Chris Uggen's Blog: December 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

el primo boots at auction

I like gear that comes with a story. And "these alligator boots were seized in a cocaine bust" is a story worthy of Quentin Tarantino, if not the Coen brothers. See, the proprietor of St. Paul's El Primo Western Wear was evidently stashing cocaine in the boot boxes, so the store's inventory was placed into storage. Now you and I can bid for the fine snap-button shirts, boots, belts, and stetson hats at auction.

via Mara Gottfried at The Pioneer Press:

A large amount of Western wear seized from a St. Paul store by police is now up for auction. The owner of the store, El Primo Western Wear, was sent to federal prison after he was convicted in a 2008 drug case. He had stored cocaine among cowboy-boot boxes in the basement of the store at 176 Cesar Chavez St., according to a search warrant affidavit.

The merchandise seized included 881 pairs of boots, 579 hats and 1,111 pairs of jeans. It had been in storage until the advisory board of the now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force authorized the sale of the inventory at auction last month. Hines Auction Service is holding the online auction now. The first one closes Dec. 20 and the second Dec. 23. There will be more auctions, but they haven't been scheduled yet, the Ellsworth, Wis., company said today. The auctions are listed at and Proceeds from the auction will be used to pay Metro Gang Strike Force legal fees, settlements, storage fees and other costs, an attorney has said.

Property seizures by law enforcement agencies are controversial to say the least, as forfeitures of cars and other big-ticket items have increased directly with budget cuts in some jurisdictions. For their part, Minnesota's Metro Gang Strike Force has transitioned from beleaguered to defunct, finally shutting down in 2009. By most accounts, the MGSF was overzealous about seizing property and not nearly zealous enough about recordkeeping -- hence, an auction to help defray their own legal fees.

Now that's a story worthy of the Coen brothers.

[update: Jessica Lussenhop offers further details on both the bust and the goods in City Pages.]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

today's keywords, seasonally adjusted

According to statcounter, the folks stumbling upon this blog might be a little more interested in seasonal songs than sociological criminology. These are the keywords today's visitors entered before arriving here, ranked by frequency. Just another perfect day in Minnesota...

229 60.74% winter songs
33 8.75% songs about winter
29 7.69% best winter songs
15 3.98% best wintry songs
7 1.86% winter songs list
5 1.33% dissertation acknowledgements
4 1.06% songs winter
3 0.80% good winter songs
2 0.53% winter songs top
2 0.53% the silence by philip schultz
2 0.53% best winter music
2 0.53% top winter songs
2 0.53% best songs 2010
1 0.27% best winter songs ever
1 0.27% are there any private organizations that will sponsor a drug convicted felon to go to college
1 0.27% top tier journals in criminology
1 0.27% top songs winter 2010
1 0.27% best songs about winter
1 0.27% nice dissertation, 'acknowledgements'
1 0.27% in the name of love story
1 0.27% winter song list
1 0.27% top songs of winter 2010
1 0.27% acknowledgments dissertation
1 0.27% good winter songs for christmas
1 0.27% sex offender and their parental rights
1 0.27% Subjective Financial Well-being Quiz
1 0.27% songs of winter
1 0.27% newsweek top global universities
1 0.27% municipal taxes paid by jon bongiovi 2009
1 0.27% summer songs in winter songs
1 0.27% lawsuits ratemyprofessor
1 0.27% ratemyprofessors hot
1 0.27% best songs of 2010 update
1 0.27% symbolic interaction in news
1 0.27% is keith richards a good guitarist
1 0.27% against hiring non-violent ex-felons
1 0.27% need help getting an expungement mn
1 0.27% songs on winter
1 0.27% winter songs 2010
1 0.27% best winter songs 2010
1 0.27% songs for winter
1 0.27% failing quals
1 0.27% +Jon+uggen+facebook
1 0.27% writing acknowledgements
1 0.27% working rights for ex-felons
1 0.27% difference between felon and ex-felon
1 0.27% good dean
1 0.27% best winter song
1 0.27% great winter songs
1 0.27% winter song 2009
1 0.27% calvin pickering
1 0.27% cool winter music 2010
1 0.27% name effects
1 0.27% the World's Top 100 Global Universities
1 0.27% support group for felons

Thursday, December 09, 2010

new article/old gratitude

For academic administrators like me, it is pretty easy to lapse into research hibernation. My own research progress has been slower than maple surple since becoming chair, but I do my best to keep a few articles oozing through the pipeline. One new piece with Mike Massoglia is just out in American Journal of Sociology today -- Settling Down and Aging Out: Toward an Interactionist Theory of Desistance and the Transition to Adulthood.

I was revising the syllabus on my criminology seminar when I first saw it in print, which took me back to a crim seminar with my advisor in my first year of graduate school. I vividly recall my first encounter with a draft of his spine-crushingly cool AJS article on symbolic interactionism and delinquency. Though I didn't know much sociology at the time, I could appreciate its beautiful marriage of theory and research design. And while I haven't followed Ross Matsueda's ginormous footsteps as a social psychologist, he always gave me strong and steadfast support, the freedom to pursue my own vision, and an exemplary model to follow.

Over the years, I've come to appreciate the rarity of this sort of advisor/advisee relationship -- and my own good fortune in having an advisor who was more interested in pushing me intellectually than in replicating himself. The new piece, written with one of my own advisees, is close to my heart because it touches on a few ideas he shared with me in those first heady days of graduate school.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

it's the most wonderful time of the year

I've been all smiles today, since Dr. Julie Barrows successfully defended her extraordinarily ambitious dissertation this morning. She surveyed all 249 gang task force collaborations in the United States, estimated event history models to predict when and where they formed, analyzed the network structure of the 34 participants in one task force, and then conducted a fixed-effects analysis on her national data showing how multi-agency collaborations can reduce juvenile crime. Her multi-method dissertation thus offers 1) the first attempt to explain why such collaborations form, 2) a systematic look inside the network of a gang task force, and 3) a sound evaluation of their success. Julie will continue working full-time as a federal agent, but look for three strong papers and a book from this project in the not-too-distant future.