(If this video doesn’t work blame Dandy Tiger.)
How are you keeping it real?
Delric Miller IV died in a hail of bullets a month ago. When someone fired 37 AK-47 rounds into his Detroit home at 4:30 a.m., he was mortally wounded while dozing on the couch. He was nine months old. No one made the multicolored teething ring he got for Christmas or his toy hammer into a national symbol of random violence.
Last year, Charinez Jefferson, 17, was shot and killed on a Chicago street. “She begged the shooter not to shoot her because she was pregnant,” a pastor explained. The alleged assailant, Timothy Jones, 18, shot her in the head, chest and back after seeing her walking with a rival gang member. New York Times columnist Charles Blow did not write a column about Jefferson’s killing as a symbol of the perils of being a young black woman in America.
Everything about the Trayvon Martin case is a matter of contention. About this, though, there should be no doubt: If Martin had been shot by a black classmate, if he had been caught in a random crossfire, if he had looked at a gang member the wrong way, his death would have been relegated to the back pages of the local newspaper. Not a cause, not even a curiosity: Just another dead young black man. Nothing to see here. Please, move on.
Jesse Jackson is right that “blacks are under attack.” According to a 2005 FBI report, blacks accounted for 13 percent of the population and 49 percent of all homicide victims. In 93 percent of the cases, the killer was black. Half of the victims were ages 17 to 29. That works out to 4,000 murders of young blacks in one year, overwhelmingly at the hands of other blacks. In the communities where these killings occur there is, to put it in Jackson’s inimitable terms, no justice and no peace.
There is no comparable epidemic of half-Hispanic neighborhood-watch volunteers like George Zimmerman shooting young black men. Nor is there an epidemic of cops doing the same. Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute notes that in New York City, there were nine civilian victims of police gunfire last year, whereas there were “several hundred black homicide victims in the city, almost all shot by other blacks or Hispanics, none of them given substantial press coverage.”
An allegedly racially motivated killing, though, gins up the outrage machine in a way the routine murder of young blacks doesn’t. Cable-TV outlets get to host fiery debates. Chin-stroking commentators get to urge more “dialogue.” Black leaders get to relive the glory of a civil-rights cause that won its major victories decades ago when it took real courage to be on the front lines. And everybody gets to evade the intraracial mayhem that blights the country’s inner cities.
If you agree with Mr. Lowry you must be a racist. I’m not quite sure why, but you must be.
Kids in this country can’t play in their own front yards because their parents are terrified that some child molester will kidnap them. But statistically the children are far more at risk with someone they know and trust, like a neighbor, teacher, someone at church, a coach, family friend or family member. That’s not to say that stranger abductions don’t take place, but statistically they remain rare.
Despite the impression you might get from the media, white on black violent crime is rare. Black on black crime is epidemic. Just look at the music industry. How many hip hop artists have been killed in recent years? How many more were involved in gun-related incidents? There is nothing comparable in any other genre of the music industry. Wikipedia even has a page of murdered rappers.
Part of the problem is a culture that glorifies crime and violence. Tupac Shakur had “Thug Life” tattooed on his stomach. It was still there when he was shot and killed on the Las Vegas Strip along with Biggie Smalls. Now Rihanna has it tattooed on her knuckles. This culture not only glorifies crime, it sanctions covering for the perpetrators. Lil’ Kim went to prison for perjury when she lied to cover for her friends who were involved in a shooting.
So who is to blame for black on black violence? More importantly, what is the solution?
There’s a reason liberals are freaking out about the Supreme Court this week.
If part or all of the health care reform law is thrown out, a central goal of the progressive project will have been dealt a possibly fatal setback. The dream of universal health care — pursued for decades, frustrated again and again — that seemed finally to have come to fruition in 2010 will have been derailed before it could even be fully implemented. For liberals and their allies, it will be a crushing blow from which there is no easily foreseeable recovery.
“It would be a particularly bitter pill to swallow to get [health care reform] all the way through the legislative process and, because of the partisan leanings of five people who happen to be justices of the Supreme Court, not get universal health care,” said Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and a former Obama administration adviser who helped see the bill through Congress.
Opponents of the law agree: This is universal health care’s Waterloo.
“This was their one big shot. They certainly thought so. They pulled out all the stops,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a conservative economist and president of the American Action Forum, which has filed court briefs in opposition to the health care law. Already, he said, the law was on shaky ground. “The vast public rejection of the law, its broad unpopularity, the fact that so many Republicans were elected on it in 2010, the fact that so many states are rejecting it — really, it wasn’t looking strong,” he said.
Through all that, liberals took solace in the fact that at least the legislation was on the books, moving inexorably toward implementation; eventually, they were convinced, Americans would grow used to the new system, come to depend on it, and become unable to imagine life without it.
I really love the idea that Obamacare is the realization of liberal dreams. Liberals wanted single payer. But my favorite part is the idea that people would learn to love it. That was what my step-father said about broccoli.
