Monday, April 30, 2012

Elizabeth Warren Caught in Affirmative Action Game

Cambridge is a city of 105,162 diverse people. On the last census 244 residents reported as American Indian and Alaska Native. One of those Native Americans was outed by Hillary Chabot at the Boston Herald last Friday when she reported that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had been touted as a minority in the hiring statistics at Harvard Law School.

And why would that be controversial? It raises all sorts of questions. Was she an affirmative action hire who might have been less qualified than other candidates? Was she lying or exaggerating on her resume? Did Harvard hire a white woman who they could count as minority to help make the statistics look better? Did Harvard use her as a shield against criticism of its hiring policies? Where does the politically correct story end and the real Elizabeth Warren begin?

We can expect that Elizabeth Warren is working now on putting together the story of the heritage of her maternal grandparents having Cherokee and Delaware blood, while the Monday morning discounters of family lore say they've researched back to her great-grandparents without finding anything but lily-white blood. I guess that leaves her as a sort of affirmative action half-breed, accepted neither by the tribe nor by whites:

Christopher Child, a genealogist at the New England Historic and Genealogical Society, puts Warren in good company:

"Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama claim to have Native American heritage, but we were never able to find evidence of that, and in both cases we traced their ancestry fairly thoroughly."
Why would high-ranking Democrats make such claims? Among the American left, minority heritage confers an aristotratic status, and there is no higher status than Native American. As the original inhabitants of the continent they have the prior claim to dispossession, trumping even enslavement of African-Americans. Never mind that Southern tribes, like Elizabeth Warren's Cherokee, came to own slaves.

For example, when affirmative action quota queen Lani Guinier (Jewish-African-American) was granted tenure at Harvard Law School in 1998, the Harvard Crimson student newspaper was quick to snark that Elizabeth Warren had been the first woman with a minority background to be so tenured.

Update: The Herald reports that the Warren campaign has dug up an ancestor, Elizabeth's great-great-great-grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith, who was listed as Cherokee on her marriage certificate. That makes Elizabeth at best 1/32 Cherokee. Margery Eagan counts coup:
"I just can’t shake the ridiculous image of you, Liz — a blue-eyed blonde almost as pasty white as me — letting yourself be described as a minority professor, a Native American, for years."

Intrade Predicts a 62% Chance of Continued Divided Government

The question about divided government, as we go into the 2012 election, is simply this: What is wrong with the status quo? If you like divided government, where neither political party can advance legislation without support from the other and have to either work together or do without, these are the best of times.

The Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives. The Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate, but not the 60 vote supermajority needed to advance non-budget measures without some Republican acquiescence. President Obama stands by with his pen, ready to either sign or veto.

Barack Obama has had to exercise his veto only twice, December 30, 2009 and October 7, 2010, during the Pelosi-Reid Congress. That Congress was a nightmare for divided government fans, as the Democrats had the Presidency, majorities in both House and Senate, and, for a brief while, 60 filibuster-proof votes in the Senate.

Even George W. Bush did not have that. Following his reelection in 2004, he had only 55 Republican votes in the Senate. Bill Clinton had 57 Senate votes after his 1992 election. Jimmy Carter had 61 Senate seats after his 1976 election, but that dropped to 58 after the 1978 election. And in those days, as in the 1960s, there were enough conservative Southern Democrats in the Senate to stop their liberal colleagues if they could get Republican support for that.

The filibuster-proof advantage Democrats held for about 200 days from July 2009 when Al Franken’s Senate election was confirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court until January 2010 when Scott Brown won the special election in Massachusetts was really unprecedented in the post-Word-War II period. Let’s hope we don’t see that again anytime soon.

So what are the chances of getting a continuation of the status quo? If you go over to the Intrade website, they’ll quote you odds.

Odds President Senate House
27.00% Obama Democratic Republican
23.00% Romney Republican Republican
17.50% Obama Republican Republican
15.00% Obama Democratic Democratic
8.90% Romney Democratic Republican
7.90% Obama Republican Democratic
3.90% Romney Republican Democratic
2.70% Romney Democratic Democratic
1.50% Other? Other? Other?

