Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Can't Be True

Think government programs are safe from such concerns? Think again. The Government Accountability Office estimates that, in 2011, Medicare and Medicaid made a whopping $50.7 billion in fraudulent payments. That same year, the combined annual profits of the nation's 10 largest insurance companies were $13.7 billion. In other words, the government lost almost four times as much as private insurers made.

OK - end medicare and give the elder 1/3 of americans $51,000/year and the responsibility to pay for their own healthcare. 3, 2, 1, go!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Classic Quote, Russell

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts."
~ Bertrand Russell

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Symbol of Innocence?

"If you do a Google Search for 'Purple Lean' or 'lean drink' or 'lean drank' it is sort of an urban kind of drug. It's known in some circles as poor man's ecstasy or something like that," George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax.

"The main ingredients are watermelon, Arizona watermelon juice, a hard candy . for sweetness, and then some type of either codeine tablets if you can get them or Coricidin D, Robitussin DM," he explained.

"It's an intoxicant and it's a fairly significant one," O'Mara said.

It's the final punch line in this tragedy - he wasn't out after a sweet drink and a bag of candy, he was looking to get high. Why does that matter? Only because the skittles bag was used by the confused to symbolize an innocent victim, shot down for no reason except presumably the malevolent racism of GZ. That he was shot instead while looking to get a non-criminal high pokes just one more ironic hole in that tall tale told to manipulate.

Not Casting Stones, Pointing to the Hypocrites

When Eliot Spitzer ordered up hookers, the State Police were ordered to make themselves scarce, a bombshell new report claims.
The then-governor was so determined to carry out his illicit late-night trysts, he'd try to sneak out undetected by his taxpayer-funded security detail--and even had police bosses issue directives reminding troopers that he prized his privacy on out-of-town sleepovers.
"Please inform whoever the [overnight shift] is that they should not be hanging around in the governor's hallway," former State Police Capt. Lisa Galbraith wrote in one missive to Spitzer's minders.

They should have charged him just to keep him out of office.

Science Says We Should Decriminalize Drugs

It is an interesting point - drugs may not be more dangerous than booze, even the really bad ones.

Neuroscientist Carl Hart: Science Says We Should Decriminalize Drugs

"We haven't had an adult conversation about drugs in America," says acclaimed neuroscientist Carl Hart, who's trying to do just that with his new book, High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society.

Hart, who is an assistant professor of clinical neurobiology at Columbia University, has both a personal and professional perspective on drugs. A former user and dealer, he's a featured character in Eugene Jarecki's The House I Live In, which explores, among other things, Hart's relationship with his son, Tobias, a drug dealer facing criminal charges. Hart's new book, which makes a case for decriminalization, is both a memoir and an exploration of the latest research on the neuroscience of drug use.

Detroit - Needed More Government(?)

A member of the British Parliament writes that Detroit is like the fictional city of Starnesville in Ayn Rand's 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged" -- a car-manufacturing city that became a ghost town after experimenting with socialism. In the novel, Starnesville's demise is the first sign that the entire society is approaching collapse.

Detroit is already there. 911 calls sometimes go unanswered. Two-thirds of the population left town.

As usual, the politicians want to try more of the same. They constantly come up with plans, but the plans are always big, simple-minded ones that run roughshod over the thousands of little plans made by ordinary citizens. Politicians want new stadiums, new transportation schemes, housing projects.

Andrew Rodney, a documentary filmmaker from Detroit, says many bad, big-government ideas that have plagued the U.S. were tried out first in Detroit. "It's the first city to experience a lot of the planning that went into a lot of cities."

Home loan subsidies, public housing, stadium subsidies, a $350 million project called "Renaissance Center" (the city ended up selling it for just $50 million), an automated People Mover system that not many people feel moved to use (it moves people in only one direction), endless favors to unions -- if a government idea has failed anywhere in America, there's a good chance it failed in Detroit first.

Never Would Have Thunk It

More Porn, Less Rape

Over the past two decades, as pornography has become much more easily accessible over the Internet, the rate of rape and sexual assault has declined by about 60 percent, according to the Department of Justices Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

Incompetent, Clueless - Is Despair Next?

Summary - many pretty words were spoken about the scope and impact of government efforts to rebuild the America of the 1950s - seemingly the goal of the progressives - but after five years, the results are next to nothing. Nada, zip, zilch. Sure must be frustrating to see those progressive dreams fizzle.

Why that was inevitable is easy to understand - if you make it more difficult for people to freely interact, they interact less. In an economy, voluntary interaction, with each party working to their won benefit, is the primary engine of growth. Everything this administration has done dampens voluntary interaction. No amount of "enlightened" coercion will produce growth.

In October 2010, just before Republicans won 63 House seats to reclaim the majority, 44 percent of Americans approved of Obama's approach to the economy in Post-ABC polling. Go back a year before that - December 2009 - and Obama's economic approval is 46 percent.
It won't change minds because we've been doing the same thing for more than four years on economic policy. Obamanomics is nothing but short-term attempts to inject stimulus while ignoring the fundamentals of economic growth - lowering hiring costs, reducing regulation, encouraging capital investments by increasing potential rewards and minimizing risks. We're doing the opposite across the board, in large part due to ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and higher tax bites on capital gains. Short-term stimulus didn't work with Cash for Clunkers, it didn't work in Detroit, and it's not working anywhere else except in Washington DC.

Politicians Are Worthless ... But I Repeat Myself

Always fascinating to see a person who has chosen the public arena despite conflicting compulsions - the compulsion to stand in public and proclaim one's virtue and good intentions and trustworthy wisdom, which is instantly compromised by one's compulsion to engage in some juvenile delusion of sexual encounters in a public forum.

What makes this one so freakish is Weiner's unwillingness to acknowledge the contradiction between asking for people's trust as a leader while being so publicly untrustworthy.

He owes much more to his wife and family than to any voter - who could delude themselves into believing that Weiner will be a good leader when he cannot even master the seemingly simple task of not being a complete buffoon, and a liar, in his sex life?

In the end, the joke is on the voters.


How To Not Suck

And that message is a proven solution. Here is the track record for that solution as I wrote about it in my book, "ENOUGH: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It." "The poverty rate for any black man or woman who follows that formula is a mere 6.4 percent.in other words by meeting those basic requirements black American can cut their chances of being poor by two-thirds.even white American families have a higher poverty rate than black people who finished high school, got married, had children after 21 and worked for at least one week a year."

The key for black women is also in the formula - do not have a baby outside of a strong marriage. Over a third [35 percent] of the black women who have children out of wedlock - now tragically more than 70 percent - live in poverty.