Forget the legal arguments. Obamacare is the most unpopular legislation ever enacted, and it hasn’t even taken effect yet. Even its supporters wanted something better. If it is upheld it will be an albatross around Democratic necks for a generation. Democrats should be grateful if SCOTUS saves them from themselves.
King Barack’s loyalists are threatening one of the last roadblocks to the absolute right of POTUS. Earlier in his reign they were advising that He should ignore Congress and act as He pleased. Now they are trying to undermine the independence of the Supreme Court.
Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic:
Before this week, the well-being of tens of millions of Americans was at stake in the lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act.
Now something else is at stake, too: The legitimacy of the Supreme Court.
Nobody knows how the justices will rule. And nobody can know, not even the justices themselves. On Friday morning, perhaps by the time you read this, they will meet privately to take their first vote. More often than not, this first vote determines the final verdict. But there are exceptions and Anthony Kennedy, on whose decision the outcome presumably depends, has a reputation for long deliberation and changes of heart—particularly in major cases like this one.
That’s good. With the result apparently in doubt—smart money still says the chances of the full law surviving are about 50-50—Kennedy should think long and hard about how he wants the Court to rule. So should Chief Justice John Roberts, who appeared more skeptical of the government’s case during oral arguments but nevertheless indicated that he, like Kennedy, understood the government’s premise—that health care was a special market, perhaps requiring special intervention.
If that concern is not enough to sway the chief justice, than perhaps his frequently professed concern for the court’s respectability will.
Even now, I have trouble wrapping my mind around what I saw in the courtroom this week and what a majority of the justices may be contemplating. Kennedy’s second question, the one that so unnerved supports of the law, was whether the government had “a heavy burden of justification to show authorization under the Constitution.” But the heavy burden in this case is on the justices threatening to strike down health care reform. They have not met it.
Rarely in American history has the Court struck down laws in decisions that would have such quick, widespread impact. In the modern era, only two cases come to mind: Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. Both were acts of ambitious, even audacious judicial activism. But, in two key repsects, they were different from a potential ruling against the Affordable Care Act.
Brown was a unanimous, nine-to-zero decision. Roe was a lopsided seven-to-two. These margins mattered: The justices knew that their decisions would be controversial, in part because they were overruling democratically elected majorities—in these cases, state legislators who’d passed laws enforcing segregation and prohibiting abortion. The justices’ authority in these cases derived, in part, from their moral authority. A closely divided bench would have made that impossible.
Virtually everybody agrees that a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act would be five to four—a bare majority. And it would be a bare partisan majority, with the five Republican appointees overruling the four Democratic appointees. The decision would appear nakedly partisan and utterly devoid of principle. Appearances would not be deceiving.
That’s an interesting idea – requiring super-majority or unanimous decisions before the Supreme Court can rule that something is unconstitutional. Cohn is not alone – the Obot meme of the weak seems to be that SCOTUS is risking its own legitimacy if it dares to declare Obamacare to be unconstitutional.
The Judiciary branch is supposed to be an independent and co-equal branch of government. For good or ill, many SCOTUS decisions through history have been nakedly political. Nonetheless, we consider SCOTUS to be the final arbiter and court of last resort. In the words of the late Justice Robert H. Jackson, “We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.“
The issue as to whether Obamacare is constitutional is not frivolous.
Marbury v. Madison (my emphasis):
This original and supreme will organizes the government and assigns to different departments their respective powers. It may either stop here or establish certain limits not to be transcended by those departments.
The Government of the United States is of the latter description. The powers of the Legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken or forgotten, the Constitution is written. To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may at any time be passed by those intended to be restrained? The distinction between a government with limited and unlimited powers is abolished if those limits do not confine the persons on whom they are imposed, and if acts prohibited and acts allowed are of equal obligation. It is a proposition too plain to be contested that the Constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it, or that the Legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act.
Between these alternatives there is no middle ground. The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it.
If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law; if the latter part be true, then written Constitutions are absurd attempts on the part of the people to limit a power in its own nature illimitable.
Those of you who stayed awake in civic class may recall that Marbury v. Madison is that case that established to concept of judicial review in American jurisprudence. There is a reason that federal judges and justices are appointed for life (subject to impeachment) – to remove them from the effects of politics. What King Obama and his minions are trying to do is apply political pressure to the court.
Back in 2000 I was stunned and dismayed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bush v. Gore. But at the same time I took pride in the way my country reacted. We peacefully but unhappily accepted the ruling and moved on. How many nations would have seen bloody riots or even civil war in the same situation?
The Supreme Court slowed down but did not stop the New Deal and the Civil Rights Movement. Even now the Democrats are just one vote shy of a 5-4 majority. Do we really want to change a system that has worked so well for so long just for Obamacare?
Banjo legend Earl Scruggs passed away Wednesday:
It may be impossible to overstate the importance of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs to American music. A pioneering banjo player who helped create modern country music, his sound is instantly recognizable and as intrinsically wrapped in the tapestry of the genre as Johnny Cash’s baritone or Hank Williams’ heartbreak.
