Morning Links

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
  • California liberals worry that federal pot raids will make people distrustful of government. Let’s hope so!
  • National Guard Units aiding state drug war efforts. And possibly in defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Kyllo.
  • This article on the Otto Zehm killing aptly demonstrates the many problems with police unions.
  • Both Reuters and Walter Olson throw water on the notion that Stand Your Ground and Castle Doctrine laws are filling the streets with blood.
  • The sponsors the 1978 California law that substantially expanded the state’s use of the death penalty are now arguing for its repeal.
  • Clark County, Nevada DA won’t charge a cop who was caught on film repeatedly kicking a man in the head. The man was in diabetic shock at the time. The officer has a history of misconduct, which the DA apparently didn’t know about until it was uncovered by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  • Union claims it should be able to force anyone who wants to work in a particular field to join the union and pay dues, and that it should then be able to use a portion of those dues for political activities. And it claims that preventing it from doing so is a violation of the union’s free speech.
  • How the pun changed world history.

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100 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  MikeZ | 

    To me that emergency operator is saying something like, “I can’t advise you to maintain pursuit as this may not be a safe course of action for you, If you do pursue and you get hurt please don’t sue us because I technically told you following the individual was not something we requested. “

  2. #2 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    SYG laws became popular enough to become law because the “Duty to Retreat” standard didn’t work very well, and people were sick of it. In time the SYG laws will have made enough people angry to get overturned, but I don’t think that time has come yet, and I hope that the eventual cause is better founded than the notion that the kid in this instance was as innocent a babe as he has been portrayed in some quarters.

  3. #3 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Burgers link:

    http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/04/09/video-shows-chaotic-scene-fatal-raid-shooting

    basically they have released some choppedup video of the Matthew Stewart pot raid where Jerry Farncom took a few too many in the face (and so fresh off his stunning victory over Todd Blair). The fact that these videos were released isn’t the interesting part. The interesting part is that the commentators think the gunfire was dubbed in and are beginning to look at the video like Dan Rather shot it. I hope that goes somewhere.

    Related side note: I think the “siren” (car alarm really) may have been dubbed into the Jose Guerena video. No one else picked up on it this time. If it turns out that the shots were dubbed in the Stewart, I can’t take credit for the scoop — thank the commentariat at the Ogden Examiner Standard.

  4. #4 |  a comment | 

    Richmond VA police idiocy tip — http://www.nbc12.com/story/17364222/richmond-police-officers-to-give-overnight-wake-up-calls

    If you leave your cell phone on the seat of your car, Richmond Police could come knocking in the middle of the night.

    Officers in Sector 412, which includes the Bellevue, Ginter Park, Northern Barton Heights and Carver neighborhoods, will be participating in a new “Wake Up Call” initiative.

    Officers will patrol neighborhood streets between the hours of midnight and 4:00 a.m. looking for any items of value (such as a GPS, music player, or computer) in plain view in a parked car. If they see anything left out, they will match the vehicle to its registered owner. If the owner lives in the neighborhood, midnight shift officers will knock on the front door for an unexpected wake up call.

  5. #5 |  Burgers Allday | 

    @10: fair but weak. La Rana’s right. btw, this is exactly how we learned in for the bar exam in my state, at least as of a few years ago. We learned not merely that this particular jurisdiction has a duty to retrreat, but WHY.

    What is kind of funny about this is all the laws we had to learn that have no reasonable justifications. In duty to retreat states, the lawyers actually are made to understand the law as a matter of policy, which is a really rare commodity in post-9/11 jurisprudence.

  6. #6 |  Dante | 

    I still have a question about George Zimmerman:

    If Trayvon was on top of him, and Zimmerman shot him, why was there no blood on Zimmerman’s clothes? It would seem that gravity would put some there.

  7. #7 |  Goober | 

    The Otto Zehm case is a classic case of officers resorting to violence and force way too soon. They saw a guy acting strange. Immediately, they think “perp. On drugs. Criminal. Must. Subdue” instead of what the case really was, which was a mentally retarded man who had a reputation for being completely harmless in every way in his community.

