The Jury Talks Back

6/12/2009

CNN in Tehran

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 6:11 pm

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, CNN’s Eason Jordan apologized for his network’s self-censorship in its reporting from Iraq.

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN’s Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard — awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

Today, CNN is reporting the Iranian election as though the state-run news media and Ahmadinejad’s vote counters are beyond reproach.  Nowhere is a hint that the opposition claims widespread fraud, or that the government has been interfering in communication all day.  Instead it sounds like some election here in the US, down to the man-on-the-street interviews (no Greg Packer, though).

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Defying many predictions, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad held a commanding lead in the presidential vote count early Saturday.

With 72 percent of ballot boxes counted, Ahmedinejad had 65.7 percent of the vote while his chief rival Mir Hossein Moussavi had 31.4 percent, election officials with Iran’s Interior Ministry said.

Looks like CNN is up to its old tricks.  And they wonder why their ratings continue to decline.  If you aren’t going to actually report the news, wouldn’t it be safer for all if you just came home?

UPDATE:  Better now.  [Link added above, too]

Another MLB Mother’s Day Lawsuit

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 4:41 am

Remember Michael Cohn, the psychologist who sued the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for denying him a tote bag on Mother’s Day? 

Well now we’ve got another loser with too much time on his hands.  ESPN.com reports on the case of Alfred G. Rava, who sued the Oakland Athletics for their 2004 Mother’s Day promotion to support breast cancer research.  There was a 5K run, free mammograms, and the A’s offered free floppy plaid sun hats to the first 7,500 women.  Rava sued because the hats weren’t offered to men.

In the Cohn case, a state appeals court ruled in favor of the Angels, noting that Cohn deliberately went to the game with the intent to sue.  Rava, like Cohn, has long history of litigious behavior, having filed over 40 male-discrimination lawsuits.  The San Diego lawyer wouldn’t tell the ESPN reporter why he would be at an Oakland-Minnesota game on Mother’s Day.

Alas, it appears that the A’s have caved in, as there is a $510,000 settlement in the works.  The A’s will provide $50 cash, 2 for 1 A’s tickets, and a $25 Macy’s gift certificate to any male who can prove that he was one of the first 7500 fans at the game in question.  It doesn’t appear as if anyone else is interested in collecting. One A’s fan suggested that the entire settlement should be donated to breast cancer research and noted, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

6/11/2009

CNN: Hate New Internet Phenomenon

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 11:08 pm

In a fairly breathless story, CNN claims that Barack Obama’s election and the lousy economy have spawned a huge increase in hate-based comments on the Internet.

“The traffic [on online hate discussion groups] has really been high, and there are more people who feel their voice isn’t being represented,” said Randy Blazak, associate professor at Portland State University in Oregon and director of the Hate Crime Research Network.

“I’ve heard white people say whites are being fired from their jobs because they’re white, and that there’s going to be a new left-wing regime that will restrict people’s rights,” Blazak said.

The number of active hate groups in the United States rose from 602 in 2000 to 926 in 2008 — an increase of 54 percent — according to the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center.

This would be funny if it wasn’t so predictable.  Yes, there are still racists in America.  Yes, Obama has riled them up.  But no more than, say, a Christian president riled up Christian-haters.

This is no more new than homelessness is new every time a Republican takes office.  You want hate?  Go scan the Democrat Underground circa 2001-2008.  Or listen to any sermon by Reverend Wright.  Or a recent monologue on CBS.

But I guess those aren’t “hate” to CNN.  Can’t be hate when you’re laughing.

Update: As Jesse Walker posts on Reason: “The fact that communist spies really existed didn’t justify Joseph McCarthy’s antics” and the fact that crazy white racists exist doesn’t justify the new scare tactics.

6/10/2009

Help the AP

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 9:56 am

The AP is confused.  To quote their story:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Authorities say at least two people have been shot at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

D.C. police spokeswoman Traci Hughes says a person walked into the museum with a rifle and shot a guard.

Hughes says the shooter was also shot. Hughes says the victims’ conditions were not known. Both were being taken to a hospital.

U.S. Park Police gave slightly different information, saying three people had been shot.

Can anyone explain why there are three people shot, but only two victims, if the perpetrator was also shot?  The AP seems to have been confused by this riddle.

Edit: And, yes, I accept that there just might be only two people shot, but the AP’s construction is silly.

6/8/2009

Hey Publius, sorry about revealing your identity

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 9:21 pm

Ed Whelan of National Review got angry at heated criticism from a liberal blogger who goes by the name Publius.  So on Saturday Whelan revealed his identity.  You can read the discussion, including Whelan’s defense of his act, and find links to some conservative responses to the ethical question of when it’s okay to reveal an anonymous blogger’s identity — at HotAir.

Tonight Whelan apologized.  Of course the damage has already been done.

I’ve learned to regret those times when I hit the [SEND] button after writing a comment composed in anger.

