Monday, November 28, 2011

The reason Huntsman hasn't had his moment (and Gingrich is having his)


   Pundits have been speculating for awhile as to why Jon Huntsman hasn't had his moment in the polls as the anti-Romney. There's been all sorts of reasons given, from his service in the Obama administration to his views on climate change and civil unions. But the real clincher in my opinion? The man doesn't talk enough trash for GOP primary voters.

  If it was only Huntsman's views then why the heck was Chris Christie forgiven for his lapses from GOP orthodoxy and so salivated over for a month or two during the "will he/won't he" phase of the primary? Because he was a big mean guy with a Tony Soprano-ish presence. Even Romney, the consistent frontrunner and generally reasonable seeming human, has engaged in hyperbole about Obama to try to sound tough. But Romney wasn't rough enough in his criticism. He's smart, and primary voters like smart....actually, let me rephrase that...they like the appearance of being smart. But he isn't a dirty SOB. Shooting verbal bullets at O and sounding like you read stuff, that's the golden combo. Have they found it with Gingrich? Maybe.

  Every answer the man gives in a debate is a mini history lesson and he still manages to get in digs in interviews about Obama's "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior". Dang. Look at that quote. Pure partisan beauty. It's like something Rick Perry would say if he'd read a book or two in his life and could cobble together the brain cells to remember what was in those books.

   If Huntsman had managed a few more of those zingers his numbers would be the ones rising. Of course, those of us who believe there is still some decency hiding in the GOP are glad he hasn't.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New West Memphis 3 article is a waste.


  The Democrat Gazette ran a new article on the West Memphis Three case that covered the reflections of two state crime lab workers. The article can be found here.  The only comment on the article, as of the time of this blogpost, pretty much nails my opinion of it. We know for sure that at least one of the men, Mr. Peretti, thinks the West Memphis Three are guilty. We also know that both men from the crime lab feel like their work was unjustly attacked. These attacks were by the defense trying to claim that the causes of the wounds on the victims weren't what the crime lab claimed.

  I'll agree that knowing what caused the wounds is an important element of this case, but this article never once explains why Mr. Peretti is so certain the three men who were convicted of the crime are the culprits. This man handled the physical evidence, the one part of the case that both sides agree is very weak as far as linking the WM3 to the crime. What did he see in his work that convinced him. He's free to talk about it now. Why didn't the reporter get more information?

    Not to be cynical, but I wonder if the purpose of this article is to further the subtle bias the Dem-Gaz has always had against those questioning the convictions from this case. Otherwise, all we are left with is a story that basically says "Two AR crime lab scientists were very sad from the West Memphis killings and think that their work was unjustly attacked." Wow, who would ever be surprised by that?

 Oh yes, and one more thing, the quote by Mr. Peretti, also mentioned by the commentor on the story, is absurd: “They are being worshipped as child killers".  That is what Mr. Peretti thinks of the WM3. I don't care if he thinks the supporters of the Three are wrong, but you'd think he'd be classy or intelligent enough to acknowledge that those who are supporters don't think the three men committed the crime.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

BUYcott Black Friday: even more stupid than Occupy Black Friday

  Caught this story about a Philadelphia Tea Party group that encouraged people to "BUYcott Black Friday" to help the economy and to respond to the OWS crowd that wanted people to "Occupy Black Friday". Both ideas are incredibly stupid but BUYcott takes the cake.

    So many Tea Partiers are criticizing the "violence" and "chaos" of Occupy Wall Street, was the Philly group not also aware of the violence and chaos of Black Friday? There have been deaths and severe injuries from shopping frenzy. Also, for a group that prides itself on fiscal responsibility I have to ask, just how fiscally responsible are the ill advised additional purchases that so many people make because they're in the Black Friday zone?

     Look at the pictures of people waiting in the cold or people in a constant state of shopping orgasm with mountains of junk in their carts. A lot of them look like the sort of people that Tea Partiers blame the housing crisis on. I wonder what the average credit score of a Black Friday line at Walmart is?

    So for your viewing pleasure, two great examples of what Philly Tea Party groups want for our country. And by the way, the item those people are scrambling for in the video? $2 waffle makers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Further thoughts on Ferneau police officer incident.

 This post is kind of a reaction to a response to some comments I made on another blog. I don't know what happened at Ferneau, but then again I've never claimed to know. All I've done is told how things appear to me. This is partially based on my perception of the video and what I find believable about police officer actions. The latter is due to my witnessing the incident referred to in my previous blog post. Still I've never said that the officer should be fired or made similarly disparaging remarks about him, unlike many of those who commented on the Arkansas Times blog post about the incident.