The odds of a Republican sweep are 23% and a Democratic sweep only 15%. That leaves a 62% chance of divided government. The most likely of nine scenarios would see Obama retain the White House, Democrats retain the Senate, and Republicans retain the House - the odds of that are quoted at 27%.

How good are these predictions? Intrade claims they are pretty good, but there has to be at least 7.4% fluff because the odds of all outcomes add up to 107.4%. And as they say, if you are willing to play for a long shot, anything could still happen.

Let's list a few potential game changers:

  • Peace between Israel and a new Palestinian State
  • War between Israel and Iran
  • Joe Biden dumped in favor of Hillary Clinton for VP
  • Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and Arizona's illegal alien law
  • A return of Occupy Wall Street encampments or street protests
  • Race riots following a George Zimmerman acquittal or plea bargain
  • Major changes to unemployment rates or gas prices
  • European financial crisis
  • Terrorist attack on the U.S.
  • Major disaster, such as hurricane, earthquake, or tsunami

It does seem, however, that independent voters here in Massachusetts who do not want to put their trust fully in one party or the other have several voting strategies:

(1) Vote Republican in House races where the Republican Party fields a credible candidate, as a return of Nancy Pelosi to the House Speakership can't be risked.

(2) Vote for Scott Brown against the ultra-partisan Democrat Elizabeth Warren who has shown no aptitude for compromise or bipartisanship and very little for constituent service.

(3) Vote for Barack Obama if it appears Republicans will hold the House and take the Senate unless Mitt Romney convinces that he can down the crazy right-wing of his party.

(4) Vote for Mitt Romney if it appears Democrats will hold the Senate and retake the House unless Barack Obama can convince he can lead rather than be dictated to by his crazy left-wing.

Independents who favor national health care reform face a tough choice, especially if parts of Obamacare are declared unconstitutional. Do you vote for Mitt Romney, who might be able to salvage something out of the mess Congress made in 2010? Or do you vote for Barack Obama, who doesn't seem to have any policy yet on what to do next, other than to hold the line on Obamacare?

Independents who favor a balance of spending cuts and tax increases to bring the runaway deficits under control also face a tough choice. Will Democrats let the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, even though they have had two previous occasions to do that and blinked? Will Republicans, assuming they retain at least one House, agree to any tax increases if Barack Obama is reelected? Or do we need Mitt Romney to broker the grand bargain on spending and taxes that Barack Obama has so far been unable to get?

Finally, who has got the best jobs plan? That's the big issue and both sides have a lot to prove.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How a Rising Tide May Sink Barack Obama

Today, April 25, 2012 could just as easily have been April 25, 2007, at least as far as the U.S. stock market is concerned. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 13,090.72 today, five years ago it closed at 13,089.89. That's an annualized return of 0.001268%, or zero if you prefer to deal in round numbers.

Of course, zero sounds boring and the last five years in the stock market have been anything but that. It's not a pretty picture:

The picture is even more dramatic when you look back at the last ten years:

Or the last forty years:

The problem for the Democrats is twofold. The first is that they want to talk about much better things are now, even though unemployment remains high, but that only works if they start telling the story at the bottom in March 2009. In many people's minds the story starts at the top, in 2007, when the Pelosi-Reid Congress took office on a promise of bringing home troops and getting budget deficits under control, it's hard to make the Democratic Party the hero of that story.

The second problem is deeper. A fundamental tenet of the Pelosi-Reid-Obama Democratic Party for the last six years has been that Americans would be happier with a little less overall if what we have was more evenly distributed. From curbing climate change to health care to wage levels to regulation to the Occupy movement, that tenet underlies everything the Democratic Party has come to stand for under the Pelosi-Reid-Obama leadership. An appeal to equality always resonates in the American mind, but now America has had five years to find out for itself that less is not more, that less does not ennoble the spirit, that less does not make America a better, fairer place.

I will say for myself that I believe the Bush administration bungled the Iraq war, bungled the evacuation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, ran up way too much debt, and bungled their oversight responsibility in the lead up to the September 2008 financial system collapse. I looked at the fall 2008 losses in my 401(k) account, and took a solemn oath I wouldn't vote for another reckless Republican until I got that money back. But the Pelosi-Reid Congress shares that responsibility too.

