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Short diary here. As has been pointed out in diaries here and an article at Mother Jones, the evidence strongly suggests that the Baltimore City Police Department intentionally instigated the rioting on Monday which started at Mondawmin Mall and eventually resulted in the burning of the CVS store.

By Monday it was clear that the police needed something to change the story in the media. They needed to shift the focus away from Freddie Gray's murder and their complicity in it. They needed good TV imagery along with a story that made them into heroes and scared the shit out of white viewers at home. They got what they wanted by pre-positioning their riot troops at the mall so they could lay in wait for the high school children as they left school and headed to the mall for their bus connections to get home. What was portrayed for the media as a mob of angry young people converging on the mall with evil intent was actually a group of high school students trying to go home the same way they did every day.

There was no need for this police action. They claimed that there was a plan among the kids to act out a bunch of lawlessness, "The Purge" which had supposedly been organized on social media. But they had no actual evidence that this kind of action was intended. They had nothing more than a rumor, no individuals or groups that were allegedly planning these actions were identified. The police also claimed that the Bloods and Crips had formed a pact to kill police officers, when it turns out that their pact was to join together to keep the protests peaceful and not make the neighborhood look bad in the media. So the validity of the police claims regarding The Purge are in question. Even if there WAS a plan for lawlessness among a segment of the students, how was shutting down the public transportation and essentially stranding these children at the mall going to help prevent lawbreaking? If anything it was going to exacerbate the problem.

This deserves to be investigated. Who made these decisions and on what basis were they made? What were the sources of their information regarding The Purge and the Bloods/Crips pact? How many of their actions were taken in an honest effort to prevent violence versus those taken to deliberately provoke the same? I think these are questions that demand answers. I also suspect that there is no agency, local, state, or federal, which wants to open this can of worms. This is why I believe that the businesses which were most directly impacted by the riots should bring a lawsuit against the police on the premise that the police intentionally instigated the rioting for PR purposes; and that in so doing, the police knowingly put the mall and its customers at risk and are directly responsible for the damages to property and losses due to looting. Let the process of legal discovery be a substitute for an official investigation that will likely never happen.

This may be impractical. It may not be legally sound. I have no idea as I am not a lawyer and do not think like one. I can only say that it feels like an appropriate course of action. The police should be held accountable not only for the murder of Freddie Gray, but also for their role in precipitating the riots.


Do you believe the Baltimore Police deliberately instigated the riots?

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Tue Feb 10, 2015 at 03:47 AM PST

Recommended? 6 recs in 6 hours?

by kbman

To judge by the tags, the Daily Kos community has chosen to recommend an I/P flamebait diary from a rightwing Likudnik diarist, a diary which calls out respected members of the community.

I said judging by the tags because it has become apparent that this user is adding his own "Recommended" tags. He makes clear in the comments that he believes there is nothing wrong with this and ...

That is not against the rules (0+ / 0-)
This is just another lame attempt to tell Jews who won't sell out their own people to sit down, shut up, and know our place!
Checking his user profile he has 4 recommended diaries, and yet he's never had a diary with more than 24 recs.

I don't know if the admins will do anything about this, but I find this highly inappropriate as it gives the impression that there is broad support in the Daily Kos community for these fringe right wing views.

He also throws out baseless accusations of "vandalizing" his tags. Pathetic.


Should diarists feel free to add their own Recommended tags?

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It is exceptionally amusing to watch the mental gymnastics the P*ts fans are going through to try to defend Brady and Belichick.Several have gone so far as to don their tin-foil hats and claim that it is all a conspiracy by the league to get the P*ts because all the other owners are jealous of them, or some such nonsense. It is now being reported that the Colts became concerned about under-inflated balls against New England when they played them in November. This raises the question of just how long the P*ts have been doing this.

I think coach B gave us the answer recently in an attempt at misdirection. He was crediting their ugly defeat in Kansas City as being the turning point for their season. Well it certainly was when everything changed for Tom Brady. If you'll recall, at the beginning of the season the conventional wisdom was that Brady was washed up, much like Peyton Manning at the end of the season, lack of accuracy, lack of arm strength, fumbles, interceptions, looked uncomfortable playing in general. Then, as if by magic, Brady "came back to life."  His passer rating in the first 4 games of the year was 79.1 and he had only completed 59.1% of his passes. Suddenly he went from mediocre to putting up a 110.6 PR against the Bengals on October 5th. His PR after those first four games was 103.0 and his completion percentage was 65.6. SOMETHING changed that made it easier for him to complete passes.