Scruggs died Wednesday morning at age 88 of natural causes. The legacy he helped build with bandleader Bill Monroe, guitarist Lester Flatt and the rest of the Blue Grass Boys was evident all around Nashville, where he died in an area hospital. His string-bending, mind-blowing way of picking helped transform a regional sound into a national passion.
If you’re anywhere near my age you grew up listening to his music every day.
This is an open thread.
Many people have blamed Obama Solicitor General Donald Verrilli’s poor defense of the law for the sudden jeopardy Obamacare finds itself in, and there’s no denying he was unprepared to answer questions that we’ve known for months would be central to the case.
But there’s another explanation for the botched prediction: Simply put, legal observers of all stripes, and Obamacare’s proponents, including those in the administration, badly misjudged, and were too overconfident about, the tone, attitude and approach that the court’s conservative bloc, particularly Justice Scalia, would take towards the administration’s arguments.
Keep in mind: Many observers, Obama officials included, spent weeks treating Scalia like a potential swing vote on the case. Lawyers defending the law wrote some of their briefs and opinions with an eye towards persuading Scalia. They consciously invoked Scalia’s own words from a 2005 opinion affirming Congress’s power to control local medical marijuana in hopes it signaled he might be open to the administration’s defense of the individual mandate.
This now looks like a terrible misjudgment. During oral arguments this week, Scalia invoked the broccoli argument to question the goverment’s case. He mocked the government’s position with a reference to the “cornhusker kickback,” even though that’s not in the law. As Fried notes, this language is straight out of the Tea Party guerrilla manual that was written during the battle to prevent Obamacare from becoming law in the first place.
All of which is to say that the law’s proponents were badly caught off guard by the depth of the conservative bloc’s apparent hostility towards the law and its willingness to embrace the hard right’s arguments against its constitutionality. They didn’t anticipate that this could shape up as an ideological death struggle over the heart and soul of the Obama presidency, which, as E.J. Dionne notes today, is exactly what it has become.
Gee Greg, I saw this trainwreck coming a long time ago. Some of us didn’t have our heads up our own asses. This is what happens when you get high on your own Koolaid.
Let’s forget for a minute that Obamacare is a bad law. It’s already unpopular and it hasn’t even taken effect. Let’s look at the constitutional argument.
The U.S. Constitution created a government with enumerated powers. Any powers not enumerated in the document are reserved to the states or the people.
Obamacare is an unprecedented expansion of congressional power through the Commerce Clause. It requires people to purchase health care insurance from private companies. Supporters of Obamacare think the Necessary and Proper Clause allows congress to make people buy health insurance whether they want to or not.
If they can do that, what is the outer limit of congressional power? Can they order you to buy broccoli too?
Maybe you Journolistas should have fought for Single Payer instead of selling us out for the Public Option that we never got anyway.
Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has a post discussing the sourcing of some of the “facts” in the Trayvon Martin case. In that vein, here is the Orlando Sentinel:
The Trayvon Martin case has generated thousands of news stories and scores of speeches and public proclamations. Sometimes the facts get confused. Here are a few examples:
The Volusia County Medical Examiner refused to release Trayvon’s body to his family for three days, an unusually long wait.
Not true, according to the medical examiner. It picked up the body at the scene just after 10 p.m. Feb. 26 and notified a Fort Lauderdale funeral home 39 hours later that the body was ready. The funeral home, Roy Mizell and Kurtz, did not pick up the body for an additional 24 hours, the medical examiner reported.
Volusia County spokesman David Byron said it would be impossible to find out the average length of time the medical examiner there keeps bodies, but said it can vary by several days, depending on circumstances — for example, if there’s a dispute among family members about what to do.
Dr. Jan Garavaglia, medical examiner for Orange and Osceola Counties, said her office generally releases bodies in 24 to 36 hours.
The Medical Examiner’s Office in Monroe County — the Florida Keys — said the average there is five days.
Sanford police failed to collect key evidence in the case: the clothing of George Zimmerman, the gunman who killed Trayvon.
Not true, police said. They took his clothing as well as Trayvon’s and packaged it for crime-lab analysis. A spokeswoman for Special Prosecutor Angela Corey would not disclose Tuesday where the clothing is now, but she wrote in an email that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement “is assisting with the processing of physical evidence.”
Typically, evidence from Seminole County crime scenes is analyzed at the FDLE lab in Orlando.
Looks like some of my educated guesses were pretty good in regards to the timing of the investigation and evidence processing. I have never been involved in a murder case but I have a pretty good idea how things get done in the real world.
I am amazed as some of the assumptions people have made about this case. Some of those assumptions are based on fact and some are based wild conjecture. Some people can’t seem to see the obvious. At one blog it was suggested that the police station surveillance video doesn’t show blood on Zimmerman’s clothes because the cops seized his original clothes.
