I was a teenager when the Manson murders went down, in the autumn of 1969 – of course, the cruel and inexplicable murder of a movie star and several of her friends made all the headlines, and had lots of law-abiding citizens looking over their shoulders and being very careful about locking the doors and windows of their homes at night. It wasn’t until some time later that the associated murders of an elderly retired couple also hit the headlines of the LA Times, and other national newspapers. A blood-drenched, hippy cult with a weirdly charismatic leader had committed those murders in order – so they claimed – to trigger a devastating racial war, which they termed ‘helter-skelter’ from a Beatles song moderately popular at the time. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the 'Crime and Punishment' Category
My friend and blogmate “Gerry from Valpo” just put up a very interesting and timely post at LITGM. I have received permission to re-post it here.
As background, Gerry works part time at a retail store in northwest Indiana that deals in hunting and outdoor equipment and accessories, as well as firearms and ammunition. I thought the readers here would enjoy it as well and find it informative. Below is the post in full:
In a recent email exchange about ammunition, Dan and Carl both referred to my reports “from the front lines”. After giving that some thought, it’s true.
When I began my new job last July my intent was to stay busy, be among products I like and use, to be among like-minded individuals, to learn a bit more about hunting, firearms and ammunition and to make a few bucks on the side at the same time. Little did I know I would be thrust onto the retail front lines of freedom due to that recent unnecessarily violent human event that occurred in Connecticut and residual effects.
Well before that horrific human event in Connecticut many customers were already buying a certain category of rifle that is cosmetically similar to and confused with those used by the military. They also wanted to buy the ammunition used to feed these rifles. They knew as well as I did, circumstances now place us all closer to losing more freedom and liberty with every news event that happens to come our way.
Congruently many consumers were purchasing home and personal defense shotguns and handguns like never before. Seems they were all on to something.
Read the rest of this entry »
After the Newtown school massacre, a lot of people feel unsafe and want changes. They are right to do so. But the changes we make should actually make us safer, not just make us feel good. So like any full review, we need to start by describing what we already have.
The United States has the premier security system on the planet. It has the largest military, by far and has 50 state militaries in the national guard system. It has overlapping layers of federal, state, county, municipal and special purpose police (like the postal and railway police). It also has an amorphous, poorly documented, little discussed system called the unorganized militia. Naturally, the first thing to look at is the unorganized militia. Efforts to oversee and improve all the other parts are ongoing and permanent. We’re unlikely to squeeze major improvements out of those parts without major increases in expenses that we can’t really afford right now.
The unorganized militia right now, for virtually no taxpayer dollars spent. Its costs are self-funded via license fees and members buy their own weapons, ammunition, and training. It is “bring your own device” defense and gives us somewhere on the order of 2.5 million defensive gun uses (DGU) per year according to the best guesses of the academics who study such things. That’s 2.5 million cases of robbery, rape, murder, and other mayhem that often don’t even make it to the FBI crime statistics because just the knowledge of an armed presence defused a situation and made potential criminals think better of what they were going to do.
Any effort to change the rules under which the unorganized militia arms itself or gets rid of the unorganized militia altogether has to keep an eye on the DGU numbers so they either go up or the other portions of the system pick up the slack as the militia DGU numbers go down. Anything else and we are becoming less safe. This is why conservatives are mad at Sen. Feinstein. The gun control bill she is threatening to introduce will, very predictably, reduce the number of militia DGU and cause more innocent americans to be victims.
cross posted FLIT-TM
Cynic that I am, I am deriving a great deal of amusement from some of the media-political-general public storms whipped up in the wake of the horribly tragic Newtown shootings, and the deaths of two firefighters in an ambush set by an ex-convict in upstate New York. As if the shootings weren’t horrible and tragic enough in themselves, now we get to enjoy the reflexive Kabuki dance of ‘we must ban those horrid gun-things!’ being played out – especially since some of the very loudest voices in this chorus are politicians and celebrities who live with a very high degree of security at their workplaces and homes, and whose children attend rather well-protected schools. Such choruses appear to be completely oblivious to the fact that for many of the ordinary rest of us, poor and middle-class alike, the forces of law and order are not johnny-on-the-spot in the event of an attempted robbery, rape, break-in or home invasion. To rely on the oft-used cliché, when moments count, the police are minutes away. In the case of rural areas in the thinly-populated flyover states law enforcement aid and assistance might be closer to being hours away.
