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Archive for March, 2008

Jury Duty, Day 2

March 27, 2008 2 comments

As Vin Suprynowicz wrote, voire dire is French for jury-stacking. I’m experiencing that process first-hand right now. We’ll see what happens.

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John McCain’s Decade-Long Attack on the Individual

Two interesting op-eds from today’s NY Times. (I think only the first one is in the print edition.)

The first is from Readon Magazine editor-in-chief Matt Welch on John McCain’s “decade-long attack on the individual.” Key excerpt:

“We are fast becoming a nation of alienating individualists, unwilling to put the unifying values of patriotism ahead of our narrow self-interests,” Mr. McCain warned in a speech during his 2000 presidential campaign. He added that “cynicism threatens to become a ceiling on our greatness.”

Where there are threats to national greatness, there are activities that Mr. McCain insists the federal government should curtail. And the most maverick individuals among us are destined to bear the brunt.

Am I the only one who hears “Ride of the Valkyries” whenever a politician starts talking about “national greatness”?

On a more cheerful note, the second piece from today’s Times looks at the graphics revolution inspired by the Ron Paul Revolution.

Live Blogging from Jury Duty

March 26, 2008 1 comment

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have jury duty starting today. I’ll post periodically throughout the day if anything interesting happens — hopefully without saying anything that will get me arrested.

Thankfully I’m in the New York County criminal court section, so I might get an interesting case, not the lame civil court section.

Things got off to an inauspicious start this morning. As promised, I printed up a stack of juror rights brochures from the Fully Informed Jury Association and discreetly left them on a table with official court literature in the waiting room. Twenty minutes later, a court officer noticed the brochures and confiscated them. Oh well.

Interesting that they mentioned New York’s famous John Peter Zenger trial in the juror orientation video. The narrator (the late Ed Bradley, I think) mentioned that the jury was ordered to find Zenger guilty but refused. Odd that they’ll mention that,  but they won’t connect the dots to inform jurors they have the long-standing right and duty to judge the law itself, as well as the facts of the case, regardless of any judge’s instructions to the contrary.

How the media injected black men with syphilis

March 23, 2008

When Malik Shabazz spoke for the New Black Panthers on talk shows last week in regards to Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s racial comments, he stated the US gov’t infected black men with syphilis according to the Tuskegee Experiment. Conservative pundits didn’t know how to rebuttal him. They couldn’t deny the Tuskegee Experiment took place between 1932 and 1972 where over 300 poor and mostly illiterate black sharecroppers were denied treatment for syphilis. It is one of the more shameful chapters in US history, alongside slavery and lynching.

However, it’s disconcerting pundits didn’t argue a crucial fact. Black men were NOT injected with syphilis. The men who volunteered to participate were already infected. The ethically unconscionable and monstrous act by federal researchers was denying them proper treatment of penicillin. Instead, the subjects were informed they had “bad blood” and were studied like lab rats to examine how syphilis would take its toll over the course of years.

But Shabazz was not the only one to have uttered this dangerously misleading inaccuracy without question. Obery Hendricks, professor at the NY Theological Seminary, stated on The O’Reilly Factor “we do know the government injected black men with syphilis.” Journalist Ed Gordon also stated “the government was giving syphilis to black men” on Hardball with Chris Matthews. Woefully inaccurate statements, which can’t be excused as “taken out of context”, have now become, for some, absolute truth.

Extreme fear of political incorrectness coupled with ignorance has muddied the waters of a needed dialogue once again on mainstream news channels. It’s no wonder we have yet to achieve a rational and peaceful resolution between blacks and whites as well as the left and right, when those in the media who speak to millions of viewers each day and earn just as much per year don’t do their homework.

As the battle for network ratings continues on the issues of racism and politics, it’s amazing no one has touched upon another study from the Tuskegee Institute to addresses the utter irony behind Rev. Wright’s hateful berating of Condoleeza Rice as “Condoskeeza” or Colin Powell as “Colonel Colon” for their Republican partisanship. Between 1880 and 1951 over 3,437 African Americans were lynched in the US. These crimes occurred not only due to the deep-rooted hatred in states along the Cotton Belt, but mainly because lynching wasn’t considered a federal crime.

