Wednesday, July 31, 2013


You Make the Call

Here are recent photos of the accomplished former first lady and the actress picked to play her in the coming biopic.

Other than the fact that both are female, is this casting really a rational choice?

I'm told that the producer's first choice, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was unavailable because he is in rehab.


Monday, July 29, 2013


The Sirens of Titan

In another striking photograph by our robot photographer Cassini and the imaging team here on earth, we see backlit moons of Saturn, Titan and the smaller Enceladus, bisected or just under the rings seen nearly edge on and appearing almost photo negative with the lighting. It looks like a well tempered damascene blade to me. Titan has a hazy atmosphere which is scattering the sunlight.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Like a Circle in a Sprial

Hoag's Object, a very strange ring galaxy with a surrounding symmetric halo of new big blue stars and an older red/yellow core that may or may not have anything to do with the ring. No one has any real insight how this particular ring galaxy formed. It doesn't look like computer generated simulations we have. However, as Belushi used to say in a rant on March on SNL, but that's not the weird part...

At the one o'clock position within the ring is another ring galaxy apparently some distance behind this one. I know in an infinite universe there will be some very strange coincidences if you only look long and hard enough, but what are the freakin' odds that framed in a nearly unique ring galaxy is another in the distance?

It's nearly enough to make you believe in some sort sort of galactic engineering. Nearly.

I've written about NGC 660 before here.


Thursday, July 25, 2013


Intrepid Human Powered Arctic Publicity Stunt Update

This year's human powered, pointless Arctic trek (rowing the Northwest Passage west to east to show how Global Warming is effecting the landscape) has finally entered the Northwest Passage after three weeks of struggle to get out of the Mackenzie River Delta in the Northwest Territories and actually start their stated journey. 3 weeks is about 21 to 25% of all the time they have to row the full 3000 Km to the eastern mouth of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island.

With the wind at their backs for a change, they are making great progress into Liverpool Bay. My calculation is that they've rowed about 385 Km, which is only 13% of the distance they have set for the trek.

Pick up the pace, fellas and pray that the sea ice in front of you melts by the time you get to it.



Rocket Assisted Takeoff

Very cool.

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


We Live Here

On the little blue dot above the cursor (photographed from Saturn) and on the larger of the two dots (photographed from Mercury, which is a lot closer to us than Saturn). The little dot is the Moon. Looks pretty close to us from far away.

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Sometimes called the first supergroup, The Steam Packet, or at least four of them. Rod Stewart (vocals) Long John Baldry (vocals), Julie Driscol (vocals), and Brian Auger (Hammond B-3). Not pictured are Vic Briggs (guitar), Richard Brown aka Ricky Fenson (bass) and Mickey Waller (drums). Of the group, only two, openly gay Baldry and Waller, are dead. The rest are generally still performing, in their 60s and 70s. Briggs became a Sikh (I didn't know they let non-Indians in). Waller became a lawyer and used that profession to collect long overdue royalties.

The Steam Packet never recorded in a studio and only lasted 65-66, until Stewart left them. It's generally not worth the effort to find live recordings of the group as the whole was less than almost any of the parts on their own.



Thought of the Day

No one seems to care that the children of our liberal elite, black and white, go to places like Sidwell Friends rather than to Washington public schools, where the consequences of 50 years of liberal social policy are all too real. If Chris Matthews wishes to apologize collectively for whites, then he should have long ago moved to an integrated neighborhood, put his children in integrated schools, and walked to work through a black neighborhood to get to know local residents. Anything else, and his apology remains what it is: cheap psychological recompense for his own elite apartheid.

Victor Davis Hanson


Monday, July 22, 2013


Ironic Quote of the Day

Trayvon Martin's death did not occur in a vacuum. Ours was supposed to be the first generation of black Americans to be judged not by our race or the color of our skin. Instead, we find ourselves to be the most murdered generation in the country and the most incarcerated on the planet. Meanwhile, racial profiling continues to rear its ugly head in law enforcement and civilian life alike.

Benjamin Todd Jealous

To the naïve black American, such as the head of the NAACP here, racial profiling is worse than the crimes the profiling seeks to prevent or solve. The microscopic width of his vision is astounding.

How about this for an explanation? Blacks in America are the most murdered and the most incarcerated because young black males are murdering other black males at rates far in excess of their representation in the general populace, and they are getting caught. That black criminals are incarcerated in such high numbers is precisely because people are judging them on their actions regardless of skin color. It appears to me that Mr. Jealous is totally unaware of how deep in denial he is and how internally ironic his paragraph is.

γνώθι σαυτόν, I always say.


Sunday, July 21, 2013


How To Make Disingenuous Arguments

I don't know who Tim Wise is, but he's written this piece in the Grio called: White America, the George Zimmerman Trial and the Power of Denial. I'll get to the irony of that title by the end of this posting.

He complains a lot about the fluff that is most of the news on the cable stations. He sounds a lot like Hugh Hewitt on that. I do agree whether the royal baby is overdue and what someone called Honey Boo Boo is doing are extremely fluffy. That's why I rarely watch the cable news shows. Lot of other people don't watch them too. But then he gets to his point, writing that one of the worst things about the Zimmerman trial is:

the utter inability of much of white America to accept that race had anything at all to do with the case, or with Zimmerman’s decision to follow Trayvon Martin that fateful night.

