Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Tigger Market

Tiggers bounce, of course, and there sure has been a lot of jiggity-biggity lately.  Bonds are up, one might say in a casual way today.  A little afternoon they are at 3.69, 2.64, 1.42 for the 30, 10, and 5.  Earlier today they were noticeably higher with the 30-year at 3.72.

Copper, too, is off the floor.  I think I saw it at 3.02 or 3.04 yesterday at one point.  Today it is running around 3.12.

Today's GDP numbers are pathetic, probably cooked and will, most likely, be revised downward.  Employment/unemployment numbers will soon be released for July, and the rate will probably be about the same.  You know, seasonally adjusted and all.

The Fed's statement today was rather lackluster calling growth in the U.S. economy "modest" which is not as excitingly robust as last month's "moderate".  Still:

Most economists, including those at the Fed, expect growth will strengthen in the second half of the year. That's because they believe businesses will spend more, stronger job growth will fuel more consumer spending and government spending cuts will weigh less on overall growth.
I believe in Tinkerbelle.  And unicorns.  And Skittles.

Just the same, we're canning beans and tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cigarettes May Be Hazardous To Your Health

They were certainly hazardous to 60-year-old Roy Middleton's health.  At 2:30 AM or so on Saturday morning down in Warrington, FL, Mr. Middleton was rummaging around in his mother's car looking for loose smokes.  A neighbor reported suspicious activity to the police who responded to the scene and ordered the man from the vehicle. 

Middleton was surprised but attempted to comply with the order.  He says he got out with his hands raised.  The officers' version is somewhat different:

Morgan said the deputies reported that, after they'd made multiple commands to Middleton to show his hands, he eventually lunged out of the car and spun toward them, causing them to "fear for their safety."
The officers saw "something metallic" in Middleton's hand -- which was, of course, the car keys.  As far as "lunging", Roy Middleton and I are about the same age.  Almost any change of position involves what might be perceived as lunging. 

While, as they say, nothing good happens after 1:00 AM, it rather sounds like Roy may  have been getting off work or at least not doing anything unusual:  “He was just coming home like he usually does. I don’t understand why they had to use so much force under the situation,” Middleton’s mother, Ceola Walker, told Fox 10. (Quoted at this IBT link)

A cousin on my father's side of the family was county sheriff in our county for many years back in the '50s and early '60s.  Like the fictional sheriff of Mayberry, Andy Taylor, he never carried a sidearm. Things were a lot different in those days and that part of the country is still a place where most people don't worry too much about gunfights. 

I don't want police officers to be injured or lose their lives on the job, but, frankly, the hazards of police work are somewhat over-rated.  Police officers suffer 18 fatalities per 100,000.  In 2010, there were 134 deaths of police officers on the job -- 56% of which were a result of traffic accidents -- only 2 of the accidents were part of high-speed pursuits.  Thus nationwide, fewer than 60 police officers were killed in gunfights or similar violent incidents -- too many in any case. 

Police work makes the top ten of hazardous occupations, at number 10.  The most dangerous job is fisherman which has fatality rate of 116 per 100,000 and an annual average salary of $27,000 compared to $55,000 for police officers.  Mining machine operators more than double the rate of  the police at 39 per 100,000 while making only $39,000 per year.  Farmers and airplane pilots rank at 5th place (41/100,000) and 4th place (71/100,000) respectively and are the only occupations in the top ten with a higher pay rate than the police ($65,000 for farmers which sound optimistic and $115,000 for pilots). 

The safety of police officers is very important but not more important than the safety of the citizens these officers are paid to serve and protect.

Reports differ but there were between 15 and 17 shots fired at Roy Middleton.  The car was shot up and he was struck once in the leg.  Fortunately, the two deputies involved are lousy shots.  They opened fire while acknowledging that they did not see a weapon pointed at them.  Even accepting that they might have perceived the keys and light in Middleton's hand as a firearm, it was being held above his head in a non-threatening position.  They had no reason to shoot. 

