Open Thread 3/26

- Yesterday was the anniversary of the Triangle fire. If you haven’t seen it, I’d also recommend the American Experience on the topic.

– God, covering a Congressional debate should be rip roaring fun and instead it’s B-O-R-I-N-G. Imagine at a labor debate, labor questions being asked!

Over on the TeeVee, Fox news reported the story and invited people to comment on the network’s blog. The result was a whole lot of ugly.

Breitbrats is my new favorite word.

The outer reaches of plot twists.


  1. 1

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Wow. that blatherwach link was disturbing as is everything about this case. But the enlightenment of the commentators in general was a positive. We live in a better part of the world I think.

    However I was listening to conservative radio during the break of the progressive station on the way in. It was both blaming the kid (“A good kid would not have been out that late, walking, wearing a hoodie, looking like a gang member on drugs.”) and claiming that zimmerman was justified (“It’s obvious that it was zimmerman screaming for help on the 911 tape, not the kid”). If the police had done their job at the time of the murder, we would have a better idea of what happened. And that’s what bothers me more.

    On a personal level, the Trayvon Martin feels like a breakdown in the rule of law. The actions of the authorities to do nothing to solve this case, to find out the truth.

    My son is of mixed race. Will that be enough for some crazy to shoot him if he does not respond with “Yes suh massa suh I’s was just walking home. Please don’t shoot me.” Will his race be enough for the authorities to give the shooter a pass, because it’s not like zimmerman shot a dog.

    Are all the police corrupt? Of course not. But the authorities are the we have given the power over us, to be the sheepdogs guarding against the wolves. I don’t want to see any cases of the sheep dogs turning a blind eye to the wolves because the victim is someone they don’t value.

    And to end this post with some great snark I found in the comments
    “I think it’s about time we instituted a 7 day waiting period for Skittles and Iced tea. Obviously this could have prevented this tragedy.”

  2. 2

    rhp6033 spews:

    It’s assumed that Zimmerman wasn’t prosecuted because he was a white guy who shot a black kid.

    But it seems to have gone beyond that. Zimmerman made regular, amost daily phone calls to 911 to report something or other. He was a police “wannabe” who failed the exams but still had a hero complex and was looking for an opportunity to have the cops pat him on the back and tell him what a good job he was doing.

    From the police perspective, he was a nuisance – his frequent calls for what turned out to be nothing important tied up 911 operators and diverted cops from more important duties.

    So why did they tolerate them? Whey were the 911 operators so chummy with him? Why did the police go out of their way to jump to a conclusion of “self defense” and skip the usual investigations of a shooting?

    The answer may be that wanted him around because he could do the things they couldn’t, including racial profiling. Just a report of a “suspicious young black man” in a residential community would allow them make a stope-and-frisk, even if they couldn’t do so based only on their own hunches.

  3. 3

    rhp6033 spews:

    In an earlier post Roger Rabbit made a nice comment wishing Dick Cheney a speedy recovery from his heart transplant.

    I’m not going to be quite so nice. Despite protestations that Cheney’s influence did nothing to give him a higher priority, I’m not convinced.

    As pointed out in an article published in the Seattle Times, those with wealth have one advantage over others: they can pay to have their heart listed on more than one donar list. These costs are not insubstantial, they involve the significant testing required to qualify the donar as a viable heart recipient, and being able to quickly travel to the locatio where the treatment center is located. . Steve Jobs was an example, he was on multiple donar lists and ended up getting his heart transplant in Tennessee, rather than in California.

    So the real quesiton isn’t whether Cheney at age 71 was too old or infirm to receive a donar heart, the question is who DOESN’T get a heart as a result.

    I have a personal interest in this issue. My wife’s cousin, about aget 65, has been waiting for a new heart for several years now. His heart problems are causing kidney problems, and doctors say if his kidneys deteriorate any further they won’t be able to do the heart transplant. For him, time is lethal. If Cheney ended up getting a heart which matched my wife’s cousin, thereby taking it out of the donar pool, then he may very well die as a result.

  4. 4

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Ahh. That would explain a comment over the weekend, where the commentator thought the police might have been protecting him because he was an informant.
    Again, this ties into the bigger issue of what was wrong with the cops there? Was it just that town? Florida? the South? Everywhere in the USA? I don’t want Seattle cops acting like that.

  5. 5

    Michael spews:

    The Bather Watch piece does the world a real disservice. Yes there are no shortage of racist comments being made on the web, but from my count (I haven’t looked in a couple of days) there were at least three non-racist rebuttals of every racist comment on most sites. Even on most of the rightie sites like Fox I saw people pushing back against the racists.

