on very little, it's hard to channel their conduct towards the common good.

          very few people have earned their universal respect. It doesn't help that they seem to have a short memory/attention span.

          1. Negropolis

            And tax cuts for the wealthy, 'cause Jesus. Or, was it 'cause freedom? I always forget this senseless conservative memes.

          2. MissTaken

            I guess I shouldn't have said I was "cool" with them, instead "I really couldn't give a fuck". Obviously I am a failure and proof why rich people need tax cuts.

      2. PristinePantalones

        Well, you know what they say about assholes. Everybody's got one.

        No, I'm not going to try the obvious follow-up.

  5. DashboardBuddha

    "It’s one of the tactics we have at our disposal. We may use it; we may not. And I’m not sure we would necessarily let anyone know in advance either way."

    One can only say, "What fucking country did I wake up in" so many times.

  6. finallyhappy

    I have ridden on buses on 16th st. in DC- and my cell phone will lose all bars. Metro probably does it on purpose since the bus ride always costs less than half of my subway ride(we have three different fare levels for the subway depending on the time of day). Also if someone is wielding a knife on my bus, a number of the other passengers can probably shoot him.

    1. Terry

      16th St is hilly and runs along Rock Creek Park in areas. There is crappy coverage for some providers in spots even in a car.

      1. finallyhappy

        You are probably right but I prefer to believe Metro is screwing with me because I am saving $2. One lady told me the cell phones are blocked in some places because of the embassies along lower 16th so we all have our theories- yours is probably the fact.

      1. finallyhappy

        38 years here and I always have something new to say about it but I will not leave the area-well, unless I play and win the big lottery and then buy a summer island home up north and a winter island home down south. So I guess I am here until they bury me – just 1/2 mile from a MD beltway exit.

        1. flamingpdog

          I left 36 years ago and am in the same boat as you out here in the Wild, Wild West. Won't ever leave, but I still love it back home, except in the summertime. I came back there in the summer of 86 after not being there in the summertime for 11 years. I had forgotten what it was like to have your shirt stick to your body. Out here you still sweat, but it actually evaporates!

  7. donner_froh

    BART should combine its core competencies, driving trains and shooting passengers. If someone is using a cell phone in a forbidden area or manner just shoot the fucker.

    1. PristinePantalones

      I love that term "core competencies." It always makes me want to poke my eyeballs out with one of those cool freebie rollerball(murder) pens you get working in the SillyValley.

        1. caitifty

          Also, synergistic. And isn't it great that autocorrect actually has that word in its dictionary now?

        2. PristinePantalones

          Did you guys play "buzzword bingo" too? It really used to piss management off something terrible when someone would call out "bingo!" in the middle of a meeting. Well, not the original management from when we were a startup, but certainly after the serial sales began.

          1. flamingpdog

            Oh, PP, thanks for the new game – I will definitely have to introduce it to staff meetings. Fortunately, I can retire at any time now, as well as being indispensible (LOL), so management can't fire me.

          2. PristinePantalones

            You're welcome! We used to hand out prizes to the winners. Useful stuff, like that Martian alien thing that you can squeeze till its eyes pop out. Very useful little stress reliever.

  8. MissTaken

    True story!

    I met a BART cop at a bar soon after the Oscar Grant shooting back in 09. When he told me he was a BART cop I said "Please don't shoot me in the back". He didn't find that very funny.

    1. Fukui_sanYesOta

      Probably similar to all the people who yell "don't try to tase me bro" at BART cops at Fruitvale as the doors are closing. They get a touch tetchy.

    2. PristinePantalones

      Ya know, some people just got no sensayuma. I told a Muslim friend of mine that every time I hear "Allahu Akbar," my shoulder blades twitch (she's a very good friend, and understands my weird sensayuma mostly), and she did not find that funny at all. (Her husband, who is also Muslim but eats ham like a mothafucka, laughed his ass off.)

    1. flamingpdog

      Mebbe because it's almost 1 in the morning – I'm not drunk, for sure – but that struck me as one of the funniest comments I've seen on Wonkette in a loooong time.

  9. AJWjr.

    When I moved away from the City in 1967, BART hadn't been built yet, and many of us never thought it would. When I came back in 1979, it had been built, and to no one's surprise, was on strike. I got a job driving a bus, one of hundreds chartered by BART to fill in when the trains weren't running. Looking back, I now see myself as a scab and should probably kill myself, being the staunch trade unionist that I am today, even though I've been out of work since 2007…

  10. donner_froh

    This is some weird shit from BART:

    “The fact that people want to focus on the cellphone service, I think it’s an interesting argument, but people are forgetting the other constitutional right that allows government agencies to put people’s right to safety ahead of their right of expression,” he said. “We are allowed to designate the time, place and manner of free speech.”