I hope Roy Middleton and his mother own the Escambia County Sheriff's department.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Freedom Is Dangerous

According to Chris Christie who warns us of:  a “strain of libertarianism that’s going through both parties right now,” and described the political philosophy,  which trends heavily toward a belief in fundamental human rights and fiscal responsibility, as a “very dangerous thought.”

I guess I am dangerous.  I never thought about fat causing brain damage, but apparently Christie is not getting enough blood and oxygen through his carotids. 

It is much safer to live in a totalitarian police state where everybody's words and actions are closely monitored.  Maybe the best thing to do would be provide all Americans with ankle monitors to make drone targeting much more certain.  All movements, conversations, and web site visits would require prior approval by Governor Christie's crowd.  Maybe we could all be outfitted with little centrally-controlled cameras that we couldn't take off.  Maybe we could have them surgically implanted in our foreheads. 

Evidently people aren't using their heads for anything else. 

If anybody is wondering, I will not under any circumstances be voting for Chris Christie in 2016.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Free Speech: 5 cents

My wife has loved Ted Nugent for decades.  She nearly cut off a toe in a fan while dancing to "Cat Scratch Fever" back in '79.  I saw Ted in concert probably three or four times by in the '70s.  He always put on a high-energy show.  He's a rock-n-roller, pro-gun, anti-drug -- always, always outspoken.  I wouldn't exactly call him a role-model, but he's far more decent and honest than most politicians -- either Clinton, Weiner, Filner, Menendez, or Spitzer, to name a few.  Though pro-gun, he never smuggled illegal arms to Mexican drug lords or to Al Qaeda members in Libya.

Nevertheless, Ted is in trouble for calling a certain deceased person a “dope-smoking, racist gangsta wannabe.”  

The good leftists of New Haven, CT are upset that a private citizen would express his opinion.  I suppose they would be just as upset with Obama's buddy Jay Z.


People have a right to boycott, to protest, and to express their opinion.  Nobody has a right to tell a private business owner such as Brian Phelps of Toad's Place, the site of Nugent's scheduled performance on August 6th, whom he may or may not bring in.  If a person is offended by Ted Nugent, the sensible thing would be to not go to his show.

If I bothered to watch much of the crap on television or listen to the pop music stations on the radio, I would probably find somebody who offended me.  Since I have better things to do than feel deeply and self-righteously indignant, I don't watch or listen to most of it.  It's America.  The first thing we tell you is you can say what you like as long as you get off my lawn.

All you Nugent fans out there, whether because you like loud guitars and feedback or firearms, if you happen to have some free time on August 6, 2013, and you happen to be in driving distance of Brian Phelps' Toad's Place, head on over.

You knew I was going to put up "Stormtroopers".  Who knew Ted Nugent was a prophet?   This is the studio version behind a rather chilling slideshow with lyrics thanks to Bernie Vest:   

Here's a great live version from 1977 with Derek St. Holmes and Nugent the way I remember him.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Why I May Never Vote Republican Again

From Zero Hedge comes the list of people who voted against restricting the NSA data collection on American citizens

This is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.  This is a police state tactic.  This is totalitarian.  This needs to stop. 

Billy Long, Vicki Hartzler, and Blaine Luetkemeyer are names I recognize immediately.  These are three Republicans from Missouri -- Long of the 7th District, Hartzler from the 4th and Luetkemeyer from the 3rd.  The 7th has not elected a Democrat as long as I can remember and for many years the 7th District Congressman was the only Republican in the Missouri delegation.  Hartzler replaced long-time "blue dog" Democrat Ike Skelton in 2010.  Luetkemeyer's 3rd district used to be the 9th which has been in Republican hands since Kenny Hulshof unseated friend-of-the-NRA and Democrat Harold Volkmer in '94 or '96. 

These three "conservatives" were part of the 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats who voted against the Amash-Conyers Amendment.  Apparently because, according to another Republican traitor, Michele Bachmann, telephone records are not private property. 

Ninety-four Republicans and 111 Democrats voted for the restriction.  Looks like Ann Wagner and Sam Graves of Missouri were also Republicans on the wrong side, along with Bachmann and former VP candidate Paul Ryan.