Unlike Chris Matthews, I rarely try to speak for all white people, so all I can say is what I what I feel:
Race had something to do with Zimmerman suspecting Trayvon Martin was up to no good, but race had nothing whatever to do with Trayvon's tragic death. Following someone is really not much of a moral wrong. Knocking the follower down and pummeling him is a moral wrong that under the circumstances here excused the deadly force Zimmerman used to save himself from what he reasonably believed was great bodily injury. I can draw distinctions here between the suspecting and the killing. Mr. Wise doesn't seem able to. That suspicion seems for him to be the greatest bad here. Perhaps I'm being too harsh. Let's see. Next paragraph:

It’s one thing, after all, to look at evidence in a criminal trial and come to different conclusions — especially when claims of self-defense and confusing jury instructions are involved — but quite another to reject, out of hand, the lived reality of peoples of color: a reality that tells them, based on experience (not to mention the quantitative data) that suspicion all too readily attaches to young black men, irrespective of their behaviors.

Yep, Mr. Wise is mad about the suspicion Mr. Zimmerman had of Trayvon Martin. Again, speaking only for myself, I don't reject that many people (non just whites) are suspicious of young black men, irrespective of their behaviors. I reject that such feeling is irredeemably wrong. I'll get to the crime stats in a second. Let's see if Mr. Wise seeks to disassociate suspicion from crime stats.

So we bring up “black on black crime” which is an inherently telling formulation seeing as how we don’t refer to the crime that mostly affects us as “white on white crime,” even though it’s two-and-a-half times more prevalent, numerically, than the black-on-black equivalent.

Yep. And look at his sleight of hand in telling some stats. I only bring up the black-on black-crime to show that it is horrendously disingenuous to pretend that a "white Hispanic" man killing a black 17 year old in self defense is indicative of the real dangers that black 17 year olds face. The young black men do face being killed at a rate far above their representation in the population, but the killers are also about 95% percent black; so focusing on the aberrant Hispanic-on-black crime is not looking at the real problem. Kinda of like talking about Mad Men when the more important subject is an unsettling criminal pathology of an entire demographic group. Oh, and since the black population is about 12% of the American population, comparing the mere number of crimes committed by blacks and whites merely avoids the important question. I'll say it again. Despite being only 12% of the population, blacks make up nearly 50% of the murder victims each year and 95% of them were killed by other blacks. What's up with that, Mr. Wise? Take out the women and the very, very young and old men and something like 5% of the population is doing 50% of the murders. That's the stubborn fact. And other violent crime short of murder is similar. I know it, Mr. Wise knows it (but apparently can't bring himself to say it) and the people who pay more attention to young black males on the street do so largely because they know it too. It's several times more likely that the young black males will commit a crime, and that statistic applies irrespective of their behavior before they start the actions of a crime.

I believe we're not bringing up the crime stats to say, for example, that the '64 Civil Rights Act was unnecessary (as Mr. Wise accuses), we're bringing the stats up to say that being suspicious of a small group that is responsible for such disproportionate numbers of crimes is not irrational hatred or racism. It's rational profiling.

Mr. Wise then complains that whites have never seen racism much but he uses as his two data points some polls in 1962 and 1963, several years before he was born. I think we whites recognize racism when we see or hear it. (I'm not so sure black Americans recognize it when other blacks do or say something racist). It's Mr. Wise, who makes his living exposing racism and writing about it, who can't see how much the world he never knew before his birth has changed. And the greatest proof of my complaint about him is his own argument in the piece, that is, suspicion of young black men, irrespective of their behavior, is racism flat out. Whites are the problem.

I say that rational suspicion based on criminal statistics is not irrational racial fear and to turn it into invidious racial discrimination, even if that is your life's work, is to divide people rather than bring them together, to make the racial divide worse rather than better, to undo the good work the heroes of the Civil Rights Movement struggled so to achieve.

It certainly is a disingenuous argument. Indeed, it indicates that it is Mr. Wise's ilk who are deep in denial.


Saturday, July 20, 2013


Daubert Hearing

If you wanted to introduce the climate models' predictions of global warming in the 21st Century into evidence at a court trial you would first have to show that the climate models are not junk science. That would involve a hearing under the Daubert case et al., where you would have to show that the models qualify as scientific knowledge; that is, they are the product of sound "scientific methodology" derived from the scientific method.

The Daubert Court defined "scientific methodology" as the process of formulating hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or falsify the hypothesis. The Court provided a non-dispositive, nonexclusive, "flexible" set of "general observations" (i.e. not a "test") that it considered relevant for establishing the "validity" of scientific testimony. These include:

  1. Empirical testing: whether the theory or technique is falsifiable, refutable, and/or testable.
  2. Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication.
  3. The known or potential error rate.
  4. The existence and maintenance of standards and controls concerning its operation.
  5. The degree to which the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community.
The University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer said at a government sponsored panel on climate change this past week that the climate models would not pass the Daubert tests because the models have not been successfully field tested for predicting climate change, and so far their error rate should preclude their use for predicting future climate change.

Sounds right to me.

(h/t Wikipedia for refreshing my memory regarding Daubert. I was educated on the Frye test only).



Priorities, Indeed

And when Bjorn Lomborg talks about air pollution, he means indoors air pollution in homes where they use wood, charcoal or dung to cook meals, etc. If only we had a way to produce vast amounts of natural gas for use worldwide in cooking and heating. Wait...