If Barack Obama's Presidency remains anchored to Pelosi-Reid, a rising tide will swamp his boat. And, if the Dow crosses the 14,000 mark this summer or fall, I will be released from my vow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Romney Runs the Score up the Eastern Seaboard

Mitt Romney has begun to run up the score with big wins on Tuesday, April 24 in states that could have voted to rebuke him if there were any real resistance to his becoming the Republican nominee.

Candidate Delaware Pennsylvania New York Connecticut Rhode Island
Mitt Romney 56% 58% 63% 67% 63%
Rick Santorum 6% 18% 9% 7% 6%
Newt Gingrich 27% 10% 13% 10% 6%
Ron Paul 11% 13% 15% 13% 24%

Romney is closing in on the 1144 delegates to make it official, but looking at the primary schedule that will still take until at least May 22. The scoreboard:

# of delegates secured so far NYT WSJ CNN CBS MSNBC RCP
Mitt Romney 844 844 841 846 852 838
Rick Santorum 260 260 273 245 260 267
Newt Gingrich 137 137 141 129 138 141
Ron Paul 79 79 76 52 79 88
Jon Huntsman 1 1 0 2 0 0
Total 1321 1321 1331 1274 1329 1334
% of delegates secured so far        
Mitt Romney 64% 64% 63% 66% 64% 63%
Rick Santorum 20% 20% 21% 19% 20% 20%
Newt Gingrich 10% 10% 11% 10% 10% 11%
Ron Paul 6% 6% 6% 4% 6% 7%
% of remaining needed to clinch:        
Mitt Romney 31% 31% 32% 29% 31% 32%
Rick Santorum 92% 92% 91% 89% 92% 92%
Newt Gingrich 104% 104% 105% 100% 105% 105%
Ron Paul 110% 110% 112% 108% 111% 111%

Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are still in the race but have now been mathematically eliminated on all scorecards. Their only theoretical path to victory is to win over Santorum delegates and prevent Romney from getting to 1144.

The delegate count for Santorum has actually fallen since he suspended his campaign two weeks ago. That's because while Rick Santorum appeared to win the Minnesota caucuses back on February 7, Ron Paul did a better job of lining up his people behind the scenes to get selected as delegates.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And the Acton Captain Said, "I Haven't a Man That's Afraid to Go"

From a historical marker at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts:
On the morning of April Nineteenth, 1775, while the British held this bridge, the Minute-Men and militia of Concord and neighboring towns gathered on the hill across the river. There the Concord adjutant, Joseph Hosner, demanded, 'Will you let them burn the town down?' There the Lincoln Captain, William Smith, offered to dislodge the British. The Acton Captain, Isaac Davis, said, 'I haven't a man that's afraid to go!' and the Concord Colonel, James Barrett, ordered the attack on the regulars. "The column was led by Major John Buttrick, marching from his own farm. His aide was Lt. Colonel John Robinson of Westford. The Minute-Men of Acton, Concord, Lincoln and Bedford followed. After them came the militia. At the British volley Isaac Davis fell. Buttrick cried, 'Fire, fellow-soldiers, for God's sake fire!' and himself fired first. The British fled; and here began the separation of two kindred nations, now happily long united in peace.
I first read this marker 10 years ago, in a visit to Concord in the spring of 2012 following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. That question, "Will you let them burn the town down?" seemed particularly pointed that spring.

The response attributed to the Acton Captain, Isaac Davis, really hit home. "I haven't a man that's afraid to go?" I imagine they were all afraid to go, and Isaac Davis no less than any of them, but they charged down that hill anyway.

It reminded me then and still reminds me of the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who huddled at the back of the hijacked plane and held their own council of war. And passenger Todd Beamer's final words:
"Are you guys ready? Let's roll!"
It also reminds me of the famous words of Colonel George Taylor to his men pinned down behind an Omaha Beach seawall on D-Day:
"There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here."
Of course, the only way out was over the seawall and through the enemy fire. When it really comes down to it, that is often the only way forward.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crack in the 99% Reveals Occupy is Weak Tea

Nicholas Lemann, writing for The New Yorker,

Because groups with wildly different perspectives dominate politics, the observation that ninety-nine per cent of Americans are being left behind economically isn't of much use politically. The ninety-nine per cent is too big a category to be an effective political force.
I used to subscribe to The New Yorker and had started noticing that their ads had become almost exclusively luxury products that I would never think of buying. I also noticed that every few months I was throwing the back issues into the recycling bin without ever having read them.

