Gun control is hitting your target

July 27, 2009

target-1_web


This story is an example of why I support the Second Amendment. From the Merced Sunstroke:

Merced County sheriff’s investigators say they’re on the lookout after the family of an alleged molestation victim received a series of threats from the suspect’s supporters.

[…]

The mother of the alleged victim was outside her home, when two Latino men in their early 20s arrived at her home, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff’s spokesman. The woman said the men tried to persuade her to drop charges against 26-year-old Herminio Martinez of Livingston. Martinez is accused of molesting the mother’s 12-year-old daughter, MacKenzie said.

The men also brandished guns, the woman told sheriff’s investigators.

The visit by the men, however, was only the most recent among several threats that have been made to the girl’s family, MacKenzie said.

The mother, who was also armed, then shot at the two men, who fled on-foot. After, the woman called sheriff’s deputies, MacKenzie said. Deputies searched the area, but were unable to locate the men. MacKenzie said it’s unknown whether the woman injured one of the men during the shooting.

[…]

Martinez was arrested in Atwater last week after the girl, who was missing for a few hours on July 19, returned home and said she’d been with the suspect, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie.

The girl described Martinez as her “boyfriend,” MacKenzie said. Her family reported the alleged crime the following day.

Sheriff’s detectives busted Martinez after he was under the impression that he’d be meeting the girl at her aunt’s home, MacKenzie said. After he arrived at the house, however, he was taken into custody by detectives.

Investigators believe Martinez was having sex with the girl for the past few months, possibly since she was 11 years old. He was booked on suspicion of child molestation and remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center without bail.

My advice to the mother is “practice, practice, practice” in case the men come back. There is a very nice indoor range on Yosemite Parkway in Merced. It’s air conditioned too!

Back in 1993 in a town just a short drive to the north of Merced called Jamestown a woman named Ellie Nesler put five bullets into the head of the man who molested her son. Unfortunately for Ellie the man was handcuffed to a table in the Tuolumne County courthouse and the shooting was ruled unsportsmanlike. She served 3 years in prison before being released on an appeal for jury misconduct. Ellie died of breast cancer last December.

I’m not suggesting anyone should become a vigilante and take the law into their own hands, but if the bad guys are threatening you with guns then I figure it’s open season.



Ricci Don’t Use That Number

July 8, 2009

New Haven Fire Department

Yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Ricci v. DeStefano predictably resulted in lots of bloviating by gasbags who didn’t let complete ignorance of the court’s holding get in the way of releasing tons of heated air into the atmosphere. Having actually read the 93 page decision I am happy to inform you that it is neither the end of Affirmative Action nor a repudiation of Sonia Sotomayor.

First of all a little background:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U. S. C.§2000e et seq., as amended, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination (known as “disparate treatment”) as well as, in some cases, practices that are not intended to discriminate but in fact have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities (known as “disparate impact”).

When originally enacted Title VII only prohibited intentional discrimination in employment. A subsequent SCOTUS decision and later an amendment added employment practices that while neutral on their face had the effect of discrimination. An example of this would be a requirement that police officers be at least 5 ft 10 inches in height, because such a requirement would tend to discriminate against women and Asians because most of them could not meet that requirement.

An employer can still use “disparate impact” practices if the practice has “a manifest relationship to the employment in question” and there was no “legitimate alternative that would have resulted in less discrimination.” Understanding Title VII is key to understanding the decision. (The court spends a couple pages discussing what I just condensed into two paragraphs.)


