Morning Links

Friday, October 5th, 2012
Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

61 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  seeker6079 | 

    Regarding Wikipedia and the professor.
    Take this guy with a grain of salt, please. I followed this when he first started kvetching about in February. While the prof has (arguably rightly ) in his book corrected an error that has made its way into the large majority of textbooks to date, he real annoyance is that Wikipedia won’t permit him to be the definitive word on it. He doesn’t try to say “most textbooks say X, I say Y, and here’s my cite(s)”. Rather, he wants to completely change the entry and takes the fact that Wikipedia won’t let him be the instant, sole and final word on it as proof that Wikipedia isn’t to be taken seriously.

    Frankly, the prof’s attitude reminds me of Barack Obama’s classic 2007 gelding of Ralph Nader: “[M]y sense is is that [he] is somebody who, if you don’t listen and adopt all of his policies, thinks you’re not substantive. He seems to have a pretty high opinion of his own work.”

  2. #2 |  Adrian Ratnapala | 

    #1 yep, it seems the Wiki process is working pretty well in the case – so far.

    I think I understand why the guy is upset. If the article is correct, then the primary documents provide a pretty much open-and-shut, theres a nice document right there with pages and pages of evidence.

    But here he reminds of Richard Dawkins or someone who doesn’t want parents to be able to give their own kids a religious upbringin. To him, (and to me) these religions are obvious bunk, but that doesn’t mean my position is enough – no matter how strong my evidence.

  3. #3 |  Chris C. | 

    Given the record numbers of gun purchases over the last not-quite-four-years, I am mildly suspicious about an alleged drop in gun ownership. That would mean that a decreasing number of owners are buying sharply increasing number of guns. And, anecdotally, I am reading many reports of new gun owners getting training (a very good thing) in proper safety and use. There could be an underreporting error. I know for sure that I would not respond to a telephone poll asking whether I owned firearms.

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    Suspect that Baltimore police claim died from choking on drugs while in custody actually died of blunt force trauma.

    Obviously suicide.

  5. #5 |  seeker6079 | 

    Part of the problem lies in how universities are approaching knowledge. Over the decades they have become increasingly insular and markedly and increasingly “deeply hostile to any other systems of knowledge generation. It is particularly unfriendly to those who would attempt to counter the worst failings of” academia, the most notable being private enterprise knowledge generation, “popular” instruction and — especially — autodidactism.

    The professor is a symptom of a larger problem: universities, having cornered the market on intellectual credentials (because confirming credentials is easier than confirming knowledge) are — like all established oligopolies — moving aggressively outward to absorb or denigrate other sources of knowledge and its diffusion. The professor’s case can’t be seen in isolation; it has to be understood as a canary in the education coal mine: the universities, not satisfied with being able to control what is and isn’t acceptable or properly certified knowledge within their walls are moving on to establish that authority outside them.

  6. #6 |  divadab | 

    Re: Wikipedia – this incident is an interesting psychological study of the strength of received wisdom in the face of new information or paradigms. Just ask Galileo how much he would have preferred Wikipedia’s out-in-the-open debates v. the authoritarian denial of conflicting narratives that almost resulted in his execution for heresy. (I mean, when you see Galileo in Heaven, wherever that is, or whatever that is, or whatever!).

    When people work together with their minds, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. Or, in the case of politics, the whole can be less than the lowest minds. ;>}

  7. #7 |  Sertorius | 

    I’m with Chris C. in being very suspicious of claims of declining gun ownership – every media report that claims a decrease in gun ownership cites to the same source, the “General Social Survey” telephone poll run out of the University of Chicago.

    I certainly would not disclose whether I owned or not to a telephone pollster.

    Further, here is the chart (straight from the FBI) on National Instant Checks for prospective gun owners:

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/copy_of_TotalNICSBackgroundChecks.pdf

    This, obviously, trends the other way. Additionally, Concealed Carry permit holders are usually exempt from NCIS, so the more “hardcore” gun owners (those that go to the trouble of getting a CWP) are not even counted in these NCIS figures.

    So I am highly suspicious of the General Social Survey.

  8. #8 |  ravenshrike | 

    Gun Culture 2.0 places an unspoken emphasis on Fuck You when it comes to authority. Which is a good thing by and large. However, one of the side effects unless I am much mistaken would be a larger likelihood to ignore surveys. Moreover, this is especially true of telephone surveys where you can’t even see who is actually asking the question.