By comparison, only 17 percent of black women who are married live in poverty. And black children with both parents at home have a better chance for success, fewer dealings with the police, higher graduation rates and are more likely to marry before they have children.

"Let he who has never sinned cast the first stone." I believe this, and I aspire not to judge anyone for their choices. The point is - what would it take to make young people invest in their own success? How could these peoples' behaviors be shaped? It's the age old question.

The odds that our narcissist in chief will do anything to change this circumstance is non-existent. I'd still admire him for trying.

Touchingly Naive

The President summed up his economic priorities close to the top of his hour-long address. "This growing inequality isn't just morally wrong; it's bad economics," he told his Galesburg, Illinois audience. "When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country."

RIIIGGGHHHT. Because the government's track record for shaping economic outcomes for the better is SO compelling; world over, governments are making dynamic, positive changes for the better!! We in the US just a few more tweaks to make the middle class more wealthy and everything will be better.

Or as the author said: For four and a half years, Mr. Obama has focused his policies on reducing inequality rather than increasing growth. The predictable result has been more inequality and less growth. As even Mr. Obama conceded in his speech, the rich have done well in the last few years thanks to a rising stock market, but the middle class and poor have not.

Jeezus, who could believe this President about any economic issue at this point? Isn't it completely clear he has no insight?

Running Amok

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously invalidated the honest services statute and ruled that the failure of an employee to tell one employer of his employment relationship with another employer, without any palpable harm to either employer, cannot be a crime in America.

As a result of that ruling, a Manhattan federal appeals court threw out Bruno's conviction. In a fair world, that would be the end of his ordeal. However, the Obama Department of (political) Justice obtained a new indictment against Bruno based upon the same set of facts that had formed the allegations of a violation of the honest services statute, but which it now claimed constituted bribery. The feds did this even though they had told the federal judge in the first trial nearly a dozen times that the state senator had not committed bribery and even though the witnesses who had testified for the government in the first trial uniformly stated when asked that Bruno had not been bribed.

Bad government doubles down on bad.

Sleeze or Leader, Your Pick

This is not merely a "private matter." It's about public fitness for office. Anthony Weiner thinks he should be put back in political power because he effectively champions "middle-class" values. Middle-class New Yorkers who value decency, honesty and safe work and online environments for your young daughters, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/06/07/lying_liar_anthony_weiners_underage_girl_problem_118726.html#ixzz2a5Brdu4K
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

If you want to be a leader, it might be a good idea not to be sexually compulsive.

Fertility and Freedom

The fertility replacement rate is about 2.1 children per woman. The 2012 Revision estimates that 48 percent of the world's population lives in countries with below replacement rate fertility, the largest of which are China, the United States, Brazil, Russia, Japan, and Vietnam. According to the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom of the World 2012 report, China's index number increased from 3.74 in 1980 to 6.16 in 2010; Brazil from 3.83 to 6.42; Russia from 4.43 in 1995 to 6.35; Japan from 6.88 to 7.61, and Vietnam has just begun to be measured, but the trend is toward more economic freedom; and the United States fell from 7.92 to 7.70.

Another 43 percent live in intermediate fertility countries with total fertility rates between 5 and 2.1 children. The largest of these countries are India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico, and the Philippines. Indonesia's economic freedom index number rose from 5.09 to 7.04; Pakistan from 4.3 to 5.94; Bangladesh from 3.38 to 6.43; Mexico from 5.13 to 6.65; and the Philippines from 5.33 to 7.06. Nine percent live in countries where the average woman bears more than five children, of which 29 are in Africa, and two are in Asia. All with very low economic freedom index scores.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Classic Quote, Lee

"We must expect reverses, even defeats. They are sent to teach us wisdom and prudence, to call forth greater energies, and to prevent our falling into greater disasters."

Robert E. Lee

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"AND ...."

But if Eleanor galvanized Republicans, she did the same thing for Democrats. Her husband's nomination had led to some dissension on the convention floor in Chicago; FDR's insistence on Henry Wallace had soured some delegates even more. The president, still in Washington, asked the first lady to make the trip to Chicago. She agreed, and gave a political speech that unified her party, and which reverberates through the decades.

"You must know that this is the time when all good men and women give every bit of service and strength to their country that they have to give," she said. "This is the time when it is the United States that we fight for, the domestic policies that we have established as a party that we must believe in, that we must carry forward, and in the world we have a position of great responsibility."

Speaking from only a single page of notes, Eleanor Roosevelt continued:

"We cannot tell from day to day what may come. This is no ordinary time. No time for weighing anything except what we can do best for the country as a whole, and that responsibility rests on each and every one of us as individuals."

Carl M. Cannon
Washington Editor
Twitter: @CarlCannon <https://twitter.com/CarlCannon>

What the author kindly omitted, and what Eleanor would not have said, is the "and" part of her formula. "except what we can do best for the country as a whole" is only a partial sentence, the remainder of which is "and let me make you and others do those things which I (speaking on behalf of the President) deem best for the country." The tyrant's intent and actions are clear. A president's job is defined by the need to request consent of the 50% in order to take action backed by the government's monopoly on coercive force.

A paraphrase of Eleanor - "Please let us force you to do what we think is best for all." But do they really know what is best for all?

If they did, they wouldn't have crippled the economy of the US for the last 15 years of the depression. They wouldn't have made the nation appear so weak that it would look vulnerable to the Emperor. If they really knew what was best for all, WWII would not have happened, or we would not have been a part of it. If they really knew what was best, we at least would not have started the war with obsolescent weapons which resulted in the unnecessary death of many.

They don't know what is best for us. But because of their fatal conceit they believe otherwise.

Worse Than He Said She Said?

Some have asked - was the murdered 17 year on trial, too?  Yes.  Your actions shape the perception folks have. TM as a thief, bully, doper and rule breaker/multiple-arrestee drives a different perception than "the good child who's only crime was walking to the store for skittles." That's why we tell our children to follow the rules!

Short of trying to kill someone, though, no 17 year's old's irresponsibility justifies them being killed. But, that's just the rub, isn't it?

GZ's testimony was that TM said he would kill GZ, and attempted to cover GZ's nose/mouth as part of the assault. GZ's nose may well have been impossible to breathe through at that point anyway.

In short - even if TM was 17, if he wanted to kill GZ, said he was going to do so, and had the means, he's an attempted murderer IN ADDITION to being a doper, rule breaker, bully/fighter, and multiple arrestee.

Some will say, "TM did not threaten to kill GZ, GZ just made that story up to cover his murder of a 17 year old."

This is the reality of this kind of situation, and much like a he said/she said we'll never know the truth of who said what or didn't say anything at all.

I wonder - is it really such a stretch to believe that TM, an abandoned and out of control 17 year old, would act as GZ described?

