The Jury Talks Back

7/30/2009

Some Victims Charged for their Rape Kit Testing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 1:21 pm

Despite Promises, Some Rape Victims Stuck Paying Exam Bills, by Ben Protess, Huffington Post Investigative Fund, and Emily Witt, ProPublica, reports,

When a woman is raped, police turn to scientific evidence-semen, blood and tissue samples-to identify her attacker. The evidence is collected through a medical exam of the victim, who is not supposed to pay for this crime-solving process.

But 15 years after Congress passed a law to ensure that rape victims would never see a bill, loopholes and bureaucratic tangles still leave some victims paying for hospital expenses and exams, which can cost up to $1,200.

Wow, that’s awful.  I agree with them 100%.  I don’t know what else to say.  I just wish they wouldn’t have snuck this bit in:

During the campaign, it came to light that until 2000, police in some Alaska towns charged rape victims or their insurance companies up to $1,200 for forensic exams – including the town of Wasilla where vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was mayor from 1996 to 2002.

While Illinois also comes in for special attention, they don’t mention that when Barrack Obama was a member of the state legislature, he never introduced legislation to sort their problems out.

Birthers Play into Liberal Hands

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 12:58 pm

David Freddosso of Beltway Confidential performs two valuable services.  First, he points out that it’s important to know something about how the government works before you fly off the handle with your criticism.  This follows from the notion that you should always give your political or philosophical opponent the benefit of the doubt and attack them where their case is strongest.  Second, he also illustrates how some of the less intellectually gifted, though no less read, liberal bloggers are using the “Brither” nonsense to further their own agenda.  Freddosso writes,

This week, the House considered a resolution lauding the 50th anniversary of the admission of Hawaii as a state. After the the routine speeches in favor (there was no opposition), Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., yielded back the last seconds of time for debate. The Speaker pro-tem called for a voice vote on passage, which is also routine. And Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., who happened to be holding the floor for the Republican side, objected to the vote because of the absence of a quorum — which is also routine. This led the chairman to postpone the floor vote until later in the day, which is also routine.

Then, all of the sudden, posts from the Think Progress and Wonkette have the whole Left-blogosphere abuzz over the fact that Bachmann must be a “birther!” How do they reach that conclusion? Well, Hawaii is the state where President Obama was born – or NOT born! So Bachmann must be making a statement by trying to not congratulating the state where President Obama was not born!

See Ignorant bloggers go nuts over Michelle Bachmann for why this was so very, very stupid.  My favorite comment from the Wonkette piece, which sums it up nicely:

You asshats, she voted for the resolution later in the day. She was merely performing a regular parliamentary procedure. She’s not a birfer [sic]. She was only postponing the vote for later when there was a quorum at which point she voted for the bill.

I haven’t seen any response from Wonkette or her readers.

7/28/2009

Laying To Rest The “Birth Certficate” Nonsense

Filed under: Uncategorized — WLS @ 11:27 am

Posted by Shipwreckedcrew:

Lets put this issue to rest once and for all.  Lou Dobbs please pay attention.

The State of Hawaii maintains a DATABASE of vital records concering births.  Currently, that DATABASE if populated with information provided on a form completed by the parents at the time the baby is born.  

The hospital issues a “Notice of Live Birth”, which is a TEMPORARY substitute for a official state record.

Upon written request — and payment of a fee — the State Department of Health will GENERATE a “Certificate of Live Birth” from the information in it’s database.

So, there is no “BIRTH CERTIFICATE” sitting in a file somewhere in Hawaii.  There is data regarding births in a computer database which is used to create such a document when one is requested.

Prior to 2001, Hawaii had paper files of birth records.  At that time, the information in those files was converted to electronic form, and those paper files were discarded.

If you want to know why they would have done that, all you need to do is go to the main office of the Hawaii DMV Division for Drivers’ licenses and look at the gigantic filing cabinets they still maintain with hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — of paper copies of old license applications they keep in alphabetical order.  It’s a joke watching the workers go look for some old record by pulling out a stack of documents and then hand searching them one by one.