  9. #9 |  Marty | 

    in our state, pain patients already have to be urine tested to make sure they have the opiates in their system- to make sure they’re not selling the drugs. this also causes the pain patient to shy away from trying other therapies, such as cannabis.

    to have even more intrusions into their already difficult lives really shows how much the cops are wanting to ‘serve and protect’.

  10. #10 |  Jim Wetzel | 

    From “Another isolated incident:” police supervisor Sgt. George Pigford.

    Too good!

  11. #11 |  dsmallwood | 

    #10
    lets add to that.

    “police supervisor Sgt. George Pigford, who arrived at the scene following the raid . . .”

    i see a new wrinkle in ignoring – the little people are always clamoring for more police supervision. well, this is how you give it; you send the supervisor to the scene AFTER the raid. perfect sense. i boggles the mind that you would send a team of commandos into a residence without a supervisor. but that’s just me. i am a silly little person.

    i would also like to draw attention to how the assualt team stuck to procedure.

    “In compliance with standard operating procedure, officers verified that the person of interest was no longer residing at the home and did not search the residence any further.”

    i wonder if they all endorse “kill ‘em all and let god sort ‘em out”?

  12. #12 |  Pablo | 

    That shooting involving the child porn raid illustrates the foolishness of no knock house raids in all but the most dire situations. When the police storm someone’s home they are in unfamiliar territory. The “shock and awe” provokes unpredictable responses. Innocent people may be present.

    Is there a good reason they couldn’t have waited for this individual to leave his home and arrested him somewhere outside? At least then he wouldn’t have had a rifle.

  13. #13 |  Danny | 

    As a supporter of the Second Amendment, I am convinced that honesty obliges me to acknowledge that mass shooting incidents are a pretty-much unavoidable outcome of civilian ownership of combat firearms. The legality of Glocks, ARs, AKs, repeating shotguns and similar types of guns means that, in a country of 300Mill.+ people, a few crazies are going to go on a rampage every now and then.

    A lot of gun enthusiasts are in denial about the costs of civilian ownership of combat firearms. They think the law is irrelevant, and the crazies would just get illegal guns or use gasoline bombs to similar effect, but it just ain’t so. These crazies only use civilian-legal weapons. They don’t use RPGs or M-60 machine guns or SAW machine guns because those weapons are illegal (or virtually so), making them almost impossible for an ordinary civilian to obtain.

    Legality makes the critical difference. The line between legal combat guns and illegal military weapons is the line to which the mass-shooting perpetrators adhere very closely.

  14. #14 |  MacK | 

    From the “Another isolated incident” link.

    ““It’s a routine practice that the respective jurisdiction gets notified,” Tobin said. “Something broke down on this one. If there was a breakdown, I want to know where. If our officers happened upon it, they might have been put in jeopardy.””

    So he was not to concerned about the innocent victims, but with the possible jeopardy it could put his officers in.

  15. #15 |  Mattocracy | 

    I think the issue has to do with mass media more than mass murders. That is to say, we hear about these things more because of 24 hour news, not that they occur at any greater rate than previously.

  16. #16 |  Charlie O | 

    Re: the Chicago Trib article on marijuana. How do police get away with claiming they saw a “green leafy substance.” No one smokes green leafy pot. No smokes leaves at all. It’s all in the bud.

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Bizarro threadjack:
    TSA now saying it wasn’t TSA who stole photog’s camera, deleted images,
    and stole memory card. It was just the plainclothes goons they called in
    to do it *for* them. That makes it ok, right?
    Link: http://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-blog/carry-on/2012/10/4/tsa-claims-mistaken-identity-in-camera-theft

  18. #18 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Probably the most outrageous thing you’ll read today: Sarasota, Florida sheriff tries to trick pain patients into signing away their Fourth Amendment rights.

    FTA: “We drafted the form to give the doctors a mechanism to contact us. It was really designed more as a safeguard to protect people’s rights than anything else.”

    Well, this ludicrous statement aligns nicely with what most people (libertarians included) think is one of the government’s primary missions: protecting our rights. Which is, of course, one of the stupidest, most naive, and dangerous attitudes on the planet. The government does not, never has, and never will protect your rights. They will, in fact, always (ALWAYS!) be the single biggest threat to your rights (and, in the long run, they usually win).

  19. #19 |  FritzMuffknuckle | 

    Here’s another cop with superhuman olfactory abilities. Deputy Dominic Fornal was driving his car at 35 mph when another car passed him going in the opposite direction. The cop turned around and pulled him over claiming he could smell pot that was in a baggie inside the suspects sock. He hadn’t been smoking it, so there was no burning pot smell. Even a search with drug dogs and couldn’t find anything, but eventually they found the baggie during a frisk.