    I think it’s sad that we put all the focus on the haters instead of building up the people that are pushing back against them.

  6. 6

    Michael spews:

    Also, most of racist comments were a handful of people commenting over and over again while the rebuttals were coming from a large number of people.

  7. 7

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    To quote Herman Cain: if you are poor, blame yourself. If you are not rich enough to be on several donor lists, blame yourself.
    Seriously, the US has a messed up health system.

  8. 8

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    @5 & 6. I did say “But the enlightenment of the commentators in general was a positive. We live in a better part of the world I think. ” But you all said it much more clearly.

  9. 9

    Michael spews:

    4 out 5 of my nieces and nephews are either mixed race or black. We share a lot of the same worries.

    I think the haters and the small town bigots are vastly outnumbered on this one. It frustrates me to see the left acting like we don’t have them outnumbered by a 100 to 1. Let’s focus on the 100 not the 1.

  10. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    Where I grew up, it was considered acceptable for police to shoot a person who was fleeing. They were required to shout “stop, police!”,and if the suspect didn’t immediately stop and put up their hands, he would be shot in the back.

    A policeman at the time told me that there was a “three step” rule: you had three steps to come to a halt between the polic shouting a warning and opening fire. That’s if you were white. For black suspects, the shot would be made betwen the words “stop” and “police”.

    Back then, you didn’t have to have any reason to stop a person. A person running was considered to be sufficient cause to believe that he had committed a crime. The Supreme Court had decided earlier that police needed at least an “clearly articulable suspician” that the suspect was guilty of a crime but on the streets of a mid-size southern city, decisions like that one take a long time to be acknowledged and put into effect.

  11. 11

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Did you hear that one of lead plaintiffs of the Affordable Care Act case in front of the Supreme court, who did not want to have to pay for health insurance, had her husband get sick, racked medical bills, declared bankruptcy, and reneged on their bills, leaving the public to cover their medical bills.

    Brown “doesn’t have insurance. She doesn’t want to pay for it. And she doesn’t want the government to tell her she has to have it,” said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation’s case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.

    The couple owed $2,140 to Bay Medical Center in Panama City, $610 to Bay Medical Physicians, $835 to an eye doctor in Alabama and $900 to a specialist in Mississippi.

    “This is a very common problem. We cover $30 million in charity and uncompensated care every year,” said Christa Hild, a spokeswoman for the hospital center. “If it’s a bad debt, we have to absorb it.”

    What does this tell you about the honesty and integrity of those involved? Where are the conservatives screaming that she is welshing on her debts like some sort of Welfare Cheat(TM)?

    I would love to have a conservative explain how this is justified?

  12. 12

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    Let’s focus on the 100 not the 1.
    Good idea but just for arguments sake, I don’t know the exact statistic, but good folk probably out number pedophiles 1000 to 1, yet we spend a huge amount of time worrying about pedophiles, protecting kids from them. What’s the difference?

  13. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In 1911, workers were considered mere inputs, and their lives weren’t worth a damn to employers.

    In 2012, workers are still considered mere inputs, and their lives wouldn’t be worth a damn to employers without government regulation of workplaces.

    Republicans want to abolish government regulation of workplaces in the name of “freedom.” Why would any worker vote Republican?

  14. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Stocks rallied strongly today, with health care companies — which will benefit from Obamacare — leading the way. Wall Street is betting SCOTUS upholds Obamacare:

    “Health care stocks … propelled the market higher as the Supreme Court hears arguments on the 2-year old U.S. health care overhaul law. While an actual ruling isn’t expected until June, analysts project the court will uphold the law, which will help boost the sector, especially hospital stocks … [o]ther health care stocks … also rallied.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Kinda interesting that moneymen who don’t like Obama or Obamacare are betting their money that Obama will be re-elected and Obamacare will be upheld.

  15. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    As for me, I made $2,450 of FREE MONEY in stocks today. Sure beats working in a sweatshop with locked doors and no fire escape for 10 cents a day. This world loves investors and has no respect for workers, so why would anyone work? I don’t work! Working is for saps and suckers. Let the damn Republicans do their own work. Why should you make them rich? Drop out of the workforce, like I did, and be an investor and make yourself rich. I’m not saying everyone should be a Republican, personally I think nobody should be a Republican, and I’m only saying we Democrats should live like Republicans.

  16. 16

    Steve spews:

    @13 The wingnut vision for America’s deregulated future can be seen by viewing the photographs of the bodies of dead women strewn on the sidewalks of New York City following the Triangle fire.