It also made it much easier for him to handle the ball. In the P*ts first 4 games, Brady fumbled the ball 5 times. He had zero fumbles the rest of the year. The P*ts tied a record for fewest fumbles this year while running far more plays than the teams from the past with whom they were tied. And while researching this I found an even more amazing statistic that dates back well before October 2014 ...

Deflated: The Statistically Impossible Patriots Fumble Record

Sharp Football Analysis analysis looked at the rate of fumbles by the Patriots offense over the last decade.  The analysis had a number of shocking conclusions.  First, the Patriots fumble only at a rate of once every 187 offensive snaps.  As Sharp’s puts it, this is literally off the charts.  It is a statistical outlier right from a statistics textbook.


But it gets worse for Brady and the Patriots.  Sharp Football Analysis was able to trace the emergence of this phenomena to a bright-line date: 2007.  Starting in 2007, the Patriots suddenly began to hold onto the football at a statistical rate likely to occur 1 time in 16,233.  A rational person might conclude this is the moment when someone on the Patriots cooked up the scheme to illegally deflate the ball:

    As you can see, the Patriots won their Super Bowls having a below average rate of fumbles lost given today’s average of 105 plays/game. But in 2007, something happened to propel them to a much better rate (you’ll remember, that just so happened to be the same year they went 16-0 in the regular season). But even looking at these numbers, its clear how insane the 187 number is: they are almost running 100 MORE plays without a single fumble as compared to the 2002-2006 period when they won 2 of their 3 Super Bowls.


When you consider that the Patriots play in cold, messy weather much of the season, having an advantage that visiting teams do not have creates even further separation from the rest of the NFL on game day in New England. The Pats have performed like a domed team in the worst of conditions.

And considering that the Colts initial concerns were when they were the home team ... in a dome, this negates the idea that the deflation is temperature related, or that it is necessarily the result of handling by the home team's designated ball manager after the balls have been tested.

Perhaps the NFL's investigation should include inspection of the affected balls for possible physical tampering. I could see the possibility of them finding a way to induce a very slow leak such that the balls would test fine at 12.5 PSI but then over the next few hours waiting for game time deflate a few pounds. Perhaps they got even bolder after the slow start with Brady's 5 fumbles and decided to increase the rate of leakage to make the balls even softer - which also made them vulnerable to being caught after all these years of cheating.

So whether this was just something that started this season, or whether it is something that has been going on for the past eight seasons, it does appear that the P*triots have been engaged in SOMETHING that has been giving them an unfair advantage. If it is indeed determined that they physically tampered with the balls, then Belichick should be banned for life and Brady should have every passing record marked with a Barry Bonds' style asterisk.

New England fans can scream "HATERS!!!" at the tops of their lungs as they live on in denial that their team's head coach and quarterback are cheaters. The question is not, "Did they cheat?" But rather, it is, "HOW did they cheat?"


Are Bill Belichick and Tom Brady telling the truth about this incident?

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At the close of WWII, many German citizens were unaware, or in denial about the killing of Jews in German concentration camps. To counter this, the Allied armies forced large numbers of average German citizens, especially those in the Hitler Youth program, to tour a camp and see for themselves the inhumanity that had been exercised by their leaders. I think it is time for the American public to be awoken in the same manner. What sounds to them as being acceptable in a theoretical/hypothetical sense may shift when confronted with the physical horror experienced by the victims of these crimes. This should be reinforced by commentary which provides biographical background on the victim, and the uselessness of the "intelligence" gained by torturing them.

(Yes, it is unfortunate that the CIA destroyed many of the tapes, but I believe I have read about some still existing. And then there are probably copies that could be subpoenaed from Cheney's private porn collection.)

Perhaps this public shocking and shaming would have the added benefit of smacking some idiots out of their FOX-induced right wing fantasy world and back into reality. And in the process this should also create a groundswell for investigation and prosecution of those responsible.