    If Thompson and his buddies had just approached this with some questions and talk first, they likely would have found out that Zehm was a harmless mentally challenged individual who just needed to be asked nicely to leave.

    What they decided upon entering the store is that he was a tweaker who needed to be subdued at all costs. After beating the unholy hell out of the poor guy, he spit at the officers (or, they claim that he spit at them). They put an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth WITHOUT IT BEING HOOKED TO OXYGEN. This, they determined, essentially suffocated Zehm to death.

    So yeah, Thompson is not a very nice guy. Neither are his buddies. My guess ist hat the detectives in the case made them feel like suspects BECAUSE THEY WERE, AND RIGHTFULLY DAMNED SO. The ultimate travesty of the whole mess is that except for Thompson, all the other officers are still on the force.

  8. #8 |  Goober | 

    @ #55 Dante – Where did you read that there was no blood on Zimmerman’s clothes? I had read just exactly the opposite, which, in the end, is the defining condition in this case – no one except Zimmerman knows what happened.

  9. #9 |  Goober | 

    #49 – Lunchstealer – The 911 operator has no authority to tell anyone what to do. They can’t give direction, and not following a direction that they give is not against any law. This argument is pretty thin. Try something else.

    By a lot of accounts, Zimmerman gave up the tail soon after and headed back to his truck, anyway. Again, the accounts vary, and leave enough in between for anyone to believe whatever they want as long as it fits their worldview. Are you so blind that you cannot see that?

    Do you really wish to risk railroading an innocent man who acted in self-defense simply based upon reporting that to date ahs shown itself to be ridiculously biased and wrong? (MSNBC – “He looks black!” MSNBC – “zimmerman is 240 pounds and trayvon was 165” Zimmerman is 170 pounds, BTW. The entire media showing a pic of Trayvon at 12 years old while they show a pic of Zimmerman in jail orange mugshot.)

    Try to accept the fact that the reporting has been very agenda driven to date, and that there may be more to this story than you or I know.

  10. #10 |  Goober | 

    Lunchstealer – one more thing. I agree in theory with your impeachment of the hypothetical SYG in your hypotheticals – you don’t get to start a situation, excalate it, and then kill a guy in self defense because he wanted to kick your ass for starting a fight with him. That’s not what SYG means, though.

    SYG was created in response to a lot of prosecutions of folks who acted in self-defense, legitamately, who were then monday-morning quarterbacked by a overzealous prosecutor who said “he could have ran away or gotten out of this.”

    SYG is merely to protect innocent folks from being prosecuted whenever anyone could look at a situation and say “see! he could have done X! Or Y! Why did he choose to stand and fire!”

    Most folks saying this sort of thing have never been in a life-and-death situation. You can’t monday-morning QB something like that.

    That being said, SYG does not allow a man to break a beer bottle over another guy’s head, then shoot him when he gets up to beat his ass, and not fear prosecution. It is not the proverbial “following a bear through the woods, then shooting it when it turns to attack” that your side of tha rgument is twisting it to be. It is what I said it is – protection from monday morning quarterbacking about the “retreat first” rule.

  11. #11 |  Goober | 

    @ 43 – JThompson – Where is your proof that Zimmerman “initiated a physical confrontation?” Pretty please?

    As for “harrassing”, people forget that Zimmerman technically has every right in the world to follow anyone he wants to follow. There is nothing illegal about that. Your entire premise is hinging upon Zimmerman “starting a physical confrontation” of which you have absolutely zero proof other than that seems to be how you “feel” about the situation.

    Back off. Take a breath. Think logically, not emotionally. You’ll benefit from it.

  12. #12 |  EH | 

    Still waiting for Radley’s victory lap over Andrew Thomas!