    The judge threw out the case saying “It defies belief that someone could smell non-burning marijuana stuffed in someone’s sock, in a baggie.” Good judge. The Sheriff, on the other hand, determined the problem to be that this was proven only because it was caught on the cruisers dashcam, so he assigned deputy Fornal to a cruiser that doesn’t have a dashcam.

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120824/ARTICLE/120829785?p=all&tc=pgall&tc=ar

  20. #20 |  Jeff W | 

    #13

    Would you say that if the sort of weapons that were used in these shootings were made illegal that they would be as hard to obtain as a SAW or a M-60 is today? I don’t think they would be.

    I dunno I guess I don’t buy that if these weapons were harder to obtain that these sort of tragedies would occur less.

  21. #21 |  Personanongrata | 

    Terrorized family: SWAT team raids wrong home

    SWAT for warrant service is domestic terrorism.

    SWAT was serving a warrant in order to obtain a DNA sample from a “person of interest” why couldn’t a uniformed officer simply have knocked on the door?

  22. #22 |  Kurtz | 

    That whole Mother Jones article and accompanying statistics were so fetid that it practically gave me the clap. ‘Assault Weapons’? You mean select fire weapons? None of the shooters had ‘assault weapons’. Its a bullshit term that has been adopted via fiat by anti-gunners as a buzzword. The modern day semi-auto carbines that many people own are not ‘assault weapons’, not by a long shot. And what was that crap about ‘machine pistols?’ Did the shooters honestly have something like a pre-ban Mac-10 or an actual G-18? If not, those aren’t machine pistols, and should have fallen into their ‘semi-auto pistols’ category (And for what it’s worth, nearly all handguns on the market nowadays are semi-auto. The exceptions would be hunting/target pistols like the Thompson Contender, or some of Ruger’s single action revolver offerings.)

    If the article itself didn’t give me some type of disease, the commentary sure as hell did. The profound ignorance on the part of those who stand against firearms ownership drives me to drink. We live in an era where the government is slowly encroaching on all of our inalienable rights and into our private lives, and doing so with an excessively heavy hand, and people are actually clamoring to have firearms taken away from honest citizens? Am I in the god-damned Twilight Zone?

    What a joke. How about this, I’ll keep my M1A battle rifle, my Kalashnikov sporters, and my Mossberg 590A1, and the anti-gunners can keep their petty baseless sentiments about firearms ownership and the cognitive dissonance that accompanies it, and we’ll just leave each other the hell alone.

    Your rights do not end where another persons feelings begin.

  23. #23 |  derfel cadarn | 

    They send SWAT teams to get a DNA swab ? Thankfully they did not need a urine sample as the homes occupants would have been shot along with the neighbor’s dog. When are Americans finally going to say enough!

  24. #24 |  nigmalg | 

    Chris C,

    I’ve heard the same things anecdotally. I have serious doubts that gun ownership is actually falling. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult if not impossible to accurately quantify.

  25. #25 |  nigmalg | 

    We live in an era where the government is slowly encroaching on all of our inalienable rights and into our private lives, and doing so with an excessively heavy hand, and people are actually clamoring to have firearms taken away from honest citizens? Am I in the god-damned Twilight Zone?

    Not the Twilight Zone. People are just astonishingly naive.

  26. #26 |  Danny | 

    At Kurtz # 22:

    “Assault weapon” is a generic term for civilian legal combat guns. It is not a “bullshit” term. It is used in the gun publishing industry for decades.

    Do not confuse it with the more technical term “assault rifle.”

    Calling a semi-auto AK or an AR a “sporter” does not successfully obscure the fact that the weapon is designed for combat and has a capacity for rapid-fire killing that simply does not inhere in a 3- or 5- shot bolt action deer rifle.

  27. #27 |  marie | 

    The piece about the child porn raid is incoherent. Mid-story, we read something about the homicide unit investigating but we have read absolutely nothing about a death. Not until the final paragraph do we learn that the guy who shot the cops also shot himself.

    A SWAT raid to catch him, though? The cops just beg to be shot. At least they got the woman and girls out of there before they stormed the place…and at least they were after someone who did more than look at the pictures.

  28. #28 |  Rojo | 

    I haven’t studied the Haymarket issue carefully myself, but a quick bit of googling reveals that there is quite a bit of serious scholarly questioning of Messer-Kruse’s methodology and conclusions.