Three Missourians did vote for the Amash Amendment, including the despicable Emanuel Cleaver (D) of the 5th District in KC, proving that nobody born in Waxahachie can be all bad.  William Lacy Clay (D) of St. Louis' 1st District and Jason Smith -- a Republican -- of the 8th District also voted in favor. 

It is time to stop government collection of data on law-abiding Americans and to destroy all existing databases containing information collected to this point. 

Don't tell me if I have done nothing wrong I have nothing to fear.  This has nothing to do with protecting people from terrorist attacks or solving crimes.  This kind of data is for control and manipulation of the populace.  You want a term to explain this?  I got one for you -- Sheep-Herding.  That's exactly why this data is being collected, and Mr. or Ms. Conservative Congressman, if you are too stupid to understand this, you have no business representing me. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sleeping in Detroit City

Denninger takes Little Bobby Reich to task

Reich is what passes for a celebrity economist in our current Statist culture.  As might be expected of Statists, Reich's solution to the problem in Detroit is to expand the tax base and increase taxes on the "fortunate", the people "rich" enough to move out of the City of Detroit and into the suburbs.  In other words, Reich suggests that Michigan or perhaps the all-mighty, all-knowing, great and powerful federal government stick a gun in the faces of honest citizens and force them to pay even more to support the indolent inhabitants of the Detroit Reservation, along with the public sector unions and their pensions.

If I could get rid of one single evil in America today, I would be tempted to pick public sector unions.  Police, firefighters, teachers, government employees at all levels and of all strips should not be allowed to form unions.  They normally don't strike for higher wages.  The government pay-off is subsidizing health insurance plans and pensions.  Someone who can work at a relatively low-paying job for twenty years then spend the rest of his life drawing down almost the same money for doing nothing with no penalty for part-time or full-time work does not need to worry about saving, doesn't have to worry about the tax burden, doesn't have to worry that their investments might be too risky.  He has, as the old timers put it, "rocking chair money".  

It is the burden of funding these pensions that puts a huge drain on the taxpayer.  The federal government, states, and municipalities have been surreptitiously added to the working man's burden through inflation while claiming that Americans are under-taxed.  By piling up bonds on top of bonds that are never paid off, governments have managed to avoid an out-and-out revolt on either side of the balance.  They have managed to do it for many years, and all the Really Smart People™ like Reich think that it will go on forever if we just ask more people to "share".  

We have the whole world "sharing" at the moment to the point that all of the developed countries in the world are going off into the abyss together.  Detroit demonstrates the fallacy, and whatever may be done to "save" Detroit will only make the end that much worse.  St. Louis, Chicago, and numerous other cities are in exactly the same situation.  They just haven't hit the bottom yet.  California and Illinois are probably doomed to bankruptcy as well.  Illegal immigrants don't seem to have saved the Golden State. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Making the Streets Safe for Thugs

Obama says, [Thug who assaulted armed citizen] could have been him 35 years ago.

As of this past Monday, we are no longer using the names of the people involved in that situation down in Florida that ENDED last week.

No, Obama, it couldn't have been you.  For one thing, you probably never went to the john by yourself, let alone out on the street.  For another, I'm pretty sure you never threw a punch in your life.  The Wookie would put up a better fight.

The beauty of Obama's empty rhetoric is that it occasionally borders on common-sense, until it veers off into utter bravo sierra.  Thus, after teasing reason, Obama asks:

If [stupid teenage thug wannabe] was of age and armed could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk? And do we actually think that he would have been justified in shooting [armed citizen who was attacked and beaten by teenage thug], who had followed him in a car, because he felt threatened?
 Here's the thing, Obama, you stupid, race-baiting, gun-grabbing dumbass, the man who was on the ground having his head pounded against a concrete sidewalk did not FEEL threatened. He had been attacked, assaulted and battered, and, because the attacker would not stop despite the victim's cries for help and inability to resist, he feared for his very life.  And, yes, ANYBODY, who is in that position has the unquestionable, God-given right to defend himself or herself by any means available, and to deny anyone that ability by legal restriction is to be a party to mayhem and potentially murder. 