Read the rest of this entry »
When a law bans exchanges wanted by everyone directly involved a number of things happen:
1) The exchanges continue;
2) Prices of the banned items rise and wars to control turf begin;
3) New criminals are created, including many people who are ordinary good people (like colored margarine seekers);
4) New enforcement agencies and staff are created;
5) New jails are built and new jailers are trained;
6) Laws, lawyers and lawsuits proliferate;
7) A new branch of law and its practitioners prosper and support further extension and complexification of regulations;
8) A portion of the entire apparatus of enforcement and punishment is progressively corrupted;
9) New agencies and staff are created to discover, eliminate or suppress the corruption;
10) Many begin to support ever more drastic suppression and punishment;
11) A profitable subliminal partnership emerges unifying the interests of violators and enforcers as the profits from the illegal trade are negotiated and distributed among them;
12) The business engages all of the following: bad people buying and selling, good people buying and selling, police, judges, academics, enforcement trainers and suppliers, prison builders and suppliers, staff to support all of this, journalists to cover it, media organizations to sell the coverage;
13) Completely uninvolved people are caught in crossfires, including taxpayers;
14) The costs of controlling the new flourishing evil continue to grow seemingly without limit;
15) The vast network of beneficiaries of the law applaud and lobby for its continuation, vilifying all opposition;
16) Everyone gets more and more discouraged and inclined to hate all humanity. This list is probably too short.
However all of these bad things may be balanced by the fact that creative people are engaged in producing media based on the things that happen because of the prohibition, and by watching and reading we all learn delightful new things about how the world works. (channeling Voltaire).
It is not enough to simply ban exchanges that have consequences we don’t like. The costs of doing it should be compared with the costs of not doing it. Those costs usually dwarf the costs that would arise from unhindered transactions.
This is very well considered:
Everybody wants to stop events like Newtown, but one suspects the gun control supporters want to do more than that: I think they want to promote an idealistic vision of “a peaceful society without guns” or something like that. I think that agenda is unrealistic on several levels — I don’t think a society without guns would be more peaceful and secure, unless you imposed a lot of other social controls that would not be imposed and you might not like if they were, and I don’t think such changes would be accepted by more than at best a bare majority of the American people, if that. It seems barely possible that sweeping anti-gun legislation could be shoved through Congress a la Obamacare after 2014, but such legislation would be very socially devisive.
Another point — do we really understand how very widespread gun ownership fits into what you might call the political economy of public order in this country? To take another thought experiment: could there be any reasonable doubt that some sort of program (and I’m not saying mainstream gun-control advocates are calling for this, at least I hope not) that would require everybody to hand over any and all semi-automatic pistols and rifles they have to the government and own them no more, and was actually enforced (which would be very difficult) would result in unpredictable and possibly dangerous changes in the balance of forces between the law-abiding and the criminal in this country? I don’t know how much public order in this country is actually enforced by the latent threat of private citizens with guns, but I bet it’s a lot more than your typical well-meaning gun-control advocate would think, and I’m confident that she has not thought about that question in much depth. I bet you would find gun-control advocates live disproportionately in the safest, most heavily policed parts of this country, that is, relatively affluent, urban or suburban areas. Their cognitive biases I suspect lean against taking very seriously the personal security of people very unlike themselves in terms of social status, lifestyle and other such identifiers. All this points in the direction of legislation, if there is any, that is specific and targeted at the problem that needs to be solved. I have no confidence Congress is capable of this, as it is a hard problem and even easy problems seem beyond their ability to address sensibly, but one can hope.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 15th December 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
There is information still coming to light about this awful case. Early reports, such as the name of the shooter and the alleged murder of the father, were predictably wrong. It turns out that the shooter, named Adam Lanza, a 20 year old with a history of odd behavior and some evidence of mental illness, such as autism, was living with his mother who was his first victim. There are a number of suggestive reports, that she decided to “stay home to care for” her 20 year old son.