    Radley, for all his very commendable questioning of authority when it comes to contemporary incidents of the cops lying and the justice system rail-roading people, seems very credulous when it comes to this Messer-Kruse guy and his claims that clearly the justice system was not rail-roading people when it is undisputed that the vast majority of the six-day trial was dedicated to painting a black (no pun intended) picture of the anarchist beliefs of the accused. This in an atmosphere when anarchists were being demonized by virtually every political and journalistic authority in the land.

    That said, I’m not insisting on the complete innocence of all the men who were hung (or the three who were pardoned by the Democratic governor who also saw the trial as a travesty of justice). Lord knows, anarchists, especially of that period, have been willing to use violence (as has virtually every other political strain that ever existed on the face of the planet). I don’t know enough about this case to make a definitive judgement, because I haven’t delved into it very carefully. On the other hand, I suspect Radley is not a scholar on this issue either, yet he seems ready to accept Messer-Kruse as the word from the mountain top.

  29. #29 |  nigmalg | 

    Josh Sugarmann had something interesting to say about that.

    Assault weapons… are a new topic. The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons — anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun — can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

    The term has been irresponsibly used by anti-gun groups to demonize common rifles and exploit the public’s ignorance when it comes to firearms. I guess you can say they were half successful, as it appears to be a very common term these days.

    Calling a semi-auto AK or an AR a “sporter” does not successfully obscure the fact that the weapon is designed for combat and has a capacity for rapid-fire killing that simply does not inhere in a 3- or 5- shot bolt action deer rifle.

    While you’re correct that some firearms have been designed with combat in mind, including the vast majority of semi-automatic handguns, it’s still used often as a stand-alone justification for their subsequent ban. That’s why you see such hostility against these terms. The simple fact is that these weapons are exactly what the 2nd amendment was written to protect.

  30. #30 |  a_random_guy | 

    Anyone who has actually worked on Wikipedia articles will understand the professor’s problem. There are undoubtedly good editors out there, but consider: what kind of person is able and willing to spend dozens of hours a week doing it? Too many of them are pathetic people with no lives, who do it for the feeling of power that it gives them. Too many of them are are petty little tyrants.

    If an article has even a hint of political controversy, the problem gets worse. Even if facts are undisputed, they can be presented with different leanings, and most Wikipedia editors seem to lean pretty far left. In this case, the professor was daring to question the martyrdom of heroes of labor. How dare he! And with primary sources to boot!

    I maintained several Wikipedia articles back in the early days, in areas I knew well. When the editors started to get prissy, it just wasn’t worth the hassle any more.

  31. #31 |  seeker6079 | 

    On the other hand, I suspect Radley is not a scholar on this issue either, yet he seems ready to accept Messer-Kruse as the word from the mountain top.

    The problem isn’t that Radley accepts him as the word from the mountain top. The problem is that M-K is all pissy because Wikipedia won’t instantly accept him as the word from the mountain top, and so, in M-K’s opinion, that is instant proof that Wikipedia isn’t worth donkey balls.

  32. #32 |  marie | 

    About the isolated incident:

    The couple was still surveying the damage when Wilmington Police Inspector Sean Finerty and a civilian counselor arrived at the home to explain what had happened and offer counseling for their daughter. The conversation ended when the Tuppenys asked them to leave.

    Let someone from the department that ran the raid come to ‘counsel’ their daughter?? No. Good for the Tuppenys.

    He also noted in the statement that last year, the city’s Crisis Management Tactical Team executed 110 search warrants with “no serious injuries to any officers, suspects or innocent citizens.”

    Notice who comes first in the list of people who weren’t injured. Notice who comes last.

  33. #33 |  marie | 

    About the isolated incident:

    The couple was still surveying the damage when Wilmington Police Inspector Sean Finerty and a civilian counselor arrived at the home to explain what had happened and offer counseling for their daughter. The conversation ended when the Tuppenys asked them to leave.

    Let someone from the department that ran the raid come to ‘counsel’ their daughter?? No. Good for the Tuppenys.

    He also noted in the statement that last year, the city’s Crisis Management Tactical Team executed 110 search warrants with “no serious injuries to any officers, suspects or innocent citizens.”

    Notice who comes first in the list of people who weren’t injured. Notice who comes last.

  34. #34 |  Danny | 

    I agree that there was a great deal of public confusion between full- and semi- auto twenty to twenty-five years ago, fed by irresponsible newsmedia, but I don’t think there is much these days.

