The Widdershins

Afternoon Widdershins. Here’s hoping your week is off to a good start and you don’t find yourself too immersed in the maelstrom that is the holiday surge.

Last Sunday I caught the weekly talkies — the news programs that are trying to disguise themselves as 1980s music Meet the Pressvideos. From what I can tell, they seem to be afflicted with one of two things. One, either we have become so rapaciously addled our attention span can’t grasp more than a 30-second toe-dip on any subject; or two, at a 30-second spot, the producers have imparted the sum and substance of their less than considerable knowledge.

The “new and improved” Meet the Press with Chuckles Todd is as intellectually unsatisfying as it was when that tall lanky guy was sitting there. The only difference is that Chuckles is the opposite of tall and now occasionally walks around which is a bit of not-so-clever stagecraft since the program is pre-recorded.

One of this past Sunday’s guests was none other than Rick Santelli. You might remember Mr. Santelli as the person who, six weeks after the Obama inauguration, is credited with the rant that spawned the Tea Party.

Yeah, that Rick Santelli. It’s like that old saying, “stick enough monkeys in front of enough typewriters and eventually you’ll get Gone with the Wind.” Well, stick enough monkeys in front of television cameras and you’ll get Rick Santelli. While he isn’t the dumbest man ever paid to talk on teevee, that accolade is and will always be reserved for Sean Hannity, when the weekly coaches’ poll comes out, Santelli always gets votes for the honor.

Let’s review shall we: Six weeks after the Bush bailout of the banks with TARP and while the Obama Administration hadn’t so much as learned where the bathrooms were, Santelli became incensed about mortgage bailouts for victims of predatory loans. His rant even included his anger about neighbors who had renovated bathrooms and added bedrooms with home loans. He was having none of it.

Rick Santelli in one of his more Zen moments...

Rick Santelli in one of his more Zen moments…

Of all the spittle producing subjects within Santelli’s rant — none of it ever happened — neither a jot nor a tittle — nothing, nada, not a single solitary whit of his proclaimed doom every materialized. This is not unique with Santelli. Santelli’s little walnut-sized amygdala is always pumping its fear juice into his pea-sized brain.

It’s just not me calling out Santelli, here is an example between Santelli and Steve Liesman on CNBC that went viral. Here’s Liesman’s indictment on Santelli:

Rick, it’s impossible for you to have been more wrong. You call for inflation, the destruction of the dollar, the failure of the U.S. economy to rebound. It’s impossible for you to have been more wrong. Every single bit of advice you gave would have lost people money, Rick. Lost people money, Rick. Every single bit of advice. There is no piece of advice that you’ve given that’s worked. Not a single one. Not a single one, Rick. The higher interest rates never came, the inability of the U.S. to sell bonds never happened, the dollar never crashed. There isn’t a single one that’s worked for you.

Krugman has described Santelli like this:

He hates the poors, he hates people who want to help the poors, he trashes Janet Yellen for suggesting that she actually cares about the plight of the unemployed. So the traders (Santelli’s main audience) like Santelli even though he’s been wrong about everything.

This post isn’t about trashing Rick Santelli since there is bound to be a law against shooting fish in a barrel or harming defenseless animals. What this post is about: Of all the people in the world, couldn’t Chuckles trot out someone who has been right about something — anything. This distaste has nothing to do with Santelli’s conservatism. In fact, honest policy debates from a conservative would be a welcomed event — if there was anyone capable of carrying on an honest policy debate from a conservative viewpoint.

Just look at the news programs — you have the same stable of useless, pap-spewing retreads on every show. But Roger Ailessomething has changed. What has changed is that the Fox second and third string commentors team are being substituted in on other shows with more and more frequency.

Whether or not anyone will admit it — isn’t this the sign of the apocalypse — that Roger Ailes and Fox has won. If the other news operations must kowtow to the flagellating nihilist crowd in order to bolster ratings, aren’t we all the losers? When you get the same type of know-nothings you get on Fox no matter what program you choose, isn’t the war of ideas over?

Of course I could have just turned the channel to Fox and watched an in-depth, fourteen-minute interview with Rush Limbaugh, the Hammurabi, very heavy on the ham, of today’s conservativism. Meet the Less indeed.

This is an open thread.