The treatment of severe mental illness in this country has been altered for the worse by a movement that began in the 1960s when mental illness began to be described as a “civil rights ” issue. Several books and movies described abuse of power in commitment of the mentally ill. The first such movie was “The Snake Pit” in which a young woman is committed for what sounds like schizophrenia. The treatment of the time (1948) can be seen as barbaric but there was nothing else available. She did recover, although we know that without adequate treatment, recovery from schizophrenia is unlikely.
The movie that really devastated the mental hospital system was called “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and starred Jack Nicholson.
The movie was powerful in showing the Nicholson character as a guy who just is “different” and harmless.
Sgt. Mom’s post from a few days ago reminded me of an incident I had some 8 or 9 years ago. It turned me into a proud gun owner quickly afterward. I have since moved from the place where this event happened.
Like Sgt. Mom, I lived in suburbia in a pretty quiet neighborhood. This area isn’t as social as Sgt. Mom’s group – we would wave here and there to people we knew, but there was a general malaise as far as neighborhood associations and the like went.
It was 4am and my doorbell started ringing over and over and over. I grabbed the baseball bat I kept in my bedroom for just such an occasion, told my wife to call 911 and slowly walked downstairs. I checked the back door first and there didn’t appear to be anyone out there so I slowly went to the front door, all the time the doorbell constantly ringing. I peeked through the glass pane on the side of the door and there was a guy ringing the doorbell with his nose.
Read the rest of this entry »
Our neighborhood – the street that we live on – is in the news today because of a double murder last night. We didn’t know the victims personally, although we might have seen them now and again. We knew the house, as we walked by it frequently – like nearly every day. We definitely had talked casually to some of their close neighbors; this is the kind of neighborhood and street we live on. People know each other – and their dogs – by sight, wave to each other’s cars, take note of the condition of the yards … that kind of casual suburban thing.
Read the rest of this entry »
The tragedy of the commons is where there is a resource of some kind which is essentially free for all. This means that each individual who is in a position to profit from that resource brutally exploits it, until there is nothing left but a big mess. The fact that everyone will be worse off after the resource is gone doesn’t stop people from getting as much as they can, scrambling to haul away anything not nailed down, before the next guy comes along to grab what is left.
The solution is to avoid unowned or collective resources.
If an individual owns the resource in question, a resource that is worth money, then they have an extremely keen interest in making sure that the resource isn’t brutally exploited to the point where problems arise. This is not only because the resource will generate income over time, but also because the owner will be obligated to spend money in order to clean up the mess.
But what if there is a privately owned commodity that isn’t generating income right this minute?
There is a closed restaurant near my craphole apartment. Behind the shuttered building is an equipment shed.
Posted by Trent Telenko on 1st November 2012 (All posts by Trent Telenko)
The Human trafficking scandal involving Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) raises further questions about the Obama Administration’s troubling record of selectively enforcing American law for political gain, and the Main Stream Media’s active cooperation with that agenda.
The Drudge Report broke a scandal involving Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) going to a tier 3 Human Trafficking nation — the Dominican Republic — to visit prostitutes. According to the State Department here These are the following U.S. Laws on Trafficking in Persons that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is in jeopardy from —
1. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 (P.L. 106-386),
2. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003 (H.R. 2620),
3. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R. 972), and
4. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (H.R. 7311), also known as the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
The TVPA laws are set up for easy extra-territorial law enforcement as they are laws where guilt is a matter of fact and not intent.