    The internet, the mainstreaming of gun culture, the extensive airing of the political and legal controversy over these types of guns, and even FPS videogames have made the public much more literate on the distinction. Anybody who remains ignorant of the distinction between full- and semi- auto today is stubbornly out of touch.

    These guns have a bad reputation for a reason: they have killed a hell of a lot of people, often without warning and in the hands of legal owners, or people who obtained them by skirting very weak legal barriers. Changing the terminology isn’t going to successfully hide the fact that these types of guns can put 30 aimed shots into a nursery school playground in 30 seconds.

    If you are a Second-Amendment purist — and I am one — you have to deal with things the way they really are.

  35. #35 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    RE: Baltimore case…
    “The state medical examiner has determined that an East Baltimore man’s death in police custody last month was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma, an account that conflicts with earlier assertions that he died from choking on drugs.

    A copy of the autopsy report provided by the family of Anthony Anderson, 46, showed that he suffered fractures to eight ribs, contusions to his left lung and a ruptured spleen.”

    Hmm, airway obstruction becomes blunt force trauma after further review. Nice try, BPD. Eight rib fractures could have easily caused pneumo thorax (chest cavity fills with air) or hemothorax (chest cavity fills with blood), which can lead to respiratory arrest pretty quickly. A ruptured spleen will cause massive internal bleeding and could lead to hypoperfusion (“shock”) very quickly. These are injuries consistent with motor vehicle crashes or a bad beat down, not a little “tussle.” Even a soon to be licensed EMT student like me knows that.

  36. #36 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “I’m lying on the garage floor at gunpoint and they are invading my home terrorizing my family,” Tuppeny said. “This is America. We’re innocent people here.”

    Sorry Mr Tuppeny. In 21st century America we are ALL suspects until the POlice say we aren’t. If they have to bash in your door, kill your dog and terrorize your family to prove you innocent (yeah, that sounds backwards) then they consider that to be within standard operating procedures. Real investigative work (background checks, surveillance, canvassing) is for sissies. These days they’d rather bring out SWAT.

  37. #37 |  el coronado | 

    Danny, do you really think you’re fooling anyone with your tired old routine? Do you really think folks aren’t extremely familiar with the astroturfer’s ‘Method #1′ of ‘pretend you’re a 2nd amend. fan, then solemnly say “except for certain weapons TPTB don’t want us to have, of course”, followed by an assuring restatement of your fealty to gun rights’? (“If you’re a 2nd amendment purist – and *I* sho’ am!!”)

    In the propaganda trade, that’s known as a Bullshit Sandwich. Tell a lie to get in the door, make your real point that completely contradicts the first lie, then leave with another lie – because studies show that stupid people remember only the last thing that was said. (Rather like the USG unemployment rate showing a statistically impossible .3% drop 2 days after our Dear Leader exposed himself as a brittle, clueless moron who can’t debate his way out of a paper bag.)(Coincidence?)

    Or are you just one of those computer-generated personae bots, also known as a sock puppet, that prowl social media and espouse views that certain people – people who pay well – want espoused? Your lack of subtlety and laughably drone-like prose (Who writes shit like “I agree there was a great deal of confusion […] fed by irresponsible media..”?? What human being writes like that?) *does* seem to imply wooden, unimaginative, stolen-in-china programming….

  38. #38 |  Danny | 

    # 37 el coronado:

    I am convinced that the Second Amendment, by its terms, prevents the federal government from prohibiting civilian ownership of fully-automatic select fire assault rifles.

    If this is insufficiently “pure,” then your ideological cordon sanitaire is narrow, indeed.

  39. #39 |  Eric Y | 

    Firearms manufacturing is alive and well. The ATF keeps annual manufacturing statistics going back more than a decade, by type (rifle, pistol, and shotgun) and by company. They are available here: http://www.atf.gov/statistics/

    It’s worth noting about 80% of all firearms manufactured every year is a rifle. Using companies that exclusively manufacture “assault rifles”, we can surmise about 25% of all rifles (at minimum, as many companies make assault rifles along with other rifles), and subsequently 20% of all guns manufactured are “assault weapons”.

    By way of comparison, the FBI uniform crime reports breaks down homicide by various tools, and by state, including blunt objects, hands and feet, rifles, etc. One can take this data and organize it by order of decreasing frequency on cause of homicide. On this list of homicides, what do you suppose is listed at the very bottom of the list? Rifles. All rifles. Including so-called “assault rifles” as well as hunting rifles, competiion rifles, fully automatic military rifles, lever action rifles, bolt action rifles, and perhaps even muzzle loaders. Rifles are responsible for less than 3% of all homicides, less than 350 in 2010 out of roughly 11,500. Straight from the gubment: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls

    This provides an interesting contrast in statistical extremes . The most prolific firearms being manufactured are responsible for the least number of homicides. Keep an eye out for Emmy award-winning science documentarian Kris Koenig. He will be producing a Second Amendment documentary named Assaulted, which was fully funded via Kickstarter as of yesterday night. It will be using statistics to dispel these oft-repeated myths of gun legislation and assault weapons.