Debby Bartlett (R-June Cleaver), President of the Montana Senate

Good Monday, Widdershins. I hope you all enjoyed the weekend.

You know how some Republican legislatures have a tendency to focus on issues that we might think are, shall we say, less than urgent? Well, thank goodness there’s Montana to set the proper example for all of those wastrels of the public’s time and money.

Prior to the convening of Montana’s 64th Legislative Session, the Republican leadership has issued a new dress code for legislators and floor visitors alike, banning too low necklines and too high hemlines for women.

As noted by the Cowgirl Blog, the new dress code — printed in all-caps — states the members of the legislature are required to “dress in formal business attire,” and “comport themselves in a manner that respects the legislative institution and that includes the formality of dress expected in the chamber.”


For women, “a suit or dress slacks, skirt, jacket, and dress blouse or suit-like dress” are appropriate. However, “flip-flops, tennis shoes, and open-toed sandals” are not allowed.

Additionally women are warned to be “sensitive to skirt lengths and necklines.”

I wonder how this “sensitivity” is to be enforced? Are the Republican legislators to walk the floor of the State House with rulers to measure the amount of cleavage or leg displayed? I hope the fainting couch is available for those “men” and “women” whose delicacy is offended!

What is really strange about this is that the rules apply to “floor visitors” as well, which means that anyone who comes to the Lege (an intern, a reporter, a lobbyist, etc.) must obey these rules, or else face the wrath of the White and Uptight! As we all know, nothing is more terrifying than a Tea Partier in full moral froth…and in Montana, they might be be carrying concealed (although this would be illegal, thank goodness).

On Twitter, folks are having quite a bit of fun with attempting to imagine what attire would pass these strict rules. This is my personal favorite – from NARAL Pro-Choice MT:

Over at Cowgirl Blog, where this story broke, it is noted that immodest and inappropriate clothing like leggings, cardigans and jersey (the fabric) are banned. (Seriously.) Since jersey can appear like silk or polyester, I wonder how those nasty old Goopers are going to figure out what portions of each woman’s outfit are made of the now-illegal material? Maybe they will invest in one of these!

All I can say is, it’s amazing how the GOP continues to focus on what’s important whenever they’re in power. I sure hope the good people of Montana are satisfied with this out-of-the-gate blooper from their elected Republican representatives.

Perhaps they should turn off their teevees before they open their sexist mouths again.

This is an open thread.

A holly, jolly Widdershin weekend to you. Even though there are only fourteen shopping days left until Christmas, there is no shortage of weird news. Enjoy your weekend.

It’s Official: Texas Admits to Having Less than Half Its Brains

The case of the University of Texas at Austin’s missing brains has apparently been solved. Prior to Wednesday, as is often the case in Texas, there was much confusion over Texas’ brains.

It seems that most of the 100 brains, preserved in formaldehyde jars, had disappeared from the basement of the Animal Brain in a JarResources Center. Parsing blame, never in short supply in Texas, was quick and sure. There were many theories. Personally, it wouldn’t surprise me if Louie Gohmert, with his own eyes, had seen cantaloupe-calved Hispanics heading south with burros heavily laden with formaldehyde sloshing brain jars.

But it seems a good part of Texas’ brain stash had been disposed of by the university’s environmental health and safety officials in 2002. It appears Texas gets around to checking the whereabouts of their brains about every dozen years whether they miss them or not. The twelve-year brain checking schedule is much more frequent and ambitious than that of the Texas hazardous materials inspectors who dutifully check on warehouses of highly explosive anhydrous ammonia once every never. According to Governor-elect Greg Abbott, “Members of the public only have to go out and drive around and you’ll know where the stuff is.”

The University of Texas statement said the health and safety officials were thought to have disposed of 40 to 60 jars, some of which contained multiple human brains (in technical jargon, those jars were known as “braindominiums”.)

A Mr. Hannaford, a typically skeptical Texan, was leery of the university’s conclusion that most of the 100 brains had been disposed of. “I don’t buy it,” he said. “These jars were designed to hold one brain, and I find it hard to believe that if 40 jars were disposed of, that accounted for all 100 of the brains.” Obviously Mr. Hannaford teaches advanced mathematics at the University of Texas.