Statutory Rape Laws are an example of a law of fact. It does not matter if you didn’t know the person you were sleeping with was under age. If you slept with him or her, you are guilty. Being drunk or any other excuse only applies to the penalty phase, not the guilt or innocence of a felony sex offender conviction.
Similarly, under the TVPA, if you are an American citizen and sleep with a 15-year old prostitute in a Tier 3 nation like Thailand or the Dominican Republic. You are going to be in jeopardy not just for sleeping with a prostitute, but the American age of consent applied to you over seas. Even if the local age of consent is very much under that of the American state the visiting American is legal resident of. [Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) is subject to age provisions of New Jersey Permanent Statues, Title 2C, Chapter 14, Section 2]
Read the rest of this entry »
Peter Orszag, who was Obama’s budget director and is now a vice chairman at Citigroup, thinks it would be a good idea to cut back on summer school vacations for kids, arguing that this would both improve academics and reduce obesity.
I’m with Jeremy Lott: But to look at the vast wasteland that is American public education — the poor teaching, the awful curriculum, the low standards, the anemic achievement, the institutional resistance to needed reform — and say that the real problem is summer vacation takes a special sort of mind.
I wrote about the war on summer vacation back in 2006, after stopping at a store in Georgia on the first day of August and discovering that this was the first day of school for the local children. In this post, I said:
The truth is, most public K-12 schools make very poor use of the time of their students. They waste huge proportions of the millions of hours which have been entrusted to them–waste them through the mindless implementation of fads and theories, waste them through inappropriate teacher-credentialing processes, waste them through refusal to maintain high standards of performance and behavior.
When an organization or institution proves itself to be a poor steward of the resources that have been entrusted to it, the right answer is not to give it more resources to waste.
Orszag and similar thinkers seem to have no concept that good things can happen to children’s development outside of an institutional setting. Plenty of kids develop and pursue interests in science, literature, art, music…plus, there is plenty to be learned simply by interacting with friends in an unstructured environment.
Would the world be better off if Steve Wozniak and Jeri Ellsworth..to name only two of many, many examples..had their noses held constantly to the school grindstone rather than having time to develop their interests in electronics?
Lewis E Lawes, who was warden of Sing Sing prison from 1915 to 1941, wrote an interesting book titled Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing. The title refers to the aggregate lengths of the sentences of the men in the prison at a typical particular point in time.
Twenty-five hundred men saddled with an aggregate of twenty thousand years! Within such cycles worlds are born, die, and are reborn. That span has witnessed the evolution of the intelligence of mortal man. And we know that twenty thousand years have seen nations run their courses, perish, and give way to their successors. Twenty thousand years in my keeping. What will they evolve?
Following the same approach, the aggregate length of the terms to be spent in K-12 schools by their current students is more than 600,000,000 years. What proportion of this time is actually used productively?
And how many of the officials who supervise and run the public schools, and the ed-school professors who influence their policies, think about this 600,000,000 years in the same serious and reflective way that Lawes thought about the 20,000 years under his supervision? Some do, of course, but a disturbing percentage of them seem to be simply going through the bureaucratic motions.
And the politicians and officials of the Democratic Party are the last people in the world who are ever going to call them on it.
The media has been buzzing the last few days with news reports about a terrible mass shooting at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie. Those of us who are not directly involved, who were not in the theater or do not know anyone who was, can have no idea of the pain and anguish that such an act leaves behind. Hundreds of people will never be the same again.
That aside, the question that will inevitably be asked is if there was any way to prevent such a crime.
My very strong impression is that the suspect, who was arrested outside the theater just moments after allegedly committing mass murder, was obviously a deranged individual who can never be trusted to be set loose amongst the innocent public again. But he was also an extremely methodical, clearly intelligent, and very resourceful individual who spent months planning his big day.
Case in point are the reports of his earlier life, which are filled with tales of his academic prowess. You don’t get accepted to a reputable PhD science program unless you have some brains.