The good part of Obama's otherwise idiotic statement is that appears to put to rest the possibility of any potential federal charges against the victim of the assault.  Also, he does seem to acknowledge that at least part of problem is the worldview of young black urban males.  It is not that they don't feel "valued", however.  Rather it is that they are enabled to live as parasites on society.  We already offer too many people with no accomplishments too much in the way of self-esteem.  If these kids could and would get jobs, even if it was manual labor, they would gain a sense of value. 

The black kids I knew growing up were farm boys just like me.  We all worked.  We knew what it was to earn an honest dollar the hard way.  Those guys didn't turn out like this.  Of course, they also all knew who their father was.  He was present, teaching, guiding and correcting.  They were oriented toward family and church and community. 

You want to help black youth, Obama?  Shutdown the government gravy train and let the private sector rebuild.  Get the government out of the black family's business.  Encourage marriage.  Stop subsidizing out-of-wedlock births and making black women look to the government as their man.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cover of the Rolling Stone


I can proudly say that I have never wasted a dime or ten minutes of time on Rolling Stone magazine.  I did once have a subscription to Crawdaddy.  Anyway, at least Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show had the right attitude.  Rolling Stone is Tiger Beat for fat, white boys. But equating a murderer with Justin Bieber might just be too much.  Go join Detroit in bankruptcy and Disco in the dustbin of history.

Too Tall

Time sure does fly by.  I can't believe I have had my little Savage Mark II .22LR for over ten years.  Even worse is that fact that I have been complaining about the magazine for almost that entire time.

I picked up the Savage on whim, more or less.  I stopped by a gun shop barely out of the Missouri River floodplain looking for something else.  The .17HMR was just out at the time and the dealer had a bull-barrel Savage in that caliber that he tried to interest me in.  Next to it was this .22LR with the standard 21" tapered barrel and the price included a cheap Simmons 3-to-9 scope.  For some reason, I decided I needed yet another .22 rifle, and I bought it. The Savage is still sporting the Simmons that came with it.  I found that, once I got used to the trigger (not adjustable on these older models), the rifle shot very well and would put ten rounds of its preferred ammunition into a ragged hole at 50 yards.  As a bolt-action with a slightly longer barrel, the Savage makes better use of subsonic rounds than my 10/22. 

The Savage came with a 10-round, single-stack magazine. 

Not only does it protrude in a rather unsightly way, but it is in exactly the wrong place, right at the point of balance, and I can't grab it like I might an AR-15 magazine.  It winds up just being awkward.
The remedy was obvious -- a shorter magazine, but I could carry it by the pistol grip.  It's really very light with a synthetic stock.  I developed a habit of carrying it in my right hand sort of by the bolt and trigger guard.  Several times I have looked around various places for a five-shot magazine that I knew existed.  I never ran across one in the store.  Online, it seemed as if every time I thought to order one, the dealer would be out of stock.  Finally, last week, I was ordering some stuff from Midway and happened to think to check.  The five-shots were available, so I ordered two. 

Here's the difference: 

And here is the difference in the rifle:

So far function is flawless.  I really think the five-shots feed better than the longer ones, possibly because they flex less in the somewhat sloppy well.  I still like the ten-shot mags for convenient storage if nothing else.  With two tens and two fives, I have thirty rounds that don't rattle or get lost in my pockets and are available for immediate use. 

This is a happy hand.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Assault Stick

You know, I am a live-and-let-live kind of guy.  This applies even to snakes.  I cut a lot of grass, brush, weeds, and undergrowth every summer in part to discourage snakes from exposing themselves to my potential wrath.  I do, however, have a couple of hillsides that are just ideal for copperheads, and about once a year, I will have an encounter with one. 

Last year it happened as I was knocking down some sumac with the tractor and mower.  A copperhead slithered across the path in front of me and held up over in the leaves and taller grass thinking, I suppose -- if snakes think -- that it was no longer visible.  It wouldn't have been if I hadn't followed its movement.  As I didn't have anything longer than a pair of Vise-Grips on the tractor with me -- a rare occurrence.  I got down and used the saw blade on my Leatherman Wave to cut a hickory limb which effectively dispatched the reptile to the bosom of its ancestors.  If only it were so easy to get rid of other species -- like politicians.

