Monthly Archives: July 2009

Near beer

Go here for very pungent assessment of last night’s agree-to-disagree summit at which the president drank Bud Lite:

Absolute crap beer for an absolute Bullshit moment. This fine Teaching moment on race( brought to you by the Jackson Family Budweiser Distributorship) , like Obama’s Philadelphia Thigh Tingler, where Reverend Wright’s idiocies became America’s problem, because Young Barry dug his creed, is pure bullshit and yet another nuanced way to avoid a problem of his own making for Barack Obama – not President Obama – Barack Obama – the guy who can not admit a mistake.

Also very good on the main subject, beer.  Am keeping cans of Milwaukee’s Best in the fridge door these days.  Few months back, I kept High Life quarts next to the milk, which in my golden years I find myself drinking more of — the milk, I mean.

What this tells you is that while I too abhor Lite, I do not relish the richer non-U.S. stuff, which I find harder to digest.  My delicate stomach, you know, especially at risk in these days of O. in the W.H.

He’s against sin in general

Former top RC chaplain issues “abolitionist challenge”:

OMAHA, NEBRASKA
With a message aimed at the heart of the U.S. nuclear command, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore July 29 called for a world free of the threat of such weapons.

So what?

Beer

Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the lede paragraph of the year so far:

“If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet it makes beer shoot out your nose,” the comedic philosopher Jack Handey once theorized.

A messy eureka moment like that wasn’t the point for the White House beer drinkers Thursday night.

If you know and run into AP writer Calvin Woodward, please thank him for me.

Duelling letters about Gates

Richard Frisbie, of Arlington Heights, IL, a writer whom I have known for years, primarily through our membership in Society of Midland Authors, cites a 1979 Florida case, “State vs. Brayman,” as one to keep in mind as we judge the arrest of Prof. Gates in Cambridge.

In it, Frisbie says in a letter to the Sun-Times,

a charge of “resisting a police officer without violence” was dismissed by Judge John J. King in a decision widely quoted in the press at the time.

I will take his word about that, but I would like to know how the decision fared in upper courts if challenged or to what extent it became precedent.

On the other hand, another letter writer, to the Canton, Ohio Repository, apparently no more a lawyer than Frisbie, cites another, later decision that supports the Gates arrest.

Terry v. Ohio is a famous U.S. Supreme Court case that defined “reasonable suspicion” and upholds law enforcement officers’ authority to stop, detain and frisk a suspect without arresting him, based on “reasonable suspicion.” [italics added]

This was in 1968.  The decision, approved with the sole dissent of Justice Douglas, has an enduring history:

Terry set the precedent for Michigan v. Long, 463 U.S. 1032 (1983). In an opinion citing Terry written by Justice O’Connor, the Supreme Court ruled that car compartments could be constitutionally searched if an officer had reasonable suspicion.

The scope of Terry was extended in the 2004 Supreme Court case Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, 542 U.S. 177 (2004), which held that a state law requiring the suspect to identify himself during a Terry stop did not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibitions of unreasonable searches and seizures or the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

All of that goes far beyond the Gates arrest; it’s about stopping and frisking on the street, for one thing, not on one’s front porch.  But it does provide perspective for the case my fellow writer Frisbie brings up and seems on its face to have more substance.

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Here’s a Florida perspective on the 1979 case in the Broward-Palm Beach New Times blog, including that

it’s worth mentioning if only to celebrate the verbosity of late Broward Circuit Court Judge John J. King.

He was verbose, I guess.

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While we’re at it in re perspective, let’s get down to the common-sense level, if we may, with this observation by Michael Barone:

Obama’s acolytes love to say that this case is a “teachable moment.” The one who needs teaching, it is clear, is not Sergeant James Crowley but Professor Henry Louis Gates. Gates proclaimed that he was being questioned because he was black—which was plainly not the case. Crowley was responding to a passerby’s report that a house was being broken into.

