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Lawyers gave opening statements yesterday in the trial of George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of murdering teenager Trayvon Martin. After prosecutors characterized Zimmerman as a “grown man with a gun,” in contrast to the unarmed Martin, the defense issued what may be one of the weakest rebuttals in the history of high profile court cases:
“Trayvon Martin armed himself with a sidewalk and used it to smash George Zimmerman’s head.”
The Democratic Process
Those hosting last year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte filed a report with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for items missing or stolen during the week long convention totaling nearly half a million dollars, according to Steve Harrison in today’s Charlotte Observer:
“The Democratic National Convention Committee said it recently sent the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a spreadsheet detailing $496,000 worth of missing equipment. CMPD created an incident report in May.
Last Friday, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes had the job of announcing that the Obama administration had decided to officially begin arming the Sunni Islamist insurgents attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. All that lobbying by the war party in Washington and its ‘friends in the Gulf’ is finally paying off. You would think that the problem was explaining why to a skeptical news media. Not so.
Culture of Fear
Tuesday morning, you may have heard, there was an explosion in a maintenance shed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport here in the Big Peach. It killed the power to Concourse D, so officials evacuated the folks there to Concourse E. When the power was restored, everybody went on their merry ways.
But lawdamursy, did Twitter ever light up.
Could there be a more appropriate monument to the War in Terror than the wasteful and counterproductive prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base? At a cost of $4,360.00 a day per prisoner, it is among the most expensive lock-ups on the planet and surely the most expensive for inmates who are neither deposed heads of state nor leaders of defeated rebellions. (For that amount you could book a Premier Suite at the Ritz Carleton Central Park and still have a thousand dollars left over to pay for dinner!)
When the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed on May 23, the media immediately seized upon a familiar message: “Our infrastructure is crumbling!” Headlines echoed the outrage Americans feel about the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges. “INFRASTRUCTURE HELL — EVEN BROOKLYN BRIDGE DEFICIENT!” roared a Huffington Post headline, as if a flaw in a beloved American landmark were definitive proof of an impending infrastructure apocalypse.
An Uncompromising Conservative
In his critique of Barack Obama’s “declining presidency” yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Fred Barnes makes some accurate observations. The assessment that Obama’s administration is flailing due to the lack of a defined vision for his second term is fair. Indeed, the Obama re-election campaign never shifted away from an anti-Romney message long enough to establish any sort of primary goal for moving America boldly in one direction or another. Barnes also concedes that the “scandals” currently making headlines have little to do with the President himself or the ineffectiveness of his six-month-old second term.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) unveiled a plan this week to automatically restore voting rights to people convicted of nonviolent felonies.
The move won praise from civil rights advocates who have long called for reform in the state, one of several with unusually harsh felon disenfranchisement laws.
“For too long, Virginia has been successful in implementing a law designed to target minority voters…
Roots of Terrorism
He was walking along the street, minding his own business. Out of nowhere, he was attacked, stabbed over and over again with such force that the coroner said the wounds went all the way through his body. His body. Lying there, in a rapidly expanding pool of his own blood. He was dying, and he knew it. He didn’t know why, only that the life was flowing out of him onto the solid, gray concrete of an English street.
Law & Disorder
If you’re a head of household in little Nelson, Georgia, you’re about to be required to have a gun and ammo. If you want to, and if you can afford it. But not if you’re a convicted felon or have certain physical or mental disabilities.
The law is just a stupid as the reasons for it. The police chief, also the town’s only police officer, said he hoped the law would make Nelson safer…
My beloved colleagues in Teh Media sure get on my last damn nerve. Most of the time it’s just from sloppy work or jumping on whatever bandwagon is rolling by at the time, something along the lines of a pet peeve. Like when my Twitter list of political reporters blows up with some hashtag meme instead of actual reporting. Today it’s #Obamacareinthreewords, launched by that icon of credibility, Rep. Darrell Issa. It’s the second time around for that one — Rep. Kevin McCarthy launched it the first time last June.