  13. #13 |  M | 

    NYTimes article on the evidence against long term high does opiod therapy as effective treatment:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/health/opioid-painkiller-prescriptions-pose-danger-without-oversight.html?pagewanted=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

  14. #14 |  JOR | 

    “One thing that the Zehm beating and other similar incidents reveal is that police are poorly trained in martial arts.”

    I think they’re trained in certain approaches to martial arts that are packaged to appeal to macho-tripping “alphas” and alpha-wannabes. Most people who go for that kind of training never get to actually apply it on anyone seriously, but cops are often enough allowed to manufacture situations where it is ‘necessary’. Additionally, for practical self-defense, most people have to worry about 1) an opponent actually fighting back and hurting them and 2) legal ramifications of using excessive force, especially against a restrained or fleeing opponent – and training and techniques reflect these realities. Realistically, cops have to worry about neither of these factors, and so they thrive on training that is designed to cater to their egos but would get them injured, maimed, killed, or arrested if they ever used it in the real world.

    It’s similar to the way that their armed raids are often performed with stunningly sloppy tactics. When you realize that these raids are usually not that dangerous for the cops, and that they know this very well (even if they refuse to admit it), it starts to make sense. It’s not that their training is bad. It’s just that their training is for a different purpose than what they claim it is: terrorizing relatively harmless victims in particularly vulnerable circumstances, for varying purposes that most people would recognize as utterly depraved if anyone other than Our Heroes In Blue were using them as excuses.

  15. #15 |  Cynical in New York | 

    The whole Martin case is just getting weirder by the week

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/10/trayvon-martin-case-george-zimmermans-attorneys-quit_n_1416031.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D150763

  16. #16 |  JOR | 

    “Right To Work” laws do violate freedom of contract. They make it illegal for a union and employer to make a voluntary agreement that employees must be members of that union. This is what is called a union shop contract. Nobody forces employers to agree to such conditions in states without “right to work” laws.

    Now maybe you think that’s fine and justifiable*, but you should at least be aware of and honest about what it is.

    *It’s interesting that the people who insist that Right To Work laws are justifiable are generally the same people who argue in almost every other case that surface-voluntary agreements between agents is complete proof that there is no exploitation or coercion or anything unseemly going on. If a boss demands daily blowjobs from his secretary, why, that’s perfectly fine and voluntary in libertoidland – she could always quit, after all.

  17. #17 |  rmv | 

    @65 JOR

    “Nobody forces employers to agree to such conditions in states without “right to work” laws.”

    You’ve never worked construction in NYC. Holding a baseball bat and/or a city inspection over your head if you don’t perform a certain action ain’t voluntary.

    Re: second half of your comment.
    Lame strawman is lame.

  18. #18 |  Homeboy | 

    So, the Clarke County DA believes that there can be no malice expressed in a pig’s actions so long as the PD trains their thugs to exhibit malice routinely in the field? How in the world does that make sense?

  19. #19 |  Homeboy | 

    Nevada Revised Statute, Chapter 200: Crimes Against the Person – “Malice shall be implied when no considerable provocation appears, or when all the circumstances…show an abandoned and malignant heart.” I don’t seem to find any indication that a DA’s subjective view of “evil intent” is to be considered in the finding of malice. Further, the justification that someone abandoned themselves to training that called for him to act with a malignant heart doesn’t seem to remove a suspect from culpability here. Finally, am I the only one who finds it shocking that a DA would publicly adduce the most radical form of the Nuremberg defense to pre-emptively exonerate a suspect, given the current state of the law? ‘He is not guilty of a crime because his training or instructions allowed him to behave criminally.’ Really?

  20. #20 |  JOR | 

    “Lame strawman is lame.”

    It’s not a strawman if it’s an accurate characterization of the logical conclusion of commonly stated principles, let alone an actual commonly held position. I don’t even completely disagree with the “strawman”. Yes, the hypothetical boss is a shitty human being who ought to be shamed and ostracized into decency or at least abject poverty. But nobody has a right to a job.