  40. #40 |  Mesasunrise | 

    Danny, as for the crazies “only” using civilian legal weapons, here is a link about the Happy Land Fire, 87 people died due to a gasoline container and drunken, evil intent. We live in a wicked world, and it is the fault of the people who live in it, not the tools they have.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/26/nyregion/fire-bronx-87-die-blaze-illegal-club-police-arrest-ejected-patron-worst-new-york.html

  41. #41 |  el coronado | 

    Really, Dannybot? Hmmm. OK… let’s take a closer look at your comments here and see if I’m full of it or not. Let’s also include an emphasis on whether or not you’re employing the classic ‘bullshit sandwich’ propaganda methodology, as well. Ready?

    comment #13: “Danny”: “As a supporter of the 2nd amend…..: THENCE “…honesty (LOL) obliges me to acknowledge that mass shootings are a result of the weapons I’m [being paid to?] argue against, See, *legality* is the key!!”

    comment #26 “Danny” noted 2nd Amend. supporter argues that a semi-auto which “has a capacity for rapid-fire killing” – breathless hyperbole that _all_ “second amendment supporters” routinely use, right? – are what make AR’s & AK’s so super very very deadly, never mind that ANY semi-auto will go bang every time you pull the trigger…(as will any revolver!)

    comment #34 “Danny”: more boilerplate gungrabber bullshit in opposition to AR & AK semi-auto’s; followed by the standard reassurances that “Danny” is a “2nd Amend. purist”.

    comment #38 – “Dannybot”, angered by a prole pointing out his astroturfiness, changes argument to “I wanna prohibit full-auto select-fire” weapons, which are a) already highly regulated and b) not at all what Dannybot was talking about before.

    Conclusion: “Danny” is either a commentbot, or a lousy astroturfer.

  42. #42 |  Danny | 

    I think you need to reread # 38, or else have somebody with better comprehension skills read it, and explain it to you slowly.

  43. #43 |  Cyto | 

    In “dubious forensics news”, I just ran across a series of articles reporting that DNA tests on George Zimmerman’s gun “prove” that Martin didn’t grab his gun.

    I never realized that DNA testing could prove that you never touched an item. Pretty cool. If the judge allows this as evidence proving that the dead guy never grabbed for the shooter’s gun (as he inevitably will), he’s an incompetent boob.

  44. #44 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    seeker6079,

    Your premise ties in with something that has bothered me since the coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests. That poor bastard who said he had a large student loan debt (was it $30,000, $35,00?) for a PhD in Puppetry. Ok, it’s easy to make fun of him. My gut reaction was “Why didn’t this yotz hitch to LA and get a job fetching coffee for jim Henson Studios?”. But there’s another level. Somebody SOLD him a PhD in puppetry. WTF? When did being a puppeteer start being something you had to go to a University to learn?

    And who do we keelhaul over this?

  45. #45 |  el coronado | 

    Actually, you kindsa have to admire the Educational Mafia Famiglia (to the extent one can ‘admire’ thieving scumbags) for their rather brilliant business plan. Follow:
    Step 1) take control of the public schools; proceed to (slightly) lower standards and produce (slightly) stupider kids, year after year
    2) after 12 or so years of this, the system is flushed free of any trace of kids who were taught well under the hated old systems and regime. (“Phonics! Learning by rote! Bad bad bad!!” We need *new*, *fun* *interactive* ways of teaching these kids!”)
    3) freed at last from the confines of any free-thinking/smart kids, the Ed Mafia is free to initiate the _real_ meat of the plan: destroy any & all teaching of critical thought.
    4) Now you’ve got you an Ed system that produces legions of gullible dumbshits, with a 95%+ “success” rate.
    5) Dumbshits incapable of critical thought. So NOW you can at last move into the long-awaited ‘profit’ part of the plan: You sell ‘em _more_ education, at radically higher prices, in fields that sound “fun!” but have no practical application in the Real World. (i.e., sociology, journalism, womyn’s studies, puppetry…)
    6) and by constant, neverending repetition/indoctrination of Statist & Left-wing dogma/Grosse Lugen, (“Abe Lincoln saved the country! Greatest Prez EVAR!” “Barak Hussein Obama! MMMM MMM MMM!!”), you create the next generation of customers/suckers. Making it a self-sustaining cash machine. That’s actually impressive as hell.