Banned by REDSTATE

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amphipolis @ 11:24 am

Never been banned before, it’s kind of fun. If I were to do it again I would have been a bit more forceful and comprehensive with my critique, I was trying to stick to the point. Read it while it remains up.

Here’s the post. I thought I was more than reasonable, but the author seems to have a penchant for fabricating sex scandals and other baseless accusations.

The Gates Arrest: So You Think Our Cops are Bad?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 8:25 am

At the L.A. Times, Jonathan Zimmerman adds an international perspective to the Gates arrest. In “The Gates cop, in perspective”, Zimmerman writes,

Should police Sgt. James Crowley have arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. on July 16, after Crowley responded to a 911 report of a possible break-in at Gates’ Cambridge, Mass., house? And to what degree was the arrest related to the fact that Gates is black and Crowley is white?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and neither do you. But here’s what I do know: We’re lucky that we can ask them, lucky that possible police misbehavior demands an official response, lucky that the alleged outrage isn’t worse. And if you think otherwise, take a look at how police behave in many other parts of the world.

Zimmerman then goes on to describe the bribe taking, suspect beating, human rights abusing practices of much of the world’s police.  Surely our police aren’t perfect (who is?), but we should count ourselves lucky that the discussion we’re having is taking place in the most rarified atmosphere of freedom in the world.

7/27/2009

Updated: Shut Up About the Birth Certificate Already

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 11:00 am

Please, shut up about Obama’s birth certificate.  It’s stupid, you’re wrong, there is no controversy, and, rhetorically, it’s a sure-fire loser.

I wish I had something more to contribute than paste, but Philip Klein at The American Spectator kills it:

Up until now, I have never posted about President Obama’s birth certificate, because I don’t want to give those who claim he is not a U.S. citizen the attention they so desperately seek. I don’t even want to describe the matter as a “controversy,” because to do so suggests that there is a serious dispute over Obama’s place of birth. To any sane human being, there is no controversy. Obama has produced anauthentic certificate of live birth from the state of Hawaii that clearly shows he was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii at 7:24 p.m. State officials have confirmed the document as legitimate and have stated that such facts would have to be verified by the state before they appear on the document. And if that isn’t enough, the fact is corroborated by a contemporaneous newspaper birth announcement.

Update:  William A. Jacobson of Legal Isurrection kicks the Birthers when they’re down. Jacobson writes,

Which gets me to the Obama birth certificate conspiracy theory, to wit, the claim that Obama was not born in the U.S.A., despite the official Hawaiian record of his “live birth” and contemporaneous newspaper announcements. It is this latter evidence that seals the deal for me. Much like the craziness regarding Trig Palin and the ice measurements, to accept that 48 years ago someone had the foresight to plant newspaper stories in anticipation of Barack Hussein Obama becoming president half a century later just isn’t credible. As Obama himself has proclaimed, would anyone who wanted him to become President have given him that middle name? If they were so smart as to plant stories in the newspaper, why not give him a name like William Jefferson Obama or George Herbert Walker Obama?

Also, please see Edward Feser’s The Trouble with Conspiracy Theories.  It lets us know why the Birthers are wrong on a metaphysical level.

Updated: Tape from the Gates Incident

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 10:06 am

White, Black, or Hispanic?

911 Tape from the Gates Arrest

UPDATE:

Dispatch Audio from the Gates Arrest

Reforming California’s Politics

Filed under: Uncategorized — Fritz @ 9:12 am

Why is California’s politics so screwed up?

Is it the people, the climate, some sort of weird California foo-foo, or something more concrete and structural?