The second indication of his drive is how he spent months assembling his arsenal. Not only guns and ammunition, but also body armor, tear gas grenades, a gas mask, and ingredients for the improvised explosive devices he used to booby trap his apartment. All of that gear would have cost thousands of dollars, and the fact that he didn’t blow himself up when preparing to rig his home with explosives and incendiaries shows that he must have spent some time carefully researching the correct way to assemble his bombs.
It is inevitable that the Left will take up the call for increased gun control, but I think it is very clear that such laws would have done nothing except slow down the timetable a bit.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 20th June 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
This morning, moments before a House vote on Contempt of Congress by Eric Holder, the Attorney General, the White House announced that President Obama is invoking executive privilege. Holder requested the action in a letter to Obama.
He said making the documents public “would have significant, damaging consequences,” but he did not disclose whether Obama has been briefed or had another supervisory role in Fast and Furious.
This raises the question of whether there are Obama fingerprints on the policy. Some documents have been released and some others, including incriminating e-mails, have been leaked to the committee. So far, Obama’s name has not been found in the documents. His action will now raise suspicion and will force news media, that have minimized the scandal, to inform incredulous readers that it is a big deal after all.
Richard Nixon could have ignored the burglary of the DNC offices in 1972. We now know that nothing was found that would have tarnished his reputation. It was the coverup that damaged him fatally. The election is coming in 5 months. The Watergate story did not really break until after the 1972 election. This seems to be breaking much sooner and its effect on Obama’s chances are hard to predict. The coming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare may overshadow this story.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked how Obama could assert executive privilege “if there is no White House involvement?”
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Obama’s move “implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed.”
“The administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?” Brendan Buck said.
It doesn’t sound like it is going to subside anytime soon. It will be interesting to see if more leaks appear. The White House leaks like a sieve and not all are Obama fans, it seems.
Powerline writes that It won’t prevent Holder form being held in contempt.
Whether these consequences and concerns form the basis for a valid assertion of executive privilege is another matter. I’m no expert on the subject, nor do I know all of the ins-and-outs of the dispute between Holder and Issa’s Committee. However, when Congress has a sound basis for believing that the Executive branch lied to it over material matters as part of a coverup in the course of a legitimate congressional oversight investigation, regard for a proper balance in the relationship between Congress and the Executive argues strongly in favor of enabling Congress to obtain all documents relevant to the coverup, including those generated during the process through which the cover-up is reasonably believed to have occurred.
It will be interesting and may affect the election.
National Review Online has a piece that may explain the program.
an e-mail sent on July 14, 2010. After the operation, former ATF field operations assistant director Mark Chait e-mailed Bill Newell, then ATF’s Phoenix special agent in charge of Fast and Furious, to suggest a possible way to use Fast and Furious:
Bill — can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.
This “demand letter” refers to the push for a policy that would require U.S. gun shops in southwestern states to report the sale of several rifles or shotguns to a single buyer. According to CBS, “Demand Letter 3 was so named because it would be the third ATF program demanding gun dealers report tracing information.”
This may have begun as an attempt to require licenses for long guns.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 16th June 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
On Friday, as is often the case, Obama announced a new executive policy to impose a two year moratorium on deportation of young illegals if they can show they were brought here as children and have finished high school with no encounters with the law. They must be under 30 and were brought here before age 16. He promised that citizenship was not included and did not mention if family members were affected. Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security announced that this was the new policy but there has been no confirmation of an executive order.
I don’t have a real problem with this policy but it avoids Congress and legislation, a problem that even Obama acknowledged last year. It is a transparent ploy to appeal for Latino votes. Everyone knows that.
It also will close an opening for compromise.
