Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New York Times Falls Out of Love With Anthony Weiner

"At some point, the full story of Anthony Weiner and his sexual relationships and texting habits will finally be told. In the meantime, the serially evasive Mr. Weiner should take his marital troubles and personal compulsions out of the public eye, away from cameras, off the Web and out of the race for mayor of New York City. Mr. Weiner, who resigned from Congress two years ago after sending lewd messages and photos of his crotch to women he had not met, was forced to revisit the issue on Tuesday, and so were we all."

That's part of what the Grey Lady has to say about the husband of Mrs. Bill Clinton's confidant, Huma Abedin.  Why should anyone care if the obnoxious Weiner runs for the office currently held by the obnoxious Michael Bloomberg?  The reason the NYT is concerned is that there's a very real chance that Weiner could win the election, lending further disgrace to the already hopelessly flawed concept of democracy.  In the much vaunted democratic process, the majority of voters get to pick their leaders. If 50% + 1 of New Yorkers think Anthony Weiner is the guy for them, who can say them nay?  Isn't that what it's all about?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Alexis de Toqueville Describes How Democracy Works

From Democracy in America, Chapter VI:

I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observation is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is as a stranger to the fate of all the rest – his children and his private friends constitute to him the whole of mankind; as for the rest of his fellow-citizens, he is close to them, but he sees them not – he touches them, but he feels them not; he exists but in himself and for himself alone; and if his kindred still remain to him, he may be said at any rate to have lost his country. Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent, if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks on the contrary to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness: it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances – what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living? Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range, and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things: it has predisposed men to endure them, and oftentimes to look on them as benefits.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bad Cop David Clifford Will Serve 2 Years & 4 Months, Maybe

Former Minneapolis SWAT team executive officer, Sgt. David Clifford, was sentenced to half the state-recommended guideline for his conviction for first degree assault, three years and seven months, which means that he'll have to spend two thirds of that sitting around in some warden's office making phone calls and playing on the computer while his victim tries to resume a normal life, as explained to some degree in this Star-Tribune account. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a little different take on the affair. Clifford stated that he "decided to be a cop when no police intervention was necessary". In other words, if you're a cop on duty it's OK to go up and punch a person in the face. He probably does believe that. Neither article brings out the fact that Clifford immediately ran away and hid, turning himself in to the authorities while accompanied by his attorney the next day. A neat guy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Threatening manner", refusal to obey, earn death penalty

A Phoenix cop decided to skip the judicial process and used law enforcement's principal pacification technique to neutralize a knife-wielding citizen, according to this item in the Arizona Republic.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fabiana Luperini Disqualified in Stage 6 of Giro Rosa

Thirty-nine year old Italian cycling legend Fabiana Luperini, winner of five of the various versions of the Giro Rosa/ Donne/Italia d'femminile and currently riding for the Faren-Kuota team, was disqualified from this year's edition of the race following her arrival at San Domenico ski resort in the Lepontine Alps fourth in the stage. Luperini's bike was weighed, along with all of the top five finishers, and found to be 200 grams under the 6.8 kg. minimum required by UCI rules. She had finished third in the previous stage and was also third in the general classification standings at the beginning of stage 6. The stage was won by 2010 winner American Mara Abbott, who leads the general classification by 2 minutes and 40 seconds with one stage and a time trial to go.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Supreme Court Justice, Don't Wanna Retire At Age 80

Appointed to the US Supreme Court by Bill Clinton in 1993, after being recommended by Attorney General Janet Reno, who also recommended the assault on the Branch Davidians near Waco, TX, the octogenerian jurist has vowed to maintain her place on the highest court in the land, according to this article by Reuters.  Ginsburg, one-time general counsel of the ACLU and a proponent of women's rights, was criticized during her confirmation hearings for never having hired an African-American among the 57 clerks, interns and secretaries that worked for her during her 13 years on the federal bench at the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC.

Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779

The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.
I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.
But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.

Fitzpatrick, John C (1931–1944). "Instructions to Major General John Sullivan"The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, 1745–1799. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2007-11-14.