Tom Karako of the Claremont Institute thinks he has the answer. In an opinion piece entitled “Putting California back together” from Sunday’s L.A. Times, Karako identifies six structural deficiencies of California’s Constitution.  He offers  some recommendations for changes that need to be made in order to solve our persistent political messes.  Indeed, his argument amounts to the statement that no amount of post-partisanship, good faith, or putting our differences aside and working towards the good of all Californians are ever going to solve our underlying problems.  Karako writes,

If this year’s budget quagmire in Sacramento has you thinking there must be a better way, there is. To the extent that California is ungovernable today, it is partly because its legislative and executive branches are too weak and dysfunctional to resist entrenched special interests and non-elected bureaucracies. Fixing these problems requires constitutional change. It won’t be easy, but the time has come to do it.

The six include moving to a part-time legislature, putting in a hard spending cap, extending the budgeting cycle to two years, eliminating the two-thirds majorities needed to pass a budget, unifying the executive branch, and repealing ballot-box budgeting.

I agree with most of Karako’s recommendations.  I don’t like the notion of the hard spending cap.

Part of California’s problem, because of ballot-box budgeting, is that its politicians have so little recourse to prudence or discretion.  Many of their choices are already made for them.  Aristotle identified prudence as the epitome of virtue in politics.  California’s legislature should be given more responsibility within its proper sphere, not less.

There are two suggestions that I would add that I think Karako missed which would achieve this end.

First, California needs to move towards the elimination of term limits.  A key part of legislative politics, to put it bluntly, is keeping promises and taking responsibility.  With term limits as they’re currently set, our legislators  are always running for the next higher office.  Politicians are self-interested seekers of re-election and who are attempting to forge careers for themselves.  Their motivations and ambitions aren’t connected with their current office, they’re always connected to the next office up the line.  They have no particular interest in the kind of compromise which would ensure long-term success at their current level, mostly because for them there is no long-term.

Also, term limits prevent politicians from getting to know the lay of the land.  They aren’t able to cooperate over the long-term if there is no long-term.  Because no one is going to be in office long enough, they can’t keep their promises to one another, they can’t cooperate, and they can’t forge coalitions.

Second, and connected to the notion of term limits, is the necessity of reform of California’s redistricting process.  Karako’s argument about the two-thirds majority needed to pass a budget is tied in to this.  Have you ever wondered why California elects center-right or center left Governors, but its legislature is far-left?  In California, a politician’s likely challenge is in the primary, not the general election.  Because primaries are more ideological than general election, the politicians they create are likely to be more ideological and less likely to compromise.

7/24/2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — fat tony @ 11:46 am

“She’s a wise Latina. He’s a stupid cop. Together they fight crime…”

COLOR OF AUTHORITY, coming this fall to MSM.

Starring “Red Sonia” Sotomayor and Harvey Keitel as Officer Y. T. Pigg, MSM brings you a fresh take on a tired genre. COLOR OF AUTHORITY.

She puts the salsa on his saltine. He puts the Twinkie in her insulin. She’ll summarily dismiss your case, but he’ll put a cap in your ass for looking at him crosswise.

Together, they’ve got ATTITUDE.

COLOR OF AUTHORITY.

See what the critics are saying:

“Let me be clear, uh, as I’ve previously said, uh, I don’t have all the facts, but from what I hear, this show re-affirms my core beliefs. That’s my favorite kind of story.
Don’t be distracted–you MUST see COLOR OF AUTHORITY. Look, I’m not kidding. You will respect COLOR OF AUTHORITY.
–Barack Francis Xavier Obama

“What he said. Wait, what I said. No–what he said… Does not compute. Does not compute. Circuits failing…”
–Barack S. Prompter

“Aren’t Barack’s eyes just the dreamiest?”
–Tom Shales

“When Woody and I…”
–Dick Cavett

You’ve finally got a reason to get a digital converter. Get your coupon and join us this fall for COLOR OF AUTHORITY. Please?

COLOR OF AUTHORITY, A BM Production

Episode One:
The Curious Case of the Taillight that Didn’t Break in the Night

Act I:
“Screen Test”

(Judge Sotomayor and Office Pigg meet cute)

Pigg: Do you know how fast you were going ma’am? What’s the rush? You trying to socialize health care?