The Facts:

The city of New Haven, Connecticut has been sued over racial discrimination before:

In the early 1970’s, African-Americans and Hispanics composed 30 percent of New Haven’s population, but only 3.6 per-cent of the City’s 502 firefighters. The racial disparity in the officer ranks was even more pronounced: “[O]f the 107officers in the Department only one was black, and he heldthe lowest rank above private.” Firebird Soc. of New Haven, Inc. v. New Haven Bd. of Fire Comm’rs, 66 F. R. D. 457, 460 (Conn. 1975).
Following a lawsuit and settlement agreement, see ibid., the City initiated efforts to increase minority representation in the New Haven Fire Department (Department). Those litigation-induced efforts produced some positive change. New Haven’s population includes a greater proportion of minorities today than it did in the 1970’s: Nearly 40 percent of the City’s residents are African-American and more than 20 percent are Hispanic. Among entry-level firefighters, minorities are still underrepresented, but not starkly so. As of 2003, African-Americans and Hispanics constituted 30 percent and 16 percent of the City’s firefighters, respectively. In supervisory positions, however, significant disparities remain. Overall, the senior officer ranks (captain and higher) are nine percent African-American and nine percent Hispanic. Only one of the Department’s 21 fire captains is African-American.

So New Haven tried to do the right thing:

Read the rest of this entry »


Smoking Kool-aid in a crack pipe

July 8, 2009

WPE2
I was bored and I hadn’t been by Blogstalkers for a few days so I dropped in to see what they were up to. Naturally, they’ve been talking about us. People ask me why I visit their site and the reason is that it gives me a glimpse into the minds of the Failbots. If I went to Cheetopia I would have to wade through long comment threads, but at Blogstalkers I can get the pure essence of Failbot with all the humanity and common sense removed:

I’d love, just once, for the panty-wetting, pearl-clutching brigade of disgruntled “We Were Right and Obama Sucks” bloggers to point to the United States president they revere as the model for All Things Good and Liberal.I mean, if he’s so awful, surely they can tell us “Now X – THAT was the man!”

Abe Lincoln? FDR? Civil rights disasters, both of them, who make Obama look like Gandhi. JFK? Hawkish as they come. Clinton? Uh, yeah. DOMA. NAFTA. “Welfare reform” that somehow managed to kick a lot of poor kids off the Medicaid rolls.

I’m perfectly fine with people criticizing Obama. I do it myself (been stuffing the Whitehouse.gov email box and those of my elected reps with loads of communiques on DOMA, DADT, and not backing down on the public option on healthcare). But the snot-nosed puling childen who act as if he’s letting us down so much in comparison to all those wonderful leftie presidents in the past are just pig-shit ignorant of U.S. presidential history, despite their scoffings that anyone not ready, six months in, to declare Obama an abject failure and get behind some purer leftie soul is just a starry-eyed idiot.

And who might that Galahad-pure Leftie Idol be?Bernie Sanders? Good luck with that. The Imaginary Progressive Hillary In Their Minds, Rather Than the One Who Voted for the War Without Reading the Intelligence Estimate and also supported the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, and Wanted to Ban Flag Burning? Oh, and who ALSO has never come out in favor of single-payer healthcare?

Jesus, I hate to admit this about the side I tend to, well, side with—but sometimes the rightists are right: liberals are whiny fucking crybabies who love to lose so they can keep playing victim all their lives instead of dealing with reality as it is. Which is to say: imperfect. Mostly sucky. But politics, as with every other choice in life, comes down to “what will suck least for the greatest number of people?”

Obama is better than JFK, WJC, Lincoln and FDR? Blogstalkers has now crossed over into Ed Wood “so bad it’s funny” territory.

Speaking of “pig-shit ignorant,” this particular blogstalker is obviously unaware that no children were kicked off of Medicaid by the Clinton era welfare reforms. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 only affected cash aid.

Although it was signed into law by Bill Clinton, it was part of Newt Gingrinch’s “Contract on America” and it was timed to pass Congress in August 1996 in the hopes that Clinton would veto it so the Republicans could use the issue against him in his reelection campaign.

Obama has done nothing to repeal DOMA or renegotiate NAFTA. NCLB was a bill co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy that passed with wide bi-partisan support. Kennedy endorsed Obama last year before Super Duper Tuesday. While Hillary did vote for the Iraq AUMF so did 28 other Democrats in the Senate. Failbots conveniently forget that there was strong public support for the war and also the Patriot Act.