State Disability Tax Increase

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 6:46 pm

Most people won’t have noticed this, but there was a huge increase in the California state disability tax. In 2008, it was 0.8% of the first $86,698 of income. It goes up now to 1.1% of the first $90,669 of income. The maximum annual cost will increase from $693.58 to $997.36, a 44% hike.

Even if someone makes less than the maximum, they’re going to take another $3 out of every thousand of pre-tax income. Pretty soon this adds up to real money.

And they do this every time. In 2004, SDI went up by 58%, and they raised it again in 2005. Arnold cut the tax after that, but it’s back now as high as ever. Anyone want to bet the money goes anywhere near the Disability pool?

Car Tax Increase

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 6:35 pm

Got my new car registration bill from the DMV. $505. Admittedly, I bought a new car last year, so I expected it to go up, but about $150 of that was due to the car tax hike (from 0.65% to 1.15%). There’s also an added “Smog Abatement Fee” of $20; this is ironic as my new car is a hybrid and gets almost twice the mileage of my old car.

So, instead of going from $160 on my old car to $330 on the new one, it’s now $505. The car tax hike is going to be a shock for everyone, I think.

Mother arrested in killing of pregnant woman

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 4:23 am

This disturbing story comes from Portland, Oreg. It looks as if it might be another case of a woman killing a pregnant woman in order to steal her baby.  After meeting on Craigslist to exchange baby clothes, 27 year-old  suspect Korena Roberts is believed to have driven the victim, 21 year-old Heather Snively to her home.  Roberts called police Friday afternoon to report that her newborn baby was unresponsive.  After the hospital determined that the baby was not hers, police officers found Snively’s body in a crawlspace in the suspect’s home.

 To compound the tragedy, the baby also died.  Roberts has two children, who were not home at the time.  When the autopsy is released today, we should learn whether Snively gave birth before she was killed or whether the baby was removed from her body. 

In 2007 a Missouri mother of four was sentenced to death for killing a woman and cutting the baby from her womb.  In that case the baby survived.

UPDATE: Authorities said that the autopsy revealed that Snively was indeed cut open so that her unborn child could be removed from her womb.

6/6/2009

San Francisco and the Homeless Guy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 9:14 pm

Some things you just cannot make up.

It seems that Larry Moore, a chronically alcoholic homeless person, decided to better his lot. He sobered up, cleaned up, got himself a suit and some shoeshine supplies, and set himself up on San Francisco’s Market Street as a shoeshine vendor. Apparently he was good at what he did and folks who frequented the area saw the change and tried to help. He saved up some money and got set to live indoors for the first time in 6 years.

The SF Chronicle ran a story and a bureaucrat read it. Rather than being supportive, the city came down on him like a ton of bricks.

…in a breathtakingly clueless move, an official for the Department of Public Works told Moore that he has to fork over the money he saved for his first month’s rent to purchase a $491 sidewalk vendor permit….

Moore is nothing if not dutiful. He attempted to work his way through the byzantine city government channels, although he didn’t get much help….

When Moore found the permit application, he got a money order and headed down to the appropriate department to pay. But because he didn’t have a valid ID card, they wouldn’t take his money….

The only one who isn’t furious about this is Moore. He insists that city functionaries are giving him a break because they are letting him continue to shine shoes while he waits for a copy of his birth certificate to be sent from Kansas. Once it arrives they will allow him to get an ID card and then hand over almost every cent he has.

And the kicker? If you are an illegal immigrant, the city will provide an ID, no questions asked.

(via Don Surber and Glenn Reynolds).

6/3/2009

Obama ♥ NBC

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 5:51 pm

I can’t even get outraged anymore.

President Obama is so wedded to the MSM that he’s now doing crossover appearances. His favorite seems to be NBC, which has been so nice a poodle that they get the President plugging their upcoming Tonight Show change during a Presidential interview. Just makes one wonder what he’ll do in return for Olbermann.

The NY Times asks:

There was a time when such cross promotion between a network news division and its corporate entertainment sibling – during a presidential interview, no less — would have caused rebellion in the newsroom. It will be interesting to see what reaction, if any, there will be to this bit of stunt programming at NBC News.

We here at the Jury know the answer: “A thrill goes up their leg.”

6/2/2009

No right to self-defense?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 12:28 pm

So says a 7th Circuit panel in NRA v City of Chicago.  The 2nd Amendment is again a dead letter as well.

According to judges Easterbrook, Posner and Bauer there is no right to lethal self-defense and states may ban all implements of such a defense, such as guns.  In this way, the court gets past the self-defense issue of Keller and finds no reason to incorporate the 2nd Amendment against the states.

A very conservative decision in all regards, refusing at every turn to upset the status quo.   Several discussions at Volokh (link fixed).

Update: The NRA has appealed to the US Supreme Court.

“The Seventh Circuit claimed it was bound by precedent from previous decisions. However, it should have followed the lead of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Nordyke v. Alameda County, which found that those cases don’t prevent the Second Amendment from applying to the states through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

Sony E3 Press Event

Filed under: Uncategorized — Scott Jacobs @ 10:07 am

Just about to start…  If they don’t announce a street-date for God of War 3, there might be a riot…

I’ll update as it comes.

