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Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, jury duty and the press

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:09 pm - April 3, 2012.
Filed under: Media Bias

Five years ago, serving on a Los Angeles jury trying a civil case, I, listening to the plaintiff’s lawyer’s opening statement, became convinced of that defendant’s liability.  As the case proceeded, however, with witnesses offered their testimony and being subject to cross-examination, I found gaping holes in the plaintiff’s case, notably their failure to corroborate her accusations — particularly her lawyer’s failure to ask the one witness who, she had claimed (in her testimony), had seen the defendant sexually harassing her.

For that was the nature of the case.

There was indeed strong circumstantial evidence suggesting sexual harassment, but nothing substantial.  Which brings me to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.  When I first head the story, I assumed, as did most Americans, that this had been a miscarriage of justice, but like my experience on that LA jury, I wanted to learn the facts before rendering final judgment.

The contrast, however, is that in my jury experience, I fist heard the narrative from an interested party, in that case, the plaintiff’s attorney, but with the Martin/Zimmerman story, my sources were the legacy media (if you count CNN, Yahoo! and AOL as “legacy”).  It was as if they were playing the role of the plaintiff or prosecution, presenting one side of the case, not of a neutral arbiter trying to find the facts.

The media, to borrow an expression from Ann Althouse, operated as participants “in the use and exploitation of these 2 unfortunate men.

In the past few days, they have started their walkback, with this image appearing on Yahoo!’s home page:


The facts present a far murkier story than the initial media narrative. And the picture that emerges of George Zimmerman far more complex.  We learned that at least one “news” outlet was just presenting the facts beneficial to their side, but presenting them in such a way as to better make their case. (more…)

A way to prevent the straw from breaking the camel’s back

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:27 pm - April 3, 2012.
Filed under: LA Stories,Random Thoughts

I’ve been spending part of this most productive day puzzling over how I have gotten so much accomplished so far when so many little things have been going wrong.  Yesterday, I experienced the same sort of thing, waking before the alarm, bad to mediocre coffee, noise of yard work in the dwellings around me, etc. etc.  And yet yesterday, the little things accumulated in such a manner that I (felt I) couldn’t get anything done.  You’ll note that after my the pieces I posted before I headed to bed (three hours earlier here in California than GayPatriot blog time), I failed to post anything at all yesterday.

Today, however, the coffee was still bad (soon to retire that failed new coffee maker), but I got everything done I had needed to get done in the morning — and even managed to put up an unplanned post.

Perhaps, it was that I had cleaned off my desk before bed so had a much tidier work space when I sat down to work this morning — or that I had slept in a newly-made bed with clean sheets.  Or that when I woke before the alarm, I got out of bed — and got on with my day.

This afternoon, the opening verses of a Paul Simon song (on a theme entirely different from this post’s) come to mind, “The problem is all inside your head/She said to me“.  Sometimes the straw doesn’t break the camel’s back.  Perhaps that’s because something in his head tells him that he is strong enough to bear the weight.

No, Mr. President, Ronald Reagan didn’t campaign on raising taxes

Well, you can’t accuse Barack Obama of originality.  Today, the incumbent President of the United States trotted out that old Democratic talking point that Ronald Reagan “could not get through a Republican primary today.

The Democrat uses that silly notion as he lambastes his partisan rivals for their supposed unwillingness to compromise:

These are solvable problems if people of good faith came together and were willing to compromise. The challenge we have right now is that we have on one side, a party that will brook no compromise.

. . . .

Think about that. Ronald Reagan, who, as I recall, is not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist, understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases. Did it multiple times. He could not get through a Republican primary today.

If the newspaper editors (with whom he conducted the interview) did their homework, they would find that the party unwilling to brook any compromise sits in the White House, with the president, for example, having walked away from a a debt agreement last summer where Republicans has agreed to an $800 billion increase in “revenue.

Oh yea, and Obama might want to remember that Reagan later regretted signing on the 1982 budget deal as the Democrats got their tax cuts, but the spending cuts never materialized.  Seems this guy just can’t get his facts straight about his predecessors.

Not just that, Reagan never ran for president promising to raise taxes.  Quite the contrary, in fact; in the 1984 campaign, he used his Democratic opponent’s support for such hikes against him. (more…)

Tough-on-Crime Lesbian to be New York City’s Next Mayor?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:03 pm - April 3, 2012.
Filed under: Identity Politics,Strong Women

The media narrative notwithstanding, many conservatives would be willing to support a gay or lesbian candidate for public office if he or she advocated sensible policies.  Note for example the California Republican Party’s recent endorsement of Brad Torgan.  You can join me in supporting his bid to represent the citizens of California’s 50th Assembly district by donating to his campaign.