Moreover—and this is a point I haven’t seen others make—when Gates was shouting in the hearing of passerbys that Crowley was a racist, Crowley must have regarded this as a threat to his entire career. Allegations of racism could result in losing his job, being publicly disgraced, being unable to get another good job—the end of everything he’d worked for all his adult life. [italics added]

We’ve seen that, have we not?  From baseball exec to talk-show host, the wheels have grinded rapidly and small, until little or nothing is left of the accused.  Hmmm.  Was Gates yelling fire in the old crowded theater?

Gates . . . had the power to destroy Crowley’s career. And he seemed to enjoy wielding that power, or at least to be acting in reckless disregard of his capacity to destroy the professional life of another human being.

Yes, Gates was jet-lagged and presumably irritated that he was locked out of his house. But the possibility that Crowley was a decent professional, not at all a racist, properly investigating a possible crime, doesn’t seem to have occurred to him. Crowley was just one of the little people, a disposable commodity in the career of an academic superstar.

Barone concludes:

In other words, by saying the Cambridge police “acted stupidly,” [Obama] aligned himself with the culture of victimhood that Gates channeled when he faced Sergeant Crowley. And he aligned himself with a member of the academic elite who committed acts which threatened to destroy another person’s professional life. Not a pretty picture. It will be interesting to see who shows contrition after this afternoon’s beer session.

Bernanke Stutters?

I know stutters and this ain’t it.  It’s the second item I’ve seen in last two days about Bernanke looking bad on this point — the other was being questioned by a Congressman — and each time he doesn’t.

Heat’s on him and Fed because it’s lending (creating) money and not just setting rates, and rightly so,  And bigger q. is what about the Fed in the first place?  But that’s a minority view, to be sure.

As for his argument about letting Congress decide monetary matters — rates — if we need a wizard, those bozos can’t be the one, but more to point, that’s not the law, he argues.

Mad Barney Frank at the monetary helm?  Hollywood Waxman?  God save us.

Bernanke Stutters, Stammers And Shakes His Way Through Questions On Audit The Fed Bill

Shared via AddThis

Four in an hour

These burglaries are on the north end of town, not northeast, where houses are especially nice and residents are generally more affluent.

Oak Park police have issued a neighborhood alert following four residential burglaries within a four hour period early Wednesday morning. The burglaries occurred within a roughly four square block area bounded by Division on the north, Chicago on the south, Oak Park to the west and Ridgeland to the east

Details:

Three of the homes were entered through unlocked rear doors, and one through an open window. Numerous valuables were stolen while homeowners slept inside.

Oh boy.  While they slept. 

Cops are on it.  Indeed, they have been getting results.  But those unlocked back doors bespeak a confidence in one’s safety that is proving unrealistic.

Orwellian science adviser

This was above Obama’s pay grade as a candidate, but as president he found a guy for whom it wasn’t:

President Obama’s top science adviser [John P. Holdren] said in a book he co-authored in 1973 that a newborn child “will ultimately develop into a human being” if he or she is properly fed and socialized.

That was his studied opinion.  His co-authors were uber population panic-peddler Paul Ehrlich, of Population Bomb fame, and Anne Ehrlich.

In the 1970s and 1980s . . . hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now,

Ehrlich wrote, in a prediction that bombed.

As for the newborn,

“The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being,” John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.”

He’s Obama’s kind of guy, apparently.

He also

advocated the “de-development” of the United States in books he published in the 1970s.

It would work this way:

“A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States,” Holdren wrote in [another] 1973 book he co-authored with Paul R. Ehrlch and Anne H. Ehrlich.

De-development?

“De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation.”

Back we would go to our golden age of primitivism, including radical wealth redistribution.

“The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge,” they wrote. “They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided to every human being.”

Fascism, I called it in a Wed. Journal column last October.  How else but by such control of people’s lives can this be achieved?

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Later: True, the wild scenario urged on us by the science advisor in 1973 is fascistic.  But from there to say O. is equally fascistic is a stretch, it occurs to me.  One thing at a time, in other words.  At issue here is the kind of adviser O. picks.  He’s at least comfortable with this kind of thinking.  At least.