This year, having recently moved my dog to her garden-guarding location, I was finishing up with some work late one evening when she began to bark.  The neighbor's dog had been running rabbits down in the holler, and I thought maybe my dog had caught sight of that one.  It was the way she sounded.  It was too dark by then for me to see much.  I decided she might want some food and fresh, cold water as it had been a hot day.  I went to fetch that and grabbed one of my flashlights on the way.  After dumping her food in the pan, something caused me to turn my light a little further to the side.   A fat copperhead, probably 16 or 18 inches long was headed toward the dog house. 

I yelped involuntarily, set my water bucket down, and looked around for something that wouldn't require my becoming excessively familiar with the creature.  I have a cinder block enclosure were we keep trash barrels and such in that area.  There I found a nice little two-and-a-half to three-foot stick and applied it vigorously to the invader's head while holding back my dog -- who suddenly decided I was desperate for help -- with my flashlight hand.  Adrenaline. 

I really don't think a snake could get through to skin when the dog's part-Chow undercoat is in place, but most of that is shed by now, and I had just given her a bath a couple of days prior.  Anyway, I didn't want to encourage her to try one on her own.  I flipped the former snake -- no doubt pining if not for the fjords perhaps for Yggdrasil and certainly regretful of its rash venture -- well off into the brush out of the dog's reach, and put my multipurpose assault stick back in its place.  Maybe we'll have another 12-month truce.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Road Report

After what seems like a month of 12- to 16-hour days, I got a break yesterday.  It was Sunday, and I couldn't wake up.  Finally, well after church started, I crawled out to my bike and took the long way around to get gas at the "no ethanol in our premium" station, checked the post office box (which contained material for a possible product review later this week), and rolled back down to the house.  By the time I had a couple more cups of coffee, my wife had gotten up.  We had slices of tomatoes from the garden on our sandwiches, and the Boss agreed to try going for a ride -- "if you go slow".

She hasn't ridden since last summer, so her trepidations were not without some psychological basis.  I agreed to stay below the speed limit, and we set off with the Enterprise's digital readout telling me my average MPG was at 42.7.  That's not bad, but I do tend to keep the Victory's RPMs between 2000 and 3000, except occasionally when launching from a stop.  I mean, you have to blow the cobwebs out now and then.

One of the guys that works at the dealership claimed he was running 12.7s at a nearby drag strip on a similar Vision sans trunk.  You sure don't need lots of room to pull off of our county blacktop's grade-crossing onto the four-lane.  But I took it easy with the Boss up, and traffic on the four-lane was pretty light anyway.

The limit is 65, meaning that most traffic is running between 65 and 75.  I stayed between 60 and 65 mostly in sixth gear with the tach showing a little under 2500.  I took us about forty-five or fifty minutes to get over to the town where my wife's maternal grandparents lived.  Our first break was to pull into the cemetery where they are buried, find some shade and break out the sodas we had chilling in a little collapsible cooler in the Vision's trunk.  The pipes run under the hard side bags and stuff in there tends to get a little warmer.  Life is so rough, right?

We checked the graves and talked about getting a tombstone for her uncle -- again.  Then, after a finding the wife a bathroom, we headed north on a two-lane.  There I kept the speed between forty-five and fifty-five, mostly in fourth, kicking it up to fifth on some of the longer straights and down to third in some of the tighter twisties.  That big ol' V-twin has plenty of bottom.  Only a couple of cars came up behind me.  One with Texas plates passed me twice, the second time after I saw it pulled off on a gravel road, possibly lost and checking the GPS or a map.  Phone service gets rather intermittent in spots out there. 