Democrats Supported Slavery and Were Anti-Black for Most of American History

The Democrats were the pro-slavery party. The Whigs did not oppose slavery and this main stream party opposed to the Democrats split up and failed and were consigned to the dust bin of history. Meanwhile, the new anti-slavery Republican party was formed and, in its second try, elected its candidate for president, Abraham Lincoln. At the end of the terrible conflict Lincoln's election and the Democrats' opposition to abolition caused (which conflict cost us 620,000 American lives, just under the number of American dead in all the other wars we've fought combined), Lincoln helped spearhead through Congress the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. Lincoln obviously did not get any support for this amendment from the pro-slavery Democrats in the South, who were in open rebellion and had formed another nation at the time. But he just as obviously (to anyone who actually bothers to learn American History) did not get much support from the Northern Democrats either. In 1865, the 13th Amendment emancipating the slaves was passed with 100 percent of Republicans (88 of 88 in the House, 30 of 30 in the Senate) voting for it. Only 23 percent of Democrats (16 of 66 in the House, 3 of 8 in the Senate) voted for it.

These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless. That's from the remake of the Maltese Falcon in 1941. Actually, Mr. Wells' history does contain these facts.

Of course that was so long ago and everything has changed now. The Republicans switched fundamental principles with the Democrats and became the pro-slavery, anti-black party. Everyone knows that. /sarcasm

I have come in my advanced age to believe that people and parties do not fundamentally change. Perhaps that's the conservative in me. There can be progress. The abolition of slavery in most of the world in the mid-19th Century is an example of that. Slavery had existed for hundreds of thousands of years. It was everywhere in the World and thought to be the normal order of things. The African slave trade to South America, the Caribbean and North America was not out of the ordinary for the times. It certainly was no worse a crime against humanity than the Muslim enslavement of Christians, for example. Then it all came to an end. That's progress. But ideas about the different races persisted even after the slaves were freed, especially in the former slave states in America. This persistence of racism in American resulted, in areas where Democrats were in power, in new laws to circumvent the 13th through 15th Amendments and keep the former slaves and their free progeny in second class status. The Democrats also founded a terrorist militia called the Ku Klux Klan whose most serious purpose was to murder blacks who vocally opposed the Jim Crow laws (although the KKK might have been a continuation of one of the branches of the Confederate intelligence service, sometimes thought to be called the Kuklos, Greek for circle or ring).

Then, everything changed in 1964 and all the Democrats voted to end the Jim Crow discrimination and institutional racism they had engendered and the Republicans all voted to deny equality before the law to black Americans.

I'm kidding, of course. The split in voting between Democrat and Republican in 1964 was not so one sided as it had been for the 13th through 15th Amendments a century before, but it was at least reminiscent. In 1964, in the Senate, the Democrats had 67 members and the Republicans a mere 33. In the House at the time, the Democrats held 244 seats and the Republicans held 171. Because the Democrats controlled both House and Senate, just looking at the raw numbers of votes doesn't tell the real story. You have to look at the ratio to representation.The Democrats voted for the '64 Civil Rights Act in the Senate 46 for and 21 against (that's 69% for and 31% against). In the Senate Republicans voted for the bill  27 for and 6 against (that's 82% for and 18% against). The Republicans voted for the measure at a higher percentage of representation than the Democrats. In the House, the Democrats voted for the final bill (Senate version) 153 for and 91 against (that's 63% for and 37% against). The Republicans voted 136 for and 35 against (that's 80% for and 20% against). Again the Republicans voted for the measure at a higher percentage of representation than the Democrats. So not much had really changed in a century except the numbers of Democrats and Republicans in each chamber.

Next time I'll bring this discussion up to date and talk about the death of the Segregationists in the South and the fact that Democrats still support a form of slavery.

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The Future is Cloudy

I talked to a submariner (ballistic nuke boat) last night. I told him I was reasonably sure that the future evolution of aircraft would be to drones as the human brain on board an airplane is that craft's weakest link. The plane can take a 20 g turn, the brain passes out (or dies) above 8 gs. That fact will make fighter drones inevitable. Moving on.

It is less clear to me the evolution of our Navy. I watch science fiction movies which place aircraft carriers in space (all of them but Lucas'; he makes starships like wind powered ships of the line, idiot) and I think what are we missing? We were building battleships during WWII when it was clear that their day had passed and that aircraft carriers were the new deadliest ship. Are we still building aircraft carriers when it is or should be clear that their time too has passed and something new will take their place? I think so, but what is the new thing?

Difficult to see. It will probably be a missile carrying boat (I'm just not sure about lasers and rail guns), and the most effective will be those no one can see. Sure enough, he said we had pulled the nuke missiles out of several submarines and replaced them with cruise missiles like 8 to a tube and there are 24 tubes. You do the math. In the future we could launch fighter drones from Ohio class SSBNs and make them invulnerable (generally) undersea aircraft carriers. But I've merely moved the carrier underwater, I have not replaced the carrier. I can't because of the limitations of my imagination.

Anyone? Bueller?


Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Why I Find it Difficult to Read Kathleen Parker

What caused me to think that fuzzy thinking center right columnist Kathleen Parker was dead to me (figuratively) was her tone in criticizing Sarah Palin a half decade ago. I hate smug elitists, and Parker was the right wing poster girl for that concept. Despite her abject failure on TV (where she was even more unwatchable than Eliot Spitzer), she still puts out a lot of columns, all of them unread by me.

Until today, that is. Here is her latest effort. It's not all drivel but here are two things I want to point out. She is writing an all encompassing even handed account of the Zimmerman trial. Kinda.

If I were African American, I would fear for my sons and be furious at a system that condones vigilantism and then acts as though calling a teen’s death a “tragedy” ends the discussion.