In a similar case last year in Indianapolis, David Charles, 21, was charged with stealing 60 human brains from the Indiana Medical History Museum. The police were tipped off by Brian Kubasco of San Diego, who had bought six of the brains on eBay for $600, and immediately suspected they were stolen. It wasn’t determined why Mr. Kubasco opted for just six brains instead of the baker’s dozen deal often offered by eBay. In any event, 2013 was a good vintage year for Hoosier brains.

And just in case if you are wondering, eBay policy prohibits the sale of human remains, with the exception of hair and skulls, as well as skeletons sold for medical use. A reminder, there are just 14 shopping days left until Christmas.

If the Hulk and Catwoman Had a Love Kitten

Bright green stray cat on streets of Varna, Bulgaria - 04 Dec 2014This feline is green.

The color of a bean.

It is Bulgarian seen.

Never is it mean.

It appears this cat is the animal world’s version of a “bottle job”. The cat has taken to sleeping in a mound of crystallized green pigment. There is no word on whether there is any relation to the Grinch. It is thought when the cat gets closer to its ninth life, it will go blond.

It’ll Break Your Back Mountain

There’s a holy “Sex Mountain” on the Indonesian island of Java. Among other things, its function is to make Muslims feel prosperous and optimistic. This is accomplished by having intercourse with strangers. This particular sect of Muslims are not ones to let grass grow under their feet since they got this party started in the 16th century.

It seems the otherwise devout pilgrims pray, bathe, and pair off with other worshippers. They repeat the ritual seven Sex Mountaintimes over 35 days. The 1500s seems to be the earliest recording of the ubiquitous wash, rinse, repeat shampoo directions.

An Australian reporter actually journeyed to Mount Kemukus (edification translation — he did not travel to mount a stranger named Kemukus, he traveled to a mountain named Kemukus). This is the site where the mass adultery takes place. It is near the heavily populated Surakarta.

The ritual is supposed to bring the “good life”. The only condition is that the sex must be with people other than spouses. This caveat is somewhat confusing in that many believe this requirement is, by its very definition, the good life.

Muslim clerics generally denounce the Kemukus experience. This is especially true since prostitutes have recently heighten their ministerial skills and taken to assisting in this religious experience. The prostitutes collect their “offerings” up front before being moved by the religiosity.

Leave the Trees Alone

London’s Daily Telegraph reports in November that a gardener hired by the House of Commons had spent a full day Westminster Palace Gardenpulling color-changing leaves from trees on the Westminster Palace grounds. The gardener reckoned it would be more cost-effective pulling them off one-by-one than raking them up after they fell.

Quite remarkably, the gardener’s name is “Annabel Honeybun” — really, her name is Annabel Honeybun. I included this story just because I love the name, Annabel Honeybun — the British always seem to have the best names. This fact was pointed out to me by an English lady named Miss Moneypenny.

I’ll Have the I-24

OmeletOn November 9th in Chattanooga, Tennessee, there was a three tractor-trailer crash. The pileup was one truck loaded with eggs, another truck loaded with cheese, and a final truck loaded with — wait for it — boxes of meat.

While I imagine the Denny’s menu writers sprang into action, here are a couple of my suggestions for appropriate omelet monikers: Given that Tennessee is the Volunteer state — the “Volunteer Vehicular” or if some of the boxes contained jerky — the “Chattanooga Chew Chew“.

Have a great weekend and take the conversation in any direction you might like.

Good afternoon Widdershins. For those of you tuning in for some lighter fare on this fine Friday, I’ll have to beg your patience until tomorrow when I promise to post something more “weekendier”.

From years teaching leadership, next to family, the one universal value most commonly held by Americans is justice. The eric garner takedownslippery slide toward glossing over the killing of Eric Garner has dug a hole in the pit of my stomach as I’m sure it has yours. The window dressing paraded out this week in Staten Island was anything but justice for Eric Garner.

For me the tragedy goes beyond Mr. Garner’s death, but that alone stands sufficient for the understandable outpouring of emotion. What troubles me so deeply is the thinly veiled exercise in which the prosecutor engaged for his personal political future and special privilege. I need to exorcise my indignation and your forbearance is, as always, appreciated.

Last July 17th, Officer Daniel Pantaleo did not awaken with the intent to kill. For that matter, neither did Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. There are other similarities.