The route was very scenic, typical of this part of the Plateau, and the Boss commented several times afterward how much she enjoyed that part of the ride.  We took a turn over some county blacktops which rock, roll, and swing with the landscape.  There is no better way to experience these little roadways than on two wheels, unless it would be on horseback, and horses really like the dirt roads better.  On this part, too, there were virtually no other vehicles out.  No one came up behind us, and I think we met one pickup which was pulling a cattle trailer.

We stopped off at a relative's house where I drank a lot of coffee.  It wasn't all that hot for July here -- mid-to-upper 80s.  Still, a lot of heat comes off the engine and the air conditioning felt pretty good for a little while.  From there we swung up another state two-lane, topped off the tank with alcohol-free fuel and made a quick 20-mile run down the four-lane to where our county road hits.  In another five minutes or so, we pulled into the garage. 

It was about 125 miles total and the low speed had upped my average from 42.7 to 43.1 mpg.  So my wife was happy, and I may get to ride more this summer than last.  She was also impressed that we had ridden for a couple of hours for less than ten dollars in fuel. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I Have Never Been Happier To Be Dead Wrong

Congratulations to George Zimmerman, and thanks to his defense attorneys, their staff, and to the jurors who proved that Americans and Floridians can still show some common sense.

Most of all, Thank You, Jesus!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pray for George Zimmerman

I don't know George Zimmerman.  His politics differ from mine.  He voted for Obamanation.  He wanted to be a police officer or perhaps get a law degree.  He does not seem terribly bright, but he does seem like a decent enough person.  He cared about his community and tried to resist the wolves that prowled its fringes.  I don't know him, but I do know he is not guilty of murder or even manslaughter.

At Legal Insurrection, Professor Jacobson opens with this line I have a really bad feeling about the Zimmerman verdict.  I recommend reading it all.

I know how the professor feels.  I expect the jury to find Zimmerman guilty of an included charge of manslaughter.  In this case, in Florida, because of Martin's age and the use of a firearm, that means a thirty-year sentence. 

 I pray that I am wrong. 

As I have watched the case, it appears that the normal roles are reversed.  The prosecution, offering no solid evidence of any wrong-doing on Zimmerman's part, focused on bring his story into doubt.  The defense stuck mainly with facts and evidence, though damning evidence about Martin's use of drugs and his history of violence was suppressed by the court.  In a normal case, where the accused is presumed innocent, this would be no question of the verdict.

This is no ordinary case.  Zimmerman should never have been put on trial.  The former police chief, Bill Lee, says that he refused to make an arrest despite political pressure because it was wrong.  The video interview is in the link above.

As closing arguments begin, we pray that the six women sitting on the jury in this case will have the wisdom and understanding to see through the smoke and fog of lies, emotion, and innuendo from the prosecution and realize that they must find Zimmerman not guilty. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crude Shipping

Warren Buffet, the sage of Omaha, who loves Obama and pays less in taxes than his secretary, owns a railroad that might become somewhat less profitable with regard to its lucrative business of hauling crude oil from Canada if the Keystone Pipeline were ever to be built.

But pipelines, of course, are environmentally damaging and dangerous.  Trains, on the other hand, are completely safe.

Normally, before retiring for the night, the train operator sets the hand brakes and leaves one locomotive running to power the air brakes that help hold the train in place on the gently sloping track. The next morning, the operator or a relief engineer starts up the train and continues on their way.

Last weekend, the system failed. The locomotive caught fire, so firefighters shut off the engine to stop the flames from spreading. That slowly disengaged the air brakes, and the driverless train carrying 72 cars of crude oil rolled downhill into the scenic lakeside town of Lac-Megantic, derailing, exploding and leveling the town center.

At least 13 people were killed and some 37 are still missing, according to Canadian police. Few residents expect any of the missing to be found alive.
Very sad.  We should remember this little town and these people to God in our prayers. 

This what I would call a freak accident.  It could happen in very few places under extremely unusual conditions.  Pipeline accidents are rare and unusual, too.  Nothing is risk-free.  Anything can happen, and, over time, about anything will.  C'est la guerre.  

I wonder if Buffet of Omaha is going to take some of his billions to clean up the mess in Lac-Megantic and compensate the citizens for their losses?  I would guess not, but I could be wrong.  It may not even be his train, though he's still profiting on the risks borne by these folks and others.  He probably doesn't see it that way. 