I suspect that more than anything else, it is this exact prospect which motivated the CIA to destroy as much evidence as they could. The abuses at Abu Ghraib were a minor story until the photos came out. The CIA knew that their torture tapes were far more explosive in terms of their potential impact on public opinion.

RELEASE THE VIDEOS! It's time for America's nose to be held in our collective pile of doo-doo and be forced to acknowledge that we did it. Until then we remain international pariahs.


Do you think the torture videos will ever be seen by the American public?

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I received my vote-by-mail Oregon ballot today. There was also a 6 x 9 card mailer from "No on 91" apparently intended to scare the bejeebus out of Oregon voters. The front has a collage of packages for a variety of sweet marijuana edibles ... Pot Tarts, Mile High Mint Milk Chocolate, Baby Jane, etc. Accompanying this is a line across the bottom asking, "Why experiment on Oregon's kids with these MARIJUANA junk foods?" Not only is MARIJUANA in all caps and bold, it is also colored green.

The back of the mailer has a series of lies, half-truths and distortions, among them [Reefer Madness claims in BOLD, my responses in italic]:

BIG MARIJUANA BUSINESS TARGETS KIDS with marijuana gummy bears, sugary kids cereal, ice cream, candy, and soda.

No, marijuana edibles entrepreneurs - none being big businesses in the everyday sense of that term - target CONSUMERS who grew up eating these foods and continue to eat them. Meanwhile, the law specifically disallows sales to minors.

YOUTH USE OF MARIJUANA INCREASES when availability increases.

Pot use among Colorado Teens Appears to Drop After Legalization

Marijuana use among Colorado high school students appears to be declining, despite the state’s pioneering voter-approved experiment with legalization.

According to preliminary data from the state’s biennial Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, in 2013 - the first full year the drug was legal for adults 21 and older - 20 percent of high school students admitted using pot in the preceding month and 37 percent said they had at some point in their lives.

The survey’s 2011 edition found 22 percent of high school students used the drug in the past month and 39 percent had ever sampled it.


Results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that nationwide 40.7 percent of high school students reported ever trying marijuana and 23.4 percent said they used it in the preceding month.

Medical marijuana opponents’ most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

But opponents still have one trick up their sleeves, and it's proven to be a powerful and effective one: the notion that relaxed regulations on marijuana will lead to a rise in marijuana use among children and teens. Florida voters, for instance, will decide whether to legalize medical marijuana this November. Organizations opposing the measure have built their campaigns around fears about underage use.

More to the point, the notion that medical marijuana leads to increased use among teenagers is flat-out wrong. A new study by economists Daniel Rees, Benjamin Hansen and D. Mark Anderson is the latest in a growing body of research showing no connection -- none, zero, zilch -- between the enactment of medical marijuana laws and underage use of the drug.

The authors examined marijuana trends in states that passed medical marijuana laws. They tracked self-reported pot use by high school students in the years leading up to and following the enactment of these laws. They conclude that the effects of medical marijuana on teen use are "small, consistently negative, and never statistically distinguishable from zero."

NO STANDARD FOR DRIVING WHILE STONED: Washington has a limit. Measure 91 has no such limit.

The state of Oregon already has standards for driving under the influence of drugs, no need to include them again in the ballot measure.

IT FEEDS THE BLACK MARKET: Like Colorado, the black market will always be cheaper than "legal" taxed marijuana.

No, it cuts into the black market by providing simple legal access. People can buy alcohol and tobacco cheaper on the black market as well. By and large they choose not to do so.

MONEY LOSER: For every $1 the government receives taxing substances like alcohol and tobacco, it spends $10 in social costs.

This comparison is meaningless. Marijuana is nothing like alcohol or tobacco and has nowhere near the level of social costs associated with these substances. Meanwhile, what are the social costs of continuing prohibition? How many lives have been destroyed, not by marijuana, but by the results of marijuana law enforcement? How many people have been killed in drug raids gone bad?

They next claim ...


- Colorado's 12-17 year old marijuana use rate is 39% higher than the national average.

