Patterico's Pontifications


Thomas Sowell on the Fed: “When Somebody Removes a Cancer, What Do You Replace It With?”

Filed under: Books,Economics,General — Patterico @ 9:11 pm

I have recently begun a giant post about why we need to get rid of the Fed. But rather me writing a giant post, why not just ask you to watch a very short (under four minutes) video of one of our best thinkers arguing that we should do away with the Fed?

I love the fact that the interviewer is totally flabbergasted by his answer — admitting that he didn’t actually expect Sowell to say that.

I just finished Sowell’s Economic Facts and Fallacies. Just wonderful stuff; you always learn much you didn’t know from Sowell books, and it’s well-written and well-reasoned. He is a national treasure.

Here’s the video:

University Of Michigan: Where They Grow Big Fat Babies (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:29 pm

[guest post by Dana]

“At the very core of our excellence is our longstanding commitment to build and nurture a campus community characterized by a diversity of people, heritage, academic disciplines and scholarly pursuits.” — Mark S. Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., U-M President

So, Paddington the Bear vs. American Sniper: which movie do you think would be more welcome on today’s college campuses?

Anyone surprised??.


A scheduled movie screening of “American Sniper” at the University of Michigan was abruptly cancelled Tuesday after nearly 300 students and others complained the film perpetuates “negative and misleading stereotypes” against Muslims.

“The movie American Sniper not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim … rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer,” according to an online letter circulated among the campus community via Google Docs that garnered the signatures.

The signers were mostly students, but also some staff, as well as the Muslim Students’ Association and the president of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, a Palestinian solidarity group at UMich.

So instead of screening American Sniper, the university showed Paddington the Bear.

The Center for Campus Involvement explained:

We have elected to pull the film from this week’s program and screen another movie in its place that we believe better creates the fun, engaging atmosphere we seek, without excluding valued members of our community.

“We deeply regret causing harm to members of our community, and appreciate the thoughtful feedback provided to us by students and staff alike.”

And from the university:

‘While our intent was to show a film, the impact of the content was harmful, and made students feel unsafe and unwelcome at our program’


The kerfuffle started when student Lamees Mekkaoui decided she didn’t like that the university would screen a movie that made her personally feel “uncomfortable” as well as one that endorsed anti-Muslim sentiments. So she began the petition drive to cancel the showing. Because nothing says open-mindedness and tolerance like shutting down a film just because you are a big fat intolerant baby.

Thankfully, not all University of Michigan students demand everyone fall in line and become intolerant, narrow-minded and fearful. Thus, a push-back petition made the rounds:

“The movie American Sniper is not about a racist mass murderer or a criminal,” that petition said. “If the University prevents a movie like this from being shown, it promotes intolerance and stifles dialogue and debate on the subject and goes directly against the atmosphere UMix purports to provide. As adults at a public university, we should have the option to view this movie if we so choose and have the opportunity to engage on the topics it presents to come to our own conclusions on the subjects. Students should be trusted to interact responsibly on a movie no different than any other film depicting the lives of the troops at war, such as Saving Private Ryan.”

The university is now stating that they will re-schedule the movie and that the screening will include an appropriate educational panel discussion. Attendants will also be on hand to pass out pacifiers to any big fat babies who might courageously show up to view the film.


UPDATE: University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is certainly not a big fat baby. He pushed back against the university’s decision and tweeted:

Michigan Football will watch “American Sniper”! Proud of Chris Kyle & Proud to be an American & if that offends anybody then so be it!

Further, not long after Coach Harbaugh tweeted, the university itself came out and said that they made a mistake in cancelling the movie:

It was a mistake to cancel the showing of the movie “American Sniper” on campus … The initial decision to cancel the movie was not consistent with the high value the (U-M) places on freedom of expression… spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the change of heart came after “further discussion”. “American Sniper” will be shown as scheduled

Thanks to commenter reff for the catching the updates.

South Carolina: Cop Charged With Murdering Man Who Allegedly Struggled with Him Over Taser

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

Where have we heard this before? White cop shoots “unarmed” black man. Video proves it was “murder”!!!11! Cop is charged with murder. But a closer examination of the facts leads a sober observer to reserve judgment. Percentage of sober observers in the public: unclear, but loooooow.

The shooting happened in North Charleston, South Carolina. Here is the video. It’s graphic, so you have been warned. It looks bad at first glance, but you’re not the type to make up your mind about something after watching a few seconds of video without hearing all the facts, are you?