  17. 17

    Michael spews:

    I think that’s a different deal all together.

    I’m all for listing the racist quotes, but lets list them in the context of this one guy said X and got shot down by 5 people. Which is the true context of most of those quotes on Blather Watch.

    Also, situations like the Zimmerman case are why we on the left aren’t huge on “states rights.” Since we have a federal system we can use the federal DOJ and courts correct local injustices like Zimmerman not being charged with a crime.

  18. 18

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @14/15, AET is doing nicely for me this year all on the gamble that SCOTUS gives ACA a pass for at least a year. :-)

  19. 19

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    The travesty of not arresting the (admitted) killer of Trayvon Martin at the time the police found the murdered young man is going to get worse before it gets better.

    Today there is some ex post facto BS about there being a witness to Martin violently assaulting Zimmerman.

    One need not be Perry Mason or a sleuth from CSI to understand how this is BS, but it may be enough BS to disrupt an investigation in Florida.

    Just remember, had there not been the “stand your ground” law in FL (like there is in WA) there would either have been an immediate arrest and investigation or a clear understanding and acceptance that there should have been.

  20. 20

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Over at (un)Sound the unhinged have discovered that Trayvon Martin has committed the capital crime of having a MySpace page, gold teeth, tattoos, teenage friends who flash gang signs and likely has smoked and sold pot.

    Thankfully at least one commenter is concerned about lynching …. Zimmerman.

  21. 21

    Wunderlick spews:

    I would like to share an experience I had with the police at age 14 that has forever left me with an unhealthy distrust of the cops. For some background, I am half hispanic/half caucasian… dad is Mexican and my mother is French/Scotting/Irish. I could pass for either white or Hispanic, depending on who’s asking. That said, I was home one summer evening around 8 PM and me and two neighborhood kid friends had just gotten out of our swimming pool and had just dried off. My parents were not home, they were out to dinner. The doorbell rings and when I open the door a guy who identifies himself as a police detective is there. He proceeds to tell me that the house next door was burglarized and if I heard any noise. I told him no, I did not. He then sees a pair of tennis shoes in the living room, and proceeds to walk right past me (uninvited, consent to enter not given) and asks “are these your shoes”? Yes, they are officer. He then takes them outside to compare with some shoe prints outside a window where the burglar entered. He then comes back and tells me that the shoe print outside the window is a Nike shoe print, just like me own. He then proceeds to read me my rights and place me under arrest. I am crying and protesting my innocence, knowing what a crock of bullshit it all was. I was scared shitless, sitting in my living room in handcuffs, with police swarming all over our house looking for evidence. A few minutes later, my parents arrive. My dad enters through the garage wondering WTF is going on. The cops tell him I am under arrest for burglary. My mom asks what was stolen, and they say a bunch of antique coins and an antique clock. My mom busts out laughing because I don’t know the first thing about antiques. My dad then goes postal, telling everyone to GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE AND RELEASE MY SON IMMEDIATELY!!!! Backup arrives do to my dad going postal. Long story short, they eventually conclude I was not the burglar and they arrested a guy a few weeks later who was wanted in multiple states. After that experience, I have hated cops and have been rude to them and totally uncooperative every chance I get. I am still not over that experience after all these years.

  22. 22

    Michael spews:

    Arrested doesn’t mean guilty. Had they arrested Zimmerman, and sure looks like they had grounds to do so, and later on found that that he did have cause to shoot Martin they could have dropped the charge.

    If there’s a case for Stand Your Ground on this one it would be the for the teenaged back kid who was chased down and cornered by some random person in a car.

  23. 23

    Michael spews:

    Just remember, had there not been the “stand your ground” law in FL (like there is in WA) there would either have been an immediate arrest and investigation or a clear understanding and acceptance that there should have been.

    There are people in jail here in Washington for bringing a gun to a fist fight. Just because someone took a swing at you or shoved you doesn’t mean your life is in peril.

  24. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22, 23 – The law of self-defense in Washington is that you forfeit the defense if you initiate the altercation, which is exactly what Zimmerman did. He would be eminently prosecutable here in Washington. Thank the Great Mother Rabbit Spirit that our state isn’t run by NRA Republicans like Florida is.

  25. 25

    Michael spews:

    In high school a buddy of mine was arrested for breaking into his own home.