I think the answer is yes or no depending upon the emotional investment in the issue one has.

I am struck by how unwilling people are to point a finger at TM's parents. It appears TM was not living with either parent very much, and it's pretty clear neither parent could or did make taking care of TM a priority. I can't tell from the readings for sure, but it appears his parents were virtually absent from the last 60 days of TM's life. I understand being sensitive to their loss, but it is clear that a 17 year old abandoned to his own devices is the significant portion of this tragedy. It appears unlikely that the story would have been the same had TM been living with his father or mother.  That makes it not a whit less tragic.

The Divide

Why is the GZ and TM situation causing conflict instead of grief and reflection?  Because we are all beyond being naive enough to believe it has anything to do with TM.  Of course there are some folks who are genuinely upset with this young man's murder - but the froth?  We know, don't we, that it's about maneuvering for political advantage.

I could almost never take all the hoo haa about racism and "shot because he was black" because that sort of choice is inconceivable to me.  I have met one person at least who would do such a thing, and thought he was a monster.  Those people define the rule by their glaring exception.

I don't see this as an incident of race, per se. I don't think GZ killed TM because TM was black, nor did TM get GZ's attention because he was black.  Having been in fights, in training, and knowing how it feels - GZ's last consideration was the race of his attacker.  Under that much duress, no one cares who is causing it.  They just want it to stop.

However, behaviors that are normal for TM and his peers, are not normal for GZ and his peers. TM thought punching GZ and sitting on him to beat him was a good idea (apparently). Who was in his life that would have told him or taught him otherwise? Seemingly, his parents were not playing that role.

Do we hold parents accountable these days for the conduct of their kids? If not, why not?

The Other Shoe?

Last Thursday, representatives of three of the nation's largest unions fired off a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, warning that Obamacare would "shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class."

The letter was penned by James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Joseph Hansen, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union; and Donald "D." Taylor, president of UNITE-HERE, a union representing hotel, airport, food service, gaming, and textile workers.

"When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act," they begin, "you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat.We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision. Now this vision has come back to haunt us."

The letter goes on to warn of the law's "unintended consequences" and "perverse incentives." It's bad for business and for the health of so many Americans, they say. Their criticisms of the law are correct, of course. The problem with fixing the law, as we've already seen with the employer mandate suspension, is that the law's manifest blunders are connected, and the worst elements of the law are also its funding mechanisms. The whole thing is a terrible piece of legislation, and even its major backers are now either finally admitting or finally realizing that the public had to be misled in order to get the bill passed.

Blind Leading the Blind

Vice President Joe Biden's self-defense advice - warding off potential intruders with two shotgun blasts outside the house - has had an impact on at least one man.

Jeffery Barton, a 52-year-old Vancouver, Wash. resident, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges stemming from his decision to chase alleged car intruders away with a shotgun blast in the air. He cited Biden's advice as his inspiration, according to a local news report.

"I did what Joe Biden told me to do," Barton told KOIN. "I went outside and fired my shotgun in the air."

During an online question and answer townhall event in February Biden advised that people keep intruders away by firing two shotgun blasts outside.

"I said, Jill, if there's ever a problem just walk out on the balcony here or walk out, put that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house," Biden said. "I promise you who ever is coming in is not go - you don't need an AR-15."

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/17/man-cites-bidens-self-defense-advice-in-shooting-charge/#ixzz2ZQMlNgWr

Common Sense?

This is a very thoughtful, enjoyable article - until the conclusion, after which Kathleen's judgment was apparently impaired.

She asks why GZ was armed, and it is a good question. But she ignores that being armed prevents many crimes annually, more often than not, with no shots being fired. The equally relevant question is - why did TM think he could jump a guy in a public place, an adult, and threaten to kill him, and suffer no consequence. It's not just that TM thought he was in the right to do that, but that the risk of doing so was low. The reason he thought that was that he'd been in so many school fights he began to think of assaulting people as a sport, not a matter of life and death.

The point is that this is one of those rare instances in which everyone is right within his or her own experience. African Americans are right to perceive that Martin was followed because he was black, but it is wrong to presume that recognizing a racial characteristic is necessarily racist. It has been established that several burglaries in Zimmerman's neighborhood primarily involved young black males.

Picture Zimmerman's neighbor Olivia Bertalan, a defense witness, hiding in her locked bedroom with her infant and a pair of rusty scissors while two young males, later identified as African American, burglarized her home. They ran when police arrived.

This is not to justify what subsequently transpired between Zimmerman and Martin but to cast a dispassionate eye on reality. And no, just because a few black youths caused trouble doesn't mean all black youths should be viewed suspiciously. This is so obvious a truth that it shouldn't need saying and yet, if we are honest, we know that human nature includes the accumulation of evolved biases based on experience and survival. In the courtroom, it's called profiling. In the real world, it's called common sense.

Darned Interesting

Sweden's Perils

There are no easy solutions to assimilating refugees into a solid culture. When I did a year-long study in 2005 of European countries integrating Muslims into their cultures, France came the lowest of the rank. Sweden was not far behind, though, which is worrying as racism in France is much closer to the bone. One would expect the country of Olaf Palme, or Alice Lind, or Raoul Wallenberg, to somehow do better.
Stockholm is surely an urban planner's dream. Everything works. Everything looks good. But we live in times where revolutions and uprisings are rising from the disenchanted and the dispossessed. The riots here earlier in the summer were a warning call—that even the most seemingly perfect of cultures can get it wrong.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Obnoxious Enough"

So the poor defendants have to spend thousands on legal fees, while law students get their "practice." A Korean dry cleaners association "went through three or four high-powered law firms" defending itself, Banzhaf says with pride.

Banzhaf's lawsuits even got "ladies' nights" banned at Washington, D.C., bars. Women liked "ladies' night."

Men liked it because it brought more women into bars. Bars liked it; that's why they did it. But the practice violates the lawyers' concept of "equality."

As if his lawsuits weren't obnoxious enough, the real irony is that the cost of the suits is passed on to future customers. Businesses charge more to cover the cost of suits and complying with regulations.

Lawyers like Banzhaf aren't elected, but their actions still govern our choices.

Tibor Machan, professor of business ethics at Chapman University, told me we should object to Banzhaf on principle. "Is it right to manipulate people all the time, to treat them like they're little children? The next step from the nanny state is the petty tyrannical state. And a dictatorial state."

Machan echoes writer C.S. Lewis' point that well-meaning tyrants are even more dangerous than purely selfish ones. Lewis wrote, "Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end."

Ever Hear of Centralization? It's the Greatest!