    NYT

    1. PristinePantalones

      WTF??? I don't think "safety of our passengers" is one of the criteria, buddy. More like "safety of the nation." Dayum, these mothafuckas are seriously jonesing for that one-legged asskicking I do so well.

      1. rahelio

        But "safety of others" is one of the criteria that is used to justify some limits on free speech. What about yelling "fire" in a crowded room? It's a curb on our freedom of speech because people could get seriously injured if a panic breaks out.

        BART claiming that is the case is ridiculous since this was, at first, a planned, peaceful protest. And the way they phrased it, " We are allowed to designate the time, place and manner" sounds really police-state-y.

        1. PristinePantalones

          If they're actually claiming a prior right to restrain free speech, they're going to have to come up with something a lot more convincing. The protest in question was a *planned, peaceful* protest, not a spontaneous riot, nor was anyone's life or wellbeing endangered. The thing about free speech is that courts tend to accord it the broadest interpretation. As they should. It is specifically called out in the Constitution as a right deserving of protection. And yes, this business of "we have the right to determine your freedom of speech" is absolutely unacceptable. Had they said, "we provide this service to you as a courtesy, and in our opinion, are justified in not providing it if we will endange our customers thereby," that would be a whole different kettle of fish. This appalling ignorance and misinterpretation of the Constitution must stop.

          1. Biel_ze_Bubba

            If they'd tried to ban the protest itself, that would be restraining speech, and you might have a shot at this argument.

    2. Beowoof

      Fuck you BART, the time place and manner requirements don't apply here; well maybe with the current supreme court they do. Gotta love the freedumb.

    3. snarkycomments

      I wonder if there was a point in that quote where his brain was desperately trying to strangle his mouth?

    4. Negropolis

      That is absolutely insane. Are we sure this isn't San Diego or Dallas or some shit? I know not all SF institutions instantly went liberal during the liberalization of the city, but that is some scary, Orwellian shit you wouldn't expect out of even BART.

        1. Negropolis

          I guess I don't. Hell, I can't even think of the last time in Detroit when someone was killed by the transit police on the bus or at a bus stop, and god knows there are times when it would have been justified.

  11. LettucePrey

    Warning: BART-riding San Franciscan here.

    Although BART pulled a dick move, it had nothing to do with free speech. You don't have a right to talk over a cellphone network, it's a privilege, hence the bill you get every month asking for dollars from your pockets.

    Whether it was right or wrong, free speech or not, the issue is simple: cell service does not work underground. It's only there because of repeaters installed in the stations. BART owns the repeaters, not the cell companies; it's their infrastructure to unplug them, just like they can turn off their escalators.

    (And for what it's worth, cell service is pretty shitty in the tunnels anyway, so most customers didn't actually notice any difference. And if you have an awesome cell phone, or a big ass antenna, you could have still made a call.)

    1. Crank_Tango

      Well if BART wanted to prevent a protest in order to protect its image, then it, uh, worked?

      1. LettucePrey

        Remember: working stiffs in the Financial District don't give two shits about that some wobbly drunk who assaulted the police and got shot. They only care about having to explain to their clients why they're late to a conference call or a FedEx shipment didn't make it out.

        1. Negropolis

          Remember: I don't give two flying fucks about some amoral working stiff in the Financial District who'd throw their mother off a BART platform into an oncoming train if they thought it'd make them more money.

          Think about that when you talk about "wobbly drunks", Marie Antoinette. God forbid that you have to get poor or hippie on your new shoes.

          1. LettucePrey

            I wasn't speaking for myself when I wrote that, troll. I was echoing the sentiments I hear around me. If you came up for air through all that righteous indignation and ad-hominem attacks, you might have guessed that.

            But whatever gets your panties in a bunch, I suppose.

            Also your analogy (in a thread below) comparing BART to a Woolworth's counter? Epic race-baiting fail.

    2. KenLayIsAlive

      Yeah, but where does that end? I guess that if there is a protest and the government wants to cut off water, electricity, and internet to a neighborhood, that's cool too?

      Slippery Slope!

        1. KenLayIsAlive

          Oh shit! A fallacy. That part was sort of a joke. Though that doesn't take away from the important question of who gets to control what happens in a society's common areas.

          1. Cicada

            I think under the law a BART platform doesn't count as a common area. You have to pay to get in, for one thing. Not sure about that, though.

          2. KenLayIsAlive

            Well, if you go by "the law" then all sorts of things can happen.

            It's sort of like the "free speech zones" making protests completely ineffective. That's where "the law" is leading us.

            I guess I meant common area as more of like, what we hold in common. This isn't even really a private property issue.

            Anyway, I can't argue this. I don't really have strong feelings about this particular incident, though I do have strong feelings about the continued pressure to somehow not count technological means of communication as free speech, even though we are coming to rely on it the same as we do running water or electricity.