Still, it is amusing to see the Occupy conceit so handily dismissed:

Occupy Wall Street and its companion movements briefly spurred President Obama to become more populist in his rhetoric, but there’s no sign that Occupy is going to turn into the kind of political force that the Tea Party movement has been.
A little basic math of the type they do not deign to use in The New Yorker unless all the numbers are written out as words would have helped to spell it out. Here are the 2010 election composite results for the U.S. House of Representatives:

Popular vote44,593,66638,854,459
To put it in words, if Occupy were to peel off from the Republican tally all but the three million votes representing the so-called one percent, why wouldn't those fourty-one million people form their own new party rather than voting with the thirty-nine million Democrats?

More succinctly, what were Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren thinking? It's not just a small crack in the 99%, it's a chasm.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Boston Cop Admires Occupy Protester's Bandana

There was a lovefest of sorts on Boston Common Sunday as a Tea Party rally was met with masked counter-protesters from the Occupy movement.

Things got a little frisky.

The Boston Police Department is investigating. Personally, I think the good officer was smitten with the pink-wigged protester but was a little taken aback to find an adam's apple and no boobies.

Photos by Paul Weiskel, a junior at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

David Axelrod: Road to Serfdom Edition

David Axelrod gives up the game:

"The choice in this election is between an economy that produces a growing middle class and that gives people a chance to get ahead and their kids a chance to get ahead and an economy that continues down the road we’re on."
Forget the road we're on, I'll take the economy that produces a growing middle class and that gives people a chance to get ahead.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Myths Have Nine Lives in the Trayvon Martin Shooting

Whether George Zimmerman is convicted or acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, there is one fact that should be beyond dispute. Al Sharpton and his race hounds at MSNBC and CNN deserve condemnation.

Let's catalog the myths that they have propagated about this case:

(1) That GZ chased TM through other peoples' backyards and shot him down in cold blood. This happened on a public sidewalk within the gated subdivision and there are multiple witnesses to as well as 911 recordings of a struggle. AS had this information via the TM familiy lawyers from the beginning.

(2) That GZ wasn't arrested on the night of the killing. We have know seen the video tapes very clearly showing he was taken to the Sanford Police station in handcuffs. He was interrogated for several hours. He was not given a pass at the scene.

(3) That the Sanford Police closed the investigation the night of the killing. They could have done more, like hold GZ until they had identified the body, but the lead investigator who wanted to press charges has gotten a very unfair rap.

(4) That the original prosecutor closed the case. He wanted more evidence but he did call the April 10 grand jury that ultimately wasn't used. The case was still open when the special prosecutor was appointed.

(5) That GZ clearly uttered a racial slur. The Orwellian joke of the media audio enhancement experts is a crime. GZ should sue for slander. AS's National Action Network has committed or incited exponentially more hate crimes.

(6) That the Florida Stand Your Ground law has a flawed definition of self-defense. It may have procedural problems, such as killers being able to sue the police if they are arrested but later found to have acted in self-defense, but the basic definition is sound and fully consonant with American legal tradition.

(7) That neighborhood watch people are forbidden to carry firearms. It may be a bad idea that police want to discourage, but there is no law against it at least in Florida. It is, by the way, unclear whether GZ was acting as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain or as a volunteer security guard or as just a private citizen with a property interest.

(8) That TM was just walking home from the 7-11. In fact, he may have been a little lost or disoriented in a neighborhood where all the buildings look alike and he was just visiting for a few days. That may well have appeared suspicious even though entirely innocent. That may also explain why he didn't just go home.

(9) That TM wasn't armed. You couldn't do much with the famous bag of skittles but the less famous can of ice tea would pack quite a wallop, particularly if you swung it at your opponents head with a plastic bag or the hood of your sweatshirt. The best evidence that TM was not a thug is that he didn't knock GZ's lights out.

Forget the Misogynistic Buffett Rule, Bring on the Romney Rule

President Obama has perfected the politician's art of talking out of both sides of his mouth. Just a week ago he was championing wealthy IBM CEO Virginia Rometty for membership in the Augusta National Golf Club. Now he's championing the Buffett Rule, a proposal to add another level of taxation on top of the high tax burden we have now.

