The Widdershins

When the magic dies…

Posted on: February 18, 2014

Good afternoon Widdershin friends.  I hope you celebrated the birthdays of George, Abe, and the others in fine fashion yesterday.  I’ve always found it interesting we commemorate the lifelong work of great historical figures by taking a day off — but go figure.

I’m posting late today so I won’t belabor you with my usual wordiness as is my prolixous nature.  Just some observations that have pricked my consciousness in the last few days.

First a couple of things from the Sunday news shows.  On Fox News Sunday, Mike’s son, Chris Wallace engaged in Rabbit and Top Hata departure from the usual format.  Usually at the end of the show he profiles a “Power Player of the Week” — an unsung individual engaged in something sympathetic to the wishes and whims of Roger Ailes, the grand potentate of all things suitable for airing on Fox.

Last Sunday was different.  Chris Wallace filled the segment with a mentalist — a fancy magician who had bedazzled him with tricks at a Washington, D.C. power party.  Now I ask you my Widdershin friends, is there anything more appropriate in the conservative world than the “Power Player of the Week” being someone who makes his living by pulling tricks on unwitting patsies who have knowingly suspended their disbelief?  At least to me, it sounds like his name should have been Tommy Tea Party.

The other Sunday show event of note was on Meet the David Gregory where Bill Nye, the science guy, squared off with Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the bloviating belle from the Seventh District of Tennessee.  They were debating climate change.  Bill Nye was fresh off his turn debating evolution at the Creation Museum.  The same Creation Museum where they believe The Flintstones was a multi-part documentary.  I do think it is somewhat shameful, leaving more than a little primordial goo on the face of Progressives, that we have left such issues to be debated and defended by a guy who played a scientist on teevee, but I digress.

Head in SandDuring the debate between Nye and Blackburn, her course of attack was to seem all reasonable while taking impossibly unreasonable positions.  Her position, like all conservatives since 2003 when Frank Luntz first divined their position, was to say, “The science is still out on climate change.”  Given the 97% of all scientists who say climate change is real, I suppose we are either waiting for the Thorazine to kick in or the obituaries of the remaining three percent.

In any event, during the debate Blackburn wanted to throw a feint to the science guy and show him that she could be all “sciencey and numbery”.  While reading from her cheat sheet, she said something to the effect, “The amount of carbon particulates in the air has only increased from zero point zero three two parts per million to zero point zero four parts per million so the change is very slight and insignificant.”  To which Nye responded, “What Congressman Blackburn is calling very slight and insignificant is really an increase of carbon pollutants from 320 to 400 parts per million or an increase of 30% in a very short timeframe.”  In a subsequent interview, Nye made it even more understandable, “No matter how hard the climate deniers try, there is still a difference between a 3 and a 4.”

In the last year we have had over $170 Billion in losses due to natural disaster catastrophes directly attributable to climate.  We are living in a time of 100-year storms, 100-year fires, 100-year floods, and 100-year droughts.  Something is happening and no matter what the ultimate cause the willing suspension of disbelief won’t magically make it disappear.

Jordan Davis 1995 - 2012

Jordan Davis
1995 – 2012

The last point is one I touched on Friday before the jury returned in the trial of Michael Dunn for the killing of Jordan Davis.  Saturday evening, eerily like the jury in the Zimmerman trial, the jury came back “hung” on the murder charges, but found Dunn guilty of attempted murder of the three surviving teenagers.

Many commentators waxed Solomonic at the “split the baby” decision whereby Dunn could face 60-years in prison for the three charges of attempted murder.  To those people, I only have words inappropriate to write in a post since such words are the only ones approximating the disgust I feel.

The illogic and heinous nature of the verdict is this:  Had Michael Dunn stopped firing after the first three shots that killed Jordan Davis and not fired the other six shots, Michael Dunn could have been found not guilty.  In other words, Florida‘s “Stand Your Ground” law might as well be entitled the “don’t cry over spilt milk” law — making it legislatively permissible to claim fear after the fact of a killing and statutorily reasonable to look the other way as another black teenager’s light is forever snuffed out.

There is no magic there.

This is an open thread.

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18 Responses to "When the magic dies…"

The prosecution in the Dunn trial released some transcripts of calls he made while in jail. He though he was the vicitm.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/victim-loud-music-trial-shooter-jailhouse-phone-call/print?id=22558295

The last refuge of the guilty is victimhood.