If I were black, I would fear for my sons too, but not about 'vigilantism'. I would fear their being murdered by another black son, which is several orders of magnitude more likely than for them to be a victim of vigilantism by a "white Hispanic."

The jury obviously felt that Zimmerman acted in self-defense, or, at least, that the state failed to prove otherwise. It must have been a terrible conclusion to reach because, no matter the legal definitions that guided them, it seems impossible that someone’s young son, guilty of nothing, should die while his killer walks. Adages become such for a reason: The law is an ass.

She puts it well about the jury verdict and then goes off the rails. Trayvon Martin was not "guilty of nothing." He was obviously guilty of assault. There is no evidence that indicates otherwise. He died not because he was walking home with skittles and watermelon tea, but because he sought to attack the "creepy ass cracker (or cracka)" who actually was not doing anything wrong. It was his decision to assault George Zimmerman which cost him his life. Difficult for a rational person to come to another conclusion.

Then she quotes Dickens (poorly), more precisely, Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist. Indeed, the law was a ass to suppose that Mr. Bumble's wife acted under his direction. We've come a long way, baby. But is the law a ass to recognize that we have a God given right not to die just because someone else chooses to attack us? I think not. Maybe in Ms. Parker's cocooning in an upper middle class neighborhood in Camden, SC, she has no real fear of violent attack, but here in the real world, crime happens. One can choose to take what comes, (my choice), or one can take arms against a sea of troubles and carry concealed, loaded and locked as the phrase ought to be said. People who go about armed think we who choose to be lambs at a possible slaughter are stupid. Perhaps we are. But is the law stupid to recognize that those who choose to defend themselves against violent attack are not guilty of a crime? Obviously not. Parker, as she so often shows herself, is the ass regarding that legal analysis.

So now back to years of ignoring her completely.




I am one of the few that actually watched the made for SciFi (SyFy  whatever) TV movie. It was merely bad, not so bad it was good. This is a waterspout, a tornado over water. Cool, but it couldn't lift a shark, much less hundreds of them, into the troposphere.


Sunday, July 14, 2013


Mike Lupica: Legal Genius

Like many lefty true believers, sports writer and anti-gun fanatic, Mike Lupica, is unhappy with the George Zimmerman verdict. He thinks it was unjust. Why? He really doesn't make a coherent argument. I'm not sure Mike would know justice if it bit him on the ass.

Here are two or three things I, a former prosecutor, would like to point out for the people who seem to be woefully ignorant of the law like Mike Lupica.

Lupica writes:

Zimmerman walks now, leaves court a free man, does that in a state with its stand-your-ground laws where you thought the prosecution was fighting a losing game from the start. It no longer matters that Trayvon Martin, unarmed teenager, was supposed to have the same stand-your-ground rights that Zimmerman did. Only it never mattered once they were on the ground and Zimmerman got his gun out and shot him. If you think justice was really served in that courtroom on this night, you were watching the wrong movie.

Stand your ground is a statutory offshoot of the castle doctrine. It boils down to this: In some states, in order to claim self defense, that is, that your use of deadly force was justified because you had a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm or death, you have to retreat first, if possible, from the threat. Most states don't require it, the retreat. In the Zimmerman case, it doesn't matter because after Trayvon Martin punched George Zimmerman in the nose (the first blow of the fight) and then jumped on him to "ground and pound" MMA style, retreat by Zimmerman was no longer an option.

For Trayvon to have the right to use deadly force against Zimmerman (without retreating) he had to have a reasonable fear of imminent bodily harm, etc. He had none. He was annoyed with Zimmerman, whom he called a creepy ass cracker. He wanted to confront him and fight him, but there is no evidence of any subjective fear on Trayvon's part of imminent bodily injury, and just as complete a lack of evidence that such a fear would have been objectively reasonable. What did Zimmerman do before the punch? He followed, for a while, Trayvon. Zimmerman thought Trayvon's actions were strange and suspicious. Zimmerman profiled the young man. None of that justified a fear of eminent bodily harm. None of that was illegal on Zimmerman's part.

None of that would be sufficient to justify homicide. If we could kill people without consequence merely because someone annoyed us, the world would soon be inhabited by a few thousand very prickly hermits spread exceedingly thin across the globe. So, no, lefties, sorry. Stand your ground did not apply here and Trayvon, as the only aggressor, would not have been able to claim self defense for his ill advised assault on CCL-holder George Zimmerman.

Mike then seems to recall that OJ was dinged by a civil trial for wrongful deaths. He apparently takes solace in that thought. He writes:

The Martin family, of course, does not have to accept it, can go forward now with a civil suit against George Zimmerman, one at which Zimmerman will be compelled to testify, something he certainly did not do in this trial. It turns out he didn’t need to. But at least a civil suit may mean that Zimmerman, shooter, is only in the clear for now.

Sorry, Mike, and other sad lefties with less than a clear idea of what the evidence at trial showed, no solace there. Let me introduce you to Florida Statue, Title XLVI, Section 776.032.

In plain English, valid self defense (which Zimmerman has shown in spades (wrong metaphor?)) immunizes the defender-of-the-self and awards attorney fees (and even lost wages--I like that detail) to anyone sued civilly under these circumstances. No civil trial for you!