Another person responded by asking “Where did he get the clean clothes?” Uh, howbout from his home? He lived in that condo park and even if his wife wasn’t home he could have let the cops take his keys and enter his condo. The police would want to seize his clothes as evidence as soon as possible and he was being cooperative. That is an obvious and simple way to get him some clean clothes to change into.
Is that what happened? I don’t know. In any event I would be surprised if the police didn’t make contact with his wife at some point. They would want to verify his story about being on a trip to the store when the incident occurred. And they would want to do it before he had a chance to talk to her.
If this case went to trial each and every fact would have to be sourced. Take the part about Trayvon going to the neighborhood 7-11 and having some Skittles and a can of iced tea on him when the incident took place. Where did that information come from?
How do we know this is true? Did he tell someone that’s where he was going? Did he actually go there? Did he make those purchases? Did he still have them in his possession when he was killed? Here’s the kicker – is any of that the least bit relevant to the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman? If it’s irrelevant the jury will probably never hear any of it.
Over at Corrente danps has been running a great series of posts on the Occupy movement, the Black Bloc and violence. The most recent post discusses how disorganization and the lack of transparency is damaging what’s left of the Occupy movement:
One of the, ahem, benefits of shutting down efforts at openness is that those who are calling the shots can hide in a cloak of anonymity and make decisions from behind the scenes. Occupations that have shut down what began with a robust culture of openness have constructed a neatly self-contained universe – one that permits them to wield substantial authority but disclaim ownership of anything produced by it. (It also tends to create its own self-reinforcing structures.) Decision making done by a few, responsibility shared by all.
Those who want to constructively criticize that dynamic are then left grasping at straws: with no transparency, there is no way to know who in particular is driving these unhealthy developments.
If it seems that, say, facilitation has turned into a power center where much of the direction is set, but there is no way to see or read exactly what is going on, how does one even begin to offer a critique? Those who are happy as clams with this state of affairs can simply demand to know who in particular is the source of the problem. With no transparency into the process, this is unknowable from the outside. So those who wish to be insulated from accountability get a free ride. A nice arrangement, if you can manage it.
Perhaps not coincidentally, opacity tends to work well in conjunction with violence advocacy. A culture of repression is very congenial to chaotic notions of autonomy, “no snitching” orders3, and an apocalyptic mindset that insists if revolution does not happen immediately then all is lost.
I told you so!
I told you so a long time ago. For the crime of being prematurely correct I have been accused of being a wingnut.
But at the end of the post danps dropped this interesting link:
I participated in the #MillionHoodies march in New York City’s Union Square this past Wednesday, March 21st. When I arrived I noticed a lot less hoodies than I thought I was going to see. I assumed this was simply because of the warm weather. There was still an enormous crowd of people there to deal with the tragedy that was Trayvon Martin.
With chants of “We are the 99%” and signage to that effect as well, I was a little thrown off. I thought the purpose of this march was to bring awareness to the death of a young boy. Soon after the march started confusion was all around. Which way were we marching? Who was leading the charge? After we walked a few blocks members of the Occupy section of the march started running down the street knocking down trash cans. I was told later that some attempted to knock down police barricades and police scooters used to guide the marchers. I immediately became uncomfortable because that’s not what I signed up for. I wanted to speak out against injustice—just causing general destruction wasn’t on my agenda. Soon some Occupiers started chanting “F**k the POLICE,” one young white male wearing skinny jeans and a Justin Bieber haircut started yelling “THIS IS WAR, WE WANT WAR!” To which a hoodie-clad young black adult said “Hey, uh we don’t really want war, why don’t you tone that down. I’m about to graduate college in a few months.” The white male kind of laughed and kept moving forward yelling something else.
At various points in the march, as organizers tried to make statements, they were drowned out by Occupiers chanting whatever they saw fit at the time. It didn’t matter if there was a full-on people’s mic happening, they would attempt to push things their way. I asked Daniel Maree, one of the organizers of the #millionhoodies march what he thought of the co-option by Occupy and their actions.”Honestly,” Maree replied “I feel like this is what happens when these emotions build up and they go unchecked and you know, injustice continues, you get it boiling over like this. I’m just happy nobody got hurt.” And while Occupy did help swell the ranks of marchers, I found their actions unacceptable.
This isn’t simply about emotions. This is a consistent streak within certain sections of Occupy. Their goal isn’t a specific action within our current system. Often they want to make a point, show that they’re movement is doing things. In DC, their goal was to get arrested. In NYC, they seemed less concerned with marching for Trayvon and more concerned with occupying as much space as possible with whatever issue that would gather folks to their cause. Occupying.
When Occupy Wall Street first got the national spotlight they were so worried about the co-option of their message, yet they have no problem co-opting others. A couple of Occupiers recognized me and asked if I noticed some of the nonsense that was happening. I said yes and one of them explained that after this march and two months of working with Occupy, she and her friends no longer wanted to be associated with them.