    It has an almost crystalline beauty and elegance – for a scheme that preys on the weak and stupid. But hey, so does politics!

  46. #46 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    The link from Sarasota is chilling, especially considering what happened to Richard Paey. You have to admire the foresight of the drug warriors, always ready to target a new menace (e.g., bath salts, prescription pills) in the event that marijuana is legalized.

    Actually, no, you don’t. There’s nothing admirable about it. Most everything I read on Simple Justice makes me angry, but there is always one respite: watching that goofy TV ad from some local personal injury law firm. Anyone in the Chicago area knows what a vital role Peter Francis Geraci’s TV spots play in the local TV ad canon (and it’s a crowded field, with Victory Auto Wreckers and all), but these two are something else altogether. I have no idea where the ad linked to in Simple Justice is originally aired.

  47. #47 |  Rob | 

    These guns have a bad reputation for a reason: they have killed a hell of a lot of people, often without warning and in the hands of legal owners, or people who obtained them by skirting very weak legal barriers.

    Really? They just up and kill people for no reason? I had no idea that guns were sentient. This changes everything. /sarc

    I’m with el coronodo on this one. You’re rhetoric looks a hell of lot like a gun banner’s, right down to the anthropomorphizing of guns. We’ve seen a lot of people like you, to the point where there’s a stock phrase for it: “I’m a gun owner, but…” The only thing you’ve done is change things up a bit by adding a bit of Mobying into the routine.

  48. #48 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    el coronado,

    While I’ll admit that your narrative has its points, I think the problem(s) are a little more complicated and a good deal less organized.

    If you follow the development of “progressive” education, starting at the end of the 19th Century, you run again and again into the core notion that “Learning should be fun.”. A lot of the “experimental schools” that sprang up between the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of WWII were based on this idea. And they worked. They worked very well. What nobody seems to have appreciated at the time was that they were self-selecting samples. Teachers, administrators, and parents were all fully on board to try to MAKE them work (one assumes that the students were also a little more motivated, but I’m not sure it would matter much). So, the success of such schools got a lot of people all fired up, but didn’t actually say much about how such methods would work applied by (and to) average people.

    The idea that learning should be fun is all very well. But my personal experience has been that while being educated is a lot of fun, actually acquiring that education – especially the basics – is tiresome. By concentrating on ‘fun’ instead of learning the educators lost track of a basic truth; it doesn’t matter if the little dears are having fun if they are learning, and it doesn’t matter if they are having fun but not learning.

    I think that 99 out of 100 top educators would be appalled by you accusations (the 100th is a burn-out case on his way to early retirement). But their faith in Progressive Education – their religion – is founded on sand …. and admitting that would destroy them.

    The drones that got into the system because when they were in college they “loved children”, or wanted to “make a difference”, or simply couldn’t hack the courses for anything tougher than the school of education, are a whole ‘nother wasps’ nest.

  49. #49 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    *sigh*

    for “it doesn’t matter if the little dears are having fun if they are learning, and it doesn’t matter if they are having fun but not learning.”

    please read;

    It doesn’t matter if the little dears are having fun if they are learning, and it does matter if they are having fun but not learning.

  50. #50 |  el coronado | 

    @CSP –

    You may be right, but I think you’re not. I had a similar conversation with a teacher friend back in the late ’80’s. She was all for ‘fun learning’, and ‘whole language’, and whatever other fashionable “new” educational method came down the pike, because “it’s hard to keep the little shits’ attention for 8 hours a day.” Since I was doing my best to get her naked, I made the appropriate sympathetic noises, but afterwards (wink wink nudge nudge) I got tired of it and asked her this:

    “In the last 10 years or so” – this was in 1990 or thereabouts – “there have been 3 teachers who have succeeded so hugely against seemingly impossible odds that Hollywood made movies about them. Marva Collins, the Chicago woman who ran a ghetto school that taught 5-year-olds to read Aristotle *in the original Greek*(!); Joe Clark, the Joizey principal who took over a ghetto shithole school and turned it around to where it became a model school featuring safety, good manners, and educated children; and Jaime Escalante, who took vato locos from East LA and taught them calculus so well they beat out prep school yuppies in ‘HS Calculus Olympics.’ ”

    In addition to being minorities – something Hollywood just loved; plus it protected them from whines of ‘rayciss’ – these 3 people had 2 other things in common: 1) they achieved HUGELY successful results in a place they had no business succeeding in, and 2) they did it the old-fashioned way. Discipline, Rote, Respect for and Obedience to Their Teacher. Wiseasses and fuckups were ruthlessly kicked out. The common rule was: “*I*, your esteemed teacher, have this knowledge, and if you want it, YOU little shits will conform to ME and meet my expectations of you.” Just like in the olden days!