          3. Cicada

            I hear you, and I honestly have no clue what this means with regards to legal precedent or free speech limitations.

          4. PristinePantalones

            I'm not sure either, having long left behind such information and considerations, but I believe an argument could be made that it is public space based on the fact that it was created and financed by taxpayer dollars.

    3. PristinePantalones

      That's not the issue (at least not for me). The issue is that their spokesidiot is defending the dick move on completely wrong grounds. You're right to say free speech doesn't enter into it, and spokesidiot would have been better served to remember that too.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        How is free speech the "wrong grounds", if free speech is precisesly the grounds of the criticizm you're trying to address?

        In any event, "free speech" is infringed only when the gov't restricts WHAT you can say. If BART says you get to yak on your phone outside the stations, but not inside, that's their prerogative, just as they can make rules against handing out pamphlets, hanging posters, and standing on a soapbox with a bullhorn to harangue everyone about Jeebus' imminent arrival.

        I wonder if these idiots would whine about their "rights" if a theater blocked their cell phones during stage performances. (You also have to wonder how bright they are, if they can't figure out how to organize themselves while standing outdoors.)

        1. PristinePantalones

          It could be argued that BART, as a quasi-governmental body, is an agent thereof. But, as I said, it was never a free-speech issue. BART provides the cellphone service as a courtesy to its riders, and shutting down ALL cellphone service does not constitute an attempt to infringe upon the free speech rights of a select subgroup of riders. So I think that is not the issue, although you're the lawyer, and if you say that *is* the issue, no doubt you will now demonstrate exactly how and why that is (unless you're busy actually lawyering, i.e., working, which I guess we have to do from time to time).

          Furthermore, as I pointed out, BART is not actually preventing cellphone users from using their phones *except within the confines of the stations.* That does not rise to the level of an infringement, IIRC. They're still free to exercise their political speech, merely restricted as to location — which, since the SC winked at the "free speech zones" of the Bush regime, I would imagine the lower courts would certainly uphold as being within BART's rights and not constituting an infringement.

          Also, yes, protesting BART's cut to service is downright irritatingly picayune, when there's so much else going on.

    4. Beowoof

      You know if that drunk had been able to exercise his second amendment rights, this discussion would be moot.

  12. Crank_Tango

    I wonder what else we can get the phone carriers to do by calling up and saying we are BART.

    Hey AT&T, this is BART, I am looking for every cellphone pic ever sent, specifically boobs.

    1. HistoriCat

      "Why can't you guys get them from the NSA? We send all the new ones over there once a month."

  13. Warpde

    Holy fuck Wonkette.
    Don't scare me like that.
    Here I thought, by the header, I missed the last episode of the Simpson's.
    Thank God it's just about the loss of rights and freedoms.
    Now those are two things I have gotten used to missing.

  14. Fukui_sanYesOta

    One interesting thing from the list of user data is that it seems most people have got the hang of not using "password" or their first names as passwords.

    I'm with LettucePrey – this isn't a free speech issue at all. Who the fuck has a right to yap on a cell phone underground? It's provided as a service, by BART.

    1. KenLayIsAlive

      Nah, I don't agree. Where does that logic end? What "right" do we have to anything in a society? You get what you fight for, this is a good thing for the protestors to fight about. especially after what happened in the Middle East and all the crowing we did about rights to access of information.

    2. BeWoot

      I'm with KenLayIsAlive. This is BART suspending a service because of (anticipated) speech CONTENT. That exceed the "reasonable time and place" exception.

      On the other hand, thanks for the tip on passwords. I just went and changed mine from my first name.

    3. snarkycomments

      I haven't looked at the data, but are you telling me BART stores passwords in plaintext and not in cryptologically secure one-way hashes? That's the real crime.

      1. Fukui_sanYesOta

        Yep, myBART did. No salted hashes, not even MD5. Shocking.

        The dev team admin password was "admin123"

        There are a lot of clueless cowboys out there.

        1. Biel_ze_Bubba

          If the contract requires "reasonable efforts" (or somesuch phrase) to provide a secure sytem, these third party bozos are about to get fired.

    4. caitifty

      I would have said that its provided by AT&T and other corporate sponsors. For a fee. I still remember them boasting about how much money AT&T was paying them for exclusive access before the inevitable court cases started from AT&T's competitors. Anyway, I guess the question is, fuck Anonymous – how do AT&T feel about their 3rd rate coverage in the tunnels being switched off for a couple of hours?