Both are twenty-something males most likely testosterone-driven, hero-wannabes, who under the color of the government sanction are imbued with the right to carry firearms and charged with enforcing the law. Enforcing the law does not come with free spaces when they skirt the outer reaches of justice. Both the Brown and Garner instances contorted legal procedures into free spaces of sanctioned lawlessness through abuse of discretion unavailable to average citizens not a part of the “system”.

For instance, and I’m quoting here from a New York Times article about the events leading up to Garner‘s death:

The officers involved, part of a plainclothes unit, suspected Mr. Garner of selling loose cigarettes on the street near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, a complaint among local business owners. (Emphasis my own.)

Officer Pantaleo and his pride of fellow officers, “suspected” Mr. Garner had committed the piddling crime of selling loosies. Technically, the incident was based upon a “reasonable suspicion” of a violation of the statute forbidding the sale of untaxed cigarettes. Reasonable suspicion is probable cause. So more than anything else, probable cause was the genesis in this turn of events resulting in Mr. Garner’s death. Probable cause as determined by this pack of police officers.

garner familyHere’s the great irony — probable cause is the exact same legal standard by which the grand jurors were asked if a crime had been committed in Mr. Garner’s death. This can’t be stressed enough — was it sufficient “probable cause” to place a black Eric Garner on the road to execution, but insufficient “probable cause” to watch on videotape, what amounts to, a predatory pride of officers rendering Mr. Garner lifeless.

The grand jury question was not, “Was there a crime committed,” but rather, “is there a ‘reasonable suspicion’ a crime was committed?” There was no pronouncement of guilt or innocence, no standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, no determination of fact, no certainty needed — there was only the question of whether there was probable cause to believe a crime could have been committed in order to issue an indictment in order to proceed to trial.

And what is confounding is that there was a panoply of alternatives ranging from homicide to the recklessness of negligence to the trivial misdemeanor of choking for the indictment. To subvert the no-brainer of reporting out an indictment, Dan Donovan, the prosecutor, went so far as to grant prosecutorial immunity to the other officers involved.

This grant of immunity was a closely guarded secret only revealed two days before the announcement of the non-indictment. Why? Because the grant of the whitewashing immunity was a not-too-subtle “tell” that the fix was in. There was no need for the testimony of the other officers because the whole incident was on videotape. What’s more — once the coroner ruled Mr. Garner’s death a homicide due to choking and chest compression — the other officers where just as culpable as Officer Pantaleo.

Unable to whitewash Pantaleo, an officer formerly charged with strip-searching two African-American men in public as well as a second, still pending, civil rights charge, Dan Donovan took the next best course, he prosecutorially exonerated the other officers who played roles in Mr. Garner’s death. Exonerated the officers who stood by for 6 minutes and 49 seconds without lifting a hand to aid Garner as he died on the sidewalk before them.

Without an exhaustive review of what a grand jury is, I’ll share with you what it isn’t. There is no “truth” from a grand jury because truth is only the legal pronouncement of facts that have been the subject of cross-examination in a trial. There is no real evidence in a grand jury because the exhibits are not subject to rulings by a judge based upon the Rules of Evidence. There is no guilt or innocence from a grand jury because that role is in the sole province of the trial court and a jury. The fidelity of a grand jury is inexorably intertwined with that of the prosecutor.

Without getting too philosophical, the social contract upon which modern society operates requires us to voluntarily cede I don't want to be nextpersonal liberty in order to securely live in a world governed by laws. Without our consent to be governed eventually there would be less freedom and more ethical degradation. Consequently in such a world, our collective future is less viable and dimmer when we remain silent about things that matter and contravene the social contract.

The life of Eric Garner matters as do the lives of similarly situated people of color and economic status. No matter what the self-serving Donovans or the McCullochs do in terms of shorting justice through their prosecutorial machinations, as long as people who care are moved to the streets, the injustice will not be forgotten.

This is an open thread.

Widdershins, a site snafu kept closing comments on Monday’s post, and we never really got to discuss this.  I honestly believe that it deserves a second chance, and yield my allotted time in order to repost this.


Good Monday, all. I hope your weekend and holiday were filled with good things for which you feel thankful.

After the travesty of the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, facilitated by a prosecutor of rather dubious integrity, many of us are wondering, could shootings like this be prevented in the future? And if so, how?