Nobody is perfect, but we’ve have great Presidents, good Presidents, bad Presidents, worse Presidents and George W. Bush. Out of 43 choices, guess which one Obama decided to emulate?

Obama is Bush III


change 3



Failbot Pretzel Logic

July 8, 2009

koolaid

(This started in the comments of Dakinikat’s morning post but I think it deserves front page attention.)

If you want to see some EPIC FAIL check out this post by John Cole. Responding to a WaPo report that Obama is considering issuing an executive order that would “reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely” Cole says:

Not only will this infuriate a certain portion of Obama’s base, but using an executive order for this also completely undercuts any defense regarding his inaction on DADT. I’m not sure what will be funnier- the hysterics of the PUMA crowd or the idiots on the right wing who will crow that Bush has been vindicated, completely missing that the executive order will be issued in order to help Obama repudiate Bush’s handling of Gitmo.

Yeah John, he’s gonna repudiate Bush by copying him, and somehow it’s all our fault.

I should point out that John Cole is a poster boy for Clinton Derangement Syndrome and was a hardcore Bushbot Republican.  He left the GOP and became a Democrat about six months before he started supporting Obama.

IOW – Cole has been a Kool-aid junkie for many years, but about a year and one-half ago he switched flavors.  At least he finally admits that PUMA is on the opposite side of the political spectrum from the wingnuts.

For a thorough discussion of Obama’s tentative proposal for the arbitrary power to lock people up indefinitely without trial read Glenn Greenwald:

There has now emerged a very clear — and very disturbing — pattern whereby Obama is willing to use legal mechanisms and recognize the authority of other branches only if he’s assured that he’ll get the outcome he wants. If he can’t get what he wants from those processes, he’ll just assert Bush-like unilateral powers to bypass those processes and do what he wants anyway.  In other words, what distinguishes Obama from the first-term Bush is that Obama is willing to indulge the charade that Congress, the courts and the rule of law have some role to play in political outcomes as long as they give him the power he wants.  But where those processes impede Obama’s will, he’ll just bypass them and assert the unilateral power to do what he wants anyway (by contrast, the first-term Bush was unwilling to go to Congress to get expanded powers even where Congress was eager to give them to him; the second-term Bush, like Obama, was willing to allow Congress to endorse his radical proposals:  hence, the Military Commissions Act, the Protect America Act, the FISA Amendments Act, etc.).

This paragraph is also noteworthy:

Those journalistic practices produce egregious sentences like this:  “‘Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order’, the official said.”  I’d love to know which so-called “civil liberties groups” are pushing the White House for an Executive Order establishing the power of indefinite detention.  It’s certainly not the ACLU or Center for Constitutional Rights, both of which issued statements vehemently condemning the proposal (ACLU’s Anthony Romero:  “If President Obama issues an executive order authorizing indefinite detention, he’ll be repeating the same mistakes of George Bush”).

Here’s the money quote from WaPo:

Concerns are growing among Obama’s advisers that Congress may try to assert too much control over the process. This week Obama signed an appropriations bill that forces the administration to report to Congress before moving any detainee out of Guantanamo and prevents the White House from using available funds to move detainees onto U.S. soil.

“Legislation could kill Obama’s plans,” said one government official involved. The official said an executive order could be the best option for the president at this juncture.


The Congress shall have the power . . . to make all laws


Where did I see that before?


Rachel Maddow briefly reverts back to her pre-Kool-aid self:


Failure is a feature, not a bug

July 8, 2009
Senator Max Baucus
Senator Max Baucus

The New York Times had this to say about Max Baucus:

He conceded that it was a mistake to rule out a fully government-run health system, or a “single-payer plan,” not because he supports it but because doing so alienated a large, vocal constituency and left Mr. Obama’s proposal of a public health plan to compete with private insurers as the most liberal position.

