Archive | March, 2012

Understanding Your Ground

Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow, et hoc genus omne are desperately trying to have it both ways.

On the one hand, they want it to be the case that George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin was unlawful, so that they can blame the authorities for not arresting and prosecuting him.

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

On the other hand, they want it to be the case that the shooting was lawful, so that they can blame the law (specifically, Florida’s stand-your-ground law) for allowing the shooting.

So the establishment lapdogs at MSNBC are inconsistent; no surprise there. But which way should they resolve this inconsistency?

Well, here’s the actual text of the stand-your-ground provision, which actually seems pretty reasonable to me:

A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(Read the entire law here, including some not-so-nice bits, such as the 14th-Amendment-violating exception concerning self-defense against police officers.)

So unless Zimmerman a) was attacked by Martin, and b) had a reasonable belief that Martin posed a serious danger to him (two conditions that, from the evidence thus far available, do not appear to have been met – and certainly the critics clearly do not believe either condition was met), the stand-your-ground provision offers no defense of his actions.

Of course it is entirely possible that local Florida authorities have been misapplying this law, and indeed that they have been doing so with racist motivations. That wouldn’t exactly shock me. But in that case, the problem lies not with the stand-your-ground law but with the authorities; and the solution is to hold them accountable by depriving them of their monopoly.

There Will Be Chrome, But Not Much

Why is this man smiling?

Why is this man smiling?

After much dithering, the Mansquito Channel has decided that Blood and Chrome (the CGI-heavy Galactica prequel and Caprica sequel whose trailer I linked to yesterday) will be a standalone tv-movie rather than the start of a tv series (though its being followed up by a web-only series hasn’t been ruled out).

Wouldn’t it make more sense to decide this after the pilot airs, once they see what ratings it gets?

Glimpses Through the Time Vortex

Note: the following bits of info are all from official BBC announcements and so I don’t consider them spoilers, but if you’re hyper-spoiler-averse, back away now.

Jenna-Louise Coleman

Jenna-Louise Coleman

We now know when, and to some extent how, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill are leaving Doctor Who, and who’s replacing them in the “companion” role, namely Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Quoth the BBC:

There will be 6 episodes this year, including the Xmas Special. Then 8 next year. Jenna’s character will first be seen at Xmas.

Quoth Steven Moffat:

Amy and Rory will leave in the fifth episode that goes out, and it will be a final encounter with the Weeping Angels, and not everybody gets out alive – and I mean it this time! …

Peril for the Ponds?

Peril for the Ponds?

Jenna will be appearing first of all in the Christmas special. … It’s not the usual kind of story, it’s a very, very different way for the Doctor to meet his new friend. …

It always seems impossible when you start casting these parts, but when we saw Matt and Jenna together, we knew we had our girl. She’s funny and clever and exactly mad enough to step on board the TARDIS. … We saw a lot of brilliant actresses. But Jenna was the only person going faster than Matt – he had to keep up! …

Moffat and Coleman

Moffat and Coleman

I think she’s possibly the only person I’ve ever heard go faster than Matt. It was the first time we were going, ‘My God, Matt’s trying to keep up!’ – it came to life as a partnership. We were so excited. … It’s not often the Doctor meets someone who can talk even faster than he does, but it’s about to happen. Jenna is going to lead him his merriest dance yet. And that’s all you’re getting for now. …

Who she’s playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.

More details here, here, here, and here.

Santorum Converts to Anarchism!

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum has been selling himself as the candidate who’s reliable and consistent, in contrast with Romney’s flop-flipping. But here’s what Santorum has said in the past:

Republicans, I think to our credit, have sort of morphed away from the Goldwater idea that government needs to be smaller, it needs to do less, it needs to be doing nothing except what its core functions are. … I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. … We are not a group of people who believe in no government. … They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues – you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world …. There is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

And here’s what he just said today:

We don’t need a manager. … We need someone who’s going to pull up government by the roots and throw it out … and liberate the private sector.

Um … uh … welcome to the revolution, comrade?

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