One community appears to have some good and effective ideas: Richmond, California, in the Bay Area. A decade ago, homicides were trending towards 47 a year.

Today, violent crime in Richmond is down. In 2013, Richmond had 16 murders—the lowest number in 33 years—and far fewer unsolved homicide cases than in previous years.

Police violence, in particular, is way down. Despite making thousands of arrests each year and confiscating one gun or more every day, the Richmond Police Department has averaged less than one officer-involved shooting per year since 2008. On September 6, The Contra Costa Times ran a story citing these and other statistics under the headline “Use of Deadly Force by Police Disappears on Richmond Streets.”

Police Chief Chris Magnus has been widely credited with enacting the reforms that led to these changes. In recognition of Richmond’s progress, and Magnus’ role in it, the U.S. Department of Justice recently added him to a panel of experts investigating the breakdown of police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri.

I am struggling to find a silver lining in the horrible and tragic situation that Darren Wilson (who resigned yesterday from the Ferguson police force) created by killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August of this year. If Chief Magnus has succeeded in Richmond, and his ideas are adopted and prove successful in other high-crime and/or racially divided communities, then we may have one after all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mean girl Elizabeth Lauten

I made a comment about this the other day, but maybe it deserves a post.

Several days ago a congressional staffer for Congressman Stephen Lee Fincher of Tennessee felt it necessary to make some comments about the President’s daughters, Sasha and Malia.  They were present at the “Presidential pardoning” of the two turkeys in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday.  Now, Sasha and Malia are both teenagers, with all of the embarrassing (for the adults)  attributes of being a teenager that that can imply.   It seems they appeared bored silly with the turkey pardoning.  And this did not sit well with staffer Elizabeth Lauten.  Ms Lauten felt the need to take to her facebook page and write the following:

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.  [Bolding/italics mine]

Now I’m sure that to the Obama daughters, they don’t think of the President, as, well, the President.  He’s probably just “dad’ or something.  And, as the Gawker article goes on to say, the daughters of the previous President weren’t exactly role models for Presidential children.  But I’m not gonna go there…really…I’m not.

Well Ms. Lauten caught a shite-load of negative reactions to her facebook post and she had to issue a mea culpa over it.

“I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager,” she said. “After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were. Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no place in my heart. Furthermore, I’d like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience.”

And really, Liz, this:  “After many hours of prayer”.  Probably those many hours of prayer were for her own skin.

Well, it didn’t really do any good and after she was hoist on her own petard, she was forced to resign her job.  And did you notice that she never made an apology to the girls? I really don’t feel sorry for her in the least. And I really don’t feel badly about her resignation after I read this little piece from The Smoking Gun.

Lauten was arrested in December 2000 for misdemeanor larceny, according to court records. Lauten, then 17, was collared for stealing from a Belk department store in her North Carolina hometown.

Because Lauten was a first-time offender, her case was handled via the District Court’s deferred prosecution program, which resulted in the charge’s eventual dismissal after the future scold stayed out of trouble for a prescribed period.

Since Lauten was just another teenager caught shoplifting at the mall, it appears unlikely that she was publicly pilloried for her lack of class, nor were her parents criticized as poor role models.

Now trust the Republicans to try to turn the matter back on the Democrats.

“Children, especially the first daughters, are off limits. While the comments were inappropriate and insensitive, the mainstream media’s coverage of this story is appalling,” Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer wrote in a series of messages on his Twitter account. “In over 20 years in politics I have never seen one of the countless inappropriate comments by Democrats ever covered” to this extent.

Really Sean?  Have you forgotten Anthony Weiner?  Those weren’t comments he sent, but… And what about this one?  “Last year, a White House aide on Iran policy resigned after being outed as the author of an anonymous Twitter account that criticized the president and his top aides, including a reference to an outfit worn by national security adviser Susan E. Rice as ‘dominatrix-like.’ ”

As Bill Maher likes to say on his show, here are some New Rules:


Eugene Robinson, on Morning Joe said that yes, it’s true, this President has been treated differently than other Presidents.  And ya know, I really hate to have to be in the position of defending this President but I do believe Robinson is correct.  Perhaps Mary Landrieu’s statement was more correct than we want to admit and not just on the south.