  15. Rotundo_

    Hey, who wants to bet that this little trick starts to catch on all over the place whenever there is something going on. I wonder if they'll electrify the seats so they can taser you from the observation rooms as well. Maybe they could have teargas release on command too! Look for the next big industry in the USofA to be in-place riot and crowd suppresion technology. Imagine blinding "billboards", Pepper gas spewing "fire hydrants" Crossing lights that have loads of marbles in them (hat tip to Animal House for that one), land mines that are remotely armed under the sidewalks and streets. What could possibly go wrong with those sorts of "Crowd Control" measures in case there's "Trouble". Look for Xe or a clone to be deploying them in larger cities (read Detroit as a trial test first) and then fanning out. RoboCop with landmines and Dubya selling SuX 6000 coupes (5 mpg, highway, up armor version) coming soon to a metropolis near you!

  16. Radiotherapy®

    I DEMAND that my Jitterbug works underground, in tunnels and even at 40,000 ft. What's next, rotary pay phones? That don't take credit cards? And I have to remember numbers?

    1. snarkycomments

      Exactly! How are the hell am I supposed to check in in Foursquare? I wanted to be mayor of the Powell Street Station.

    1. Warpde

      Come to Canada eh!
      If you and I are lucky we may have a good 10 years before it catches up.
      20 if Harper isn't re-elected.

    2. rahelio

      Freedom costs a buck o' five, Totalitarianism is a steal at whatever the hell it costs to ride the BART train.

  17. Tundra Grifter

    Please don't blame San Francisco for BART.

    It's the BAY AREA Rapid Transit – and that includes Daly City, South SF, Oakland, Berkeley, Pittsburgh, Fremont, Hayward, Concord, and stops in between and among them all.

    It's sloppy reporting to call it San Francisco.

    Just like that famous Peace Agreement was signed in Fairborn – NOT Dayton.

    Can't people get ANYTHING write?

    Now – get off my lawn!

    NOW!

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      "Just like that famous Peace Agreement was signed in Fairborn – NOT Dayton."

      At the Hope Hotel. Should be called "Abandon All Hope Hotel." Home of 19" CRT TVs, peeling paint, and clunky old "old-school" room keys. They did upgrade the rooms, with them fancy curved shower curtain rods. One stay there was all it took, now it's the Hampton in Huber Heights.

    2. JoshuaNorton

      Daym. Ya beat me to it. BART is not the SF subway system.

      Plus BART's fucked up enough without people intentionally shutting it down. And since they share stations with SF Muni downtown, you just know both services would have been messed up. It takes me long enough to get home as it is.

      I'm sure people would be all 'oh isn't that nice' if a bunch of protesters suddenly decided to shut down, say, the Times Square subway station in the middle of rush hour.

      /no snark

    3. PristinePantalones

      I was all, like, totally supporting you and everything until I got to this sentence:

      "Can't people get ANYTHING write?"

      And now I'm caught in an infinite loop of metacrazy.

        1. PristinePantalones

          You're beginning to terrify me, TG. In that creepy Republican "I'm not about to grab your dick and insist on sex" kinda way.

  18. LettucePrey

    There's something about San Franciscans constantly fucking with people's commutes in order to make their political points. (See, e.g., Jesse Jackson blocking the GG Bridge to protest Prop 209 in 1997; Woody Harrelson doing the same thing to protest the war in 2002.)

    Will these hippies never learn – I don't care what your cause is – IF YOU MESS WITH PEOPLE'S COMMUTE HOME, NO ONE WILL SUPPORT YOU.

    1. berkeleyfarm

      So true. Hacking the MyBart (innocent commuters, not the BART po-po) was a totally dick move.

    2. Negropolis

      Those fucking Civil Right protestors were so damned annoying. All I wanted was to get a lunch at Woolworth's and go home on the bus without having to have it pulled over for them damned niggras not moving to the back. I mean, all that trouble for what? They could have went an ate at some other establishment that would have them, and no one was keeping them off the bus. And, them bra-burning women blocking the streets? Fuck 'em, the whole lot 'o 'em.

      A real protest is one that causes discomfort and inconvience. A real protest is one that has consequences. How dare they prevent you from getting home on your usual mode of transit.

      Honestly, you said some stuff quite a few times up above that was begging for this kind of response.

        1. Negropolis

          Admittedly not the closet analogy that could be drawn in terms of the substance of the protests (though, there are definitely arguments that can and have been made that police brutality is a violation of a person's civil rights just the same, but that's another argument for another time), but I was more arguing the spirit, the whole bullshit "I'm pissed because protests are inconveniencing ME" argument.

          I see you'r making the same bullshit argument looking through some of your recent posts on this. Another poseur liberal, I guess. You know, one that only pays lip service to liberal ideas, and has the gall and nerve to criticize those folks in the trenches exercizing their rights because your fucking train might be late or down for a few days because of it. lol Protests shouldn't ever effect your personal life or anyone elses in any real way, of course. That's just rude and uncouth, surely. Hippies are so gross and inconvenient.