    So who should we emulate in education? The lazy candyass theorists in their cushy ivory towers forever searching for ways to make their jobs even easier? Or the hardnosed, hard-working rock stars who actually pulled off educational miracles? I vote for the folks who’ve done it, rather than just went to meetings. note: my lady teacher friend was most unhappy with those questions and my conclusions, & got dressed and stormed out. *sigh* Just as well, I suppose: most teachers are loons.

  51. #51 |  Weird Willy | 

    @ #30

    “Anyone who has actually worked on Wikipedia articles will understand the professor’s problem.”

    Amen, brother. While I used to assist friends and colleagues in helping to maintain a sane and factually responsible presence on Wikipedia, I have since given up on the forum completely. The last time someone requested my aid in fending off a dedicated team of distortionist ideologues who were redacting his contributions, I essentially told him to forget it, since Wikipedia is not worth donkey balls.

  52. #52 |  Weird Willy | 

    Cyto,

    What if the judge simply allows evidence showing that none of Trayvon Martin’s DNA was found on Zimmerman’s weapon and lets the jury decide its weight; still a boob? On what grounds would the judge exclude that evidence? Do you think that such an exclusion would survive the prosecution’s interlocutory appeal, since it would no doubt require a ruling on weight as opposed to admissibility?

  53. #53 |  Mario | 

    I propose the designation be changed from Special Weapons And Tactics to Sanctioned Home Invasion Team.

  54. #54 |  MassHole | 

    Marion wins the internet today. Love it: S.H.I.T

  55. #55 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    el coronado,

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. There’s evidence enough for BOTH conspiracy and stupidity that I’m not sure “Never attribute to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity” applies anymore. Your experience with the young lady who was so excited by ‘whole language instruction’ is a case in point. That isn’t new. That’s “See-say” in recycled natural fibre clothing. And for some stupid reason the educators cling onto ‘see-say’ like grim death, no matter how often it is demonstrated to be swill. I really think it comes back to “Progressive Education” being their religion. They act as if ‘see-say’ was the Revealed Word.

  56. #56 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Dear Mr. Eapen:

    I do not know if you still read comments here at Mr. Balko’s Adge blog, but this is a case that you and your friends at the Forfeiture Reform Braintrust might be interested in:

    http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?xmldoc=In%20FCO%2020121003060.xml&docbase=CSLWAR3-2007-CURR

  57. #57 |  Juice | 

    Maybe some won’t like the conspiracy nature of this show in general, but this episode is not like that. It’s a much more in depth look at the wikipedia thing with many more examples.

    http://www.corbettreport.com/corbett-report-radio-220-the-bastion-of-truthiness/

  58. #58 |  Deucemaster | 

    Radley:

    Could you please supply some bona fides for Mr. Siegel? His blog offers zero background information and his writing is atrocious. I’d love to be able to quote his analysis but, without some sort of curriculum vitae, I’m wary of his authority.

    I assume you must have this information, to feel comfortable referring readers to him yourself.

    Thanks!

  59. #59 |  Rob | 

    What if the judge simply allows evidence showing that none of Trayvon Martin’s DNA was found on Zimmerman’s weapon and lets the jury decide its weight; still a boob?

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Just because his DNA wasn’t found on the gun doesn’t mean that he didn’t touch it. He may simply have not left any DNA traces on the gun, or any traces were damaged and unmatchable.

    OTOH, a positive match of DNA on the gun would suggest that he did touch the gun, so long as it can be determined that the DNA didn’t end up on the gun from some other way.

  60. #60 |  Weird Willy | 

    @#58

    How does that have even the slightest thing to do with the question I posed and you excerpted? I can see that if you were empowered as a finder of fact in the judicial process, you would tend to discount the weight of the subject evidence. How that has anything to do with my question escapes me.

  61. #61 |  Rob | 

    Sorry, I misread what you said. For some reason I thought you asked what if they HAD found evidence of DNA on the gun and the judge let them present that as evidence. I really shouldn’t post in the morning before I’ve had any caffeine.

Leave a Reply