    I’m not invested in defending any aspect of liberal capitalism. We do have a toxic system that makes people far too dependent on jobs provided by the political-capitalist elite for a living. Unions, especially officially recognized unions, are just another part of that system, largely deserving the same scorn. But ‘secondary regulations’ aimed at mitigating the problems created by primary regulations (in this case, outlawing unions that refuse to represent the interests of all workers and not just paying union members) have a poor track record.

  21. #21 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    @65 JOR

    “If a boss demands daily blowjobs from his secretary, why, that’s perfectly fine and voluntary in libertoidland – she could always quit, after all”

    What an ignorant characterization of the libertarian position. The “live and let live” attitude stops short when behavior that is hurtful or coercive to others is involved. Using a position of authority to coerce sexual favors is definitely damaging to the secretary, and is NOT “perfectly fine and voluntary in libertoidland.”

    Regarding violation of freedom of contract: There is no state in the union that does not have a multitude of laws that regulate contracts. Absolute freedom to enter into whatever contract you want to does not exist. States that choose “right to work laws” as part of the package merely shift the freedom of choice from the employer – union relationship, to the employee-union relationship, which in my opinion, being somewhat of an individualist who values people above corporations, is the one that matters most because it replaces a single decision, made by the company with many decisions made by the individual. Right to work laws enhance individual freedom.

  22. #22 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    I think that trying to form an argument for or against SYG laws using the Zimmerman ordeal as an example is a waste of time. There just isn’t enough info there to make a solid argument either way without adding hypotheticals.

    I prefer SYG laws over duty to retreat. I’m not a prosecutor but I can imagine that if I were one, it wouldn’t be too difficult to convince a jury that a defendant had options to retreat. I’ve been robbed at gunpoint, and I can say with a certainty that your ability to be rational is severely compromised when your life is threatened and even if there are opportunities to retreat successfully, you will undoubtedly miss them. It’s just too easy for the prosecutor to Monday morning quarterback the whole situation.

    Not only that, but a man with a knife can cover a lot of ground in the time it takes your average person to clear a concealed weapon. A prosecutor telling the jury that you should have run because the man with the knife was 30 feet away might sound reasonable to the jury, but reality is much different.

  23. #23 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    One more thing about the “freedom of contract” between unions and employers: It sounds like a fine theoretical argument that right to work laws violate the freedom of a company and union to enter into a contract, but the reality is that in non-right to work states the company/union contract is not voluntary on the part of the company. It is a contract forced on the company by the employees and their right to organize. I believe that most companies will fight unionization to the best of their abilities and not voluntarily enter into contract.

  24. #24 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: JOR, #65:

    The blowjob example is extreme, but it’s entirely plausible and arguably less egregious than some of the conditions to which American employees are routinely subjected. I’ve had bosses, including ones I didn’t find sexually attractive, whom I would have much rather have had impose upon me for sexual favors than subject me to their standard bullshit artistry, mismanagement, manipulation and general disrespect.

    Obviously, sexual quid pro quo can be a managerial disaster, aside from any ethical considerations, since it often results in the promotion of incompetents and intense jealousy among those who have been passed over, but it’s far from the only horror in American corporate management. The very fact that modern-day personnel managers almost always refer to their departments as “human resources” speaks volumes. There’s little that’s human about the way that many companies treat their employees; hence the doublespeak.

    The standard libertarian position on labor relations is incredibly facile. Employers have immense power over employees and prospective employees to dictate unreasonable terms of employment. This is especially true in the absence of unions or equivalent employee advocates, which is now the norm in the American private sector, and it’s especially true in times of surplus labor, such as the past four or so years. Ignoring these conditions makes libertarians look either like fools or shills for the wealthy and powerful. As a practical matter, the distinction isn’t all that important. Libertarianism is just as dead on arrival either way if voters don’t trust libertarian politicians or policies to keep them from being preyed upon and beggared by the powerful.