The tax proposal is named for billionaire Warren Buffett, who has famously decried that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary (crocodile tears, I'm sure). Buffett is also a member of the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, one of the men keeping Virginia out. How misogynistic for President Obama to name the Buffett Rule after Warren rather than his "secretary" Debbie Bosanek.

One suspects that President Obama is not so much concerned with Debbie, or else he would have called his proposal the Bosanek Rule, but the fact that Barack Obama himself pays 27% in taxes while his Republican challenger Mitt Romney pays 14%.

Never mind that much of Romney's 14% is on corporate income that has already been taxed once or will be taxed again at the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Or that, under current tax law, low income taxpayers in the bottom two brackets would pay 0% on that type of income.

And while we're at it, why would I want to see my taxes raised to the 27% that President Obama pays or to the even higher 34% that Debbie Bosanek pays? Because while the President he says he'll stop at the $250,000 income level, the purpose of the Buffett Rule is to cement the high taxes already being imposed on middle class workers like me.

Here's the dumbest part of all. The Democratic shills are all laughing about how Romney has failed to have the foresight in the last few years to arrange his financial affairs so that he pays a higher than 14% rate of tax. No way should a smart guy, who in full compliance with the law arranged his affairs to pay an even lower rate than the 17% Warren Buffett says he pays, run the United States of America.

I'm looking at my unfinished tax return and that 14% Mitt Romney pays sounds pretty good. Why not just lower my taxes to 14%? I'll call that the Romney Rule.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Helicopter for the Phishing Expedition is at My Disposal

I got the following email from a hotmail address at 4:42 AM Friday morning:

Subject: Your order N42202 for rotorcraft for the weekend

Your order for our air commuter services has been accepted and processed. The helicopter will be at your disposal from 10.45 p.m. thursday to 2.15 sunday. Once again, the rates are as follows:
1 hour in the air: 609$
Takeoff / Landing: 246$
1 hour idle time on the ground: 129$
Longest fly-time is 5 hours.
When flying for longer distances, a co-pilot is needed, and the cost accordingly grows by 144$ an hour.

Total Due you will be find in the attachment.(Open with Internet Explorer Only) With best wishes Garry Mercado

Fingerprint: 07d638a5-5fd6800a
Here is some good phishing. Outraged at being charged the cost of a helicopter idling at $129 an hour not to mention the extra cost of a co-pilot, I am supposed to open the attachment to find out how much I actually owe.

Now it would have been better if the phisher had capitalized Thursday and Sunday and put the $ dollar signs at the beginning of the amounts rather than the end. And what kind of a lame phishing expedition only runs in Internet Explorer? If I'm going to have my identity stolen and my bank accounts drained, I'd like it done in FireFox or maybe Safari, thank you very much.

Still, my helicopter is at my disposal for the rest of the weekend. And as long as I limit myself to short hops, I won't have the added expense of the co-pilot.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Will the Real Hilary Rosen Please Stand Up?

The identity politics crisis in the Democratic Party took a strange turn this week as working mother and CNN contributor Hilary Rosen stepped into the abyss with an ill-considered remark about Mitt Romney:

"Guess what? His wife has actually never worked a day in her life."
Ann Romney, the wife in question, raised five boys before coming down with the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis. Ann hit on both points in her response:

"My career choice was to be a mother, and I think all of us need to know that we need to respect the choices women make. ... I know what it's like to struggle. Maybe I haven't struggled as much financially as some people have. I can tell you and promise you that I have had struggles in my life."
It did not help that the idea that being a housewife is not work was being espoused by a lesbian, which conjures up that militant brand of feminism which does not sit well even with Democratic voters.

Before the cock crowed, Hilary Rosen was denied three times by Team Obama:

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted: "I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize."
Campaign strategist David Axelrod tweeted: "Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive."
First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted: "Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected."
Even President Obama was obliged to respond.

"There's no tougher job than being a mom. Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement."
But the most complete denial goes to the President's White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney. He stammered out a reply to a question about the 35+ visits Hilary Rosen was shown to have made in White House logs.