          1. Biel_ze_Bubba

            You're confusing the issues. Protests that shut down mass transit are, in fact, illegal — it's called "civil disobedience" for a reason. You do your sit-in, you fuck up everybody's day, you get arrested, and maybe figure you've made your point … but you don't go and whine about your "right" to do what you did. MLK understood this perfectly.

            BTW, I've eaten my share of tear gas, so spare me the "poseur" shit.

          2. Negropolis

            Who in the world said I was against them going to jail? You pay the cost to be the boss. That goes for both sides. I have no idea how you even read that into what I typed.

            And, still, I've got you pegged correctly, because you've been basically bitching about some petty, personal inconvenience to your life because some folks have the gall to exercize a civil right, and one for a legitimate cause in this case. When the rubber hits the road, you've sided with the wrong side, here. Obviously, you didn't swallow enough tear gas, or you've lost yourself. It's one thing to criticize the type of protest as a liberal, its entirely another thing to essentially project that you don't support what they are protesting, or make the focus the inconvenience of the protests.

            There is something very off with your focus, here. BART botched this entire response to the planned protests. They either should have left them the fuck along, or they should have turned off cell service without telling the public, and no one would have been any the wiser. At the end of the day, there was going to be a protest, regardless. Now, there are going to be bigger protests and even more distrust between the people and BART. Why you're willing, hellbent, and determined to continue to try and turn this entire issue into some referendum on the protesters is completely beyond me.

            You keep reading this…

            I don't care what your cause is – IF YOU MESS WITH PEOPLE'S COMMUTE HOME, NO ONE WILL SUPPORT YOU.

            …and tell me that that isn't fucking petty and small-minded.

      1. LettucePrey

        Honestly, you said some stuff quite a few times up above that was begging for this kind of response.

        Ooh, my very first butthurt stalker on Wonkette! *sniffle* What do I win?

        1. Negropolis

          I'm not following you. Quite frankly, I hadn't even seen you outside of this post.

          If anyone is wondering where this ire is coming from, it's because in the past few weeks I've seen people making disingenuous "jokes" and tryinng to pass them off as humor when they were barely couched in humor. In this thread alone, a handful of folks have done everything short of using the conservative term "dirty fucking hippies" for these protestors. The thinly veiled contempt for the folks we should be thanking is really kind of disgusting. In a thread about the real and unabashed villains in this story (BART), someone seem curiously comfortable with making the protestors the issue. At the very worst their tactics are annoying, but pales in comparison to the tactics of BART. If I wanted to see folks make a villain of the protestors, hell, I'd go to RedState.

          The kind of blase, dismissive contempt for liberal protestors fucking up somebodies ride home on a liberal blog, no less, is kind of worrisome to me to say the very least. It honestly wasn't just you, Lettuce, or even mostly you. I'm talking about someone else that used half-a-dozen posts to try and change the direction of the discussion to making this a critique on the protestors. Sure, criticisms of the protestors can be found, but others can make those arguments. There is absolutely nothing BART did right or effectively in this entire thing. There is no moral or even tactical equivalency, here.

    3. caitifty

      I'm sorry, when did you begin to believe anyone gives a shit what bridge & tunnel yuppies think?

  19. BaldarTFlagass

    Well, it's pretty bush league of BART, but there were protests before there were cell phones, internets, fax machines, 8 track players, victrolas, etc. Whenever one of my new fangled gadgets goes haywire, I just pretend it's 20 years ago or whatever.

    1. LettucePrey

      I know! How DID we survive without all this convenience back in the day? I guess people who rode BART in the 80s were outright daredevils!

    2. PristinePantalones

      It's escalating haha. They've started closing stations, not letting riders on, shutting down service. All in the name of "protecting the passengers." Given that BART is pretty much the only way to get between the Bay Area cities these days (bus service is a joke and the train is an even more cruel joke), that's interference with free speech. Which shutting down cellphone service definitely was not, since nothing was stopping people from using their cellphones before embarking or after disembarking.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Shutting down service to prevent the protesters from shutting down service… I wonder if it will work?

  20. OneYieldRegular

    Could they manage to turn off that wretchedly monotonous BART announcer voice, too? The stations are soul-draining enough without having to listen to "…FremonttraininnineminutesRichmondtraininsixteenminutesPittsburgtrainintwentyoneminutes…" spoken like a suicidally depressive automaton with compulsive speech disorder.

    1. Fukui_sanYesOta

      Why do you hate people with impaired vision?

      I just imagine it's Marvin the Paranoid Android from hitchhikers – "brain the size of a planet and all I do is read these stupid train announcements" </nerd>

  21. emmelemm

    OK, maybe I'm dense, but I don't get how not having cell phone service in the tunnels prevents a protest from happening? Just send out an email saying "So and so station, 3:00 Tuesday". Done and done.

    It just seems like a stupid move that is not only bone-headed and criticism-worthy, it doesn't accomplish the goal.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Yeah, they're pretty bush-league protesters if they can't work their way around such a simple tactic.