But I end on an uncertain note. Mike Lupica is too ignorant of the law to bring up the possibility of a federal action against George Zimmerman, but the MSNBC types and the NAACP seems to have pinned some hopes on that happening, just as the feds retried the cops who beat up Rodney King (RIP) and then beat the state assault rap. The feds had a 50% conviction rate. Not great but better than zero. But the cops there were state government employees and an 1983 action was available for punishing them. No such civil rights prosecution is available here for ordinary citizen George Zimmerman, but there is the possibility of a federal prosecution for deprivation of Trayvon's civil rights. The state prosecutors, overcharging Zimmerman with 2nd Degree Murder, were obliged therefor to prove ill will, depraved mind, etc.--any sort of hatred for Trayvon by Zimmerman as the mens rea for the murder charge. They failed utterly. The feds, if they are foolish enough to try, will have the same absolute dearth of evidence for one of the elements for what they could charge.

I'm uncertain, however, that the feds will not act foolishly because under Eric Holder, the entire DOJ has become politicized and corrupt. So it could happen.

I wouldn't be betting the mortgage payment that it does happen, though.

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Creepy Ass Campos Adds His Particular Brand of Slime

I thought CU property law professor Paul Campos had given up his gig as an essay writer. He was dropped years ago by the Denver paper and I had very seldom seen his stuff on the web since. I used to comment on the silliest of his work, but even my liberal friends told me to knock it off because it was like shooting fish in a barrel (something I have actually never tried--I'm willing to bet it is difficult to kill fish underwater with a bullet, however, I digress). But Campos pops up again at Salon, the Marion Davies of webzines, with a particularly loathsome piece, titled: Zimmerman saga was all about race. Let's get to it.

Because it happened in America, the trial of George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin was all about race.
What? If a Hispanic man, with a black grandparent, shot a black 17-year-old in, say, London, England, then the case would have been about self defense, but because of its location in America, it is only about race. You can't make up someone being this stupid. The case is primarily about self defense no matter where it took place.

And because it happened in America, the people who benefit politically from the same invidious forces that led both to Trayvon Martin’s killing, and the acquittal of his killer, will deny that race had anything to do with either the killing or the verdict.
What invidious forces? Who benefits from Trayvon Martin's killing? Who benefits from the proper verdict of not guilty? I don't deny race had anything to do with the tragedy but it didn't have much to do with it. Let's see if Campos supports with evidence his counter-intuitive first paragraph. Any bets he doesn't?

Suppose Trayvon Martin had been a 230-pound 30-year-old black man, with a loaded gun in his jacket. Suppose Zimmerman had been a 150-pound 17-year-old white kid, who was doing nothing more threatening than walking back from a convenience store to his father’s condo.

Zimmerman was 195-200 when he was arrested. Trayvon Martin was 158 at the time of his death, but why let facts get in the way of speculation about role reversals? Notice that the factual mistakes are towards making Zimmerman more menacing and Trayvon Martin less. But that's not evidence of bias or sloppy reporting. I too have a speculation about role reversals but I'll save it.

Suppose Martin had stalked Zimmerman in his car, until Zimmerman became afraid and tried to elude him. Suppose Martin had gotten out of his car and pursued Zimmerman. Suppose this led to some sort of altercation in which the big scary black man ended up with a bloody nose and some scratches on the back of his head, and the scared skinny (and unarmed) white kid had ended up with a bullet in his heart.

Stalked? George Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch member in a community which had had 8 burglaries (one a home invasion) in 14 months. Stalked? Nothing biased about that choice of word. Tried to elude? According to Rachel Jeantel, who was not the most reliable of witnesses, Trayvon ran from the creepy ass cracker towards his father's fiance's home about a football field away and was almost there. We know from the police recordings of phone calls that nearly 4 minutes passed between Zimmerman reporting Trayvon was running away and Ms. Lauer calling 911 to report a confrontation which took place near where Zimmerman had stopped as soon as the dispatcher said he didn't need to follow further. Is that trying to elude or is that coming back to confront the "scary" cracker? And was it just a bloody nose? The picture at the scene before medical help shows a displaced fracture of the nose to my untrained eyes.

How do you suppose the big scary black man’s claim of “self-defense” would have gone over with a jury made up almost entirely of white women?

Probably just as well as Zimmerman's did. So Paul Campos talks primarily about the race of everyone involved and then claims the story is all about race. Hmmm. Only the racists keep track of the color of the persons involved. We non-racists just judge people on their conduct, not their skin color.

Here's my what-if: Let's say Trayvon Martin had stopped raining down punches on George Zimmerman when the only eyewitness to the fight, John Good, told him to stop, would he have been charged with assault (in the juvenile system)? If you say yes, then why were murder charges brought against someone defending himself from an assault by a stranger. If you say no, then it would appear that the young man's race would have had some protective effect to criminal charges and Campos' role reversal, actually race reversal, becomes less clear and compelling than he seems to think.

But of course this is America, which means that the scary figure in this story is the skinny unarmed teenager, because in America pretty much any black male over the age of 12 in this sort of situation is going to be presumed  to be the ”aggressor,” the “thug” – in short,” the real criminal,” until he’s proved innocent, which he won’t be, even if he’s now a dead, still unarmed teenager.

Zimmerman did not presume Trayvon was an aggressor, thug or the real criminal. He had a reason to wonder about his actions, however, wandering around in the rain, not running through it back to shelter, for example. Zimmerman was also concerned that Trayvon was looking around and seemed on drugs (Trayvon did have some THC in his system). None of what Zimmerman reported to the dispatcher as suspicious was race related; all of it was action which Zimmerman found strange and suspicious. Campos ignores that and pretends that Trayvon was as pure as the driven snow (wrong metaphor?) but was black and therefore the racist "white Hispanic" suspected him with no other evidence but skin color. If you ignore all the evidence of actions and only look at race, then all you see is race. Racists do this. Campos is doing it here.