Matt Yglesias doesn’t get it:

I thin that’s right. Framing effects are important in politics. The public-private competition is supposed to be a compromise between the pristine vision of single-payer and the desire of private insurers not to be put out of business. It creates a situation in which insurers are challenged to prove that single-payer advocates are wrong, rather than simply assert it. But with no single-payer plan in the mix, this gets lost, and the compromise becomes the leftmost anchor of the debate. A single-payer plan couldn’t possibly have passed, but I think having hearings on single-payer and having one committee draft a serious single-payer bill that gets a serious CBO score would have been a useful exercise. In particular, it would have focused the mind on the costs involved in rejecting this option.

Neither does Duncan Black:

I don’t know why the Dems never learn this lesson. If you start with the compromise position, you will and up compromising on that. They prefer a strategy of pulling together a coalition and getting them all to buy in on something they can agree with, but than that of course gets watered down into crap no one actually supports.

Nor does Paradox:

The entire premise of the Yglesias post is bullshit—give me a break, that Republican-wannabe Baucus didn’t somehow have the magical ability to give up on single payer from the git-go, hell, single payer was given up on in stupid weakness because of this moron Baucus—but the point still vividly stands that giving up on single payer before we ever started was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I do think the precise mechanics of this flaming fuckup would good to know for the liberal community, accountability is a good thing. The first I ever heard of it was last year in Texas at Netroots Nation from Ezra Klein, who actually had the youthfully obnoxious arrogance to state having single payer as a goal “was a naïve pursuit of perfection.” Well, Ezra, just where did you learn that? Who gave you that strategy to push that was and is so stupid? It’s not just me, your old companeros Atrios and Yglesias say it too. Well? I suppose graduation to the establishment big time means the badass Ezra can ignore the lowly blogger question, but we’ll see.

The obnoxious sneering from a hopelessly wrong fool isn’t the point, it’s that even a nobody from nowhere like me knows never to give up crucial goals in negotiation before you even start, so how come professional politicians like Democrats don’t know?

Bob Somerby gets it:

Are we all Professor Rosen now? Having asked, let us offer a fairly obvious speculation:

In all likelihood, Baucus took single-payer off the table for a very good reason—because he isn’t trying to create a progressive health reform package. His statement to the Times was pure BS. After all, Baucus is a corporate man (data below). He wants health reform near the “center.”

After the fact, he was covering his keister for those on the left. Our other professor bought it.

Yglesias penned a thoughtful piece about the meaning of Baucus’ move. He too failed to note an obvious possibility: When Baucus voiced his regrets to the Times, it was a big silly con! (emphasis added)

From Physicians for a National Health Program:

Here’s why Baucus is not doing the peoples business:

According to OpenSecrets.org over his career he has taken donations from:

The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313

Health Professionals $1,016,276

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry $734,605

Hospitals/Nursing Homes $541,891

Health Services/HMOs $439,700

That is a grand total of $3,902,785. Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors? Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

In 2008 Baucus had virtually no challenger in Montana. A little-known Republican was on the ballot, Baucus won with 73% of the vote. But, Baucus sought big donations from big business anyway. He used his connections to corporations with business before his committee to raise an immense campaign fund of more than $11 million. In 2008, 91% of his donations come from individuals living outside of Montana, which is why he is more the “Senator for K Street” then the Senator for Montana. Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform. His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included:

Insurance $592,185

Health Professionals $537,141

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $524,813

Health Services/HMOs $364,500

Hospitals/Nursing Homes $332,826

That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from industries who he can now make wealthier by deforming health care reform.

Do you get it?

Not only are we not gonna get single-payer out of this motley crew, we’re not even gonna get a true “public option.”  All we’re gonna get is a Rube Goldbergesque clusterfuck that guarantees the health care leeches will continue to grow fat on our blood.