Yet, during that same time, 1,293 white Americans were also lynched. Nearly all were Republicans who no doubt defied the Southern Democratic agenda of segregation. Also known as the Dixiecrats, this was the Democratic base Franklin D Roosevelt didn’t want to upset in order to pass his New Deal programs. This was the reason why FDR, nowadays viewed by many as a Democratic demagogue, never signed anti-lynching legislation during any of his four terms in office. Ultimately, some of these programs granted unions power to lock blacks out of the labor force during the Great Depression.

It wasn’t until after 1948 when Harry Truman introduced anti-lynching legislation that lynching finally became a federal crime. Truman, the same president who dropped the atomic bomb and inspired Rev. Wright to state “God damn America” (and break with the Third Commandment no less) for Americans supposedly not even batting an eye to the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Just another obscure and ironic historical fact that shows life isn’t as black and white or left and right as the mainstream media would have us believe.

Bob Barr rEVOLution!

Back when Bob Barr was still dismissing the notion (must have been weeks ago), I made the case for Barr to run as the Libertarian candidate for President. Now it looks like Bob is warming to the idea.

Come on, Bob, do it!

Yes, I know he isn’t a perfect libertarian — but honestly, neither is Ron Paul. Both are just a gazillion-percent better than any other credible candidate.

To reiterate, Bob Barr is:

  • strongly pro-RKBA
  • strongly pro-civil liberties
  • strongly pro-privacy
  • strongly anti-Patriot Act (admitting he made a terrible mistake in voting for it)
  • anti-Iraq War (another mistaken vote while he was in office)
  • anti-drug war

I’m not ready to give him a “strongly” on the last one, because he was one of the worst drug warriors ever while he was in Congress, and he has a lot to atone for on that front. But he was a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project last year, and he has appeared with Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance to speak out against the drug war in recent years, so he is working on it.

Just seeing him on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton — whose husband’s impeachment he led — would be reason enough to have him in the race.

Sign the Draft Bob Barr for President (or Presdient — yes, I know I made a typo in the petition title, but I can’t change it) petition here.

Hat tip: Hit & Run

Speaking of Guns

March 21, 2008 1 comment

Janet Mercereau, the widow of a Staten Island fire marshal, has been indicted in the murder of her husband. She has always been considered the prime suspect because “three bullets were fired from the fire marshal’s own service revolver issued by the FDNY. ”

Just one question: Why in the world does the Fire Department get to issue guns to its members? Is there some advanced fire-fighting technique I don’t know about?

The Bloomberg Collection

March 21, 2008 36 comments

 

Tired of drab gunmetal blue and black dominating your arsenal? Do a fashion makeover on your weaponry with The Bloomberg Collection of designer gun paints and camouflage.

Wisconsin-based Lauer Custom Weaponry is honoring our hoplophobic mayor with a line of brightly colored paints for each of the 5 boroughs — Manhattan red, Bronx rose, Brooklyn blue, Queens green, and Staten Island orange. They even include a stencil of Mayor Mike’s face for the barrel of the gun.

If urban camouflage is more your taste, Lauer also offers the Bloomberg Collection EZ Camo Kit with a brick-wall-and-graffiti motif for only $129.

Not surprisingly, our ingrateful mayor doesn’t appreciate the tribute. “By coloring these guns, a real one looks like a toy, and a police officer won’t be able to tell the difference,” the mayor huffed.

That’s the same excuse Bloomberg and his nanny-state allies used in 2003, when they tried to ban all toy guns from New York City — until the Manhattan Libertarian Party rode to the rescue.

Of course, it’s a total urban myth that cops are shooting innocent kids because they mistake toy guns for real ones. There’s been exactly one documented incident in NYC since 1994 of a truly innocent child playing with a toy gun and mistakenly being shot. That was in the case of a deaf child playing in a darkened hallway who couldn’t hear the police order him to drop the weapon. The other “children being shot while playing with a toy gun” are inevitably gang-bangers using a fake gun to commit a real robbery.

On the other hand, the police do sometimes mistake a wallet or a cellphone for a gun, with deadly consequences, but so far they haven’t called for a ban on wallets and cellphones.

As of 2006, anyone who uses, buys or sells a gun-coloration kit in New York faces a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Here’s a modest proposal: How about the police refrain from shooting their own guns until they have positively identified a lethal threat? And by threat I don’t mean the mere presence of something that may or may not be a gun. Like say, oh I don’t know, a gun barrel pointed at person, the suspect refusing an order to drop the weapon pointed at a person, or bullets emerging from the barrel.