Instructions From the Top
For some reason, a letter from the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation was characterized as having been received by NBC News, as if it were some sort of privileged communication. In fact, the thing was a press release and rather obviously designed to change the conversation about the Heritage Foundation from trying to defend the indefensible “study” of Hispanic intellectual insufficiency to food stamps, a real two-fer issue.
Lurking In The Dark
I still remember attending a logic class when the university reopened a week following the assassination of President Kennedy. The angry graduate student instructor that I had been assigned to was part of a team that tried to clarify to a bunch of undergrads what the wild eyed and mostly incomprehensible professor had lectured about earlier in the week. As we gathered for the first time, still more than a bit dazed by what had happened in Dallas and without any idea how the act would ultimately change all our lives, he glared out at us and asked, “Now do you believe that evil exists in the world?”
We are barbarians. I can’t take credit for saying that, although I completely agree. My friend did that, just after I posted this video on my Facebook page.
I was all set to write about how Charles Ramsey isn’t a hero. But this, this makes me realize that I was wrong about that. Here I was thinking Ramsey, the guy who answered Amanda Berry’s cries for help, ending the imprisonment of three women in Cleveland, shouldn’t be called a hero because he just did the right thing…
Modern mankind may be too clean, that is, not dirty enough. That may surprise you. Today we take personal hygiene to be a standard in the developed world, not only healthy, but also a state which gracious people routinely adopt.
It hasn’t always been so. As close back as 100-200 years ago, cleansing yourself on a regular basis might mean a semi-annual or monthly bath…
Just saying that word is usually enough to trigger an onslaught of Teh Crazy. So I’ll wait while you get it out of your system. For the rest of us, here’s a video about kittens.
Here's Something Different
Every now and then, stars of stage and screen, the sporting world, and sometimes even politicos, get into trouble. As do average citizens.
The incident itself may be of major or minor importance. The significant element is what happens after someone gets into the public eye. That often tells us more than the incident itself about the people involved. All too often, people in trouble lash out, publicly, and more often, privately.
Yes, labor force participation is back to what it was when the contributions of most women to the economy weren’t counted. That people aren’t getting paid doesn’t mean they aren’t contributing. Sometimes it’s just a counting problem — an accounting problem.
Actually, there are many accounting problems. One has been discovered and and is now being addressed and will result in a revision to the GDP. That is, the Gross Domestic Product is going to take into account what dollars people invest in creative endeavors that don’t manifest in material products –
I don’t wanna get married. Never have, never will. OK, I know. Never say never. How ’bout this: I seriously doubt I’ll ever want to get married. That work? Good.
I tell you this because I’m about to talk about marriage, specifically same-sex marriage or (in the fine tradition of making sure you don’t say what makes sense and therefore must go ahead and say what you don’t want to say anyway) marriage equality. I’m about to ramble on about “marriage equality,” and I’d prefer you don’t think my position in favor is simply a case of wanting something for myself.
Four years ago, I was writing every day. Then we launched LikeTheDew.com. Seemed a good idea. My friend Keith was looking for a place to write. So were some of his newly former journalist pals.
We didn’t need a business plan. The last thing we wanted was for the Dew to become a job. It was organic. It would just evolve. No real guidelines. We just wanted well written and relevant stories. No fiction or poetry. And it had to be progressive.
In 2011 a deranged terrorist overseas used a car bomb to kill eight people before proceeding to kill an additional 69 with a gun. He was not a Muslim. And while the media reported the man was a fundamentalist Christian, absolutely nothing about this individual’s demented world view resembled the predominant themes of New Testament ideology. Nevertheless, such identifiers as Christian extremist, Christian fundamentalist, and anti-Muslim Christian extremist were repeatedly woven into news reports and commentary regarding one of the most heinous acts of terrorism ever.
What do Lorne Michaels, Lena Dunham, Sarah Palin and Vladimir Putin have in common?
No, not megalomania. Interesting guess, but wrong. Dead wrong. Each was in fact involved with a winner of the University of Georgia’s 72nd annual George Foster Peabody Awards, either as subject or creative force. The list of 2012 programs picked for Peabody recognition on Wednesday, March 27…
I’m stealing this title and part of the post from David Waldman at DailyKos because it is just too perfect. Guns fail — never the people in whose hands they end up. Can we say “false attribution of agency”?