I guess if you can’t get people to come to your party the next best thing is to crash theirs and try to take it over. Of course they may not appreciate you crapping on their rugs.
Here is some police surveillance video from Sanford Police Department.
Officers marched a handcuffed George Zimmerman into Sanford, Fla., police headquarters the night he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and video from security cameras picked up no obvious sign of injury to the neighborhood watch volunteer.
Police say Zimmerman told them he shot Martin on Feb. 26 in self-defense after the 6-foot high school junior punched him, got on top of him and began banging his head into a sidewalk.
According to the Sanford police report on the night of the shooting, Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head when officers arrived at the scene. But the video, provided to ABC News by the city of Sanford, shows no obvious sign of blood or injury.
Paramedics treated him at the scene and he told them he did not need to go to a hospital, police reported.
The video shows a somber Zimmerman, hands cuffed behind his back, stepping from a patrol car, surrounded by several officers, walking through a door, entering a room and walking away.
I’m not going to rush to judgment here, but I’m sure some people will. The police report says he was bleeding from the nose and back of his head. It does not describe how serious the injuries were. It also says he received first aid from paramedics but declined hospital attention.
Once his injuries stopped bleeding and were cleaned up, there might not be much to see even under the best of conditions. This is grainy surveillance footage. Sadly, the best opportunity to view the back of his head is obscured by the ABC logo.
I don’t see any blood or injuries in this video, but I don’t think it proves that no injuries existed. If there were no injuries it begs the question – why would the original police report say Zimmerman was injured and bleeding? Why would the cops tell such an obvious lie?
Here’s some news footage from the night and day after the shooting:
In a country where people think a Mexican restaurant is the same thing as a Spanish restaurant, it’s not surprising that there is confusion about what being Hispanic means. The other day some twit on a newspaper site questioned George Zimmerman’s identification as a white Hispanic. “I’ve never heard of that sub-grouping before,” quoth the twit. I think an entire branch of my family tree just fell into the ocean.
The fact is, the majority of Hispanic Americans identify as white (53% in the 2010 Census). This is not some new thing, nor is it a nefarious trick. Hispanic means you speak Spanish or are from a Spanish-speaking background. People from Spain and the former Spanish colonies are Hispanic. The race of these folks varies, just as the race of people from England and the former English colonies varies. Most people from Spain are white, and a large percentage of people in the former Spanish colonies are white. Some people in the former Spanish colonies are Indian, a great many are mestizo, and some are black. But as long as they are from a Spanish-speaking culture, they’re Hispanic.
The problem is that the U.S. Census does not treat “Hispanic” as a race. That means that all Hispanics must choose one of the following:
1. American Indian or Alaska Native
3. Black or African American
4. Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
Here is how the Census defines “white”:
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
I live in the Central Valley of California. We have a large Mexican-American population. In my experience, when given the option most Mexican-Americans will self-identify as “Hispanic,” “Latino” or “Brown” (as in “Brown Pride.”) One of the prominent Hispanic advocacy groups here in the United States is an organization called The National Council of La Raza. “La Raza” means “The Race.”
“Hispanic” is a fairly new term and designates a broad category that includes Spaniards, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Cubans, Columbians, Dominicans and sometimes Portuguese and Brazilians. It all depends on who is doing the grouping. Genetically Hispanics range from pure white/European to Native American to African. Many Hispanics are either biracial or multi-racial.
Culturally they are very diverse as well. Most Hispanics are Catholic and speak Spanish, but they don’t all eat burritos and tacos. They don’t all like each other either. Florida has a large Cuban-American population. New York has a large Puerto Rican community and the Southwest has lots of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
George Zimmerman self-identified as “Hispanic” on his voter registration card. (He also registered as a Democrat.) His father was white/caucasian and his mother was Peruvian. I’m unaware of any large Peruvian-American communities in the United States.
When the Trayvon Martin killing first became national news the media depicted Zimmerman as “white” without any mention of his ethnicity. But the first picture published of him showed clearly that he has Hispanic heritage. That is when the media began using the new term “White Hispanic.” They did this for a specific reason – to maintain the narrative that Trayvon was the victim of white racism.
Here’s a question: If Hispanics are considered to be white, why is it racist for a white person to oppose illegal immigration?
North Miami Beach police said surveillance video shows dozens of high school students demonstrating in the Trayvon Martin case Friday ransacking a Walgreens store.
The incident occurred during a walkout from North Miami Beach Senior High School in support of Martin, 17, who was fatally shot in Sanford. Protesters have been calling for the arrest of George Zimmerman, 28, who has not been charged because he claimed self-defense in the shooting, according to police.
Minutes after walking out of their school Friday, a large group of students walked through the streets of North Miami Beach. Along the way, they stopped at a Walgreens at 163rd Street and 15th Avenue at about 10:40 a.m.
Surveillance video shows dozens of teenagers running through the store. Police said about 80 to 100 students stormed in, ransacking the shelves, before the school’s vice principal ordered everyone outside.