"I don't know that Hilary Rosen ... I know three, personally, women named Hilary Rosen ... so I'm not sure those represent the person we're talking about ... necessarily.".
To Tell the Truth Hilary Rosen is a Democratic strategist who uses her position as a commentator on CNN to advance the Democratic Party agenda. But by the end of the day yesterday, only conservative Republican political commentator Bay Buchanan would stand by Hilary Rosen:

This all comes in the context of what Team Obama has been calling the Republican "War on Women"®. And so part of the denial of Hilary Rosen may be tied up in the wording of her apology:

"I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let's declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance."
An end to the phony war on women? What would that do to the Democratic Party's 2012 strategy? Not by coincidence there have for the last few weeks been organizers with clipboards out on the sidewalks in Harvard Square asking for support for Planned Parenthood.

No surprise then that this afternoon I got an email from Kelly Ward at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with this subject:

"The Republican War on Women is real."
Hilary Rosen, the real Hilary Rosen, is just an acceptable casualty.

A Struggle Ensued As Florida v. Zimmerman Arrived in Court

Special prosecutor Angela Corey filed her charges in court today against George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The three page probable cause affidavit is short and to the point. The key legal issue in the case is summed up in the phrase:

Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued.
Of course, the defense will want to argue that Martin attacked Zimmerman, but what will the evidence show?

It would seem that the question that has captivated the media circus, whether Zimmerman used a racial slur, may not be much relevant to the state's case.

Later, while talking about Martin, Zimmerman stated "these assholes, they always get away" and also said, "these fucking punks".
That plus the loaded gun in his waistband may be sufficient to prove the crucial element of 2nd degree murder under Florida law, "imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life." The source of the animus may not be as crucial as the animus itself.

Of course, Zimmerman's claim of self-defense was not outlined in the special prosecutor's case. So far his new defense lawyer not asked for bail and has not shown his hand, except to enter a not guilty plea.

It seems to me, in reviewing what is publicly known about what happened that night, that George Zimmerman was simply wrong in his belief which he undoubtedly held from the moment he called 911 until he pulled the trigger on his gun that Trayvon Martn was one of the people who had been committing and getting away with break-ins in his neighborhood.

What he saw as suspicious behavior was quite likely just a kid who was a little bit lost or disoriented in a neighborhood he was only visiting and a little distracted in talking with his girlfriend on his cell phone. And George Zimmerman was so intent on the police arriving in time to catch the kid, he doesn't seem to have bothered to identify who he was or that the police were on the way. George Zimmerman will have the rest of his life to think on that.

It's a cautionary tale with a tragic ending.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fresh Pond Public Meeting Tonight at 6:30pm

This meeting notice was posted on the back side of the Fresh Pond pathway.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Has George Zimmerman Offered to Plead Guilty?

I have just seen the most bizarre interview on CNN by Anderson Cooper with the now former lawyers of George Zimmerman. I see only two possibilities:

(1) Zimmerman had the two worst lawyers in America, who have called their client unbalanced and suggested he was a flight risk in resigning his case.

(2) Zimmerman has without consulting his lawyers called the special prosecutor and offered to surrender and plead guilty.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey promises a press conference within 72 hours. I guess we'll find out then.

The lawyers' press conference this afternoon:

The Anderson Cooper interview with the Zimmerman lawyers:

CNN has an "Oh My God" moment:

I don't disagree but ask a different question:

Q: Why would any two lawyers with an eye to their professional responsibilities say what these two lawyers are saying?

A: If the lawyers thought it the only way to protect their client from jail, in the face of their client offering prosecutors a plea deal.

The tell is that the lawyers say they got a call from the special prosecutor's office telling them about a conversation with their client to which they were not originally privy. Presumably the special prosecutor filled them in.

Another tell, the Trayvon Martin family and their lawyers have been on TV saying they don't believe this is capital case that would need to go to the grand jury, as if pleading out the case for a lesser charge has been discussed with them.

If I am right, Anderson Cooper completely blew his interview with the Zimmerman lawyers by failing to ask the key question.