Meanwhile some of the allegedly brightest minds in Left Blogistan will be bleating about the Democrats’ “bad strategy.”  The problem is that it isn’t a bad strategy – it is a very effective strategy.  The Democratic leadership (Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Baucus et. al) are accomplishing their goal – to avoid real health care reform at all cost.

We know the Republicans aren’t on our side, but the Democrats pretend to be our friends while selling us down the river.  They are the political equivalent of the Washington Generals.  They get paid to put on a show and lose.

Nothing will change until the lefty blogosphere quits making excuses for them


real ponies


UPDATE:

Paul Krugman:

The point is that if you’re making big policy changes, the final form of the policy has to be good enough to do the job. You might think that half a loaf is always better than none — but it isn’t if the failure of half-measures ends up discrediting your whole policy approach.

Which brings us back to health care. It would be a crushing blow to progressive hopes if Mr. Obama doesn’t succeed in getting some form of universal care through Congress. But even so, reform isn’t worth having if you can only get it on terms so compromised that it’s doomed to fail.


NOW the truth

July 8, 2009
Terry O'Neill
Terry O’Neill

There are lots of salacious stories and juicy rumors floating around about the National Organization for Women’s national conference last Saturday in Indiananapolis.  Violet Socks tells it like it is:

#1: The real issue at the NOW election was that the organization is broke and going nowhere fast. Membership has nose-dived and so has revenue (which is primarily based on membership dues):

During the two year period from 2005 to 2007, total revenue declined $1,189,644 or almost 40%. For the past three years, NOW’s expenditures have exceeded income, and NOW Inc. has been forced to borrow money from The NOW Foundation to stay solvent…

During the last election cycle (2005-2009), NOW’s membership declined approximately 10% per year and current membership figures are probably around 60,000…

The current Membership VP (Latifa Lyles) and her five-member team are directly responsible for a catastrophic 40% decline in membership and corresponding decline in revenues that imperils the continued operation of NOW.

In addition, something like 28% of NOW’s membership revenue goes just to pay the salaries of the four people at the top (the president and three VPs).

#2: Latifa Lyles has been the Membership VP during this period of catastrophic decline. She was running for president on a record of under-achievement, to put it mildly. Terry O’Neill, on the other hand, maintained overall membership levels during her tenure as Membership VP a few years ago, enhancing outreach efforts and bringing in new members each year.

#3: Latifa Lyles was not the candidate of change; she was the hand-picked successor of Kim Gandy and Ellie Smeal (who is the power behind the throne, as it were). Latifa’s election would have meant a continuation of Ellie Smeal’s control and a continuation of the inside-the-beltway strategy NOW has pursued in recent years.

#4: Terry O’Neill ran on a platform of change: shaking up the organization, re-invigorating the grassroots, re-establishing vendor relations, restoring financial integrity, and re-building membership.

There is a bunch more, but you need to visit The Reclusive Leftist to read it.

(#7 and #8 are especially shocking)

Well, what are you waiting for?  Go see Violet.  While you’re there you can read her archives and check out her pictures of alpacas too.


Hell’s Grannies takeover NOW

July 8, 2009
Canvassing for votes
Canvassing for votes

The NOW convention in Indianapolis must have been off the hook.  You can find one version of events in the comments at Reclusive Leftist.  For another take on the events check out “Planes, Trains & Attack-Dog Feminism” at FemNation:

For example, all of those who thought the “dream team” of Latifa Lyles, etc., would win the NOW presidency and vice-presidencies…because we needed a youthful, fresh face for the aging, tired women’s movement…were wrong. Six votes – that’s all it took for Latifa, a woman of color in her early thirties, to lose to Terry O’Neill, a mid-50s white woman. (Race does matter – a lot – in the women’s movement.) Terry and her team may succeed in turning NOW around – I hope so – but I’m worried. There’s nothing fresh there. Policy ideas are stale and positions are delivered in a rote, scripted fashion. The veterans on the ticket – Terry and the Illinois NOW v-p – do not inspire me in terms of vision or practical skills or ability to deliver. The “new” faces on the ticket – two women in their late 20s, early 30s – have a lot to learn. A lot.