Simply put, the digitization of social interaction, economic transaction, the political process and everything in between is decentralizing the world, moving it in the opposite direction of the massive centralization of Obamacare. But nobody needs a federal bureaucrat to tell him what health insurance to buy when anybody with an Internet connection can simultaneously solicit bids from thousands of competing providers, pay the winner via electronic fund transfers, manage the claims process with a laptop, consult with physicians and other medical specialists via email, and even be operated on remotely by surgeons on the other side of the globe. Rather than imposing a top-down, command-economy, welfare-state health care model with roots in Otto von Bismarck's Germany of 1881, a 21st-century government would ask what is needed to apply to health care access the Internet's boundless capacity to empower individual choice.

Better Yet, Employers Hire, Fire at Will or Whime


Fired for being beautiful?  Fire anyone for any reason.  No one should have a right to a job, employers should have all the rights.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Supposed Thought Crimes"

Apparently, racist, sexist, or homophobic words themselves do not necessarily earn any rebuke. Nor is the race or gender of the speaker always a clue to the degree of outrage that follows.

Instead, the perceived ideology of the perpetrator is what matters most. Maher and Letterman, being good liberals, could hardly be crude sexists. But when the conservative Limbaugh uses similar terms, it must be a window into his dark heart.

It's apparently OK for whites or blacks to slur the conservative Clarence Thomas in racist terms. Saying anything similar of the late liberal justice Thurgood Marshall would have been blasphemous.

In short, we are dealing not with actual word crimes, but with supposed thought crimes.

This follows the pattern, quoting from a speech by Steven Covey, "We judge ourselves by our intentions, we judge others by their actions." In other words, if someone we identify with says something we assume good intentions. If someone we fear or loath says the same thing, we assume bad intentions.

There is also a power dynamic - the powerless can say offensive things and not seem repugnant to others. The powerful, or those perceived as having power (IOW Rush L), appears to many as a bully.

Thoughts from the "Other Side" - Are You Afraid?

"Other side" meaning from someone with a very different perspective than my own - but one I hope to learn from.

But there's a huge problem with attempt to shift the conversation: There's no such thing as "black-on-black" crime. Yes, from 1976 to 2005, 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders, but that racial exclusivity was also true for white victims of violent crime-86 percent were killed by white offenders. Indeed, for the large majority of crimes, you'll find that victims and offenders share a racial identity, or have some prior relationship to each other.

What Shapiro and others miss about crime, in general, is that it's driven by opportunism and proximity; If African-Americans are more likely to be robbed, or injured, or killed by other African-Americans, it's because they tend to live in the same neighborhoods as each other.

Nor are African-Americans especially criminal. If they were, you would still see high rates of crime among blacks, even as the nation sees a historic decline in criminal offenses. Instead, crime rates among African-Americans, and black youth in particular, have taken a sharp drop. In Washington, D.C., for example, fewer than 10 percent of black youth are in a gang, have sold drugs, have carried a gun, or have stolen more than $100 in goods.

[Statistics].. show that among black youth, rates of robbery and serious property offenses are at their lowest rates in 40 years, as are rates of violent crime and victimization. And while it's true that young black men are a disproportionate share of the nation's murder victims, it's hard to disentangle this from the stew of hyper-segregation (often a result of deliberate policies), entrenched poverty, and nonexistent economic opportunities that characterizes a substantial number of black communities.

Not to mention:
-Drug war
-Minimum wage
-SS/Medicare=FICA high cost to employ
-Davis Bacon
-Union's high wage

... the idea of "black-on-black crime" taps into specific fears around black masculinity and black criminality-the same fears that, in Florida, led George Zimmerman to focus his attention on Trayvon Martin, and in New York, continue to justify Michael Bloomberg's campaign of police harassment against young black men in New York City.
**Isn't that in large part because, for example in the case of GZ and TM, the residents of the neighborhood were experiencing young black men breaking into their homes and stealing things? And in that case, it would be irrational to think otherwise.

The author's conclusion:
America is afraid of black people, and that's especially true-it seems-when it thinks they might be angry.

Are you afraid of black people? I work with people of all ethnicities every day and I don't think this is real.  Maybe I'm wrong.  What do you think?

Two Wrongs Will Never Make Right

President Obama chipped in with his assurance that "if I had a son he would look like Trayvon." No one could remember a president ever having tried to manipulate a criminal investigation with such blundering tread. NBC News thought it had sealed Mr. Zimmerman's guilt with a falsified recording of him saying: "This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black."

But it was not he who introduced race. After he gave the police dispatcher a general description of the man he was following on the fatal night, the dispatcher asked: "OK, and this guy - is he black, white or Hispanic?"

Mr. Zimmerman answered: "He looks black."

The mob tried from the beginning to make the trial an ordeal by race. When the actual facts reached a jury only the brave could endure such relentless media intimidation.

The only grace note in this sordid opera is that six good women and true stood up to the mob to deliver the only verdict available to reasonable jurors, as unsatisfactory as it is. The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy of a young life taken in the bloom of youth; George Zimmerman will endure the remorse of taking a life for the rest of his days. This was a tragedy, but it was not a tragedy that ended in a travesty of the law.


Those six ... impressive gumption.

Dr. Sowell - Still America?

I agree with the author, the jurors were heroes.


This trial proves why we should have the system we have - the inflamed passions of the masses cannot be inflicted on one man.

Never Miss a Good Opportunity to Close Your Mouth

Every American can make their own judgment about whether justice was served by the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial but one thing we should all recognize: President Obama's interference in a local law enforcement matter was unprecedented and inappropriate, and he comes away from the case looking badly tarnished by his poor judgment.

"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," the president said when asked about the case in the Rose Garden on March 23, 2012, after many had called for Zimmerman's arrest but several weeks before he was charged. "When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids."

In that context his statement sounds better, but he should not have put the focus on Trayvon's race. Nevermind the point that if Trayvon had been the President's son, he wouldn't have been walking in the rain and attacking neighborhood watch captains he'd never seen before.

Media - Accountable to Whom?

Early media images of a young Trayvon Martin helped shape coverage.(Photo: Handout via AP)
The storyline quickly took root, amplified by the nearly ubiquitous images of the two: a sweet-looking photo of a several-years-younger Trayvon released by his family, and a mug shot of Zimmerman from a previous arrest in which he looks puffy and downcast. The contrasting images powerfully reinforced the images of the menacing bully and the innocent victim.

Some of the media's major mistakes stemmed from stories that fit neatly into that widely accepted narrative. NBC News edited Zimmerman's comments during a phone call to inaccurately suggest that he volunteered that Trayvon seemed suspicious because he was black. In fact, Zimmerman was responding to a question when he mentioned the teenager's race. The network apologized for the error.