Obama’s decision probably reduces the likelihood that the scenarios of greatest concern to me will come to pass, especially if Obama is re-elected. Irate Republicans are even less likely than before to cooperate with the administration on this issue now that it has acted so high-handedly and in such a patently political manner. As Marco Rubio, who is planning to sponsor some sort of DREAM Act, said today, by imposing a new policy by executive order, Obama has made it harder in the long run to reach consensus on “comprehensive policy,” i.e., one that gives illegal immigrants additional benefits and a path to citizenship.
The attraction of the action taken by Obama may have been that it would trump a possible Republican compromise on this topic. Now, suspicion has grown that amnesty and voting rights are the next step. The use of executive order for such a change in policy has been attacked as illegal.
So what we have here is a president who is refusing to carry out federal law simply because he disagrees with Congress’s policy choices. That is an exercise of executive power that even the most stalwart defenders of an energetic executive — not to mention the Framers — cannot support.
Even Obama said the same a few months ago in explaining his then inaction. “I wish I could wave my magic wand,” Mr. Obama said. “Until Nancy Pelosi is speaker again… At the end of the day, I can’t do this all by myself. We’re going to have to get Congress to act. I know Nancy Pelosi’s ready to act. It’s time to stop playing politics.”
Well, playing politics is the order of the day and the Republicans should focus on the illegality of doing it by executive order and not on the policy, itself. With proper safeguards, the policy is a good idea although there may be backlash from semi-skilled unemployed who just got a million new competitors. Certainly the unemployment figures should now be adjusted for all the new legal job seekers.
The distraction of the Daily Caller reporter interrupting the president was an amusing sidelight. Had Obama demonstrated humor and a benign manner, it might have been a good moment for him. Instead, he showed anger and the incident will probably lead to more interruptions as it seems to be the only way to ask this president a question.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 23rd May 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
It sounds like there were no good guys in that melee in the Ashford House, called “an Irish restaurant” in the article. The diners were associated with Stormfront, a white nationalist bunch. Of course, innocent bystanders were hurt so I hope the book is thrown at the vandals.
The people injured identified themselves as members of the Illinois European Heritage Association, which Cook County prosecutors said is affiliated with Stormfront, a group identifying itself as a White Nationalist umbrella group.
The mayor said the attackers were affiliated with a group called the Anti-Racist Action network, which was started in 1988 in Minneapolis and has clashed with neo-Nazi, fascist and white-supremacy groups.
Well, I’m glad I wasn’t trying to eat lunch there.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 2nd May 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
I recently expressed my opinion about the shameful treatment of John Derbyshire by National Review, his former employer, which dropped him as a writer because of a piece he wrote in another online magazine. One of his statements which seemed to be the most objectionable to NRO was “(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
Two weeks ago, an incident in Virginia validated a couple of Derbyshire’s bits of advice to his kids (the premise of the piece).
There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.
Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.
“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.”
Tonight, Bill O’Reilly played tape made at the scene. There were several young black men interviewed who had not participated in the attack. What they said was “If you go into a neighborhood you don’t know (and are white), you had better be careful.”
Apparently the young man driving the car got out of the car after a rock was thrown at it. He said, “That was a big mistake.” He and the young woman in the car were attacked by about 20 to 40 men from the crowd on the sidewalk. One of the young black men interviewed on O’Reilly’s program mentioned the Trayvon Martin case. Their injuries were not life threatening but kept them from work for a week.
How does this differ from what Derbyshire warned about ?
Another issue is the delay in reporting the attack by the local paper.
It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”
The Virginia Pilot did not mention the attack on its own employees for two weeks. Why ?
That is the Pilot’s publisher and he was just confirmed as Obama’s new Deputy HUD Secretary.
The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the appointment of Maurice Jones, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
No, it couldn’t be related.
1. Will the Black Panther Party give the bounty money (remember the dead or alive thing?) for Zimmerman to the police department where he turned himself in?