  25. #25 |  dunphy | 

    “One thing that the Zehm beating and other similar incidents reveal is that police are poorly trained in martial arts.”

    oh, absolutely. it varies agency to agency, but in general… poorly trained in MA. i have a few coworkers who are competitive MMA athletes, and i’ve learned a lot from them, but law enforcement defensive tactics training isn’t very good, but considering how little time is spent on it – it’s not surprising

    sadly, the physical standards are ridiculously low, and to be politically incorrect, a lot of the bar lowering came about to increase the # of women in law enforcement.

    i have had the pleasure of training with some of the strongest women in the country – record holders – but of course on average they are substantially weaker, so the strength requirement in law enforcement are weak – much weaker than firefighting, for example

    SWAT teams have more rigorous strength and fitness testing but the standards to be a police officer are … ridiculous and largely a hold over from the cooper standards era, which is ludicrous for law enforcement

    the reality is it takes a lot of skill to put a resistant person into handcuffs even if they are say 15% weaker than you are physically. with 2-3 officers, it’s easier, but still more difficult than most people realize

    the addition of tasers, etc. has given officers a crutch such that physical prowess viewed as even less important.

    compare our officers to japan, for instance. their officers receive much better martial arts training and very specific training is required for various positions that are vastly superior to our requirements

    let’s face it. law enforcement is very expensive, our salaries are great, benefits great, and many other costs associated with it. our academies are about 6 months long and filled with a lot of PC fluff, and they aren’t going to get rid of some of that crap to replace it with valuable martial arts training, nor are they going to raise the standards much because of union pressure, monetary concerns, gender concerns, etc.

    some of the guys i work with are phenomenally capable, former NFL, elite track and former major league baseball players, for instance. many others have gone out of their way to spend their own money and time studying BJJ extensively etc.

    but the requirements , much like firearms proficiency requirements are low and what is ridiculous is that once somebody gets out of the academy, at least in my agency, they will never have to prove they are at any given fitness level, no matter how low. i worked with a guy today, and he’s a great guy, but he is morbidly obese and simply cannot do many physical tasks one would expect a LEO would have to be able to do.

  26. #26 |  Mike T | 

    #7 (and others objecting to SYG laws)

    These two statements are irreconcilable. If Florida did not have SYG, Zimmerman would not thereby be guilty, but he would have been arrested and indicted for the reasons you’ve already conceded. You just don’t seem to like that conclusion.

    Assuming it is true that Zimmerman was already retreating when Martin approached him, this would not be true even in duty to retreat states. If someone is already practically upon you, you cannot effectively retreat. Furthermore, if someone attacks you, then gets you on the ground even in most duty to retreat states you’d have an iron clad right to escalate the level of violence to whatever it took to protect your life.

    What you and the other SYG critics cannot seem to grasp is that the SYG law in Florida actually unequivocally says that if you initiate a confrontation, you cannot use lawful self-defense force at all unless the opponent’s response is so over the top as to be disproportionate in the eyes of any reasonable person. By your own metric, that is that self-defense was to be proportional, Florida’s law is reasonable in that it formally abolishes a claim of self-defense when the would-be claimant instigates and is met with reasonable force.

    What we are finding is that it appears increasingly likely that Zimmerman was an overzealous watch captain, but turned around and left. Martin then followed him, pulled a thug attitude on him when Zimmerman was already leaving him alone and tried to kick his ass. If that’s what the evidence in court bears out, then Martin deserved to get killed because he is then the equivalent of the homeowner who followed the bear into the woods and shot him when he finally turned around.

  27. #27 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    The real con is allowing the laws to be “right-to-work”, when they’re actually “fire-at-will” – they have nothing to do with the employee and everything to do with the employer.

    @73 – That’s the point, they CAN’T provide any such protection. The entire *point* is stripping away those basic protections, but without anything to take their place.

  28. #28 |  Mike T | 

    Not only that, but a man with a knife can cover a lot of ground in the time it takes your average person to clear a concealed weapon. A prosecutor telling the jury that you should have run because the man with the knife was 30 feet away might sound reasonable to the jury, but reality is much different.