This week’s summary:
Among this weeks GunFAILers, we have three who shot themselves removing their guns from their cars, which I suppose lends support to the guns = cars crowd.
If you’ve been watching the local news in the last month, you have seen footage of soldiers leaving for the Middle East. There are several military bases in South Carolina and the flow of soldiers oversees has been constant. Every time I see such a story, I think of a high school friend.
His name was Allan Gaines, but we called him Yank. His family moved south during his early teens and he never lost his accent. When he graduated from high school in 1967, he joined the Marines and left for Parris Island.
Obama Wan Kenobi
I’m outraged. Here I am, working my ass off, trying my best to get along with people on the other side of the aisle, trying to get a Grand Bargain and they pull this latest crap. It’s not at all funny. When I first saw the picture we were at the water cooler just outside the Oval Office. I’d just separated Susan Rice and John Kerry. It was their third fistfight this week. (Rice is short but she has a temper and she was really kicking Kerry’s ass.) Anyway, it’s then that I see the picture falling out of Rice’s hands. Get this: the guy playing the Devil on the hit show, The Bible is my Doppelganger –my exact look-a-like.
After the Arkansas legislature overrode Gov. Mike Beebe’s not only pro-woman but also pro-taxpayer veto of an unconstitutional abortion ban the state will spend millions to defend, I speculated at Slate’s XX Factor about why the legislature thought that around 12 weeks was a good cutoff point for an abortion ban:
One reason that anti-choice legislators likely went with a ban at 12 weeks is that it’s an easier sell to the public than more aggressive bans…
It’s like 2011 all over again.
It was two years ago that, after Republicans claimed big gains in state legislatures across the South and country in the 2010 mid-terms, lawmakers made a national push for changes to voting laws, with one of the most controversial being restrictive bills requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls.
Now, with the 2012 elections behind them, state GOP leaders have again pledged to make voter photo ID a priority this year. But has the debate — and public sentiment about voter restrictions — changed this time?
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
A few of us borrowed a friend's cabin up near Blue Ridge and drove up for the weekend, took the scenic route through Dahlonega, Blairsville and up 19 to 76. Something uplifting about the mountains. We navigated those winding roads slower than the traffic behind us would have preferred but it was a safe speed and very visually engaging, what with the roadside leaves gone for winter. The distant ridge lines were accessible to hungry eyes and the slopes themselves were similarly denuded, kind of raw, primeval maybe. Puts you in touch with the old profound being thing that Jung Read on →
Do the 2014 elections look promising for the Democrats? Not so far as I can tell. Do the Democrats have a bold plan to inspire the American people to turn the House back over to them? Not so far as I’ve heard. Is there a solution available? I think there is. We’ve got a Supreme Court that just doubled down on its disgraceful 2010 decision in Citizens United, continuing in the new case (McCutcheon vs. FEC) to pretend to believe that opening the floodgates still wider for big money to flow into our elections does not corrupt our political system. And we’ve got poll Read on →
That’s what the spouse said when I wrote him how surprised and disappointed I was to discover that Michelle Nunn has gratuitously endorsed the XL pipeline from Canada, because buying oil from “neighbors” is better than from overseas, as well as to read a report that Nunn wants changes to Obamacare to allow cheaper policies for the young. Like they don’t have car accidents and sports injuries, etc? (Read the other day that there’s a chance auto and workmen’s comp insurance rates are going to decrease now that people have health insurance. Ripple effect). He went on to observe that “Kenny and Tracy hav Read on →
Tom Poland inspired me. He wrote about the old Ocean Forest Hotel, a magnificent behemoth of a hotel on a Grand Strand beach north of Myrtle Beach, my old vacation stomping ground. The Ocean Forest is gone now, and that reminded me of another iconic Myrtle Beach spot that has also vanished from the earth. -- Between 8th and 9th Avenues North, between North Ocean Boulevard and the King's Highway, there sits a big old empty lot, different from other empty lots only because of the zipline installed in its western end. A smaller, completely empty lot sits across the street between Read on →