And his killer is a grown man who provokes a fight with an otherwise harmless kid, starts losing it, and then shoots the kid dead.

Where is the evidence that Zimmerman provoked the fight. By looking at him? By being in the common area of the community in which he lived? By trying to see where he was running to report it to police as he was supposed to do? There is not the slightest hint that Zimmerman caused Trayvon to hit him in the nose and then jump on him. No evidence of it at all. And Campos states this as if it were an established fact. What a deceitful writer he is. He puts himself in the figurative barrel by his false assertions and seriously wanting analysis. And harmless kid? On top of Zimmerman raining down blows in MMA "ground and pound" style. Breaking Zimmerman's nose and putting two splits in his scalp from blunt force trauma? Not as harmless as a normal person might think the word 'harmless' implies.

Because this is America, pointing out that a black boy can be shot with impunity by a more or less white man because many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men is called “playing the race card.”

Playing the race card is generally thought to be calling your opponent in a debate a racist in order to stop the debate and make your opponent shut up. Anyone who breaks a person's nose and then jumps on them and starts to rain down blows MMA style, no matter what his skin color, is risking death if the guy he's attacking is armed. This saga is all about self defense. Race is merely incidental here. And "by a more or less white man"? (Emphasis added). Mother of God, what is Campos talking about? Is the President more or less a white man? Is Campos a fan of the Democrats' "one drop rule" and hierarchy of blackness; and the more modern notion that if one is not black then one is white, at least for purposes of playing the race card? That is a telling bit of writing there. Since Trayvon has more black genes than Zimmerman, Zimmerman is white. More racist claptrap from Campos.

The race card is what the people who benefit politically from the fact that many white Americans are terrified by black boys and men call any reference to the fact that race continues to play an overwhelmingly important, and overwhelmingly invidious, role in American culture in general. And in the criminal justice system in particular.

Wrong again. What many Americans, of any color, are afraid of is to be a victim of crime, no matter what is the skin color of the perpetrator. The sad fact is that young American black men perpetrate more violent crime per capita than any other race. Like Trayvon did here (and died for it, tragically). Racists like to call it racial profiling but it is more often rational profiling given the crime statistics. Race is not an overwhelming influence in our day to day lives (although race seems to be very important to Mr. Campos), and it's not invidious if we're merely going with the odds, the crime stats, when we don't know the intentions of the young man approaching us on the street. I worked with a lot of black men I admired a lot when I was a prosecutor and part of the "racist" criminal justice system. I guess the black prosecutors, investigators and police I worked with were basing their perceptions and decision on invidious discrimination based on skin color too. Campos is a racist fool to believe that or that only the whites in the criminal justice system were racists. He's merely a mainstream Democrat to believe that most Americans are racists.

Trayvon Martin was stalked by George Zimmerman because he was black. Trayvon Martin is dead because he was black. George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin because the boy Zimmerman killed was black.

This is really sad. Not stalked. Not because he was black. Not dead because he was black. Trayvon is dead because he chose to attack the creepy ass cracker he didn't like looking at him suspiciously. That's the sad fact the Trayvon apologists on MSNBC always leave out. And George Zimmerman was acquitted because he acted within the law, indeed, within our God given right to self defense, in not allowing Trayvon to cause him any further harm. Skin color had absolutely nothing to do with the verdict and Campos is an asshole to call the jurors here racists without the tiniest hint of the beginning of the mere thought of the possibility of any supporting evidence. To think it was all because of skin color is to close your eyes to nearly every single detail of testimony given under oath.

If you deny these things, you are either a liar or an idiot, or possibly both.

Hello, Pot? This is the Kettle. You're black. Campos thinks his analysis is beyond counter-argument and no dispute with him can be either sincere or logical. Anyone who disagrees with him is of bad character or limited intelligence or is both unreliable and unworthy of engagement. No possibility that someone disagrees on principled analysis to the contrary. The great and powerful Campos has spoken! What a douche.

Nothing above requires the conclusion that the jury’s verdict was wrong as a matter of law. Florida’s laws, in their majestic equality, extend to people of all races the right to engage in vigilante killing that eliminates the sole witness to that killing.  To point this out is neither a defense of those laws, nor a claim that they will in fact be applied equally.  In other words, to blame this jury in this situation is to miss the point.
We are a nation of laws, not men--if the verdict was correct as a matter of law, then it was correct. As I said above, the right to self defense is a God given right (necessarily included in the self evident right to "life" in the Declaration of Independence). Self defense is not mentioned in the Constitution, but then the framers went to a lot of trouble to write the 9th Amendment to point out that unalienable rights not enumerated in the previous 8 could still exist and those mentioned by name in those 8 should never be considered to be an exclusive list. The law of no state, including Florida, could take away our right to self defense and Florida's laws do not. To call any self defense statute a "right to engage in vigilante killing" is absurd, and beneath contempt. The, to Campos, racists white prosecutors in what he calls the corrupt and racist criminal justice system prosecute white men who claim to have shot some black man in self defense all the time; but of course, they only do it when there is some good evidence that the claim of self defense is false. (I prosecuted a black woman who claimed she shot a very drunk black man in self defense. I only got manslaughter and that was later overturned on appeal. That hurt.) It's not the fault of any supposed, continuing zeitgeist of racism in America (stemming almost exclusively from Democrats' racist actions and opinions both a hundred years before and after the Civil War) that the prosecution in the Zimmerman case had absolutely no evidence that Zimmerman did not act in self defense. The facts in the case from the testimony under oath of eye and ear witnesses all conclusively show that Zimmerman acted in self defense and that he is not guilty of any crime. End of story, unless of course you are a morally blind CU property law professor who is read less and less each year because his opinions and arguments are just not worth the time.