2. And more seriously, does anyone besides me think that there is zero chance Zimmerman walks? I bet his own lawyers have already sold him up the river for a reduced charge. Alternately, I think that Zimmerman might kill himself – he is already acting quite irrationally, going around his attorneys and talking to the authorities, as well as having a rumored conversation with Sean Hannity. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever talk with the police without your attorney present!
3. Even more seriously, I am guessing there will be riots somewhere, somehow for some reason over this. Evidence be damned.
Posted by Michael Kennedy on 7th April 2012 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
A favorite writer, usually seen at National Review but widely published, has created a firestorm of political correctness by an article he wrote for another magazine. John Derbyshire is a mathematician and curmudgeon of the satiric variety. I think I have read all of his books, several of which are not an easy read. His We Are Doomed had me laughing so hard I cried. My review is here.
His current outrage is to have said “There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
(1) Among your fellow citizens are forty million who identify as black, and whom I shall refer to as black. The cumbersome (and MLK-noncompliant) term “African-American” seems to be in decline, thank goodness. “Colored” and “Negro” are archaisms. What you must call “the ‘N’ word” is used freely among blacks but is taboo to nonblacks.
(2) American blacks are descended from West African populations, with some white and aboriginal-American admixture. The overall average of non-African admixture is 20-25 percent. The admixture distribution is nonlinear, though: “It seems that around 10 percent of the African American population is more than half European in ancestry.” (Same link.)
(3) Your own ancestry is mixed north-European and northeast-Asian, but blacks will take you to be white.
Derbyshire’s wife is Chinese and his kids are mixed race Chinese-Caucasion
(4) The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (10h) below—this default principle should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.
(5) As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty million, you will find almost any human type. Only at the far, far extremes of certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no black Fields Medal winners. While this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to meet) a Fields Medal winner.
So far, despite the outrage, this seems pretty benign to me. (Probably evidence of my own racism)
Here comes trouble:
(7) Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.
He is writing about means but few readers made that distinction and many may have no idea what a “mean “is.
Read the rest of this entry »
So, I’ve watched the media-puffed Trayvon Martin meme go sailing by – and crash upon the iceberg of reality. Now it’s holed below the waterline, sinking fast, and a fair number of people who bought into it for one reason or another have quietly ducked into the nearest lifeboat and paddled away. They’re the most sensible element, of course: the rest are lined up on the boat deck, singing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’. Like a number of particularly deluded specimens at Open Salon, whose theme seems to be ‘Now we see the violence inherent in the system!’ alternating with choruses of ‘It’s all white people’s fault’. And for the record, no I haven’t gone around the OS threads arguing with any of these nimrods, or attempting to put them straight. Life is too short, and I have too much on my plate at this time to try and apply logic and good sense talking them out of a position that logic and good sense never had a hand in putting them into. As an old Air Force mentor of mine was wont to observe, ‘Sometimes ya just gotta stan’ back an’ let them fall on their sword. If ya wanna, afterwards ya can pull out the sword, wipe off the blood an’ ‘splain to them where where they went wrong…”
I tell you, I had to pick myself up off the floor when I read this bit of news. Not.
Federal prosecutors secured a total of 1,531 public corruption convictions in the Northern District of Illinois since 1976, said Dick Simpson, head of the university’s political science department.
Meanwhile, Illinois logged 1,828 public corruption convictions, the third most of any state, according to the report. Only California and New York had more.
But those states are much larger than Illinois. On a per-person basis, only the District of Columbia and Louisiana had more convictions than Illinois, according to the report.
Four governors, two congressmen, a state treasurer, an attorney general, 11 state legislators, numerous judges and dozens of aldermen have been convicted since the 1970s, according to the report, dubbed Chicago and Illinois, Leading the Pack in Corruption.
“For a long time — going back at least to the Al Capone era — Chicago and Illinois have been known for high levels of public corruption, Simpson said. “But now we have the statistics that confirm their dishonorable and notorious reputations. . . . . The two worst crime zones in Illinois are the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield and the City Council Chambers in Chicago.”