This is flat out false. As per the first link, 20% of Colorado teens have reported using marijuana in the previous month, and 37% report trying it ever. The corresponding national figures were 23.4% past month use and 40.7% ever tried.

INCREASE of 57% in marijuana-related emergency room visits.

This is highly misleading. An emergency room visit is deemed "marijuana-related" if the person has used marijuana in the recent past, regardless of the cause for the visit. Someone could be brought in due to bee sting allergies, and if they had smoked any pot recently it would be recorded as marijuana-related. Furthermore, multiple studies have found a negative correlation between recent use of marijuana and emergency room visits - as though marijuana had some sort of protective effect.

INCREASE of 100% in traffic fatalities where drivers tested positive for marijuana.

There are several problems with this claim. First, they would have you believe that there has been an increase of 100% in just the past two years since Colorado legalized recreational use. The study from which ALL of these misleading statistics were taken was actually conducted over the time frame of 2007-2012, roughly the time when the medical marijuana industry was growing in Colorado. Secondly, if a person has consumed pot in the previous 3-4 weeks they can still test positive for marijuana. So a 100% increase in the number of those testing positive simply means that more people are smoking pot. And given that traffic fatalities DECREASED by almost 15% in that same time frame, it's heavy lifting to claim that increased marijuana use made the highways more dangerous.

INCREASE of 268% in poison control center calls for children (ages 0-5) for marijuana.

OMG! a 268% INCREASE! This was based on data for the three years prior to 2009 and the three years following. And while the percentage increase sounds alarming, the raw numbers were 5 versus 18. Hardly the epidemic they make it out to be. These were cases of kids getting into their parents edibles and ingesting various amounts. Of course, kids never get into other legal substances and poison themselves, just marijuana.

They then point out that a relatively small number of people in Oregon prisons are there for marijuana. What they leave out is that there are many more who visit jail due to marijuana arrests. In 2012, the last year for which numbers are available, over 2,700 people were arrested in Oregon for marijuana offenses, and over 10,000 more were issued citations for possession of less than one ounce. All of these incidents cost money, both for the persons arrested/cited, and also for the state.

They close by pointing out prominent authority figures and groups who oppose legalization, including:

Governor Kitzhaber and his opponent Dennis Richardson,

"The NO on 91 Committee is a broad coalition of doctors, teachers, employers, parents, and law enforcement."

I find it interesting that three of the four organizations they list are law enforcement groups. I suspect that their "broad-based coalition" may be a mile wide and a millimeter deep.


Are you shocked to see shameless propagandizing by opponents of legal marijuana?

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This story just came out in the past two days. It has repeatedly been used as a cudgel by the racist assholes people defending the cop's killing of Michael Brown. This raises MANY questions ...

The claim is that during the alleged struggle through the open window of the police cruiser, Michael hit the officer in the eye so hard that it broke the bone and caused him to almost go unconscious.

Q - How was Michael Brown able to generate so much power in a punch as to break the officers eye socket when his movements were constrained by the tight quarters inside the cruiser window?

Q - Why was no mention made of this injury until ten days after the shooting? We know that the FPD and SLC prosecutor were throwing everything out there they could find in their efforts to demonize Michael Brown and defend officer Wilson. If his injuries were as bad as they claim, there is no doubt in my mind that they would have been parading photos of his battered face all over the TV machine.

Q - In the autopsy report, the doctor claimed that there were no indications on Michael Brown's body of a physical struggle. Unless the doctor is quite incompetent, one would expect that this analysis included an examination of Michael's hands. If he had hit the cop so hard as to break his eye orbital, one would expect to see trauma to his hand and knuckles. No such trauma was reported.

Q - According to a timeline of the incident, there was an ambulance there within a few minutes as it was responding to another call in the area. While it was reported that they stopped to assess Michael Brown, there is no mention of them providing any sort of medical assistance to Wilson.

Q - In Piaget Crenshaw's video of the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Wilson can be seen wandering around the crime scene and conversing with officers. If he was truly so badly injured it should be apparent in how he appears in the video. His face looked clean, and his demeanor was not that of someone who was severely injured. No attention was being given by any of those present to his supposed injuries.

