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Posts from — March 2012

Missing The Point

The point of the protests about the death of Trayvon Martin, is to obtain justice, not to ‘hang’ George Zimmerman.

The guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman should be determined by a trial, not by a police department or state’s attorney who are unwilling or unable to do their job.

I can’t imagine what kind of probable cause the Sanford Police think they need beyond a dead body and an individual who admits he caused the death. ‘Self-defense’ is a valid justification, but, that justification needs to be examined in a trial. This case has nothing to do with the ‘Stand your ground’ provision of the Florida Criminal Code, so Mr. Zimmerman was obligated to retreat if possible.

The reality is that a person was shot to death, and the Florida criminal justice system was ignoring it. That’s what the protests are about.

March 31, 2012   4 Comments

Just Like Ronnie

The Orlando Sentinel reports on one of the many ways the Florida legislature is emulating the Reagan process for cutting budgets – send the bill to someone else: Counties will have to pay millions in disputed Medicaid bills

Since 1991, the state has charged for certain Medicaid services provided to county residents. Counties are required to reimburse the state for 35 percent of the cost of hospital stays of 11 to 45 days, except for pregnant women and children, and $55 a month for each Medicaid patient in a nursing home.

But counties have found numerous incidents of errors in the billing process, administered by the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

Orange County, for example, had its bills audited and found that bills totaling $3.5 million sent by the state were duplicates. It also found $2 million worth of billings for Medicaid recipients who are not Florida residents.

Reagan did it to the states, the state is doing it to the counties. What makes this especially egregious is that the state legislature keeps limiting the ability of the counties and local governments to raise revenue by putting referenda on the ballot that people approve because ‘they don’t want higher taxes’.

The state is saying that counties have to pay whatever the state bills, and can’t contest the charges. It is a raid on the counties to balance the state budget, because the legislature has already jacked up every fee the state charges.

March 30, 2012   Comments Off

Friday Cat Blogging

Hold On, I’m Coming

Friday Cat Blogging

Don’t go anywhere!

[Editor: Froggy is on her way to meet me for a very important reason - head scratching. When you scratch her ears it kick-starts the Harley she swallowed to produce the loudest purr I have ever heard.]

Friday Ark

March 30, 2012   5 Comments

Stupid Is Contagious

Apparently the Conservative government of the UK is in competition with the government of Sanford, Florida for the dumbest government action. The BBC reports: Fuel strike threat: ‘Panic buying’ at petrol stations

Anticipating a strike they describe as “completely wrong”, ministers had called for motorists to keep their cars “topped up” but urged people not to queue.

On Thursday, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said people “just need to do the sensible thing… get a full tank of petrol, not a half-tank.”

Brian Madderson, chairman of independent retailers’ group RMI Petrol, accused ministers of “making a crisis out of a serious concern” and said they should have sought industry advice “weeks ago” on how to avoid fuel shortages.

Meanwhile, Edmund King, from the AA, said: “If drivers followed normal fuel-buying patterns there would be no fuel shortage whatsoever.

“We now have self-inflicted shortages due to poor advice about topping up the tank and hoarding in jerrycans.”

Much attention focused on a suggestion by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude that people store fuel in a jerrycan in the garage. It was later withdrawn, having been condemned as potentially dangerous.

Understand that there has been no decision on a strike by the fuel truck drivers, only a discussion of the possibility. This is the sort of thing that is a standard feature of labor negotiations, and is ‘a serious concern’ to gas station owners, but, at $8.40+/gallon, a lot of purchasing power just got poured into gas tanks. The big oil companies will probably raise the price even further based on these artificial shortages.

The UK government seems hell-bent on driving their economy over the cliff. Another bad quarter and Britain will officially be back in a recession.

March 29, 2012   Comments Off

What A Mess

The Miami Herald reports on the latest screw-up: Sanford police threaten to arrest reporters

A press release sent out Wednesday said police would arrest journalists who attempt to make contact with city employees during non-working hours. They asked to not approach, call or email the city employees at home.

Some city staffers have been “followed or approached at their home or in settings outside of working hours,” the release said.

“Law enforcement officials will not hesitate to make an arrest for stalking.”

However, the Florida statute on stalking does not include language that would provide special protection to city officials or prevent media from asking questions.