Keep those rules and regs coming . . .

New Jersey is surpassing Illinois as a citadel of corruption, and this woman knows why:

Sandy McClure, co-author of the book “The Soprano State: New Jersey’s Culture of Corruption,” agrees that big government is a big reason behind the state’s corruption problem.

“You have all these little authorities that everyone has to go to for permission,” she says. “Too much government means too many opportunities for officials looking to cash in. And there’s no way that the press can keep track of it all.”  [Italics added]

Every new ordinance means a new chance to bribe and be bribed, does it not?

 

We like to be in charge, you see . . .

It’s suspicion-of-profit time at the U.S. government:

The chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Tuesday he believes the agency must “seriously consider” setting “strict” new limits on traders who place bets on energy contracts.

The standard arguments prevail, the same chutzpah:

“The CFTC is in the best position to apply limits across different exchanges, and we are most able to strike a balance between competing interests and the responsibility to protect the American public,” Mr. [Gary] Gensler said.

He’s the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s new commissioner, “pledged to look into setting aggregate limits across commodities of finite supply to make the rules more consistent.”

Now “certain agricultural markets” feel CFTC’s strong, visible hand — “hard limits” — soon oil, currently under such limits only in the last three days of a contract.  Speculation jacked up prices last time around, not heightened demand for shrinking supply, as some old-timers continue to insist on, say these wizards.

No nature-of-the-beast thinking here, no nature of anything, just stuff to be manipulated.

One of the big guys, CME Group, is on board with this stuff. Stands for Chicago Mercantile Exchange, owner of Merc and Board of Trade — among whose directors has been the astute and readable Sun-Times columnist Terry Savage, age 64 (!), since July 2007, for what that’s worth.

Ramifications of what CFTC does exceed the scope of my pay level, as do many other ramifications, but we do spy a, ah, philosophical difference here between standard Republican and standard Democrat approaches to business, do we not?  Not to mention when the Democrat hails from the party’s radical wing.

Gensler has blamed “speculation by index investors” for last year’s price run-up,” in the face of CFTC economists’ holding for “supply and demand  fundamentals, not speculation, [as] to blame.”

Yes.

As for CME support for this, it’s the sort of thing that the big guys have always liked, they being very conservative with their bundles.  (CME trailing only Amex, ING, the NY exchange, and Citigroup.)  At least since FDR, the biggies have lived nicely with controls and regulations — hey, hire a new compliance officer, set up a new department, we can afford it.

While not so big guys moan in the spirit of this fellow, reacting on Market Watch to the July 7 news of these very coming CFTC regulations: “Watch them help Goldman [Sachs] and JPM[organ] steal more.”

Are they black or white?

The woman whose report of a possible house break-in led to the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said she never mentioned race during her 911 call and is “personally devastated’’ by media accounts that suggest she placed the call because the men she observed on the porch were black, according to a lawyer acting as her spokeswoman.

She couldn’t tell.

[She] saw the backs of both men and did not know their race when she called 911, said Wendy J. Murphy, a Boston lawyer from New England School of Law. [She] phoned police, Murphy said, because she was aware of recent break-ins in the area.

But the 911 operator would have asked if he or she were worth his or her salt.  [911 tape is out: he did ask, “white, black, or hispanic,” she thought one maybe hispanic, wasn’t sure, couldn’t say about the other]  In Oak Park they ask, as they should.  They don’t want to go looking for a black if a white did it, which they would do, considering the near universal blackness of such perps in Oak Park, most but not all being spillovers from the Austin (city) neighborhood immediately to the east.

You never know.  It could be a white guy “jimmying” (O’s word) the front door or back door or garage door.

A bit of history: Years ago, I told 911 I’d just seen two black kids on a bike, that being the going description of bike thieves on the prowl from Austin.  The operator berated me, I complained to her superiors and got a call from a sergeant apologizing. 

It was relevant to my call-in of suspicious behavior, and everyone but this (tyro) operator knew it.  She sounded white, by the way, and had something to learn.

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Later: See bracketed note above.

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