      "OMG! No Twitter from underground! What do we do noooow????"

      Abbie Hoffman spins in his grave.

      1. Negropolis

        That's entirely not the point, and I think you know better than that. Of course they know other options to organize. It's the principle that counts. It always the principle; that's why they are protesting in the first place. People with principle don't just do things when they are easy, or stick up for victims with shining reputations and backgrounds. If that was the case, they wouldn't be protesting this particular death.

        BARTS is bush-league, here, effing advertising that they are going to shut down phone service giving the protestors yet another half-way legitimate reason to be protesting their stupid, incompentent asses. They even admitted as such.

  22. DahBoner

    I must warn you, fellow Citizens, after Gov'nor Dumbass is elected, not to appear to be an Oldthinker.

    Turn off the Prolefeed and don't Doublethink and Crimestop, before you commit a Facecrime, lest you be sent off to a Joycamp.

    Doubleplus good!

    See y'all around for Hateweek…

    1. fuflans

      please stop saying this everyone. this is playing into my worst fears and i can't afford to move to canada.

  23. OneYieldRegular

    As a San Franciscan, may I also add that this is an excellent example of the indignation we San Franciscans express as a point of civic duty and as a means, just as whales must surface for air, for us to come up momentarily from our blissed-out torpor to breathe in the air of righteous rebellion? With acquiescent docility, we endure nearly non-existent cell phone reception on BART for years, but when BART suddenly announces that they're temporarily taking away our ability to get our non-existent cell service, then dammit, we're the first to the barricades.

    1. Negropolis

      And, FSM bless you all for it. Sometimes, the rest of us need a little reminder of how to find our innately American emotion of righteous indignation.

  24. glamourdammerung

    What a bunch of posers.

    Let me know when they are riding camels while beating the protesting peasants.

  25. Wonderthing

    Freedom's just another word for…er…I don't fucking know, I always liked the word it was.

  26. Radiotherapy®

    When Commie Flash Mobs and panhandlers can't use their cell phones in a public place, you know we are ready for another christofacist gubner of Texas to be POTUS.

  27. SarahsBush

    I'm not gonna lie. Not having to listen to someone's loud, one-sided, boring-ass conversation while I'm busy trying to pretend that I'm not the one who farted in this cattle car actually sounds pretty nice.

      1. PristinePantalones

        Isn't there actually a FART in SF/Bay Area? I forget what it stands for, but it's some kind of transit thingy.

    1. Terry

      I hope the next thing banned is singing out loud and off key to whatever craptastic music is playing on the person's iPod.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        But, but … he has a Constitutional right to make everyone else miserable. (Next thing you know, they'll use remote-controlled tazers on anyone they see singing…)

        Oh, BTW, the First Amendment doesn't mean you get to blast your boombox on the trains either … if you're unhip and old-fashoned enough to still use one.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Maybe it's only the right to jabber quietly and pointedly, in an effort to screw up the system, that's protected. The protesters aren't entirely clear on that — but I'm sure they'll explain it eventually.

    2. huracan

      There may be a First Amendment issue here, but then again there might not. Generally speaking: The Constitution prohibits the government from restricting speech based on the idea being expressed. However, reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on speech that are content neutral are usually ok. (Thus, the answer to your question is, "Loudly, no. Pointlessly, yes.")

      Here, the government is not restricting the content of any messages: protesters can assemble and chant "Cops are murderers!" as much as they want. They just can't use a cell phone to do it.

      But, is shutting down an entire commonly-used means of communication on which so many people depend, in order to make it harder to send certain messages, tantamount to an overbroad and unreasonable restriction? Hmmm.

  28. bikerlaureate

    Thrill to the myriad possibilities of quasi-governmental authorities taking action " to prevent what could have been a dangerous situation.:"

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Endless opportunities for douchebaggery, no question about it — but after every fatal foul-up, they get raked over the coals for failing to prevent that dangerous situation.

      Flash mob on a BART platform, people get pushed off onto the tracks (that could get VERY messy) … and it's going to be all about how BART knew in advance where and when this would happen, and it was forseeable that the crowd would be too large for the space, and they did nothing to prevent it, and of course they're going to be sued for millions, and maybe some adminstrative schmuck will be charged with negligent manslaughter so as to keep the pitchfork-wavers appeased. Plausible scenario, right? So…. what would you do if you're the administratve schmuck in question?

      I seem to recall a train operator in CA exercising his cellphone free speech rights a while back, and that didn't turn out well. That's why nobody objects to restricting the train operators' rights. But what about the guys in the control room? The transit cops on patrol? Fare collectors? Passengers? Passengers when you know some of them are planning to screw up the system? You draw the lines where you think you need to draw them, and you hope for the best.