Q - Far from being attended to and taken to the hospital for care - things one would reasonable expect in such circumstances - officer Wilson DRIVES away in his cruiser. For a man who was moments ago almost knocked unconscious, this seems unreasonable as well. Why would the other officers allow him to drive if he had just undergone such a traumatic experience?

So anyway, in considering all of the available evidence, I highly doubt that Michael Brown broke officer Wilson's eye orbital. But rather, I suspect that IF he indeed has this injury, it is the result of him getting good and drunk and asking one of his cop buddies to punch him in the face to give him an alibi. The timing and other circumstances make this a much more plausible theory than what is being presented on FOX News.

Update as of 1:25 PM PST

First, in answer to those concerned that this diary is speculative and/or does not help the situation ... Yes, it is speculative. So what? In the absence of reliable facts and with the kind of unsubstantiated claims coming from the right wing echo chamber, I think some push-back is warranted.

Second, another question has occurred to me which I believe is quite significant ...

Q - If they were struggling for the officer's gun, and Michael hit him so hard as to almost knock him unconscious, how is it that Michael - a big, strong young man who was NOT nearly unconscious - failed to get his gun from him? It just doesn't sound reasonable.


Do you believe that Michael Brown broke officer Wilson's eye orbital?

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Here is what they printed ...

Congress has enabled police abuses

I feel fortunate to have been born into a white, middle-class family and to live in a town like Eugene where the police actions are consistent with their traditional motto, “To serve and protect.”

Sadly, not all Americans are so lucky.

Events of the past few days in Ferguson, Mo., are a shocking reminder of just how radicalized and militarized some police have become in America.

Much of it is because of Congress, which ramped up the “war on drugs” throughout the 1980s and ’90s and started arming state and local police with military equipment.

That can’t continue. How many more innocent young black men need to be murdered by police? How many more peaceful protesters, legally invoking their constitutional right to assembly, need to be shot at, have assault rifles and sonic weapons trained on them and have tear gas and stun grenades thrown at them?

Meanwhile, reporters are being arrested, beaten and physically abused by police. That’s far from what freedom looks like.

So my questions to Congress are, “What do you intend to do to rein in out-of-control police nationwide? Are you going to take away their deadly toys, or at least stop sending them new ones?

“Or are you going to let them continue to terrorize our citizens while giving them the latest in high-tech equipment to do so?”

It is also in their online letters section. There are predictable right wing comments online.

Will the citizens of the US be able to reverse this?

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Sat May 17, 2014 at 10:05 AM PDT

Forgetting the lessons from Rwanda

by kbman

I became embroiled in a mini-controversy in a diary last night, one which I feel is disturbingly representative of a coarsening of opinion on this site. I read a diary by a popular diarist. It was a diary that I was in almost complete agreement with, What I did not agree with was the use of the allusion of cockroaches scurrying for cover. I attempted to have the offending language removed by way of a Kosmail appeal to the diarist. I was dismissed, but "thanked for my concern". And so I HR'd the tip jar. There was another comment the diarist made that referenced roaches, but since I could only HR one of them I chose the TJ.

As a result I was accused of HR abuse and had a number of comments telling me how wrong I was because of what sleazy people the Walkerites are. These people criticizing me and calling this HR abuse miss the point. We are discussing fellow human beings, no matter how flawed they may be. They are HUMANS, not animals, not insects, not some lower life form. What is considered the appropriate things to do with cockroaches? Exterminate them.

Now obviously, the diarist wasn't imploring their readers to exterminate members of Walker's cabal, but the use of dehumanizing language starts us down that road regardless of their intent. We are at a very ugly time in US political history right now. The right wingers are itching for a fight, a real fight with bullets and dead people. Ramping up the hatred on the left will do nothing but help feed their desire for conflict.

We, as progressives, are supposed to be better than this. It has traditionally been the authoritarian hatemongers who have used these kinds of attacks on their political opponents - people like Limbaugh and Hannity. When we descend to their level then we are no better than them.


Fri May 16, 2014 at 12:05 PM PDT

Springtime for Tea Party Patriots!

by kbman

Every social movement needs a catchy tune to help market itself. Operation American Spring is no different. After some sleuthing, I was able to find the lyrics for their theme ...