[…]

A few people have asked me to write more about the NOW elections. Both teams – Latifa Lyles and Terry O’Neill – had strengths and weaknesses. But it’s not about ideals or visions or even skills – it’s about who can turn out the most voters. Total numbers of voters – 404 (really). Late Saturday, people were coming in from California to vote for Terry – she was supported by a woman named Shelly Mandell of Los Angeles, who supported McCain-Palin publicly after Hillary lost the nomination. Shelly says she didn’t support McCain-Palin as a NOW person – but the press thought otherwise.

[…]

Really! The people who won were nasty. I wish I had been in the plenary when the vaunted Patricia Ireland (Terry’s treasurer) lashed out at Kim Gandy, questioning her budget figures – while supporters of the Terry team lined the back of the room, shouting at Kim to “tell the truth” – in reference to the budget situation. (I was working on credentialling so wasn’t in the plenary.) Financially, NOW is in bad shape. So we have reason to be worried. But is this feminism? Perhaps this is a new version – attack-dog feminism. How does that distinguish us from every other political group? It doesn’t.

The anger and bitterness of this crew – desperate to hang on to power, refusing to believe anyone else could run the organization – was shocking. (You’ve got to remember – these folks have a lot of history together – they’re like Chicago politicos – byzantine alliances – cross them at your peril.) There were people I like and respect on Terry’s side – people who felt she had the brains and experience to turn the membership decline around and that Latifa was just not ready for prime time. But they didn’t sway many voters (although granted, Terry was only in the race about 3-4 weeks!) – all they did was win by 6 votes. And what the hell were they doing in the past eight years to stop the hemorrhaging of members and money – or – as one Terry supporter said – the “death throes” that NOW is in? Come to think of it – what was the person who said “death throes” doing during the past eight years?

[…]

That wasn’t all – there also was the sideshow of the Hillary Clinton supporters who remain permanently (apparently) pissed off about her loss. The so-called “PUMAS” – Party Unity My Ass. Clinton seems to have gotten over it – why haven’t they. Some of these ladies are angry at NOW for not being supportive of Sarah Palin; apparently, the fact that she’s a woman is sufficient qualification. A few blame Kim Gandy for EVERYTHING they don’t like. I’d dismiss them as idiots except they are contributing to the anger within the women’s movement and the splintering of the women’s movement and they are very good at getting publicity.

Wow, where do I start?

First of all, Latifa Lyles was the establishment candidate endorsed by the outgoing Kim Gandy.  Secondly I’m increasingly disturbed by the emphasis on the “young black Latifa Lyles” vs. the “old white Terry O’Neill” meme I keep hearing from those who are unhappy with the outcome of the election.  It’s like someone is recycling Obama’s strategy from last year.  Where is the evidence that O’Neill supporters were motivated by race?

As for the allegation that “people were coming in from California to vote for Terry” here’s what Violet Socks had to say:

To attend the conference, you have to have been a NOW member for at least three months. And to vote in the conference, you have to be not only a member (naturally), but also a delegate from your chapter. There are a limited number of delegate slots, and the delegates are chosen by the chapter presidents. And once you get to the conference, you have to be credentialed, a byzantine process involving picture IDs, membership records, sign-offs, etc.

It is not possible for some alien group of infiltrators to just show up and take over the conference.

Last time I checked there were NOW chapters here in California so why shouldn’t they get to participate at the national convention? According to Violet, the Los Angeles delegation wasn’t allowed to vote anyway.

I’m gonna stop now. There is so much more “FAIL” to discuss but if I go any further I’ll want some hard liquor and it’s not even lunch time yet here in Big Smoggy.