Compare the slipshod and conclusionary “video proves cop is lying!!!!11!” analysis of the Los Angeles Times to the a (slightly) more careful, frame-by-frame account provided by the local paper. Here is the L.A. Times version:

In the video, Scott, wearing a green T-shirt, appears to drop something near the officer’s feet and sprints in the opposite direction. The officer fires seven times, pauses, and then fires an eighth round as Scott slumps to the ground.

. . . .

The video differs drastically from an account Slager gave Monday. In a statement released through attorney David Aylor, Slager claimed Scott began to wrestle for control of his stun gun after a routine traffic stop.

Police reports filed after the shooting suggest Slager was chasing Scott on foot.

How does the video “differ[] drastically” from Slager’s account? He said he chased Scott on foot; we don’t know that he didn’t, before the video starts. He said Scott tried to wrestle for control of his stun gun; we don’t know that he didn’t, before the video starts.

Here is the local paper’s account:

The three-minute clip of Saturday’s shooting starts shaky, but it steadies as Slager and Scott appear to be grabbing at each other’s hands.

Slager has said through his attorney that Scott had wrested his Taser from him during a struggle.

The video appears to show Scott slapping at the officer’s hands as several objects fall to the ground. It’s not clear what the objects are.

Scott starts running away. Wires from Slager’s Taser stretch from Scott’s clothing to the officer’s hands.

With Scott more than 10 feet from Slager [this part is false — see below — P], the officer draws his pistol and fires seven times in rapid succession. After a brief pause, the officer fires one last time. Scott’s back bows, and he falls face first to the ground near a tree.

A little background on the encounter: the decedent had a previous charge for assault and battery from 1987 and was wanted on a warrant.

About that claim that the suspect was “more than 10 feet from [Officer] Slager” when he drew his pistol? That’s just false.

Here are a couple of screenshots showing the officer starting to reach for his pistol and then having it completely out. Scott is not more than 10 feet from the officer. Most people are just shy of six feet tall. In the first screenshot I would say Scott is perhaps 3-4 feet from the officer as the officer is reaching for his gun. In the second screenshot he is perhaps 5-6 feet away, and the officer already has the gun out and pointed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.25.59 AM

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.26.21 AM

Later in the video, Scott is much farther away and seemingly running away — but stay patient.

So, let’s sum up what we know. Scott has a (admittedly minimal but not nonexistent) history of violence has a warrant out for him. An officer says that Scott runs from him, and at the end of the chase struggles with him for control of a Taser. A video shows Scott slapping at the officer’s hands, and at least one object falling to the ground. Right around this time the sound of a Taser is heard on the video, corroborating the officer’s account that a Taser was used. Also corroborating the officer’s account is the fact that wires are seen between the suspect and the officer. While the suspect is still less than five feet away from the officer, the officer draws his gun. As the man is running away the officer fires several shots in rapid succession.

Does that sound like “murder”?

Now, the part of the video most people are focusing on, where the man seems to be running away as the officer shoots, does look somewhat bad. If you analyze it while sipping your morning coffee, not taking into account the struggle that clearly just happened, the adrenaline coursing through the officer’s body as a man fights him and tries to wrest his weapon away, and the short amount of time involved, it could look callous. To that end, I would like to remind you of the dangers of reaching a conclusion based on a few seconds of video from one angle.

I noted this again recently, but: back in 2006 I blogged an incident of a fatal police shooting of an unarmed man. Take a look at this video. Note that it looks like a clear execution of an unarmed man:

Add to that the fact that the man was indeed unarmed, and you have an open-and-shut case of murder by police. Right? Throw the book at them, dust off your hands, and pat yourself on the back for being willing to hold dirty and racist police officers accountable for a murder.

Except . . . here is the same shooting from another angle:

That’s a cell phone he’s brandishing in that second video. But it sure looks like he is brandishing a gun and ready to shoot the police.

Video can be misleading. Back to the North Charleston case: there is zero video of anything leading up to the shooting. There seems to have been a struggle over a Taser, and the officer lost control of it. Did he think the suspect still had it when he drew his gun?

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 7.49.18 AM

You have newspapers rushing to judgment here. One says the suspect “dropped” an object while another says he slapped on object out of the officer’s hands. One says the officer drew his gun while the suspect was more than 10 feet away, while your eyes tell you something different. There is plenty in the video to corroborate aspects of the officer’s account, yet newspapers tell you the video differs drastically from the officer’s account, but don’t tell you how.

Me, I will wait for all the evidence to come out before making up my mind. I may be the only one in the country to do so, but I still will.

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