Update 4/11/2012: George Zimmerman was arrested today and charged with murder in the second degree. Here are the different degrees of unlawful killings under Florida law:

DegreeElements of offenseMaximum penalty
First degree murderPremeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or any human being.Death or life w/o parole
Second degree murderAct imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life.30 years or life
Third degree murderPerpetrated without any design to effect death, by a person engaged a felony or attempted felony (other than those for 1st or 2nd degree).15 years
ManslaughterKilling by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another.15 years

George Zimmerman's new lawyer seems quite deferential in reference to the special prosecutor and spoke not merely of representing his client at trial but also at pretrial conferences. That's consistent with a client desiring to plead guilty to a lesser offense. Of course, no such offer may be on the table.

Rick Santorum Takes a Bow

Rick Santorum suspended his campaign today. Newt Gingrich all but conceded over the weekend. Ron Paul has been in remission for several weeks. That leaves Mitt Romney as the last man standing in the Republican race.

The scoreboard:

# of delegates secured so far NYT WSJ CNN CBS MSNBC RCP
Mitt Romney 661 661 659 645 573 656
Rick Santorum 285 285 275 252 212 272
Newt Gingrich 136 136 140 128 137 140
Ron Paul 51 51 71 45 34 67
Jon Huntsman 1 1 0 2 0 0
Total 1134 1134 1145 1072 956 1135
% of delegates secured so far        
Mitt Romney 58% 58% 58% 60% 60% 58%
Rick Santorum 25% 25% 24% 24% 22% 24%
Newt Gingrich 12% 12% 12% 12% 14% 12%
Ron Paul 4% 4% 6% 4% 4% 6%
% of remaining needed to clinch:        
Mitt Romney 42% 42% 43% 41% 43% 42%
Rick Santorum 75% 75% 76% 73% 70% 76%
Newt Gingrich 88% 88% 88% 84% 76% 87%
Ron Paul 95% 95% 94% 91% 83% 94%

Does this mean Rick Santorum is out of politics?

On the one hand, by finishing second Rick Santorum has a good claim to be next in line, along with Sarah Palin and whoever Mitt Romney picks as his running mate for VP.

On the other hand, if Santorum succeeds in delivering his voting base, he could be in the running for Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, or Secretary of Veterans Affairs in a Romney administration.

How They Used to Do Bipartisanship in Washington

Jerry Ford has gotten a bad rap by history. If you're waiting for the current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to praise John Boehner and Eric Cantor, don't hold your breath.

Here's Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter setting up his campaign for President by bragging about his state's pro-business climate and cutting 300 government departments down to 15.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hollywood Still Wins the Stereotype Derby

John Derbyshire got himself dropped as a contributor to the conservative National Review magazine by publishing in another online journal some politically incorrect attitudes on how whites should relate towards blacks in the United States.

A great irony is that the same stereotypes that are being universally condemned in Derbyshire are the stock in trade of Hollywood. Indeed, one can go down Derbyshire's list and find Hollywood movies made by some of Hollywood's brightest and most progressive stars with the same themes.

White Man's Burden (9a) A small cohort of blacks - around five percent - is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us.
Do the Right Thing (9b) A much larger cohort of blacks - around half - will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event.
Animal House (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
Training Day (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
The Warriors (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date.
8 Mile (10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
Zulu Dawn (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
Hotel Rwanda (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
The Last King of Scotland (10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
Fort Apache, The Bronx (10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
Trading Places (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
Dangerous Minds (11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites.
Gone with the Wind (12) In a pure meritocracy there would be very low proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs.
Brewster's Millions (13) In that pool of forty million, there are nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks (IWSBs). You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs.
White Men Can't Jump (14a) There is an issue of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (14b) There is also strong private demand from middle- and upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs.
Soul Man (15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous.

It is perhaps unfair to include Zulu Dawn, The Last King of Scotland, and Hotel Rwanda as they are about Africa and not black Americans. But it should be observed that 66-year-old John Derbyshire is every bit the English twit his last name suggests.

He attended the Northampton School for Boys, a school most notable for its production of rugby players, and graduated from University College London, a third-rate British university (it rates behind Cambridge and Oxford). What informs the Derbyshire psyche is undoubtedly not so much American experience as growing up during the unravelling of Britain's colonial empire, White Man's Burden and all that.