    Another aspect of this is that most people don’t understand how quickly normal people can lose a fight against someone who lands a few well-placed, hard blows to them. In the movies, a street fight can take what seems like 10-20 minutes; in real life it’s more likely to be over in under a minute unless both sides are equally matched (including pain tolerance).

  29. #29 |  zendingo | 

    “What we are finding is that it appears increasingly likely that Zimmerman was an overzealous watch captain, but turned around and left. Martin then followed him, pulled a thug attitude on him when Zimmerman was already leaving him alone and tried to kick his ass. If that’s what the evidence in court bears out, then Martin deserved to get killed because he is then the equivalent of the homeowner who followed the bear into the woods and shot him when he finally turned around.”

    how did we find this out? care to cite a source? is what george zimmerman claims happened? who saw trayvon follow zimmerman? citations please!!!

  30. #30 |  Mike T | 

    Zendingo,

    It isn’t my obligation to raise your understanding of the new witness’ statements to the level of a simple Google search. Do your own homework.

  31. #31 |  Ariel | 

    #78 Mike T,
    I was sucker punched to the left eye and was blinded in both for about 5-10 seconds, and couldn’t see clearly for about 30 seconds to a minute. He could have easily killed me during that time. Luckily, the one punch satisfied him. My pain tolerance is fairly high, I’ve walked on a split tibia, but a well placed blow can easily incapacitate.

    The question with Martin/Zimmerman is who initiated the attack that led to Martin’s death.

  32. #32 |  Ariel | 

    I see that the numbers do not stay attached to the comment, my comment was to Mike T’s starting with “Another aspect of this…”

  33. #33 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I’m not up for reading the comments to the first link. Was it really “California liberals” or one liberal California editorial writer?

  34. #34 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    @73

    “I would have much rather have had impose upon me for sexual favors than subject me to their standard bullshit artistry, mismanagement, manipulation and general disrespect”

    Do you think a union would protect you from being subjected to “bullshit artistry, mismanagement, manipulation and general disrespect?”

    It’s been my experience that unions and union bosses can impose said discomforts just as well as non union bosses.

    Anyway, it’s not as if unions don’t exist in right to work states. They do, and if the employees want to unionize, they can, and the union can provide a level of protection between the company and the worker. I just don’t have to join if I don’t want to.

  35. #35 |  Burglars Allday | 

    So, the Clarke County DA believes that there can be no malice expressed in a pig’s actions so long as the PD trains their thugs to exhibit malice routinely in the field? How in the world does that make sense?

    It makes sense bcs eventually he will be made to re-read those words in front of a jury.

    What I am trying to say is that he probably, by dint of his words, lost summary-judgement-stage-qi for Clark Co. as a defendant entity.

    He is shooting his mouth off, legal consequences be darned.

    Of course, regular readers will appreciate that prosecutors often get absolute immunity. The difference is that those cases are generally for things that the prosecutor does, or causes others to do, in the confines of the courtroom, and/or through discovery, motion and/or appellate practice. This guy is talking about how police are trained in the field, and, perhaps more importantly, about widespread patterns of police behavior. I predict he will end up sad he talked. We, Agitatortotski’s will probably never find out that he will become sad that he talked. But that doesn’t mean it is not going to come to pass.

  36. #36 |  Burglars Allday | 

    @73

    Awesome diatribe. This is exactly what Mr. Balko needs to hear. I used to bug him with this kind of thing a lot in 06 and 07, but times were pretty good and I think he kind of came to dislike me and to avoid my posts.

    Still, antitrust libertarian. Yes. Not an oxymoron. Deconsolidation of economic decision making. Atomized markets (that is the kind that make for benevolent Invisible Hand) with lots and lots and lots of buyers and lots and lots nd lots of sellers for each and every “free” market transaction. It is the way out of the economic quagmire (just as it was in 2006, even if the quagmaire wasn’t as quaggy because of the Iraq War military spending boom. Lots and lots of broken windows there, if you catch my drift. Good in the near term, which near term is now long gone.