Trayvon Martin was killed in Sanford, Florida – several hundred miles north of Miami. Walgreens had no involvement in the shooting.
The worst part is the looters discredited other protestors of the killing. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident and there aren’t any copy-cat incidents. Otherwise sooner or later someone will get hurt.
Barack Obama got caught on tape making a Kinsley gaffe.
President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.
President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…
President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.
President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
To be fair, what he said was true – it’s true for every president. Once they are termed out they don’t have to worry about kissing butts or raising money to get reelected. But his statement implies what we’ve known since the NAFTA/Goolsbee incident in 2008, where Obama told the voters of Ohio one thing while his emissary was telling the Canadian government something different.
Obama lies. About everything. He was telling Vlad the imPutin he should wait to make a deal because he’ll get a better offer in December. The question is, what’s he secretly telling other world leaders?
I have no personal knowledge about the Trayvon Martin case. Everything I know is what I have read online. I am certain that much of what I have read about the case is wrong because it contradicts other stuff I have read. If you hear two mutually exclusive things then both of them cannot be true (but they can both be wrong.)
It is interesting and disturbing how quickly the Trayvon Martin case has become a racial Rorschach test. The undisputed facts are ambiguous. We know that a young man was killed. We know that another young man killed him. We know where and when it happened. We know a little bit about each man, including their age, height, weight and race. We know a little bit about the background of each man, but not a lot. We know what one man’s version of events was. We will never know what story the other man would give.
There is some physical evidence. Not all of it has been disclosed by the police. There are some witness statements. We have been told what some witnesses allegedly told the police but none of the witnesses has been publicly examined and cross-examined under oath.
In one version of events Trayvon Martin was a gang member and a thug and George Zimmerman a hero. In another version Zimmerman is a bigot and a murderer and Trayvon Martin an innocent and wholly blameless victim.
I don’t know the truth. If I was on a jury and had to render a verdict I would vote not-guilty, not because I think Zimmerman is innocent but because the case for his guilt has not been proven to me. There is a jury instruction that states if you can draw two or more reasonable conclusions from the evidence, and one of those
reasonable conclusions points to innocence and another to guilt, you must accept the one that points to innocence.
But much of what we hear about this case is simply speculative and is designed to shoehorn the case into a predetermined narrative. That narrative is racial and requires that Zimmerman assume the role of a white, racist oppressor and Trayvon the role of innocent victim.
Why is that narrative so important?
According to FBI statistics in 2009 there were 2,867 black people murdered in this country. Of those, 2,604 were killed by other blacks and only 209 were killed by whites. Those are facts.
But what do they prove?
Let’s assume that George Zimmerman is a racist and a cold-blooded killer. What does that prove? Does it prove anything about America or society in general? What lessons can the rest of us learn, what changes can we make?
If George Zimmerman was sent to prison, would that be justice? Justice for who? Will it make up for slavery, lynchings and Jim Crow? Will our nation suddenly be free of racial bigotry?
The sad fact is that no matter how this ends there will be many people who think a terrible injustice has been done.
I used to make my living going over police reports and evidence. So that’s what I’m gonna do today. Here is the Initial Shooting Report provided by the Sanford Police Department. It is only a partial report made by the first two responding officers. It does not include the detective’s report or any forensics/autopsy information.
Let’s start with the basics. Sanford, Florida is an incorporated city in central Florida (near Orlando) with a population of 53,570 people. That makes it about 2/3 the size of my hometown. I am fairly familiar with how police departments work in medium sized communities. That is why I am fairly sure that Sanford does not have its own CSI department or a dedicated homicide unit.
One thing I am very sure of is that homicide investigations in the real world look nothing like the ones you see on television. I have noticed a lot of the reporting and commentary on this case is based on the idea that every department has a Horatio Caine who can find fingerprints on blades of grass and who can recover DNA from the killer’s shadow.
On television the crime is always solved and the killer is dead or in custody by the end of the hour (unless it’s a two-part episode). Processing a crime scene or searching a house takes about five minutes and manpower is unlimited. Oh, I almost forgot – on television a murder scene will have about 50 different people wandering through it.
Let’s look a real investigation:
Officer Ricardo Ayala and Officer Timothy Smith both wrote reports. I’m going to go through the events as reported then discuss them.
It was a dark and stormy night. (I always wanted to say that). It really was night time and we know it was raining, but we’re not told how heavily it was coming down. Shortly after 7:00 pm on February 26, 2012, Officer Ricardo Ayala received a radio dispatch to 1111 Retreat View Circle to check out a report of a suspicious person. While he was en route to the scene he was notified by police dispatch that there had been calls reporting shots fired in that same area.
The only thing that jacks up a police officer’s adrenaline more than a “shots fired” call are the words “officer down.” It’s a safe bet that every officer who heard that call was heading to the scene Code Three.