Take 10a, I'm sure that I could with perfect safety walk into a NBA locker room or a Black Chamber of Commerce Meeting. For 10b in Boston, I can think of some white neighborhoods like Southie and Eastie that are good to stay out of at certain times of day. On 10f, the city I've settled in has had a black mayor 3 times while I've lived here to no ill effect. We did have one mayor who had to spend some time in prison, he was not black.

10i is good advice, I use it in everyday encounters with the largely white street people in my city. I did stop Sunday and give assistance to a young black couple and their two young kids. They wanted help interpreting our byzantine parking signs, directions to the Harvard University campus (apparently wanting, if I were to apply Derbyshire stereotypes, to indoctrinate their kids against privileged whites and Asians while still in the stroller), and directions to the nearest good Thai restaurant.

Derbyshire makes something of the fact that there are "no black Fields Medal winners" saying that "this is civilizationally consequential." There have been only 52 recipients of the Fields Medal mathematics prize. That is not a very large sample size from a world population of 7 trillion. Derbyshire's assertion suffers from the black swan problem. For all we know, Jesse Douglas, one of the first two winners in 1936, was part black. Or perhaps the first black Fields Medal winner is now in grade school.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, referred to in 14b above, was released on December 12, 1967. In it Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier sought to warm up America to interracial marriage. But one product of a short-lived interracial marriage was already 6 years old, future President of the United States Barack Obama.

But if Derbyshire is out at the National Review due to his propensity to stereotype, there may still be room for him in Hollywood. He does have an IMDB entry as an uncredited thug in the 1972 Bruce Lee movie Way of the Dragon. More likely he'll retire on his acquired American citizenship and draw social security on the earnings of his racist thuggery like a good leech.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

CNN Gave, and CNN Hath Taken Away, Blessed Be the Name of CNN

CNN's handling of the Trayvon Martin case has taken a turn straight out of Job 1:21:

"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
CNN fed the flames of racial tension in Sanford, Florida by creating and airing an enhanced audio of George Zimmerman where he seemed to be uttering the racial slur "fucking coons." Well, now CNN has another enhancement of that same audio where George is muttering "its fucking cold."

In all of this, however, it should be remembered that, unlike Job, Trayvon Martin is not going to get his life back. Whether George Zimmerman should get his life back still needs to be tried in a court of law.

For CNN and other media outlets who insist on trying this case in the court of public opnion. You've just proved yourselves naked.

Update: This is worse than decoding the Zimmerman telegram. According to CNN, yet another audio enhancer says the words were "fucking punks."

Romney! Romney! Romney!

Mitt Romney picked up all the Easter candy on Tuesday with wins in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Washington, DC. Were the three wins decisive? You be the judge:

Candidate Wisconsin Maryland DC
Mitt Romney 43% 49% 70%
Rick Santorum 38% 29% -
Ron Paul 12% 10% 12%
Newt Gingrich 6% 11% 11%
Jon Hunstman 1% 1% 7%
Michele Bachmann 1% - -

Here's the delegate scoreboard:

# of delegates secured so far NYT WSJ CNN CBS MSNBC RCP
Mitt Romney 655 655 654 642 573 652
Rick Santorum 278 278 270 252 212 269
Newt Gingrich 135 135 137 128 137 140
Ron Paul 51 51 71 45 34 67
Jon Huntsman 1 1 0 2 0 0
Total 1120 1120 1132 1069 956 1128
% of delegates secured so far        
Mitt Romney 58% 58% 58% 60% 60% 58%
Rick Santorum 25% 25% 24% 24% 22% 24%
Newt Gingrich 12% 12% 12% 12% 14% 12%
Ron Paul 5% 5% 6% 4% 4% 6%
% of remaining needed to clinch:        
Mitt Romney 42% 42% 42% 41% 43% 42%
Rick Santorum 74% 74% 76% 73% 70% 76%
Newt Gingrich 87% 87% 87% 83% 76% 87%
Ron Paul 94% 94% 93% 90% 83% 93%

Mitt Romney is now on the downhill slope with more than half the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination. Ron Paul is close to mathematical elimination with Newt Gingrich not far behind. Romney will just roll on over them if they go winless when the next set of five states vote on April 24.

It's going to be a long three weeks for Rick Santorum. He needs a win on April 24 in his home state of Pennsylvania to have any credibility. He now needs 73% of the remaining delegates to actually win the nomination. That's a big mountain to climb.