    Something inside me knows that Balko has the brains and guts to make the shift (it will be the mirror image of when his hero Uncle Miltie flipped in 1980 after AT&T got busted). We just have to keep after him with the rhetorical thrusts and Pareto-efficient parries.

    The thing with him is that he is just so close to getting it.

    When he gets really defensive about the Koch-Octopus thing, I think we catch a glimpse as to what we are really up against as far as the Koch thingee goes. He is right that most of the specific Koch-related innuendoes made against him are groundless and ridiculous.

    The problem is, that doesn’t mean that the Koch Brothers are effectively putting constraints on his thinking, or at least on his thinking about what is practical and what is prudent and what is not.

  37. #37 |  Burglars Allday | 

    –Koch Brothers are NOT effectively —

    I am saying that they are putting certain constraints there. Just not the ones all the sill leftwingers complain about so vociferously.

  38. #38 |  Burglars Allday | 

    Oh, yeah. The other thing I used to try to tell him is that the free market needs to start putting cane back in the soda. That is no longer an issue, because it has happened in the time since 2007. You should see how mercilessly they (the commentariat, not Mr. Balko personally) used to tease me about the cane thing. But it happened. I can walk into a gas station and buy a bottle of soda with cane sugar in it.

    This may be the best thing that has happened in the US economy in the past 4 years. It is not much, but it is a good thing and it was the good thing that *I* was “agitating” for. Ha ha, commentariat circa 08! That means u, Flappy. and u, T.

  39. #39 |  zendingo | 

    @80 Mike T.

    so the version you present is your own with no basis in reality, gotcha.

  40. #40 |  Mattocracy | 

    This whole notion that employers are going to force people to blow them or put employees into dangerous conditions against their will is absurd. Sexual coersion is against the law and opens up an employer to a lawsuit no matter what state you live and work in.

    If you’re employed in an industry that has the risk of injury, the employer makes the effort to mitigate those risks and avoid lawsuits. Getting bonded and insured makes this a worth while endevour for business owners. I live in a right to work state and I’ve worked for a company that was sued for not having effective safety measures in place. No union was necessary. The employees are not helpless.

    The bottom line is that unions and employers are made up of individuals and individuals do bad things when they are given the power to do to so. We shouldn’t force unionization onto people nor should we outlaw collective bargaining altogether.

    Unions have a reputation for artifically inflating wages, forcing benefit packages onto employers that bankrupt them, and prevent bad emplyees from getting fired. Employers have a reputation for creating unsafe work environments and creating unreasonable demands on employees. There is a middle ground where these things are mitigated and that is through free association and uncoerced collective bargaining. Laws shouldn’t favor either side, they need to be neutral.

  41. #41 |  JOR | 

    #73, I actually agree with all this for the most part (though I’m not particularly interested in pandering to voters – if I were, I’d be a racist, police/prison statist, imperialist, rape/torture apologist, etc. – much like the people who, you know, get elected).

    We have a toxic system that makes people far too dependent on the political-capitalist elite for a living, and the abuses aren’t so much a bug as a feature of the system, much like the cops’ ability to thrash defenseless civilians at will. Unions themselves, sadly, can be and often are another vector of abuse, and as they exist now they’re just another part of the political-capitalist system.

  42. #42 |  JOR | 

    “This whole notion that employers are going to force people to blow them or put employees into dangerous conditions against their will is absurd. ”

    Whether or not it happens in the world we have now, it’s certainly something that is permissible under often-stated libertarian principles and is sometimes explicitly defended by libertarians. Of course everyone’s missing the point; my claim wasn’t that, without unions, bosses will suddenly start forcing their employees to blow them (maybe they would, maybe they wouldn’t). It was that, by the principles given in common libertarian arguments (nobody has a right to a job, if you don’t like the conditions of your employment you’re free to quit and get another job, etc., all things I agree with in principle, mind), there are no grounds to complain if employers make union membership a condition of employment.

  43. #43 |  Mike T | 

    #89,

    so the version you present is your own with no basis in reality, gotcha.