  But I also won't say for sure that the officer was justified. The video appears to show an unarmed man getting punched in the face by a police officer without sufficient reason. It appears to show this. I have no clue what happened before, but it appears to show this. Just as so many people on the AR Times blog were calling for the officer's head, just as many people were saying a stupid drunk got what was coming to him. Both of these kinds of people are blindly subscribing to one view or the other, and knowing nothing of the complete story. I have shared my initial reactions to the video since it's my blog and it's a forum for my thoughts and opinions. But in the end, all I've said is that it's not certain that an officer used excessive force, but it's definitely believable. If you don't even think it's a possibility you are naive.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

LRPD Excessive force: not certain, but believable

Many blogs have written about this incident so I thought I'd show this video and discuss my thoughts.


For anyone who hasn't heard, the above video is of an incident that happened outside the restaurant Ferneau. Having watched the video, the face punching is the one part that to me seems absolutely uncalled for. The rest of the video is hard to see, but I fail to see how an officer is justified in holding an unarmed suspect's neck and punching him in the face multiple times. I have friends who have been or are in law enforcement and this runs counter to all the training and handling of suspects that they have told me about.

I will also add to that a personal experience I had on Cinco de Mayo at El Porton in LR several years ago where I witnessed excessive behavior by an officer working security. The officer approached a man sitting at a table near ours and asked why the man was looking at him "funny". Having been at the front door the officer walked all the way into the bar area to ask that. The man denied looking at the officer any sort of "funny" way and it escalated into the officer asking the man to leave and then slamming the man on the table, knocking it over, and spraying mace. The mace then basically cleared the entire area of the restaurant as everyone started coughing and dealing with burning sensations. So the idea of a Little Rock police officer acting excessively isn't too crazy to me.

Glass Steagall, it's time to bring it back


  Caught this blog post from Slate the other day, which mentions both Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich basically agreeing that Glass Steagall should never have been repealed. Okay that's great, we agree on that, now what?

  This should be a non-partisan issue. For all the GOP debate talk about repealing Dodd-Frank, there was little discussion of what to do in its place (Huntsman came close in last night's debate with talk of an anti-bailout fund paid by the banks, as well as his touching on the need to "right size" our banks, shoot he even semi-called out Goldman Sachs!). A return to Glass Steagall's separation between commercial banks and investment banks would definitely help protect the assets of America's citizens and make headway into dealing with TBTF. Now if we could only get a candidate to say that onstage...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

House of Representatives proves it doesn't have amnesia

The House of Representatives voted recently to reaffirm that the motto of the United States is still the same motto that has been in place since 1956: "In God We Trust"

In other news they also voted to affirm that Abraham Lincoln's face is still on Mount Rushmore and that his position hasn't been usurped by William Henry Harrison...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is Tea Partier Joe Walsh a "deadbeat dad"?

  Huffington Post carried a story whose implication was that "deadbeat dad" U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (not the totally awesome guitarist who was the only cool thing about the Eagles) hypocritically accepted a pro-family award from the Family Research Council. The story can be read here.

  That Walsh is a child support owing deadbeat has been the spin in a lot of the left leaning media for a little while, but a little bit of further reading shows that it's not that clear. I'm no fan of Mr. Walsh and I definitely think the FRC is full of it and spends most of its time assaulting the liberties of others rather than "protecting the family". But since this is a blog that has no use for spin and smears, even against those with whom it disagrees, it decided to delve into this.

  This story from has this section which definitely paints a less black and white picture:

According to Joe Walsh, $2,134 a month is being withheld from his government paychecks to support one teenager.  Two other children are now 20 and 24 years of age.  The three children are from Walsh’s 17 year marriage which ended in 2004. 

The Representative also says that his wife’s allegations have given him a reputation as one of those ‘deadbeat’ dads – a term used to describe men who do not pay child support for their children.  He argues with that label by saying that he has been involved with his children.  In fact, he says that his youngest child lived with him for a time in 2009 and 2010 while his wife was off in Indianapolis making a six-figure salary by being employed by Eli Lilly & Company.  During that time, the Representative claims he only made $39,000 in 2009 and $61,000 in 2010. 

  I don't know the whole situation so I won't make a judgment on the topic.  But based on the above information definitely raises some questions about the spin of the first article...but then again this section from a Huffington Post story (here) seems to call some of the previous article's section into question:

A withholding order currently deducts $2,134 each month from Walsh's income as a member of Congress -- a $174,000 annual salary -- which goes toward his back child support obligations.
Largely thanks to the child support issue, Walsh was named as one of Congress's thirteen "most corrupt" members in a Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington (CREW) report in September. In her December filing, his ex-wife claimed that Walsh said he could not afford to make the payments for their three children while, at the same time, he loaned his own campaign $35,000 and took vacations abroad.

  The time frames and salary figures from these two opposing sections muddy the waters in this whole affair quite a bit. The echo chambers on either the right or left send out messages that fit into the reinforce the preconceived notions of their base. I think digging into all sides of an issue is the responsibility of anyone who has a love for the truth, takes an interest in our nation's politics, and isn't a partisan hack or dirtbag. And if what comes up isn't a clear answer, well, there's no sin in saying "I don't know".  So, I don't know whether Joe Walsh is a deadbeat dad.