  29. Limeylizzie

    OT But a true Texan hero , Jim Hightower, is on Chris Hayes talking shit about Rick Perry.

    1. Cicada

      I predict that Cory Doctorow also likes to huff his own farts and stick his finger up his dog's asshole. It's just as valid, really.

    2. OneYieldRegular

      Cory Doctorow is about 30 years too late and probably too serious for his own good. It's been at least that long since the wonderful Vito Russo amusingly described the Bay Area as exhibiting "a sort of benevolent fascism."

  30. mumbly_joe

    Okay, having given this a fair bit of thought, and considering the competing interests of the rights of free speech and to peaceably assemble and that of safety and not having another London break out in San Francisco:

    Tools like shutting down cell service are kinda badly flawed. By the time they're at all useful, things have already spun out of control, period. The best way to prevent a riot is going to be early intervention before things reach a tipping point where the participants can overwhelm police presence. And this means having an adequate police presence that police aren't overwhelmed to the point that they're led to the sorts of responses that inflame things further (and BART cops have a bit of a reputation for doing). Technological responses are often seen as a substitute for feet on the ground, and they're not. We had plenty of riots before the 90's, after all. In particular, cell service isn't an effective preventative measure, and it also leaves a lot of bystanders trapped if a riot does break out. Bad, and bad.

    Of course, that's all assuming the best scenario, in which BART police aren't especially prone to panicking or overreacting in response to disorder. Anyone want to take bets on that, in light of the evidence in record?

    1. PristinePantalones

      You make the ha-ha, fellow. The bets, they do not come for such evidences as yours.

    2. sati_demise

      wait until just one person has a medical emergency and no one can call for help and then BART gets sued for a BILLION dollars. That will be the end of that, my friend.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        or until someone is injured in a disturbance, and BART knew it was being organized via cellphones but failed to prevent it. and gets sued for a BILLION dollars.

    3. berkeleyfarm

      *BRAVO* *BRAVO* WELL SAID!

      As I joke with my boss, "Tech fixes aren't usually appropriate for personnel issues."

      Although my Magic 8-Ball says "BART will fuck this one up deeper".

  31. mumbly_joe

    BART cops wouldn't need to worry nearly as much about negative public reactions to their shutting down cell service to quash protesters, if they didn't shoot passengers quite so often.

    1. PristinePantalones

      Or fail to show up where and when they're needed while harassing completely peaceful innocents in the fucking parking lots fer chrisake.

    1. Fukui_sanYesOta

      BART set up repeaters, which they own.

      How about this as a scenario? I set up a bar. I hate fuckballs who talk/text when they're supposed to be socializing. Is it illegal to set my bar up inside a Faraday cage so that cell signals cannot get through?

  32. Jukesgrrl

    Considering the punishment BART metes out to riders of color it doesn't like, this seems like a measured response.

    1. PristinePantalones

      Well, see, now, with them colored, you gotta shoot, that's the only thing they unnerstand. With the white folks, you cut off their cell service, see? Same thing. Exactly the same.

      I have actually been told that to my rather brown face by people I know. It always amazes me how they have the gall or the mindset, but they do.

        1. PristinePantalones

          It's certainly generating just as much angst on the part of the not-yet-shot cellphone-deficient.

  33. x111e7thst

    Don't the damn protesters understand that the social media exists for the sole purpose of allowing people to post pictures of their risible private parts for the edification of all and sundry. This is what Al Gore had in mind when he created the internet (well dwarf porn too but that's a separate issue). Lets stick to our roots folks, and the Bart Schutzstaffel will not take away our toys.

  34. ttommyunger

    One of the little-known benefits of going to the Atlanta VA Hospital is the fact that they jam cellphone signals within the vast complex's waiting areas. A real delight. I love turning that little tyrant off and whiling away the time with my Kindle. I am also blissfully free from having to overhear the inane banter of others. An island of tranquility in a sea of banality. Lighten up, BART-Tards; smell the roses.

    1. ProudLibunatic

      I wish cellphones were jammed when my daughter was in the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Stanford Hosp. We were in the waiting room for hours, and had to endure others' loooong phone calls. And these were no ordinary phone calls. Graphic medical details were discussed in one way conversations by emotional and frazzled people.
      Good times.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        Yeah, they need to move that whole scene back where it belongs, over by the pay telephones.

        1. Biel_ze_Bubba

          That's Purgatory you're thinkin' of, Tommy. "Time already served" doesn't apply in Hell.