    So you admit to being incapable of doing a Google search, gotcha.

  44. #44 |  zendingo | 

    @93 Mike T.

    Trouble is, after an exhaustive search i can’t find any kind of information to support the version of events you’ve posted other than the word of george zimmerman, who is directly contradicted by the account of trayvons girlfried, deedee.

    why should we belive george zimmerman over deedee? do you think george zimmerman has motive to conceal the truth?

  45. #45 |  Les | 

    JOR, you’ve got me thinking about this in a new way. What if the law only applied to public sector unions, in which there is an arguable conflict of interest?

  46. #46 |  MikeZ | 

    Seems to be lots of web statements regarding witness statements with a simple google search as Mike T suggests. Not that I give credence to any of them as so far they all appear to be anonymous statements. There is Fox News’s “Secret Witness” who claims the guy in the red sweater (zimmerman) was being attacked (google: red sweater zimmerman), as well as theguardian’s “anonymous source” who claims zimmerman walked back to his car uninjured.

    As for the girlfriend she seems like she would have the same credibility issues as Zimmerman. Do you think she has motive to protect the image of her former boyfriend? Do you think she may be angry at the man who killed him?

  47. #47 |  zendingo | 

    “As for the girlfriend she seems like she would have the same credibility issues as Zimmerman. Do you think she has motive to protect the image of her former boyfriend? Do you think she may be angry at the man who killed him?”

    this is what it really comes down to; who do you believe? do you believe the heroic neighborhood watchman, or do you believe the girlfriend of the thug who attacked george zimmerman.

  48. #48 |  dunphy | 

    anybody who talks about whether martin “deserved” to get shot, isn’t understanding use of force doctrine/law

    it has NOTHING to do with ‘deserving’. deadly force is not a moral judgment. lots of people who are shot justifiably, whether by cops or others don’t ‘deserve’ to die. the issue is:

    was zimmerman placed in a situation/position such that a reasonable person would fear imminent serious bodily injury or death by martin?

    that’s the standard.

    in ANY self defense shooting, whether this one, a cop one, or any other one.

    imo, the evidence is starting to lean towards zimmerman’s claim of self defense – physical evidence, witness statements, ‘smell test’, and the fact that he volunteered a statement of self defense after being handcuffed, mirandized and taken to the station is consistent with how innocents act. it reminds me a lot of the duke case, another case where there was a rush to judgment against them, and their behavior, from providing alibis to VOLUNTEERING dna w/o a warrant was strongly suggestive of innocence.

    any witness credibility in any situation is taken in light of their nexus to either person. there is an independent witness – no tie to either party – and what he saw is consistent with zimmerman’s claims. and zimmerman could have no way of knowing that when he was taken down to the station and he gave his statement. martin’s girlfriend may be telling the truth, but just as cop critics here would be less likely to believe a cop testifying on a cop’s behalf, there is a reason to be critical of a girlfriend testifying on behalf of her boyfriend. there is at least a MOTIVE to lie, whether or not she is lying, whereas an independent witness has no such motive.

    it’s about totality of the circumstances. her statement is but one piece of the totality

  49. #49 |  Cynical in New York | 

    #97

    If you frame it that way of course Zimmerman looks better. Oh and you gave me a good laugh for the “heroic” part.

    #98

    Maybe its my cynical outlook on life but especially on how big this issue is blown up. I doubt that any “mystery or surprise” witness that comes up is going to have no tie to either party. Which is sad since I rather see this play out with actual justice not assholes gunning for political points but of course that disappeared weeks ago.

    BTW Zimmerman is expected to be charged

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/george-zimmerman-charged-trayvon-martin-death-reports-193845232.html

  50. #50 |  dunphy | 

    yea, i saw that. one benefit (to society) is if he is charged and the case goes to trial, we will theoretically have less bogus speculation and false statements and more info.

    of course, i HOPE the prosecutor is making this decision based on evidence, not outrage.

    but god knows prosecutors are often political animals