It begins…

Opening music is Queens’s “One Vision”.  Reminds me I never finished the last two or three missions in GTA4.

Opening montage of games.

Jack Tretton (President and CEO) starts out sucking up to game journalists (We’re industry leaders, and that includes leaks.  We won;t be outdone by anyone…”).  364 games coming out on PS platforms this year.  Brags about the 40’x80′ screen and that the PS3 alone can show at the resolution.  Blah blah blah.

Talks about the $99 PS2.  I frankly don’t care about it at all.  Say it with me, kids…  “Next. Gen. Consoles.”

Talking about sales stats for the PS3.  “We’re growing out presence in latin america” blah blah blah

Mentions inFAMOUS, “biggest blockbuster this summer” is a crap claim.  Summer’s just started.

Drake’s Fortune 2 – multi-player beta starts tonight at midnight.  Showing game-play of single-player.  Looks amazing, I’ll admit.  Looks like it controls like GTA4 (that’s my frame of reference, having not played the first Drake’s).

MAG – HUGE online multi-player First Person Shooter.  Looks really involved, and with 254 players total.  It’s an awesome idea, but I just don’t know how it will work in real life.

PSP – Skype and internet radio already on it, talking about games that have been on it.  They want to expand to girls (Hannah Montana bundle, with a lilac-colored PSP).

PSP Go – new, (in addition to existing PSP platforms) portable system “built for the digital consumer”.  16 gig built-in flash memory, built in wifi, integrated blue tooth, sliding screen (allows bigger screen for watching video, and still have controls in a small device).  Oct 30 ($249)

Like a friend said: “PSP Go: because who doesn’t have $250 lying around?”

Media Go – Computer App used to access Sony digital store, and is used to transfer files to the PSP.

Sense Me – scans your music files, and figures out moods and builds lists…  blah blah blah.  Apple’s iTunes “Genius” feature is saying “So?  Been there, done that”.

Digital distribution for all PSP games (but you can buy physical mediums).  Talks about the video store.  Sounds like the old Xbox Marketplace pitch, with a lot of the same partners.

Grand Turismo PSP – GT game for the PSP.  Awesome.  *rolls his eyes*  Trade your cars, full tracks, not some chopped-down port.  Sounds neat, but I’m not interested.  Like I said, I’m not a fan of racing games.  Oct 1st street date.

I will say this – I like the music they are using for the presser.

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker – for the PSP.  Ten years after MGS 3 (1970’s).  Kojima (the game’s creator, and a demi-god in the gaming world) will write and produce.  As an aside, MS got an English-speaking Kojima, Sony had to have a translator.  Trailer looks pretty good for a game for a portable device.  Slated for 2010.

Talking about random PlayStation Portable games coming in 2009.  I’ll see if I can find a list later, but I really don’t care, nor do most people I know.  A friend said it best: “I have never understood the point of a portable once you get a drivers license and a laptop.”

Final Fantasy 7 (PS 1 original) – coming today to Playstation network.

Playstation Home – Penny Arcade said it best: “A stupid place for dumb people”.  Home has ALWAYS fallen short with me.  It loads constantly, is hard to navigate, and god help you if you have a female avatar – you will be accosted by a lot of guys within the first 10 minutes.  They have built-in scarcity for purely digital stuff( “Bowling alley that can be full and prevent you from playing).

And yet ANOTHER montage.  Come on…  NAME stuff, Tretton!!!

Now he’s talking about how great games have started with Playstation, but leaves out that most if not all have come to the 360, and that there they get DLC.

Agent – From Rockstar, it’s a spy game.  They say “exclusive” but that comes and goes for Sony…

Assassin’s Creed 2 – This was shown at the EA presser, but this has game-play.  Looks VERY nice…  Might get this one…  For the 360.

Final Fantasy XIII – more trailer.  The pre-rendered stuff looks nice, but that series left me cold around FF2.

Footage of FFXIV – “Only console you can play it on when it launches”…  Timed exclusive, it will come to the 360.

PlayStation Motion Controller – This looks like a mic with a funny end to it, used with the PlayStation Eye.  It tracks quickly, but…  I dunno…  Some neat stuff I guess…  And it IS pretty precise…  This would be super impressive, if it didn’t follow on the heels of Project Natal, which is full-body, not simply a version of the Wii remote.

ModNation Racers – like Little Big Planet, only with vehicles…  Seems a bit like Mario Cart.  As it stands, this is the first one I saw that interests me.

The Last Guardian – ???  Ok, the pre-rendered stuff looks AMAZING, but wtf?

Grand Turismo 5 – cars.  You drive them fact, “drift” through turns, yes yes.  Seriously, What is the draw with racing games?

God of War 3 – About time.  A few minutes of gameplay video.  Looks totally awesome.  I want it.  A shame I can’t even start to afford a PS3.  They NEED a price drop DESPERATELY.

And that’s it.

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