Oh and hey Widdershins, I may be here infrequently the next few days.  This is open season or something for the A.C.A. and I have to look over plans, do some stuff with my account on the A.C.A. website and choose a plan.

This is an open thread.

We are now in the holiday interregnum. It’s that period between Thanksgiving and Christmas where we will be besieged with ads telling us if we are worthy spousal units, children, friends, or postal patrons we will show it by exercising the credit card “swipe of love”. I’ve often thought transforming a religious holiday into a consumer-driven guilt fest is synonymous with proclaiming sin a virtue.

Which brings us to today’s series of inconsequential words birthed by less than consequential thought and mercifully Hello I'm a Victimstopped at intervals of interspersed periods and paragraph breaks. The question I pose today is this: When did the 98-pound weakling become the inspirational role model for, well, just about everyone?

The news channels have become one big tug-of-war between who is the bigger victim. Twitter is basically a “hash tag woe fest” in 140-characters or less. Facebook is just a 365-day Christmas letter of unbridled bragging intertwined with catastrophes and personal “major-go-to-pieces” of shoe-dying not matching new nail polish.

Wow — in rereading what I have written so far and I sound like a curmudgeon of the highest order. Perhaps I am, but I am sickened by the unending fiasco of “my victimhood is bigger than your victimhood.” It seems as if everyone is jonesing to sit “shiva” at the slightest of slights or a hint of innuendo twisted into a pretzel of defamatory duel-worthy insults.

The genesis of these decidedly “unpositive” thoughts is the Ferguson, Missouri, demoralizing mess. The whole Ferguson prolonged episode is fraught with leaders who wouldn’t know a good decision if they ran over it one of their MRAP tanks and then shot it with their grenade launchers and machine guns.

Over the weekend it was announced that the police officer, Darren Wilson, has resigned from the “56 member white, 3 black” Ferguson police force. His reason for resignation was, “His safety.” Not that he had been involved in a questionable incident where he lost control of a situation, failed to call for backup, and then chased an unarmed eighteen year-old at least 153 feet from the safety of his police cruiser and gunned him down.

Not that he had been the beneficiary of a tainted and lopsided prosecutorial grand jury.  A grand jury where he was paraded in at the beginning of the process and allowed to tell his story with all the conflicting testimony coming later and subjected to rigorous cross-examination by the incompetent prosecutors.

Not that he was the only person, the only person, out of the twenty witnesses who saw eighteen-year-old Michael Brown reach for the waistband of his basketball shorts — basketball shorts that couldn’t hold up a water pistol no less a revolver. Not that only two witnesses said Michael Brown charged at Darren Wilson while no less than a plurality of the twenty witnesses said Michael Brown had his hands up and was surrendering.

Add to this the indignation of the St. Louis police union over five Rams football players exiting the tunnel with their hands up and you have a perfect aperitif to accompany a feast of victimhood.

Or take Rudy Giuliani’s nonsensical race-baiting comments about “white police officers wouldn’t be in these neighborhoods if blacks weren’t killing one another.” Of course Giuliani, like so many others, have hopped onto the shiny trope train of blaming the victims of black-on-black crime to divert attention. The real facts are simple: People commit crimes of violence against real people they can see where they live — people don’t much care about crimes against invisible non-existent people. In fact, 84% of crime is white on white crime, but that statistic is rarely trotted out as an explanation of police militarization or as a criticism of why Humvees aren’t trolling suburban neighborhoods.

Truth is, we will never know the truth about the end of Michael Brown’s life. With both sides of this situation being “lawyered up” where Wilson is guarding his flank against a criminal civil rights prosecution and Brown’s friend angling for a civil suit, the two best witnesses have three months of legal programming to shade their recollection.

One thing we do know without any question, if you are a young black man you have a 21 times greater chance of being killed by a police officer than a similarly situated young white man. That’s not twenty-one more young black men being killed, that is twenty-one TIMES more likely to die from a police pistol than a similarly situated young white man.

There’s no victimhood in Darren Wilson changing his circumstances because of fears for his safety — the real victimhood is that Michael Brown could not.

In case you didn’t see Jon Stewart’s usual insightful take on the burgeoning cottage industry of victimhood instigation fertilized by Fox, here it is:

This is an open thread.

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