Similarly, ABC News broadcast a story reporting that a police surveillance video showed no evidence that Zimmerman suffered abrasions or bled during the confrontation with Trayvon. Shortly thereafter, it "clarified" the situation, reporting that an enhanced version of the video showed Zimmerman with "an injury to the back of his head."

When it emerged that Zimmerman's mother was Peruvian, some news outlets took to referring to him with the rarely used phrase "white Hispanic," which is kind of like calling President Obama "white black."

Does journalism exist as a profession? Like the reputation of lawyers, they seem to exist only to hurt others to benefit themselves. Those who make fools of themselves delivering stories that are "good" but not true - do they pay a price?

Inspect In Safety?

Faced with the imminent bankruptcy of multiple railroads in the 1970s, Congress enacted a series of laws that made it easier for railroads to stay in business by deregulating freight rates and encouraging mergers.
In addition to dropping regulations, the government also reduced oversight of safety practices. The number of annual inspections has decreased, with some railroads undergoing no government inspection at all. With railroad inspectors stretched thin, railroads wind up being mostly self-policing.
The policy has worked for many railroads, as the industry-wide decline in accidents attests.
Unions make workers too expensive, railroads make their business operate by reducing crews, meaning railroads are less safe.  So, the only possible thing to do is to ... have government inspectors.  IOW - government begets more government.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Will There Be Consequences for the Prosecution/Judge?

Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz says the prosecutors in the George Zimmerman murder trial should be charged with "prosecutorial misconduct" for suggesting the defendant planned the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

"That is something no prosecutor should be allowed to get away with … to make up a story from whole cloth," Dershowitz told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"These prosecutors should be disbarred. They have acted absolutely irresponsibly in an utterly un-American fashion."


A concise summary of the evidence here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/07/12/a_morality_tale_that_failed_119186.html

The prosecution has been in the odd habit of calling witnesses who contradict its case against Zimmerman. One of them, a neighbor named John Good, testified that Martin was mounted “MMA-style” on top of Zimmerman, drubbing him in a “ground-and-pound.” A forensic witness called by the defense, Vincent Di Maio, testified that the muzzle of Zimmerman’s gun was against Martin’s clothing, which in turn was several inches away from Martin’s body — facts consistent with Martin being on top of Zimmerman.
Accounts differ on who was crying out for help that night. Martin’s family says it was Martin; Zimmerman’s family says it was Zimmerman. But Zimmerman is the one who had the injuries, including a broken nose and lacerations on the back of his head, consistent with getting beaten up and being in distress.

Read more: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/07/12/a_morality_tale_that_failed_119186.html#ixzz2Z22e3Qkt
Follow us: @RCP_Articles on Twitter

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Idiot Food

I'm embarrassed to think people still think this way.  If he's guilty, he's guilty, skin color isn't part of it.


To assume on the front end that skin color is part of it is as much a problem as pretending it can never be a part of it, for anyone.

Judge of a "Kangaroo Court?"

"In presiding over the trial of George Zimmerman, Judge Debra Nelson has made some awful rulings — none worse than failing to direct a verdict of acquittal on the preposterous second-degree 'depraved mind' murder charge," McCarthy wrote.
"The state's evidence that Zimmerman had the necessary criminal intent is non-existent, much less sufficient to meet the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard," he explained. "Compelling evidence, moreover, establishes that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, a claim the state has not come close to refuting."

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/071213-663605-biased-judge-had-it-in-for-zimmerman.htm#ixzz2YwrBZic8
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook


Lesser of the Two Evils

"Liberalism, the Carter administration's animating impulse, adhered to a "modernization paradigm" which taught that the U.S. interest was always in modernization. This meant, liberals thought, that popular movements espousing revolutionary aspirations were inherently preferable to traditional autocracies. This, said Kirkpatrick, "encourages support for all change that takes place in the name of 'the people.' " However, the liberalization of an autocracy is, Kirkpatrick believed, although neither certain nor easy, still more likely than the reform of an ideologically revolutionary regime. This is because of "systemic differences between traditional and revolutionary autocracies that have a predictable effect on their degree of repressiveness. Generally speaking, traditional autocrats tolerate social inequities, brutality and poverty while revolutionary autocracies create them."


The lesser of two evils has still had a cost; can we stay out of it this time and just let the dust fly?

The State Has Nothing

When I took my first serious look at this case, some six or so months ago, and worked though the existing discovery file, I thought to myself, the State's got nothing. But discovery wasn't complete, perhaps there was critical evidence not yet out.

When the pre-trial Frye hearings took place and the State presented their inept expert witnesses, I thought, the State's got nothing. Judge Nelson agreed, and disallowed their testimony.

When I heard the State's opening statements, and heard them describe the "facts" they said they would prove-knowing, with discovery effectively concluded, that there existed no evidence to support those representations-I thought to myself, the State's got nothing.

When the State rested its case, and a few days later the defense did the same, and still there was nowhere to be seen a coherent, compelling, fact-based narrative of guilt-much less one supported by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, I thought to myself, the State's got nothing.

And this morning, when the State made their bizarre and desperate reach for murder 3 based on child abuse-properly denied by Judge Nelson-I thought to myself, that's the act of a State prosecution team that's got nothing.

This afternoon, throughout a couple of hours of closing argument by the lead attorney on the State prosecution team, Bernie de la Rionda, the truth was finally as concrete and undeniable as a sidewalk to the head-the State has nothing.

This afternoon I heard what was perhaps the most disjointed, fact-free, histrionic, and ineffective closing argument that I've heard delivered by a State prosecutor in a murder case in more than two decades of practicing law.

There's no happy ending here. But I hope the jurors are the kinds of folks who can do their job, and apply to the facts presented by the state to the law.

Coulter's View - Facts You Won't Hear Anywhere Else

I don't like AC, and I hate to quote her but because she's AC, she can say what others can't or won't. Some of these facts are quite relevant to the absurdities spouted by the public rabble rousers.

It Would Help If ...

"Then came the Tea Party midterms and a savage backlash against climate legislation and clean-energy policy. The events in The Climate War now read less like a breakthrough than a breaking wave in the tidal cycle of high hopes and bitter disappointment that have characterized climate-change advocacy for decades.

"What's going wrong? Why can't the United States and the international community start seriously reducing climate pollution? Is history just waiting for another Jim Rogers to be in the right conference room at the right moment?"