  35. not that Dewey

    Sheer Insannity was beside himself with Schadenfreude, nay — Schadenglee — about this turn of events. He was all I THOUGHT YOU LIBERALS WERE SUPPOSED TO BE BLAH BLAH NANCY PELOSI BLAH INTOLERANCE and his token fake-plant "liberal" caller from SF was derided as elitist for the next hour by every nutjob bagger with nothing better to do than plead for Sean's approval all day while whining about LIBERALS JUST DON'T GET IT WARREN BUFFET IS SUCH A HYPOCRITE WHY DOESN'T HE PAY MORE TAXES INSTEAD OF GIVING HIS MONEY TO CHARITY WE DON'T NEED GOVERNMENT WE JUST NEED TO GIVE MORE MONEY TO CHARITY WHY IS NOBAMA BLAMING THE ECONOMY ON THE JAPANESE TSUNAMI HE COULD HAVE LOWERED THE SEA LEVEL AND THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ANY TSUNAMI and on and on in that vein for fucking hours and I never even got to hear the exclusive interview with Xtine OD

    Sorry. I just listened to 7 hours of hate-radio alone in the car and I haven't had any human contact yet.

      1. not that Dewey

        Yeah, but it helps to pass the time.

        And besides, without the internets for a whole day I can't rely on Kirsten or Blair or Jr. or Riley (Dog rest his soul) to wade through the morass of rw jabberwocky so I have to do it myself.

        1. fuflans

          i know but i would kill myself if i had to listen to that. and for seven bloody hours!

          when i was traveling for my last private sector hell job i would get in the rental car in PA or OR or GA and turn every available station to npr or – if i was lucky enough to have sirius – french news programming.

          out of rage.

          and i did this BEFORE it was an ira glass npr fundraising spot.

          1. not that Dewey

            Plus, I like the irony of driving a GSA fleet car with "US GOV'T" plates while listening to Insannity, driving through farm country, and laughing, laughing, laughing. Knowing that all those idiot callers are paying for my per diem while I'm sneering at them is the elitist gravy. SUCK ON THAT, STINKY2B!

            My personal car has the Sirius, and I could listen to the Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann all day, but that's boring. And the taxpayers actually pay less if I use the government car.

    1. PristinePantalones

      You poor man! I take back anything even remotely snarky that I might ever have directed your way. Puppies, kittens, unicorns, and rainbow poptarts to you!

      1. not that Dewey

        All that trouble, just to get to Colorado Springs, home of Focus on the Family, the Evangelical Air Force Academy, and sundry other wingnut causes that I can't be bothered to google right now.

        On the other hand, I get to visit a way-cool semiconductor fabricator tomorrow, so it's almost all worthwhile. And the mountain views and perpetual rainbows (and rainbow poptarts) are awesome.

        1. PristinePantalones

          Awesome!Personally, I think I'd be eating lead if I had to go anywhere near that nest of wingnuts. More rainbow poptart nyancats to ya!

        2. flamingpdog

          760 AM. progressive talk radio from Denver/Boulder. You can get it in the Springs. David Sirota, 7-10, Ed Schultz, 10-1, Thom Hartman, 1-4, Mario Solis-Marich, 4-7, Randi Rhodes, 7-10.

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      I prefer not to induce rage while I'm driving — ten minutes of that shit, and I'm likely to conclude that the cretin who just cut me off by 2 feet at 75 mph is a teabagging asshole, and run him off the road just in case he is. You've got two NPR channels on SiriusXM … use 'em!

      1. not that Dewey

        I can't do it very often. I won't do it in the normal course of daily activities. But on the open road, once or twice a year, there is a certain tranquility that comes from the feeling of smug self-superiority that these shows inspire.

        No sirius in the government car. Ipod or AM only. And I listen to ipod during the commercials.

  36. sati_demise

    I dont know about you, but sometimes my cell phone is necessary for my safety, BART. I do not think you have thought this through.

  37. Negropolis

    Crazy proposal, I know, but maybe rent-a-cop transit cops shouldn't be carrying lethal weapons. You shoot indiscriminate citizens again and again on BART, you better sure as hell expect at least a protest. You best be happy they didn't go London-town-is-burning-down on your asses, BART. Doh!

    I'm tired of this motherfucking shootings, on this motherfucking subway! All your infos are belong to us.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Bingo – THAT is the real problem. Big city police do some serious psych profiling on their recruits, and it seems as if the rejects go straight to the transit authorities.

  38. Negropolis

    It’s one of the tactics we have at our disposal. We may use it; we may not.

    You know, you could always expend the tactic BART does best; you know, just shooting rowdy folks on the platform. That always solves the problem.

  39. berkeleyfarm

    Whoo-hoo! Bay Area, represent!

    I have to say the pix of the Tac Squad (as published in the online Comical) did make me wince. It'll get worse before it gets better.

  40. GeorgiaBurning

    Technology just messes everything up. BART used to rely on having the biggest, meanest looking cops around; if you ever saw some of them next to Oakland or SFPD officers you'd know what I mean. Intimidation made for good crowd control up through the 1990's, but it's kind of hard for a 6-6 man swinging a club to hide from a cell phone camera. Unless…

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