Sanford police did not immediately return any calls Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Do they have any concept as to what this sounds like to the outside world? Do they want people to think that it’s OK to gun people down in Sanford, but if you ask public employees questions you are going to jail?

We are finally seeing some decent tourist numbers, and the jobs that go with them, and now we have to deal with this. Be advised that this is not occurring the Central Time Zone of Florida. We are open for business, and disapprove of anyone shooting people who are not breaking into their house.

March 29, 2012   2 Comments

Still Busy

But I saw the booking video of George Zimmerman, and he certainly didn’t look like he had been in a fight when he entered the police station.

North Korea is going to attempt to launch some type of rocket or missile so the US has put a hold on food aid, which affects the people, not the leadership. I guess thinking those decisions through is too difficult. The last time the US decided to stop aid to North Korea, they went all out with their nuclear weapon program, so they will do something outrageous in response. They are China’s client, so let China deal with them.

In order to be ‘fair and balanced’, the Pope criticized the US as well as Cuba, specifically the US embargo on Cuba. That will be appreciated in Miami. [/snark]

The pollen around here is brutal, and I have been working outside, so I have to take pseudofed. It’s more of a trial to buy it than Percodan/Oxycontin. You have to be registered and sign twice to get it. More security theater/police state insanity – collateral damage in the War on Drugs™.

March 28, 2012   6 Comments

The Media Sucks

I had to search for information about the Colorado wildfire outside of Denver in which two people have died, because the M$M is more interested in ‘the important stories’.

What’s important? Apparently some pilot lost it on a commercial flight and had to be subdued. The Health care law is being argued in the Supreme Court, with no decision due until this summer. Oh, and there are new leaks in the Trayvon Martin case that must be analyzed, while being sure not to come to any conclusions about anything.

There are all kinds of things going on in the world, but you can’t tell if you use the major US media outlets. If a story requires sending an actual reporter out to a location other than New York, Los Angeles, or Atlanta, you are better off watching the social media for news.

March 27, 2012   4 Comments

There Is No Limit To Their Gall

Attaturk had a Jerusalem Post article in which Amir Peretz, a former Isreali defense minister, talks about why the the US should attack Iran, instead of Israel.

Basically they believe that Israel is less likely to be attacked at home if the US commits the crime, than if Israel does it. It is the Israelis who have been banging on the war drums, but they don’t want to pay the price of making the actual attack.

I’m still waiting for someone to justify the ‘special relationship’ of the US and Israel. For some odd reason, I don’t think that the campaign contributions of a few wealthy people should govern US foreign policy. I think that US foreign policy should be based on what is good for US interests, not the Likud Party of Israel.

Just for the record – both US and Israeli intelligence have concluded that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. Only the MEK [a listed terrorist organization] and the Likud government claim that they do. There is no evidence of such a program, and normally reliable intelligence that all ‘nuclear weapons program related activities’ came to a screeching halt in 2003 when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa declaring nuclear weapons ‘unIslamic’.

March 26, 2012   5 Comments

This Is Nonsense

I’m an old guy, and I would enjoy getting back some of the money I paid into the Social Security Trust Fund for at least a few more years, but, frankly, I am too old to rate one of the relatively scarce transplant organs available in the current US health care system.

When the big story is a guy even older than I am receiving a heart transplant, I have to wonder how many people with decades of productive years before them are waiting for transplants. I have had an OK life, but it is a one-way ticket.

I can hope that it is a relatively healthy heart from someone in their fifties or older that wasn’t suitable for a younger person, but people that old are not usually tested as donors. It is my personal view that it would be a total waste to put a healthy young heart into someone who statistically has a decade or less left.

One of the biggest failings of American society is its failure to accept death as inevitable. Americans generally refuse to even discuss it. People put off making a will or writing end-of-life directives. It really is an oddity in the world.

March 25, 2012   9 Comments

Busy Day

The front finally made it through, so today was beautiful. Despite the fact that this was a ‘cold front’ all it did was return temperatures to what is supposedly ‘normal’ for this time of year. I have severe doubts we will see the third cold spell of the season, which once occurred around Easter. The temperature in the Gulf is already back into the 70s.

I am hard put to remember a more frantic display on the Right and among the NRA whackoes to justify what happened in Sanford, Florida. Trayvon Martin was not targeted for his choice of clothes, he was targeted for the color of his skin. Hooded garments go back millennia among the Inuit, and centuries among monastic orders and academics. They are a standard item of clothing for people who work outside, and athletes. I have two hooded jackets that are older than Mr. Martin was at his death. These attempts to obfuscate the core issue, and to transfer some of the guilt to Mr. Martin are disgusting.