What went wrong? Well, it would help if the poster children for anthropogenic climate change weren't lying assholes. It would help if they would stop uttering inanities about how many "scientists" agree with their advocacy, as if science was a matter for democracy to settle. It would help if they had any idea whatsoever how to stop the production of the "pollution" they say is causing AGW without impoverishing the wealthy and arresting the pursuit of wealth by the poor. In other words, it would help if the AGW crowd were not completely out of their league.
But thank whatever is holy that they are in fact out of their league.
This was their unholy quest:
"The quest for a grand solution follows a three-step process. First, scientists determine how much warming is too much and draw a "red line." Today, that line is typically presented as 2 degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial levels, the official target of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the G-8. Second, they determine the level of emission reductions necessary to avoid the red line. Third, diplomats bring the world's countries together to sign a collective treaty pledging to achieve those reductions."

What did they forget? Politicians are only good at getting elected, that's their raison d'etre. They don't serve causes or think ahead of the next election cycle; people who do that are called "former politicians" or "would be politicians."

In other words: "By requiring unanimous consent among 193 participating countries, the UNFCCC process effectively guarantees treaties that reflect the lowest bid of its least ambitious members."

Or, ""The basic logic of good economic design is fungibility and transparency," Victor notes ruefully. "The basic logic of politics encourages the hiding and channeling of costs and benefits." Politically powerful constituencies will organize to capture more than their share of benefits and avoid their share of the costs."

It's just so touching the way leftists think and talk about government as if any outcome can be made into gold by government's touch, but there's so much evidence that everything government touches turns to lead. Government has the reverse midas touch.

This bit was interesting:
"Crafting an innovation system that drives technologies from basic-science research and development through early-stage funding and sustainable business enterprise will require smart, active government and lots of money."
In other words, the author is wishing for unicorns. Because government takes money by force, it does not have to be smart and empirically is not and never has been. But hey, unicorns may yet appear.

Agent Rationality, Scarcity, the Price System

When economics gets derailed --- and folks it often does due to factors such as philosophical fads and fashions, or political expediency in public policy debates --- usually the culprit is one of 3 things: (1) a denial of agent rationality, (2) a denial of scarcity, and (3) a denial of how the price system works to help us cope with scarcity by aiding us in the negotiation of the trade-offs we all must face. This denial can come in sophisticated form --- e.g., Keynes --- or it can come in an unsophisticated form --- e.g., man on the street. But make no mistake about it, the denial has the same impact on the "laws" of economics as the denial of the "laws" of physics would by a man about to jump off the top of building would on the inevitable impact. All his denials will not mean much when he hits the pavement.

This structure can be used to reduce just about every argument for tyranny.

Elvis - "That's Alright Mama"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How Much Did We Spend? We Don't Know

Pay errors are part of a larger phenomenon that Reuters will explore in a series of articles: the Defense Department's endemic failure to keep track of its money - how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is lost or stolen.

The department's authorized 2013 budget, after sequester, totals $565.8 billion - by far the largest chunk of the annual federal budget approved by Congress. Yet the Pentagon is literally unable to account for itself. As proof, consider that a law in effect since 1992 requires annual audits of all federal agencies - and the Pentagon alone has never complied. It annually reports to Congress that its books are in such disarray that an audit is impossible.

In this series, Reuters will delve into how an organization that fields the most sophisticated technology in the world to fight wars and spy on enemies has come to rely on an accounting system of antiquated, error-prone computers; how these thousands of duplicative and inefficient systems cost billions of dollars to staff and maintain; how efforts to replace these systems with better ones have ended in costly failures; and how it all adds up to billions of taxpayer dollars a year in losses to mismanagement, theft and fraud.


Responding to the Questions

The author's article, linked here, is very good. I've considered his questions, answers are below.

"So, by extension, the conversation is about whether each of us has a moral responsibility - laws notwithstanding - to do all we can to prevent a tragedy like the one that occurred in Sanford. Regardless of who initiated the physical altercation between Martin and Zimmerman, the two never had to come into close contact. If Zimmerman had stayed in his vehicle and not pursued the teenager, Martin would have made it home for the second half of the N.B.A. All-Star Game he had been watching and today he would be one year older."
**We do have that responsibility, mostly to make sure our children are safe. Not that I'm suggesting we shouldn't care for the children of others, but the effect we can have on the children of others is only a minute fraction of what we can for our own.

For the record, I think his presumption - that if GZ had stayed in his car TM would have "had time" to make it home - is incorrect. Based on my review of the evidence the state has presented, TM had the time he needed to get home, but he chose not to, which allowed GZ to get close enough for TM to assault him. We can only guess why he made that choice. Based on the physical evidence, it was that choice and his choice to attack GZ, and keep on attacking him, punching him not once but many, many times, that led to his death. It appears possible, even likely, that if at any time prior to being shot he had stopped trying to injure GZ, he would be alive today. I could be wrong in believing that - perhaps GZ would have been mad and injured enough to shoot TM just because he could; but I have not seen any reason to think that's what would have happened. TM texted about his excitement of hitting people. He told a friend his girlfriend left him because she was afraid of the fights TM got into. GZ had a longer period of time to demonstrate any such tendency but he had none, perhaps just because he wasn't a good enough athlete.

In other words, it appears that GZ shot TM because he felt like he was out of options - he called for help, but got none. He maneuvered off of the sidewalk to stop TM from cracking his skull on it, only to have TM try to stop him from breathing by covering his nose and mouth. What was left for a man who was scared, struggling to breath, was completely physically dominated, and was unsure what TM would do after promising to kill him?

I know many will disagree with my interpretation of the evidence. That is an inevitable fact of human experience.

"Technically, only Zimmerman is on trial, but in the broader debate, particularly among people who think Zimmerman innocent, is Martin also on trial? And if so, does that mean that all teens who look and behave similarly to Martin are also on trial? What precedent, if any, would a not-guilty verdict set?"
***I don't think Martin is "on trial", at least in the sense that Martin at this point has nothing to lose, and no rights to defend. GZ's rights are at stake. One need not believe that TM was a monster to have been the aggressor; he was a 17 year old boy in much pain with a taste for fighting. He made bad choices that led to bad outcomes, horrible outcomes. Many of us have made choices as bad but were luckier. However, any teen that attacks a person for "following them" will be as criminally and morally wrong as TM was for attacking GZ. The same physical evidence that is being used to defend GZ could easily be the physical evidence that would have been used to try TM had he survived the evening. Aggravated assault charges would have been easy to make.

"Even if you believe that the teenager at some point during the night's events did something wrong - the defense contends that he "sucker punched" Zimmerman, banged his head on cement and pummeled his face - that teenager is now paying the ultimate price for those alleged mistakes. Does that mean that the person who shot him is guiltless and deserving of no legal punishment?"
***This is an interesting question. Were I in George's shoes, I think I might be filled with regret and pain about the young man's death, even if I felt very, very angry that I was attacked for no reason by the same young man. His punishment is the fear that he and his family will live with from now on. I don't believe the state need provide punishment for a person to suffer punishment for their choices.