    My friend had left for school without his house keys and when he got home got back into the house by jimmying a window. A neighbor who didn’t like him saw him climbing through a window and called the cops on him. My friend was freaking huge and had lots and lots of flaming red hair, there’s no way the neighbor didn’t know it was him, plus later on he admitted to getting a good laugh out of it.

    So, the cops show up and my friend sees them, quickly figures out what happened, and goes out on the front porch to talk to them. But, he doesn’t think to get his wallet. He talks to the cops (Pierce County Sheriff), they see whatever it is they want to see, punk rocker, huge kid, smart ass, whatever. They ask to see his ID which he doesn’t have and says he’ll go in his room and get it. The cops tell him he can’t go back in the house. He asks if a cop could go with him or maybe the cops could go get his wallet? Nope. Sorry kid, your busted. Can we call my dad? Sure, you can call your dad from jail. He gets arrested and transported to Remann Hall.

    He gets to jail and calls his dad and over the course of a couple of hours everything gets figured out and he gets to go home with his dad.

    The next day he gets to school and gets escorted from the bus to the principle’s office where he gets expelled from school because he’d been arrested for breaking and entering.

    Everything got sorted out, charges dropped and got let back in school in a couple of days. But, the damage was done. He hated the school & the folks at our high school weren’t real fond of him, he got pulled over a lot. The next two years of his life are pretty much hell.

    ↑ Is why we don’t have closed systems in America. We have checks and balances and multiple layers of government. When I was a kid Gig Harbor was a closed loop. I’m betting the ‘burb in Florida where that kid go shot still is a closed loop.

    Gig Harbor’s not like that anymore and I think that’s a good thing. What happened to my friend in ’83 probably wouldn’t happen today, if it did the people that did wrong would be held accountable.

    Too many people in America want to go back to closed loops and not having the right, even though it’s right there in the constitution, to petition for a governmental redress of grievances. Fuckem’ the rest of us out number those people 100 to 1.

  26. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Cop Suspended For Saying Trayvon Martin ‘Deserved to Die’

    A New Orleans police officer has been suspended without pay for posting incendiary comments on a local TV station website.

    First the cop — who identified himself as such in his postings — called Trayvon Martin “a thug” who “deserved to die.”

    When a reader criticized his comment, the cop posted another comment inviting the other poster to “come on down to our town with a ‘Hoodie’ and you can join Martin in HELL ….”

    The New Orleans police superintendent, in suspending Officer Jason Giroir, said Giroir’s postings called into question his “fitness for duty.”

    Giroir was already assigned to desk duty pending investigation of a fatal police shooting of a motorist during a traffic stop in which he was involved.

  27. 27

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @23 & 24,

    The officer who first arrived on the scene filed his report of 7:17pm at 3:07am and he filed an investigation into criminal homicide.

    A decision was subsequently made that the killing of Martin was a justifiable homicide.
    Who made this decision?
    What do Sanford, FL police procedures require in a homicide investigation?

    Without a “stand your ground” law what the police didn’t do here would be a crime. Now a dead man is a semantic quibble.

  28. 28

    rhp6033 spews:

    Note that the best witness to the events, other than Zimmerman, is dead and unable to testify. That’s one of the real problems with the “self defense” or “stand your ground” defenses – if there are no third party witnesses, the physical evidence proves both sides.

  29. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Arizona GOP Gov. Jan Brewer has received over 12,000 e-mails and letters, nearly all of them critical, about wagging her finger at President Obama during a recent presidential visit.

    But “Chuck Bower of Indiana sent in his support of Brewer, writing in his letter: ‘The only thing you did wrong was wave the ‘wrong’ finger in his face.'”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: I’ll bet Mr. Bower is a Republican. He behaves like one.

  30. 30

    ArtFart spews:

    Paul Krugman’s latest piece in the New York Times points out that Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was copied straight from an A.L.E.C. template.

  31. 31

    zorg spews:

    with the media spin on everything, I doubt we will ever get the real story about what happened in Florida. They have worked overtime to portray zimmerman and martin and what happened in a certain light, and most of the american public has swallowed what the media is portraying without a second thought.

    the sheeple just believe what they are being fed.

  32. 32

    No Time for Fascists spews:

    @31. What’s your opinion on how the police department that handled the case? Is that also too muddled now to get a clear read on what happened.

    If things are so unclear , do you think that Zimmerman and the police department should be left unaffected by their actions?

  33. 33

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    @31 It is not a question if we get a real story or not. The question is whether a jury will get the real story.
    Zimmerman pursued Martin with a loaded weapon and killed him.
    Martin’s death was either the result of the crime of manslaughter or 2nd degree homicide.