Sorry to have wasted any reader's time talking about his worthless opinions here; it's just the fish barrel metaphorical takedown is apparently enticing to me.


Saturday, July 13, 2013


Justice Prevails

(h/t Instapundit)

I was pissed off all day because the jury had not yet returned the only possible verdict in the Zimmerman trial, but they finally got around to it, and got it right. Not Guilty. I channel surfed between MSNBC and Fox News for a while and the difference between the mood of the two cable networks could not be plainer. I'm sad but relieved. A young man got the death penalty for simple assault. That's way too harsh. A lot of people seem to think that Trayvon Martin was killed because he was black, but he was killed because he decided to skip the rest of the basketball game and go beat up a 'white Hispanic' (1/8th black) whom he had racially profiled as a creepy ass cracker. His mistake, but death for that mistake is a tragedy.

I'm finding myself agreeing with Geraldo and Jeanine Pirro (who has her own racially tainted prosecution to haunt her), that this case should never have been brought; that it was brought solely because of politics; and that everyone who tried to get a conviction on the evidence we saw presented over the last near fortnight should be investigated for violation of professional ethics. Concealing exculpatory evidence and firing the whistleblower should cost them dearly as well.

The "Reverend" Al Sharpton (who is looking absolutely skeletal--I hope he is OK) says we'll learn more from the civil case. I seriously doubt that. I'm sure the other defense team in Florida can get the 'stand your ground' immunity there for Mr. Zimmerman without any real difficulty.

I'm not actually bathing in schadenfreude because of the tragedy described above, but anyone who is shocked or angry with the verdict wasn't paying attention or is deep in denial.

I wonder how many black 17-year-olds (and younger) have been murdered since Trayvon became a victim of justifiable homicide? I'm not sure we even know that. We do know, unfortunately, that the overwhelming bulk of them were murdered by other blacks. How come no one has rallies about that series of near daily tragedies?

UPDATE: I've been appropriately critical of the prosecution for allowing itself to be affected by politics, but as Attorney O'Mara properly noted, the press has been abysmal in this and is wholly responsible for the misinformation most liberals used to pre-judge Mr. Zimmerman guilty. Here is a timeline of the media being complete jerks in this matter. Disgraceful.



Why I Continue to Have Hope for the Future

Because we're clever and can make life better in an instant.

I'd use it for recipe books rather than the Little Prince, but the idea is the same.

(h/t This Isn't Happiness)


Friday, July 12, 2013


Another Intrepid Arctic Team

Each year for the past half decade or so, some group of ecologists or another sets out to walk, or row across some small subsection of the Arctic landscape or seascape, usually in the Summer. They only use human power (after they burn a lot of fossil fuel to get to the arbitrary starting point) because human powered treks are cool with ecologists. The say they are there to study the sudden change in the Arctic Summer climate, but most often they prove that it is still freakin' cold in the Arctic, even in the Summer, and that nothing is appreciably different about the Arctic Summer since Europeans started braving the cold to visit up there for a while. Sometimes, the intrepid ecologists have to be rescued; sometimes, their adventure ends in tragedy. Even the ones who claim success often have to shorten the route they take to a ridiculously small percentage of any meaningful Arctic travel.

Here is this season's intrepid ecologist team. They want to row the Northwest Passage but from west to east (most people go the other way). They were to start on July 1 in the McKenzie River delta east of the line between the Yukon and Northwestern Territories on the Beaufort Sea and then row to Nunavut Territories in 3 or so months, ending on the southeastern end of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island about 3000 kilometers away. They'll pass through the Canadian Archipelago where the Franklin Expedition became trapped in the ice and all of them died. They're using most of the route Roald Amundsen used in 1903 to sail through the NW Passage in 3 years in a converted fishing boat.

I wish them luck and no real difficulties or tragedy.

I do note they are off to a very slow start after a delayed beginning and have gone only 75 Km or so in 6 days when they need to do 200 Km in that time. And the Beaufort Sea is not ice free yet another 100 Km ahead of them. If that doesn't change, that could be a problem.

UPDATE: They are still where they were 3 days ago, not yet out of the delta and into the Beaufort Sea proper. 9 days in and they have traveled less than 80Km. That ain't so good. I'm beginning to think that they may not make it to Prince of Wales Island. Not that I'm yet predicting where they'll give up the ghost (figuratively). I will do that by August 1.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013


Lying About Victimhood

Here is a smarmy opinion piece about black parents, fears for their children, which presumes the guilt of Mr. Zimmerman* and says this:

While most parents are up at night wondering how to protect their children from the uncontrollable like drunk drivers or muggings, Trayvon's parents, my parents and parents of black males across the country are also living in fear that their children won't come home because someone thought they were dangers to the community.
Here is the truth (and I know saying the truth about race in America is deemed racist itself, but in those cases the term "racist" is merely code for "shut up"): Young black men in America are more than 18 times more likely to be murdered by another black man than by someone of another race, including a "white Hispanic." If parents are worried about the tragedy of Trayvon Martin happening to their sons, they are wasting their worries.

Here are the statistics from the FBI for 2011, and here is an article on black on black murder statistics at the Globalgrind website. Money quote.

Black-on-black murder is at an all-time high. It was revealed that each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered and 94 percent of the time the murderer is another black person.
According to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011 there were 279,384 black murder victims, which means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks, resulting in the 94 percent figure.