And from that link, he was seemingly clueless as to how this was going to turn out.

Fredster, I saw that. I notice that all of these “celebrity” killers (Zimmerman, Anthony, Dunn, Pistorius) whine about how they are the victims, and how messed up their lives are now. Never a word about feeling horrible for the taking of a young innocent life, never a word about ruining the lives of the parents and other loved ones. No its all about them.

I was also sickened about the hung jury. Apparently, they had the option of going for 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree, but still couldn’t come to a consensus? What is wrong with these people. There was a witness who overheard him threatening the kids, besides his actions afterwards. This guy is a murderer, and they couldn’t come up with a charge for murdering a kid? Insane.

Chris Wallace is such an idiot. I couldn’t stand to watch him under any circumstances, but funny about the magician!

Hmmm…perhaps all that glitters is not gold.

annie said: Never a word about feeling horrible for the taking of a young innocent life, never a word about ruining the lives of the parents and other loved ones. No its all about them.

Exactly! 👿

@4, While the exact reason may not ever be known, in all likelihood, this hung jury was preordained from the voir dire jury selection. There was someone who, in their mind, replaced “reasonable” with “subjective” — meaning someone felt as if their subjective belief of generalized fear of a young black teenager was and is reasonable.

Another interesting legal twist is that under FL law, if the defendant is charged with something less than 1st degree murder, there is only a 6-person jury, not the need for unanimity of a 12-person jury.

@5, I believe it is my self-imposed duty to watch the wack-a-doodle network just to see what they are braying about. The fact they committed so much time to a magician demonstrates to me they have little or no self-awareness. Don’t you think someone would have thought, just for a second, “You know having a magician perform on a news show is a little too close to proving that perception is the reality?”

I believe it is my self-imposed duty to watch the wack-a-doodle network just to see what they are braying about.

You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Prolix!

I believe it is my duty to watch MSNBC because who else will do it?

You guys are a hoot!

Prolix, excellent theory about the Dunn jury. I didn’t know that about a 6 man jury if it wasn’t Murder 1. Do you think the prosecutor made the wrong choice? Should have gone for Murder 2 & less jury? I think I read somewhere that this is the same prosecutors office that tried Zim.

I had a thought about the holiday. I think our national holidays are a nice and well deserved break for the working class and students. The rich can take a day off whenever they want, but most of us do not have that luxury. A national day off is like a gift, a free day in between the holidays that you can do whatever you want with. Also, students usually learn a little extra about the people that the holiday is honoring around that time. Some holidays are great for community action. When we were in the homeschool group, we would take our hundreds of kids and plant baby trees or clean up a beach or hiking trail.

Ooops, meant to say we took the kids on Earth Day, which of course is not a paid holiday.

annie@13: But how many folks get Prez Day off other than federal employees, banks, local govt employees maybe?

I think I read somewhere that this is the same prosecutors office that tried Zim.

I *thought* that one woman looked familiar.

I always had it off in all of my various business office jobs and I never worked for the government. Of course people in the service industries don’t get it off. In the jobs I had, I usually had about half a dozen paid holidays off and I loved it.

annie@16: Interesting! Honestly, I don’t think that many places here or in nola actually get Prez’s day off as a paid holiday.

@12 and @15 — Yes, the prosecutor is the same prosecutor who was enlisted (appointed) to prosecute Zimmerman. In the Z case, she was called in to prosecute, but in this case, it fell within her jurisdiction.

There’s always a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking going on in these cases, especially among the pundit class, but there is a common thread in both the Z case and in the Dunn case — neither case directly confronted race. Both cases skirted the issue and left it, like a pink elephant, ambling about the courtroom.

The prosecutor has gotten quite a bit of criticism for her record on young defendants of color. Her record of successful prosecutions is heavily slanted toward prosecuting young people of color when there is some discretion on prosecuting as an adult or as a juvenile. I won’t pretend to know enough to pass on whether or not the criticism is justified, but it is a conscious decision to not address an issue as overwhelming as race in a trial — she has now opted not to do so in two cases. From that you have two data points and perhaps a trend. Also Florida is where the “profit penitentiary” industry has a heavy presence. They lobby hard for incarceration because it positively affects their profit. Young people being locked up is a growth industry for them.

One last thing, I saw a statistic last evening on the success rate of “stand your ground” as a defense when it was a person of color being prosecuted and using the “stand your ground” defense. The success rate was 1%. That tells me just about all I need to know about stand your ground.

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