“Chicago is the most corrupt city in the country, and Illinois is probably the third-most corrupt state in the nation,” Simpson said at a City Hall news conference.
I never really came from a background where hush money or protection had to be paid. I wonder if you still have to pay people to “protect” your business “in case something happens” in Chicago.
If so, it is a disgrace. The corruption is a disgrace anyways. I wonder when (if) the people of the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago will ever get sick of it.
Cross posted at LITGM.
Neo Mammalian Studios, so far as I can tell, is a group of tech heads who are looking to strike it rich by designing smart phone apps and Internet infographics. I wish them the very best of luck, as I fully understand the desire to acquire wealth through honest work.
An Email signed Andrea Smart, Communications Director to Neo Mammalian Studios, bring an infographic to our attention. The World According To MURDER!!!
Provided by Emergency Preparedness
The United States ranks #10 in the number of dead bodies, but that is because we are a large country with plenty of people. Adjust for population, rank everybody by the murder rate, and we don’t rate much attention at all.
(Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)
Alexei Kapler was the bravest of men.
Put it this way: there are two kinds of brave:
- Alexei Kapler brave.
Alexei Kapler was Alexei Kapler brave.
By profession, Kapler was a screenwriter, journalist, director, and actor. By avocation, he was an accomplished womanizer. One night, Kapler, a man of forty years, met a sixteen year old girl at a party. This young woman was intelligent, strong-willed, attractive, and sad. It was the tenth anniversary of her mother’s death. No one seemed to remember. Kapler was happy to listen, comfort, sympathize, and seduce.
Since his new conquest came from a sheltered background, Kapler decided to show her the wild side of life. He lent her forbidden adult books. He took her dancing, took her to see avaunt garde theater, and took her to meet outrageous people at outrageous parties. Kapler was a man of the world, witty, knowledgeable, a skilled raconteur. The young woman was swept off her feet by this urbane sophisticate. There were problems though: Kepler was married. And he was having an affair with a sixteen year old girl.
Hiding the affair from her family was a must. Hiding it from the girl’s father was especially important. Kapler was a smooth enough operator that he might have kept their affair secret from the girl’s father under normal circumstances. Unfortunately for him, this girl’s father had a particularly suspicious temperament. While something like this temperament is not unusual in any father of a sixteen year old girl, this father was different:
He could have phones tapped.
That is the sarcastic answer to an ancient question lately revised in the matter of the Penn State University athletic department having enabled a coach to serially molest young boys for decades – the question being, ‘How you separate the men from the boys at ____?’ Understandably, a large portion of the public is upset to furious about this, and those who are Penn grads and/or college football fans, and/or Joe Paterno fans are particularly distressed and/or seriously disillusioned.
The very saddest outcome from this appalling state of matters is something that I had meditated upon five years ago, when it was the matter of the Capitol Hill pages and a one Representative Mark Foley, who was forced to resign once his apparent inability to keep his hands, metaphorically speaking, off the junior staff became public knowledge outside Washington.
With violent crime in New York on the rise, nanny mayor Bloomberg has involved himself in Virginia’s internal legislative process in an attempt to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the people of Virginia. His rationale for doing so is that New York criminals buy guns in Virginia, and since Bloomberg can’t control those criminals in New York itself, the law abiding citizens of Virginia have to give up some of their rights.
In reality, Bloomberg is just another impotent and incompetent big city mayor with a expensive, bloated, unionized, dysfunctional and often corrupt police force who cannot provide basic civil order to many parts of the city they notionally “serve and protect.” Rather than admit that he can’t actually perform the most basic duty of his office, Bloomberg desperately tries to shift the blame to some group outside his jurisdiction over which he can plausibly claim he has no control.
Bloomberg’s message boils down to: “Hey, you can’t blame for me runaway crime in New York because it’s all the fault of those ignorant rednecks in Virginia over whom I have no control!”
Blaming outsiders for internal woes is the oldest political trick in the book.