"Should "not guilty" as charged (if that were to be the verdict) be read the same as "without guilt" in general? Is there some moral space in which Martin can, as the defense contends, be solely responsible for his own death?"
***This is like a trial of a man who, on a foggy morning, drove at normal speeds through a red light and killed the 21 year old son of the priest at my parents' church. The man was acquitted at trial. In this case, the son who was killed bears zero culpability, the killer all of it. These things happen, and they are not always about race. They may never be about race. This GZ and TM issue only became a matter of race after the fact.

I believe the right to own a gun and carry it is a natural right, conferred by birth. The existence of cars means that most of our lives have been enhanced, but some of our lives are broken or taken by cars. Warplanes mean that we live in peace, but those who operate them are killed, and many civilians have been killed because the planes were used in war to defeat an enemy. Guns are the same - an estimated 500,000 times each year, a person uses a gun for self defense without ever having to fire a shot. TM is dead, though, because GZ chose to have a gun. If the gun weren't present, perhaps GZ would have stayed in his car, or perhaps GZ would have been killed by TM. We don't know what would have happened, we only know what would not have happened.

"The conversation is about people's emotional investment in a version of events and a particular verdict, and why that investment has racial and ideological leanings. It's about the likelihood of one verdict over another. The bar for finding of guilt is particularly high here. The defense doesn't need the jury to see its client as completely innocent, just not completely guilty."
***This is quite true. Based on the articles I have read, the conversations I have had, it is nearly universal - those who most identify with the 17 year old young man strongly believe in GZ's guilt. "He should not have gotten out of the car", "He shouldn't have followed TM." Those who most identify with GZ are horrified that GZ has been charged for murder when he was clearly attacked and severely beaten, apparently without provocation. Sadly, it is doubtful that these two sides will understand each other's perspective, or consider that a perspective other than their own may be valid.

Good Questions to Ponder

"Even if you believe that the teenager at some point during the night's events did something wrong - the defense contends that he "sucker punched" Zimmerman, banged his head on cement and pummeled his face - that teenager is now paying the ultimate price for those alleged mistakes. Does that mean that the person who shot him is guiltless and deserving of no legal punishment?

"Should "not guilty" as charged (if that were to be the verdict) be read the same as "without guilt" in general? Is there some moral space in which Martin can, as the defense contends, be solely responsible for his own death?

"The conversation is about people's emotional investment in a version of events and a particular verdict, and why that investment has racial and ideological leanings. It's about the likelihood of one verdict over another. The bar for finding of guilt is particularly high here. The defense doesn't need the jury to see its client as completely innocent, just not completely guilty."

Hear the Screams? That's Logic Being Tortured

Drink deep from the well of knowledge. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

What, then, do you think about this person's tortured logic?

As far as "stand your ground" goes, you can't just punch someone in the face for following you and then dialing 911 on their phone when you confront them.

Did TM have to go back to his place of residence when he found himself being observed by GZ? No. Did that justify his (apparently felonious) aggravated assault on GZ? No. Can you claim "self defense" after you knock someone to the ground and punch them out? No, once they are no longer a threat, it's no longer self defense to punch them.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Affidavit

In April 2012, the office of Florida State Attorney Angela Corey drew up an affidavit http://bit.ly/IzCstN of probable cause against George Zimmerman for the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin.

The affidavit was loaded. Martin was walking back to the townhouse "where he was living" when Zimmerman "profiled" him. Zimmerman "assumed Martin was a criminal." He called the police. The affidavit cited Martin's phone "friend" to attest, "Martin was scared because he was being followed by an unknown male and didn't know why." Again, according to the affidavit (and this was critical): "Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued." Martin's mother then "identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon Martin's." Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin, and that apparently was good enough for the prosecutors.

This affidavit is telling in how weak the state's case is against GZ. GZ profiled him? How would that be proved one way or the other? He called in as a neighborhood watch captain because he saw someone walking in the rain that he did not recognize, and tried to maintain visual contact with that person. The implication is that GZ was a madman or racist with an axe to grind, but every other aspect of GZ's life that has been introduced into this trial paints the picture of a guy who is anything but a racist or hot head.

TM was scared? TM walked up to GZ's car, and walked around it, while GZ was on the phone with the police department.

GZ "confronted" TM? According to what evidence? There is none. TM had plenty of time to get to his residence if what he wanted to do was to get away from GZ. It's not clear why he did not do that, but claiming that TM was afraid is in conflict with the fact that he could have gone home with time to spare before GZ and he crossed paths.

In the struggle that ensued when the two met, GZ was injured, and the testimony indicates that GZ was being beaten up by TM, with TM on top of GZ in a position referred to in MMA fighting as "the mount". The mounted position is dominant, and makes an untrained opponent very vulnerable to the kinds of injuries GZ received from TM.

The statement that TM's mom identified the phone call screams as being those of her son might be the only factual statement in the affidavit - but since she's the only one to do so, that is not a particularly compelling "fact" no matter how horrifying it may be to think of a mom suffering through such an event.

Here's what I see. Just like people don't want to see the JFK murder as the act of a crazy ex-marine with a $12 mail order rifle, there are many who just cannot accept that TM died for no reason. There were no monsters in this affair. TM was a typical, aggressive, athletic 17 year old male, who liked to fight and thought he could take down GZ - and he was right. He just wasn't used to fighting armed opponents, and made a major mis-calculation.

GZ was also no monster - he may not be a saint, and he perhaps should have been able to defend himself without killing the 17 year old - but he did what most of us would do in that situation: broken nose, likely concussed, bloody mucous flowing back into his throat making breathing very difficult, the recipient of multiple punches and having had his head slammed into a concrete sidewalk, having yelled for help over and over (after which TM tried to cover his nose and mouth and threatened to kill him), and with no prospect for a way to end the pain and fear and confusion - he defended himself the only way he could. The circumstance was monstrous but the choice was human.

TM's assault on GZ was not justified. GZ legally defending himself. It was tragic for both of them, and for those who love them. The defense was right - there are no non-political monsters here.

The choices made by those wielding the power of the state, however, have been monstrous.

Stand Your Ground Doesn't Figure Into It

As I have heard Trayvon's parents say time and time again, they are not only fighting for justice for their son, they are fighting for all of us, especially those parents who have to live through the misery of burying their child and the sadness that comes after.

Their inspiring leadership has already led to action. In 2012, for the first time in 8 years, not ONE state in our nation passed a new "Stand Your Ground" law. The power of the NRA and their gun-toting cronies in business were stopped in their tracks by the Justice For Trayvon Martin movement. That is an incredible accomplishment. That is the mission we must continue after this trial is over.