Just as a reminder – I have been warning about the real target in the War on Women™, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), for a very long time, and first wrote about it here on January 14, 2006. The Christianists want to impose their views and beliefs regarding morality on everyone in the country – just like the Taliban. This is how religious wars always start.

March 24, 2012   4 Comments

Like We Said

Everyone who thought this through knew this would happen, but the VSPs ignore people who agree with Keynes: the Guardian reports that Ireland is back in recession as global slowdown hits exports:

Ireland ended last year in recession, according to figures released on Thursday, dealing a blow to the policy of economic austerity being forced on struggling eurozone countries by the European commission and the IMF.

A dip of 0.2% in GDP in the last quarter of 2011 followed a steep fall in the third quarter, after an export drive was undermined by the slowdown in global demand. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.

Ireland, which had become a poster child for austerity when its economy pulled out of its nosedive earlier last year, joins fellow eurozone countries Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Portugal and Greece in recession.

Austerity doesn’t work, has never worked, and logically can’t work in bad economic conditions, but facts aren’t allowed to intrude on beliefs, and the people needed to be punished, even if they had nothing to do with the problem.

This is what is going to happen in the US if the mental midgets in Washington continue to emphasize the ‘deficit’. The economy will go into a deeper recession, the deficit will get worse, and any recovery will take years longer to achieve. Reality doesn’t matter to the Austerians.

March 23, 2012   5 Comments

About Those Gas Prices

The BBC reports that Petrol prices hit another record high

The average price of a litre of unleaded petrol hit 140.20 pence [$8.42/gallon].

Higher oil prices, driven by concerns about Iran, have been behind the rising price of fuel. Crude oil prices have risen 12% since January.

It is amazing how they have figured out the problem is Iran, while some people in the US are calling for more drilling and a Canadian pipeline.

As for Iran, the Guardian notes that Nuclear watchdog chief accused of pro-western bias over Iran.

Two former IAEA inspectors, Hans Blix and Robert Kelley, who were involved in the hunt for mythological WMDs in Iraq, think that current IAEA head Yukiya Amano has a pro-western bias, is over-reliant on unverified intelligence, and sidelines skeptics.

It is also noted that the IAEA maintained a very low profile regarding the problems at the Fukushima nuclear facility. Mr. Amano is Japanese.

Many of the allegations regarding Iran are based on ‘intelligence’ provided primarily by Israel that hasn’t been verified by anyone else. Single sourced intel is generally regarded in the intelligence community as rumor. It takes two sources to make it ‘possible’ and three to make it ‘probable’.

March 23, 2012   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Exhaustion

Friday Cat Blogging

Zzzzzzz…

[Editor: Specialist Underhouse has discovered that the life of a tom cat can be very tiring with all of the chasing, combat, and rejection.]

Friday Ark

March 23, 2012   2 Comments

The Trayvon Martin Murder

I have been reluctant to comment on this until I could figure out what was going on in the case, and frankly, it is worse than you think.

I finally figured it out from reading this Miami Herald story, Miami judge decides fatal stabbing was self-defense, which is about a totally different case.

That led me to locate the law itself, and not just the part that everyone quotes. I found it on the site of the Florida legislature, so this is the real deal:

Title XLVI Chapter 776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

The ‘stand your ground’ provision [subsection (3)] is not a general defense, it is only supposed to be related to the specific crimes listed in this law. This is why Durrell Peaden, my former state senator and the author of the law, can correctly state that the Martin case has nothing to do with the ‘stand your ground’ law.

What has happened is that the elected local judges are applying the provision to anything, and everything, without regard to the fact that it is limited to specified crimes. The Miami decision is a case in point. This was the standard theft of a radio from a parked vehicle, and the owner caught the thief in the act. The owner chased the thief about a block and stabbed him with a large kitchen knife, killing him. The vehicle wasn’t occupied, so the ‘stand your ground’ provision wasn’t applicable, but the judge applied it anyway. The prosecutors have already said they will appeal the decision. The Florida Supreme Court needs to tell local judges to stop enabling murder and mayhem.

March 22, 2012   2 Comments