 Good, but heartbreaking, article on this sort of thing from the always worth reading Mona Charon.

*Prosecutors have a special ethical rule that they cannot bring a case against an individual unless they can honestly say there is a good chance of conviction. It is my solid belief that the Florida special prosecutor in Trayvon Martin's case has violated that ethical rule.

UPDATE: Great minds, etc.


Sunday, July 07, 2013


Thought of the Day

I don’t give a crap what you do, just don’t ask me to pay for it or cheer you on.

Doug Giles

He's talking about the same example of liberal unconstitutional intolerance I wrote about here.


Friday, July 05, 2013


Would This Were Still So

Notice too how icy the Delaware River was in December, 1776. It doesn't get that icy now. Climate Change alarmists say anthropogenic global warming. I say Little Ice Age.

(h/t Ace of Spades)


Thursday, July 04, 2013


Free Legal Advice

This story caught my eye. A California state employee ordered a woman to take off or hide her two inch long cross on a necklace while the woman was at a Sonoma State freshman orientation fair.

Point one: The constitution does prohibit the federal government from creating a state religion but it just as strongly prohibits anyone in government from prohibiting the free exercise of your religion.

Point two: Wearing a Christian symbol is part of the free exercise of the Christian religion.

Point three: 42 U.S.C. 1983 is the federal statute to use to sue any government employee who violates your civil rights of which the free exercise is certainly one, indeed it is given a premier spot in the Constitution.

Point four: There is no constitutional amendment or natural law right not to be offended. 

So say politely no, I will not and if you ask me again I will bring an 1983 action against the agency you belong to and against YOU personally.

If just an ordinary citizen does it, suggest that he or she perform a sex act alone. You don't have to use those words.


Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Josh Marshall and the Democrats' Chronic Projection

Here, in its entirety, is Josh Marshall describing what 'takes your (his) breath away.'

I hope this doesn’t just state the obvious. But it is simply amazing to watch how Southern states, ruled by Republicans, have moved so quickly, after the Supreme Court’s VRA decision to push through a series of new laws the only aim of which is to limit black voting: voter ID laws, ends to same day registration, early voting, weekend voting. Here’s yet another example from North Carolina. But we noted numerous other examples within a day of the decision coming down.

Okay, sure, what did I expect? I’ve been writing about this for years. Everything I’ve written and so many other better than I could has predicted this. But still, to see it, it’s another thing again. This is supposed to be the 21st century. And yet, in a broad swath of the society we’re in an ersatz version of the late 19th century.
Josh is a smart guy who went to Princeton and got a PhD in history from Brown, so I won't insult your intelligence by implying he has no knowledge of American history. But let's look a little closer at some of his statements.

"[The Republican southern states are passing] a series of new laws the only aim of which is to limit black voting:..." (Emphasis added).

I'm willing to bet their only aim is to help prevent voter fraud. Josh lists what laws he's talking about: "voter ID laws" (I'm assuming this means having to show state issued photo IDs in order to register or to vote--can blacks not obtain these IDs? Why not?) But wouldn't the actual aim of this law be merely to require someone voting to prove he or she is who he or she says he or she is? Do the laws Josh talk about only require blacks to show IDs? Very doubtful. That would violate the 15th Amendment which passed in the House with out a single Democrat vote. So he has made a claim but he hasn't said why repressing black voter ID is the only aim of this law. Typical. Let's look at the next law discussed.

"...ends to same day registration" Again, why would that only repress black voter turnout? No hint. I guess we're supposed to trust him because he knows. Next.

"[end to] early voting" Why would having to vote on election day repress only black voter turnout? It wouldn't. Next.

"[end of] weekend voting" Why would having to vote on election day repress only black voter turnout? Here's the big finish.

[The Republicans in the southern states are seeking to create] an ersatz version of the late 19th century.
Well, in the late 19th century the southern states were governed by Jim Crow Democrats. Is Josh saying the Republicans are trying to be like the racist, segregationist Democrats of more than a century ago? Based on what?
Let me venture a guess about Josh's thinking here. The Democrats pass laws whose only aim is to give political advantage to the Democrats. If the Republicans are seeking to pass legislation, then they too must necessarily be aiming only to get a political advantage.

But there is no reason for Democrats to think or to say that. They project what they would be doing with the anti-voter fraud legislation Josh is talking about here.




150 years ago today, near Gettysburg, PA, my double great uncle, Martin P. Fraley (born 7/19/1827), 50th Virginia Infantry, was killed in action in a failed assault on Culp's Hill, on the northern flank of the Union line. His brother Harvey D. Fraley (born 10/29/1837), 51st Virginia Infantry, survived the war and lived to July 11, 1933. My father talked to him. He was a little bitter about his months as a POW in 1865 in Maryland before he took the oath of allegiance to the United States and was paroled. That blows my mind-- just three overlapping generations back and we're fighting the Civil War.

I'm a southerner. We southerners were fighting the wrong fight, to preserve slavery for the racist, Democrat slave owners, but we fought well for a long time against very long odds. And that battle prowess and enduring courage are a source of provincial pride to me.

It just hit me that one of the biggest changes in the past 500 years is that pride is now considered a good thing when, in 1513, to the whole of the civilized, Christian World, it was the worst sin you could commit.
I'm not sure I can even fully imagine the breadth of that change.

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Astute Critic of the Times or Crabby Old Man?

Elvis in the Army in 1959 (or so) after being drafted. What big music star now could you possibly imagine joining our Armed Forces? Male country singers don't count.


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