Railways as well as fire departments should probably review their procedures for dealing with fires on trains.  A checklist with the question,  IS THE TRAIN PARKED ON A HILL ABOVE A SHARP TURN IN A POPULATED AREA?, might be helpful.

Meanwhile, it seems like a pipeline might not such a bad idea. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cowards and Consequences

I never had much use for Kenny Rogers.  "The Gambler" was not a bad song the first couple of times I heard it.  After a few hundred times, I got pretty sick of it.  Even worse was another "story song" about a boy named Tommy whom everybody called "The Coward of the County".  Tommy's father died in prison but not before telling Tommy not to fight when it could be avoided:  "Walk away from trouble when you can."  Tommy, though, apparently a slightly brain-damaged leftist, thought that meant never to stand up for oneself.

So, Tommy is bullied, run over, and ridiculed all his life.  He meets a girl, Becky, who just loves him for who he is.  Everything is wonderful until one day the three Gatlin brothers -- I assume that's Larry, Steve, and Rudy -- show up when Tommy is at work and proceed to assault Becky.  (In the linked video, Rogers skips the rape verse.  I do not have the stomach to watch it so I'm going by the comments.)  Tommy then goes out, finds the Gatlin boys and beats them like Batman.  And everybody applauds because he did it "for Becky".  You know what?  If Tommy hadn't had a reputation as such a pus-s-s-shover, the Gatlins might have thought twice about raping his wife in the first place.  Does the fact that Tommy knocked three men unconscious really make up for that fact of his wife being terrorized, traumatized and abused? 

It's true that women may be rape victims no matter how tough their husbands are, but that's hardly the point of the song.  We're supposed to feel that Becky was victimized by Tommy's cowardice -- or rather by the misjudgment of Tommy as a coward when, in fact, Tommy was simply trying to live up to the standard of non-violence to which his dying father had called him. Nevertheless, I hardly consider it right to purchase noble principles with the blood and suffering of the weak and innocent. 

There is a lesson in this that would be beneficial on many levels, from the international to the personal.  My father, too, told me to walk away from trouble whenever possible, adding, however, "You never have to take a whipping -- except from me."  As it turned out, I actually had very few fights that weren't, more or less, for fun.  A person who is looking to beat up, intimidate, or humiliate someone else generally does not pick a person who looks capable of and/or willing to put up a decent resistance.  There are exceptions.  Sometimes some people take extra convincing. 

Bullies are never stopped by success. 

This is not a great insight on my part.  Why would anyone think otherwise?  Whether you are a citizen dealing with a street thug, a citizenry dealing with a police state, or a nation dealing with financial pirates, the longer you let the bullies go, the harder it is to convince them to stop.

The more we beg Islam's pardon for our offenses against them, the more we try to bow and submit to their demands, the more outrageous those demands are going to become.  The same is true for Israel, and it has been proven over and over again for more than sixty years.  The only way to stop this nonsense is to draw the line hard and fast and viciously.  The only danger to airplanes is from Muslims.  You all can ride a camel wherever you need to go or submit to profiling.  Period.  Everybody else can take their soda and their Swiss Army Knives and wear their boots.  Muslims will be given a shower, an enema, and a hospital gown and board in little paper booties.

Then you have the case of George Zimmerman.  Last week the persecution prosecution essentially admitted that Zimmerman shot Martin while having his head beaten against the concrete; however, they argued, Zimmerman's injuries were not "life-threatening".  I suppose that means a woman should allow herself to be "legitimately raped" or "rape-raped", as Whoopi Goldberg might say, before she shoots her attacker?  Or maybe she should just go along with it.  That's probably Hillary Clinton's view, because, after all, what difference does it make?

To be perceived as cowardly and subject to victimization is to become a victim.  Unless we are willing to resist evil, evil will have its way. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Monday, July 1, 2013

What Will Happen in the Zimmerman Trial

I have been thinking about this a lot.  There are parallels to the Simpson trial and to the Rodney King situation.