Scanning the blogs before bed last night, I chanced upon Seth Mandel’s piece in Commentary Contentions about the upcoming (next year) contest for Mayor of New York.  He reported that frontrunner City Council Speaker Christine Quinn whom he described as “openly gay, and planning to marry her partner this year” supports a police policy (controversial in some liberal circles) that has helped reduce crime in the Big Apple.

With identity politics often placing “New York’s Finest, the NYPD, at the center of attention”. Mandel writes, the “police department’s stop-and-frisk policy has come under fire from minority advocates claiming racial profiling”.  As other candidates favor firing the popular police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, Quinn offers a different approach:

While [former city comptroller Bill] Thompson [also running for Mayor] responded to the stop-and-frisk policy by threatening to fire Kelly, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who is also likely running for the Democratic nomination, lashed out at both the possible profiling element and the efficacy of the policy, Quinn took a more thoughtful tack. She suggested some changes to the policy in a letter to Kelly, but did not advocate scrapping it. She also included some praise for the policy: “We understand the vast majority of the lives saved were men of color and that part of the NYPD’s policing strategy that led to this decline is based on stop, question and frisk.”

Mandel believes that Quinn’s respect for the city’s police force has put her at the “front of the pack” in the race for Rudy Giuiliani’s old job.  Sounds like the kind of gal around whom his supporters could rally.

Why is Obama still so focused on energizing his base?

On Friday night, I had the good fortune to dine with my friends, Powerline blogger John Hinderaker and his lovely lady Loree.  We had similar theories about the presidential election, optimistic about Republican chances this fall and wondering at the president’s apparent insecurity.  He addressed that insecurity in a blog post yesterday:

If Democrats thought President Obama had a defensible record, they would be talking about the economy, not about contraceptives and hoodies. And if their own surveys showed Democrats running strongly, they would be appealing to independent and centrist voters, not trying to motivate their base with feminist and racial controversies that are unpopular with the general public.

And, I would add, trying to motivate them as well with anti-Republican demagoguery.  Later today, the president will be attacking the Ryan budget which passed the House.  Don’t expect him to provide an alternative to the budget he introduced earlier this year — and which failed to garner a single Democratic vote in the House.

The last time he attacked a Ryan budget, he failed to offer an alternative of his own.  (That was last year when not a single Democrat in the Senate could register his support for their fellow partisan’s blueprint.)  Seems Obama is more interested in galvanizing his base to oppose Republican initiatives than to rally centrists to support his proposals. (more…)

Worthy reasons for Ron Paul & Newt to stay in race?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:39 am - April 3, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Conservative Ideas

Caught two things on Hot Air today where two of the remaining “non-Romneys” in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination articulated reasons why they are continuing to remain in the race.

Tina Korbe reports that although Ron Paul finds Mitt Romney to be “a dignified person,” he may not support the current frontrunner for the Republican nomination, asking “Which Republican other than myself would look into the Federal Reserve?”  Perhaps, the Texas Congressman is conditioning his support for his current adversary’s pledge, if elected, to commission an audit of the Fed — which seems a worthy goal.  (Eager to hear our reader ILoveCapitalism’s response to such a pledge.)

Interpreting Newt Gingrich’s new focus as recasting the former Speaker’s campaign in the mold of Paul’s quixotic quest, Allahpundit excerpts and comments on Byron York’s Washington Examiner story about that new focus:

Gingrich says he will now focus his efforts on persuading GOP delegates to adopt a series of platform proposals that will hold Romney to conservative positions.

“The delegates are well to the right of Romney,” Gingrich says. “That doesn’t mean they necessarily want to buck Romney, but I do think they may well say to Romney, ‘It would really be good for you to run as a genuine conservative.’”

Read the whole thing.  At least since the run-up to the Michigan primary, Mitt Romney has been doing a better job articulating conservative principles.  Perhaps Newt doesn’t take the former Bay State governor at his word and believes his campaign would help hold the frontrunner’s feet the fire. (more…)

How many* is that now?

Another Obama Solar Company Goes Bankrupt …Taxpayers Lose $2 BILLION?

A California solar energy company that was unable to meet a deadline for an Energy Department loan guarantee last year has sought bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

Solar Trust of America’s Chapter 11 filing on Monday listed assets between $1 million and $10 million, and liabilities between $10 million and $50 million.

The filing comes amid the ongoing controversy surrounding Solyndra, a solar firm that received a half-billion dollar federal loan and was touted by the Obama administration before declaring bankruptcy last year.

At the same link you’ll find the text of an April 19, 2011 article reporting, “The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to Solar Trust of America for a solar thermal power plant near Blythe, Calif.”

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*green companies taking federal subsidies and/or loan guarantees going bankrupt.