I don't know the author, and I hope that the author's genuine emotional engagement in this case will continue to focus on the positive as described in this article. But I wonder - does the author understand what "stand your ground" legislation means? Does the author realize it isn't a part of the TM/GZ case at all?
Does the author realize that "stand your ground" laws just mean that you or I do not have to run before defending ourselves from risk of grave bodily injury?
Each of us is granted the right to defend ourselves from grave harm at our birth. That right is more primal than the law. A law that requires one to run as the first measure of self defense is a violation of your right and mine.
Any law of self defense that requires one to first flee should be seen as an abrogation of our rights.

Just Like OJ

"Ever since Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch organizer, shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, on a rainy night in February 2012, critics of Florida-style self-defense laws have used the case to illustrate how eliminating the duty to retreat when attacked in public excuses unjustified violence. They are having a hard time letting go, although by now it is abundantly clear that the right to stand your ground is not relevant to the question of Zimmerman's guilt. "

"Reuters reports that "Florida's aggressive self-defense laws" set "a high bar for the prosecution." In reality, that bar is set by the requirement, hardly unique to Florida, that the government prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt."

What? You mean the state has to prove its case, just like in OJ Simpson's case? Such crazy talk ...

The journalism of this tragedy is an additional tragedy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

GZ and TM, Summary

In the face of inconvenient testimony like that, all the prosecution can do is repeat over and over again in a faux-outraged tone that Zimmerman "followed" Martin. But even if one granted the prosecution's unconvincingly sinister interpretation of that scenario, "following" a person is not a crime, much less evidence for second-degree murder. Moreover, why would a neighborhood watch representative call 911 before committing second-degree murder? That makes no sense.

Nor has the prosecution provided any evidence that Zimmerman was the "aggressor" in the confrontation. It is evidently hoping that a hate-crime theory will substitute for evidence. The prosecution's chief witness, Rachel Jeantel (who was on the phone with Martin before the altercation started), acknowledged to the defense that she didn't know who initiated it. Zimmerman says Martin jumped out of the bushes at him, said "What the f-k is your problem, homey?" and then started throwing punches. If anything, Jeantel's testimony to Martin's frame of mind before the fight - he told her a "creep-ass cracker" was following him - lends credence to Zimmerman's account. So, too, do the wounds on his body and the wounds on Martin's hand.

This week a detective in the case, Chris Serino, testified that he tried to fake Zimmerman out in the post-incident questioning by suggesting that the fight might have been videotaped. Zimmerman expressed relief at that prospect, according to the detective: "I believe his words were, 'Thank God. I was hoping somebody would have videotaped it.'" Does that sound like the response of somebody who has just committed second-degree murder?

This is a horrible case, horrible for everyone involved. It can be a mean, cruel world out there, sometimes, and as a friend used to say, "tomorrow is not promised."

The State has not proved GZ'a guilt - not even close.  If he's acquitted, will the President intervene as he did when the facts were not known and he implied race was an issue in TM's death?

The Percentages

If the EPA were to establish a uniform 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour standard, that would eliminate nearly all coal-fired plants in the United States, which generated about 37 percent of the country's electricity last year. In comparison, natural gas plants generated 30 percent, nuclear 19 percent, hydropower 7 percent, wind 3.5 percent, biomass 1.4 percent, petroleum 1 percent, geothermal 0.4 percent, and solar 0.1 percent.

The president's national climate plan also sets "a goal to double renewable electricity generation once again by 2020." That would mean that wind power would produce 7 percent and solar power 0.2 percent of America's energy by then. For what it's worth, the Energy Information Administrtion estimates the levelized costs in 2018 for conventional coal would be $100 per megawatt-hour; conventional natural gas $67; nuclear $108; wind $87; and solar photovoltaic $144.


Well, it's a good thing we have a plan, they work so well for the government.

That would mean double the capacity produced by wind/solar/biomass, or double the percent of production?  You could meet the later by keeping the economy tanked, or by spiking nuclear/coal, in which case the only possible growth would be "renewables."  Whether or not flat growth and spiked nuclear/coal would be good, as we grind into poverty, depends upon how desperately you believe that climate change is driven by human activity, and that the outcomes will be a net negative.

My prediction - easiest prediction ever - the government will follow its track record of doing everything wrong as regards energy policy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unintended Consequences Rule the Day

"It's a big problem," Bucshon said. "I think ultimately you'll see members of Congress like myself try to address things like the 30- hour definition of a work week."

He believes it will be a bipartisan effort. "People recognize this is an impending storm," Bucshon said.

Unless it's addressed, "We'll become a nation of part-time employees," the congressman said. There are many other issues associated with the Affordable Care Act that need to be addressed.

Even long after the bill was passed, we're still finding out "what is in it" (in the words of Nancy Pelosi). Congress doesn't have the time to write, debate and pass a bill for every unintended consequence that befalls Americans due to the original 2,700 page law. The mess that is ObamaCare cannot be undone by piecemeal legislation like what Congressman Bucshon has proposed. 

Always the unintended consequences get the teeth in the glutes of those subjected to the coercive force dreamed up by the political class.

Population Bomb, Part II

One of the biggest concerns for the leaders of the world is figuring out how to feed all of us as the global population swells. Everything from eating bugs to restructuring the global agricultural system has been pitched as a solution to our food woes. And now an updated forecast of the future size of humanity is going to make this enterprise even trickier.
What’s 2 billion people? It’s about 2.7 Europes. Or 6.4 Americas.

Humanity's track record for predicting disasters - 0%, or wrong every time.  Not that one shouldn't be concerned with these issues, but calling them "our" issues is a complete distortion of the issue.  Folks just struggling to make their next meal don't have any concerns about issues like this.  Tyrants hustling every day to keep the people down have no concerns about this.  The presumption that "we" have common interests in these long term issues is absurd, many of us do not.  Even more troubling is the notion that "we" should be trying to think of global mechanism of force to make big changes happen.  These never work, but probably would make things worse.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"The Sky Is Falling!"

Back in the late 1960s, when I was a callow youth with no common sense to speak of and a huge, misshapen ego, the Big Scare energizing the United Nations, the foundation world, the leaders of civil society and the intellectual establishment of the day was the Population Bomb. It's hard for young people today to understand how terrified, urgent, self righteous and utterly convinced the Population Bomb movement was. The closest analogy today is the global green movement and its apocalyptic warnings about climate change. The Population Bomb worriers didn't have as many grassroots organizations in support of their agenda as the greens do today, but the establishment, the mainstream press, and the great and the good were even more worried about the Bomb then than they are about global warming today, and the forecasts we were getting were even more dire.

The insight in the Chicken Little story was profound.