If you look at the picture at the top of the post you can see the letter “A” designating 1231 Twin Trees Lane. 2821 Retreat View Circle is the building immediately to its right. Here is a closer view:
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. It was also the second deadliest disaster in New York City – after the burning of the General Slocum on June 15, 1904 – until the destruction of the World Trade Center 90 years later. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Jewish and Italian immigrant women aged sixteen to twenty-three; the oldest victim was 48, the youngest were two fourteen-year-old girls.
Because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits – a common practice at the time to prevent pilferage and unauthorized breaks – many of the workers who could not escape the burning building jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors to the streets below. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers.
The owners were acquitted of any crime. In a civil suit they were ordered to pay $75 to the families of each victim. One of the witnesses to the fire was Frances Perkins, who later served as the U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1933 to 1945, and who was the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet.
Gov. Palin: Last Frontier Women Don’t Tolerate Misogynists
Two fellow Alaskan women, Kirsten Powers and Penny Lee, penned a letter to the New York Times calling out misogynist attacks on women in public life.
They included this interesting aside: “Coincidentally we both hail from Alaska — where women are treated as equals — so perhaps our threshold for this kind of behavior is less than here in the Lower 48.”
As an Alaskan woman, I completely agree. Women up here do not tolerate the sexist stereotyping and behavior.
Up here, I’m constantly around commercial fishermen who curse like sailors, oil field workers with hardcore blue collar work ethics, tattooed-up soldiers serving on our military bases, long-haul truck drivers, motorheads, hunters and sport fishermen; and yet I don’t know anyone who talks about women the way these misogynists on TV do with their degrading comments, which includes comments mocking those with special needs.
I grew up hunting, fishing, playing sports, plowing snow, and chopping wood just like the guys. My parents raised my sisters and me to never consider gender an unequal element in anything. (In fact, today is my Dad’s birthday, and I want to give him a shout out because as a science teacher and track coach, he treated all of his students and athletes equally with respect and encouragement.) My daughters have participated on football, hockey, and wrestling teams just like the guys. We even dress like the guys at times (or they, like us) in warm camo hoodies and Carharts. It’s accepted up here because the environment is rugged and real, and our Alaskan elements are a great equalizer.
Women and men are equals in every way in the Last Frontier, and real men are not threatened by strong women. Real men don’t insult women with gross sexist comments meant to demean and objectify them.
These misogynists wouldn’t know how real men behave. I cannot imagine them working on my commercial fishing skiff in Bristol Bay, or driving our trucks to haul gear out to a remote cabin, or fueling up the float plane, or even having a tinge of grease under their fingernails which symbolizes the hard work needed to fuel the nation’s economy. And yet these are all things average Alaskan women do everyday. If these misogynists said one of their disgusting comments up here in person to an “Alaskan chick,” they would have to replace their veneered teeth.
I personally do not seek an apology from these narrow-minded men. With a full family and productive “to-do” list everyday, I just don’t have time for them. But I do feel sorry for them and for their obvious need to compensate for something that’s missing in their own lives, which compels them to belittle others in order to feel big. And I feel sorry for our culture for having to listen to them. America deserves better. I applaud Kirsten and Penny for taking a stand when too many feminists don’t speak up when the attacks are directed at their conservative sisters. And unfortunately too many men, like our president, will only defend certain women, not all women.
- Sarah Palin
I love this line:
If these misogynists said one of their disgusting comments up here in person to an “Alaskan chick,” they would have to replace their veneered teeth.
According to the rules and bylaws of the Big Brotherhood of Bloviating Bloggers I am required to write a post expressing my special insights on the Trayvon Martin Tragedy. Unfortunately I don’t have any special insights.
On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed by a single gunshot wound to the chest. He was unarmed. Trayvon was a 17 year old black man living with his father in a gated community in Sanford, Florida. Racism has been assumed by many people to be the reason for or at least a contributing factor to his death.
The person who shot Trayvon is 28 year old George Zimmerman. While much of the media refers to Zimmerman as Caucasian, under different facts and circumstances (like if he was being deported) he would be considered Hispanic or Latino. But that wouldn’t fit the racism narrative.
Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watchman. It is unclear whether he had any kind of official status in an organized neighborhood watch. He was armed and had a valid concealed weapons permit. Zimmerman is a cop-wannabe and was enrolled in classes hoping to fulfill that ambition.
Is Zimmerman a racist? I can’t answer that because I have no knowledge as to what exists in his heart and mind. He does fit the profile of something I am familiar with from my days working in security – an overzealous security guard. These types, like Zimmerman, are wannabe cops. Most will never make it. Those who do will make bad cops.
The facts not in dispute tell us this – Trayvon left his father’s house to walk to a nearby convenience store. He was returning home armed with some iced tea and a bag of Skittles. He was wearing a hoodie jacket.
Zimmerman saw Trayvon and called the cops to report a suspicious person. Then he started to follow Trayvon. According to Trayvon’s girlfriend who was talking to him on the phone he knew someone was following him. At some point a confrontation took place.