Springtime for Tea Party Patriots

'Murika was having trouble, what a sad, sad story.
Needed to change leaders to restore its former glory.
How, oh how would they?
Besides beseech and pray?
They looked around and then they found a plan for you and me.
How, oh how would they?
Besides beseech and pray?
They looked around and then they found a plan for you and me.

And now it's ...

Springtime for Tea Party Patriots!
Wingnuts are happy and homosexual!

[editors note - apparently a virus containing the autocorrection
software from Wingnut Daily has infected my computer. The previous
line should have read, "Wingnuts are happy and gay." Sorry for
the confusion.]

We're marching on to Washington,
Look out Obama, here we come.
Sprintime for Tea Party Patriots!
Bundy's and Fundies adore,
Sprintime for Tea Party Patriots!
Watch out sanity, we're going on tour.
Sprintime for Tea Party Patriots!


All your base are belong to us?

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Watch Out!

Now way back many years ago, before the dawn of man,
The giants we call dinosaurs roamed across the land.
And then one day a ferocious rock storm rained down from the sky,
And for the age of dinosaurs it was time to say goodbye.

[Chorus I]
Hey there brontosaurus, and all you other dinosaurs,
Trompin' through the forest,
Watch Out! For that meteor.

(Yeah, ya gotta watch those things. They'll ruin your day for sure.)

Then Mother Nature did an amazing thing with their enormous bodies,
She buried them deep as time and pressure made them into a commodity.
It started in western Pennsylvania in a town called Titusville,
Where they set up timber scaffolding and said, "Drill baby, drill!"

[Instrumental - sounds like party time fer shur - change key from minor to major]

And so out of the ground the black gold kept flowing,
Modern industrial society kept growing.
Providing comfort and ease,
Oil made many rich,
But this miracle fuel ...
Well, it came with a hitch.

[Bridge -rising diminished triads]


(Damn, what a killjoy. Who invited "Al Gore here" to the party?)

So in the future, many years from now, what will our descendants see,
A world of desolation? Or one of possibility?
There's little time to change direction, and by the future not be scorned,
And blamed for not taking action, even though we'd all been warned.

[Chorus II]
Hey there everybody,
We're addicted to cheap fuel's allure,
Action now is crucial,
Watch Out! for that temperature.

[Repeat second chorus]


Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:35 PM PST

"I am an Obamacare Loser" ad concept

by kbman

The scene: a well-dressed gentleman in his 50's is standing in front of a luxury car parked in front of a mansion.

"I am an Obamacare loser. That is to say, Obamacare will cost me more than I directly get back from it. I'm paying higher taxes to help subsidize other people's insurance. My investment income is being taxed almost 4 percent more.

Now, the family will still be able to spend July in Hawaii, and we won't actually lose anything we already have, but it will cost us more. Meanwhile, though we don't get as much back directly, there are other benefits from living in a healthier society. "

[cue The Beatles' I'm a Loser]

Despite the Koch Brothers' inability to present a legitimate case of an Obamacare loser, they do exist. They're just not very sympathetic characters. I think their stories deserve to be told.


Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:10 PM PST

No wonder they get away with fraud

by kbman

I recently had a bad experience with an auto repair situation. Actually, it started out as an inexpensive oil change with a coupon. It was with a major auto maintenance chain, one which I will not name. After a few minutes in their waiting room I was approached by the manager who informed me that they could not do the oil change because I had a "massive oil leak." He took me out to the service bay and showed me the front underside of my car which was dripping with oil. I was informed that it was my front crank seal and that it would cost $150 to fix. Only having $60 in my pocket I left.

I was somewhat suspicious though, because the oil dripping from my vehicle was amber looking, fresh oil. I hadn't changed my oil in over 30,000 miles and it looked it - dark, almost black. I checked my oil level a few blocks up the road and saw that it was almost full. I kept watch on it until the weekend with no noticeable drop. I then cleaned up the underside - MUCH less oil than I was shown at the shop - and did my own oil change. I have no leak. They were trying to defraud me.

And so, I reported it to the state AG's office. Today I received a reply letting me know that ...  "We have written to the business and  requested a response regarding your complaint."

Well gee, I'm sure this will keep them honest.


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