Judge: Do you have any idea of who I am?! I’m late for my confirmation hearings. If I don’t have time to prepare, I might say something stupid.

Pigg: Too late for that, ma’am.

Judge: You wouldn’t say that if I were white.
(attempts to drive away)

Pigg: Please step out of the car, ma’am.

Judge: I’m calling my lawyer, Skip Gates.

Pigg: (sotto voce) Dispatch–Officer requests backup.

Judge: What did you say to me? Crack up?! I bet you’d like me barefoot and pregnant, too! Racist and sexist!!

Pigg: I simply requested backup, ma’am. I didn’t mean to imply anything else.

Judge: Oh (hurt tone)

Pigg: I’ll go easy on you today, but it will be harder on you next time. I mean, uh… (face flushes)
Have a nice day, ma’am.

Judge: Oh, I intend to, officer, I intend to. You’ve been very racially sensitive.

(Pigg fumbles embarrassedly back to car. Judge looks in mirror and chuckles knowingly.)

(CUT TO TITLE)

7/23/2009

The irony of the Gates story

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 9:04 pm

 The police officer who demanded that Gates provide identification was acting to protect Gates’s home and property.  Same with the neighbor who called the police to report suspicious activity.  Rather than act in a belligerent manner, Gates should have THANKED the officer for demanding that he prove that he was the resident of his home — and not an intruder.

I’m pleased whenever a store clerk asks to see photo ID when I present a credit card.  (I wish it were required.)  Whenever I’m stopped at the airport security checkpoint for additional screening, I always thank the security — they’re acting in the interests of safety for the passengers and crew of the airplane I’m about to board.  I cannot understand why a person would be upset because another fulfilled a duty to protect that person’s life or property.

7/19/2009

Sports Memories

Filed under: Uncategorized — JD @ 9:50 pm

Sports play an important role in our unique culture.  I was talking on the phone with my younger brother tonight, discussing watching Tom Watson’s magical run in The Open Championship.  We were discussing some of our early memories as kids attending sporting events with our father.  We both recalled the same 2 events with great fondness.  The first was Lou Brock breaking the career stolen base record after the Scrubs were silly enough to trade him away to the best organization in baseball.  The second was a University of Illinois basketball game against Magic Johnson’s Michigan State Spartan team.  Sweet-shooting Eddie Johnson made a miraculous game-winning shot to defeat the eventual national champions, and if I remember correctly, this was their only loss of the season.  That was the first of what would turn out to be hundreds of Illini games I would eventually attend, and I had the opportunity to tell Eddie Johnson that his shot made me an Illini for life at an early age.  I never wanted to go anywhere else.

Now, there have been plenty of other memorable moments for me in sports, Final Fours, shaking hands with Michael Jordan, Ryder Cups, Super Bowls, etc … but none of them compare to the time spent with my father at these games.  Going to a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium is still one of my favorite activities, and will introduce my daughter to our pastime in the near future.  I can only hope that she enjoys it as much as we have.

So, in a roundabout way, Tom Watson made me bring up some pretty fond memories.  Thanks.

7/12/2009

The Distraction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 10:32 am

One of the basic rules of politics is that when your administration is failing domestically, you need to create an enemy.  Since Obama’s policies are deepening the recession, and his Obamacare proposal is going nowhere fast, it’s time for The Distraction.

Up to now, Obama has resisted his party’s call to prosecute Bush and the Republicans in general.  Expect this to end.  We are seeing the beginning of this attack with the recent “revelations” about some unnamed CIA program that was never mentioned to Congress.   The former CIA chief says it was too tiny to mention and never actually took off, so they didn’t bother Congress with it, but the Administration has decided to make a big issue out of it, and blame Cheney and by implication, Bush.

Now, today we are told that Eric Holder may open an inquiry on the Bush administration.  And so it begins.  I expect multiple Congressional and DoJ inquiries, with copious leaks to the state-run media throughout the run-up to the 2010 mid-terms.  And I expect The Distraction to work.

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