Zimmerman told the police he stepped from his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind. He said he was in fear for his life so he drew his pistol and fired. When police arrived Trayvon was laying face down and was non-responsive.
Zimmerman was bleeding from the nose and the back of his head. He had grass on his back and his back was wet. A witness reported seeing Trayvon on top of Zimmerman beating him up. Other witnesses heard a man yelling for help and then a gunshot.
Many people are outraged that Zimmerman has not been arrested. There are also claims that the investigation was mishandled by the Sanford Police Department. The investigation has been taken over by the Florida Department of Justice and the FBI. The media and other groups have muddied the waters.
Were mistakes made? Probably. The perfect investigation only exists in textbooks and TV scripts. Most police departments don’t have a specialized CSI unit and not every detective is a Columbo or a Monk. The killing took place outdoors on a rainy Sunday night in February. Trayvon wasn’t carrying identification and none of the bystanders recognized him.
The standard for arrest is probable cause. That is defined as “a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person’s belief that certain facts are probably true”. But it is not uncommon for police to delay making any arrests until the investigation is completed.
As soon as you arrest a suspect certain legal rights kick in and the clock starts ticking on their right to speedy trial. Not only that, but a hasty arrest can provide a defense if a different person is later charged with the crime. “Officer, isn’t it true that you originally arrested John Doe for this murder?“
Cops are trained to be patient and methodical, crossing all the “t’s” and dotting all the “i’s”. That way no defense attorney can later claim there was a rush to judgment. Usually the decision to arrest is made by the prosecutor in consultation with the investigators.
Prosecutors have an ethical duty not to bring forward cases they know they cannot win. That’s what got Mike Nifong disbarred in the Duke Lacross case. Sometimes the police sit on cases for years even if they think it is “solved” because they lack sufficient evidence to get a conviction.
There is no statute of limitations on murder so if they find the missing pieces later they can proceed to trial. But if they bring it too early and the defendant is acquitted, double jeopardy protects him from re-prosecution even if he confesses.
There is no law against a private citizen following suspicious persons. They can even confront and question the suspects, as long as they don’t commit false arrest. For instance if you see a stranger in your neighbor’s back yard while your neighbor is at work, you can ask that person who he is and what he is doing there. But without something more you cannot detain or arrest them.
This is what I suspect happened. Zimmerman saw Trayvon and thought he was suspicious. He took it upon himself to follow Trayvon. There was a confrontation. It might have been initiated by either of the men, but Trayvon got angry that Zimmerman was following him. The confrontation escalated into a physical confrontation and then Zimmerman drew his gun and killed Trayvon. That is consistent with all the undisputed facts.
That’s not murder. At best it is involuntary manslaughter (i.e. “imperfect self-defense.”) The issue is whether Zimmerman had an honest but unreasonable belief that using deadly force was necessary. That would be a question of fact for a jury to decide. Whether or not Zimmerman was motivated by racism could be a factor in determining the reasonableness of his belief.
I will wait for an official finding. I got a hunch that nobody will be happy with the final outcome. Even if Zimmerman is convicted of involuntary manslaughter I can’t see a judge giving him much time.
Trayvon’s family might win a wrongful death suit against Zimmerman but I doubt he has any money. Unless they can somehow drag the Homeowner’s Association into it there are no deep pockets to sue.
This case has already turned into a circus. Politicians are making self-serving statements about the case. Geraldo Rivera is blaming the hoodie that Trayvan wore. MSNBC is blaming Rush Limbaugh. Occupiers are protesting in Chicago and on Wall Street because . . . uh, . . . I don’t know why the hell Occupiers do what they do.
None of it will bring back Trayvon Martin.
It was a nice day today and I was feeling pretty good so I decided to break down and go to the movie theater for the first time in years to see Hunger Games. I never read the book(s) but I had a pretty good idea what to story line was gonna be.
I got to the multi-plex theater at 12:25 for 12:30 showing for the second showing of the day (sixth if you count four midnight premieres) and there was no line. My ticket cost $7.75 but the Diet Pepsi I bought at the concession counter as nearly as much. I had a choice between a small soda for $5.00 or a large (w/free refills) for $5.75. It turns out I didn’t need the refill. I didn’t want to take out a loan so I skipped the popcorn.
The theater I was in was about 10% full. The place is about 10 years old and has stadium seating and fold-down armrests with drink holders. I like stadium seating because you don’t have to worry about Shaq sitting in front of you and blocking your view. I hate packed theaters so I didn’t mind the emptiness.
Finally the main feature began. It started kinda slow then picked up steam. I’m not gonna go into lots of detail about the plot. It was a pretty good movie but not a great one. I was expecting to be blown away but only got my hair ruffled. I might have liked it better if I had read the book.
It’s mostly a drama with a decent amount of action. The special effects are minimal and there isn’t much gore and no profanity, nudity or “adult situations”. It’s not a tear-jerker but emotional types might need one or two kleenexs. I’d say it’s more of a date movie than a chick flick. YMMV.
This is an open thread.