In this case there are two factors that tend to skew opinions.  One is race.  As most will recall, Simpson was viewed as guilty by whites and innocent by the majority of blacks.  The fact that this was the first high-profile case involving DNA may have had something to do with it, but the pivot on which opinions turned was Mark Fuhrman, the detective who put the case together.  He had been documented as using racial slurs.  When this was brought to the public's attention, black people immediately concluded that Fuhrman had decided to frame Simpson.  White people, missing the emotional charge of the slurs, continued to look objectively at the evidence.  We did not see that uttering a racial epithet would motivate Fuhrman to try to pin a murder on a "hero" by manufacturing evidence.

I was certain that given the overwhelming physical evidence in the Simpson case, he would be convicted of murder.  As we waited for the news to announce the verdict, I voiced that opinion to a wiser friend who shook his head with disgust and said, "No way.  He will walk."  Juries, like dice, can be loaded.  

Similarly, Trayvon Martin's phrase "creepy ass cracker", as quoted by the prosecution's witness Rachel Jeantel, is seen by many black people as being cultural rather than something racially-charged.  We, white or black, should not allow a bit of teenage trash-talking or bravado to lessen our objectivity.  Rachel Jeantel's credibility isn't a function of her culture, her lack of education, her limited communication skills, or her race.  That does not change the fact that she is not really a witness to the events as they took place.  Even if she is telling the truth, her timeline conflicts with the idea that Zimmerman ran Martin down and initiated the attack.  She cannot give evidence of something about which she has no knowledge. 

The second factor that divides opinion is the media involvement.  Those who are following the streaming video of the trial have one view; those following the media coverage of the trial may well have a different view.  I think many who are following the media coverage both of the incident when it was brought to the fore last year and of the current trial could easily conclude that Zimmerman is guilty.  Those who have looked at the evidence in more detail are likelier to have doubts.   

The media has, from the first, insisted on showing pictures of Trayvon Martin as a smiling twelve-year-old thereby distorting the narrative of what took place the night of Martin's unfortunate death.  There is something of a parallel to the Rodney King case where a video of part of an arrest was run constantly on television.  It showed Los Angeles police officers beating King with batons after he was on the ground.  I have no sympathy for the LAPD, but late Rodney King had been drinking and was driving at high speed, fleeing from CHP officers prior to the stop.  He was on probation for armed robbery and refused to comply with the officers' request to be handcuffed.  He had managed to stay on his feet and continued to resist arrest despite being Tasered twice.  None of that was mentioned much, he was just "motorist Rodney King", the innocent victim of police racism and brutality.  While the charges of excessive force may have been merited, subduing a larger, stronger, belligerent individual without hurting him is difficult.

I suspect there is a good chance there will be another parallel to the King case if George Zimmerman is acquitted.  People are already threatening violence against Zimmerman or against white people in general if the accused is not convicted.  The acquittal of the LA police officers by a Simi Valley jury on charges stemming from the King incident was an excuse for widespread rioting.  In addition, those police officers were brought up on federal charges of violating King's civil rights.  Two of the four officers so charged were convicted and jailed.

I have every confidence that should the jury somehow manage to acquit Zimmerman, Obama will set the White House carpet on fire getting to a microphone where he will read from the teleprompter and say, "I am deeply disappointed by the decision of the jury in the George Zimmerman case to ignore the clear evidence presented by the State of Florida in the tragic and senseless murder of a young man with so much potential in life.  Though the murderer may have managed to escape the consequences of his actions as it relates to state criminal charges, this failure of justice cannot be allowed to stand.  Therefore I have instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately pursue charges relating to the violation of Trayvon Martin's civil rights as he was gunned down after being racially profiled.  My administration will not rest until George Zimmerman is brought to justice for this act of racism and cold-blooded murder."

Again, I have serious doubts that Zimmerman will be acquitted, though I think a conviction would stand a very good chance of being overturned on appeal.  Meanwhile Zimmerman's hopes for any kind of normal existence have been thoroughly dashed, and his life will be in danger if he is set free.