June 17, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 1:05 PM


Rodney King, whose savage beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers led to widespread rioting and a reassessment of race-relations in America, has died.

OFFICIAL NEGLIGENCE : Lou Cannon dissects the Rodney King case and the LA riots.  (Online Newshour, April 7, 1998)

[T]he purpose of my book was to find the truth, not reinforce stereotypes. Mr. King is a muscular person who led police on a 7.8 mile chase, ignored police commands to lie down on the ground, threw four officers off his back who tried to handcuff him without hurting him. He was wearing a T-shirt but was sweating on a cold night, and the officers thought that in addition to being drunk (which he later acknowledged) that he was on PCP. They became convinced of this when he rose to his feet after being hit with two volleys of a stun gun, each of them containing 50,000 volts of electricity, and then charged at an officer. It has never been determined whether Mr. King was in fact on PCP, but it is almost certainly true that anyone who behaved as he did would have been beaten. There have been many lawsuits against the LAPD settled by the city where people of all races were beaten for far less resistant conduct. I think the beating went on far too long, but the issue of whether it constituted criminal conduct is a complicated one that in discussed from many points of view on my book.

The problem with understanding the incident is that the events described above occurred before the famous videotape of the incident--except for the first three seconds of the video in which King charges toward Officer Laurence Powell. These three seconds, and ten other seconds that follow, were deleted by the Los Angeles television station that showed the beating, which is the version that most people saw. Neither the leading state prosecutor (who is an African American) nor the federal prosecutors thought that King was beaten because of his race, although they believed the beating was criminally excessive.

In any case, there is no doubt that Officer Powell was poorly trained and that his panic when Mr. King charged toward him contributed to the subsequent events. Training is supposed to overcome fear in the teachings of LAPD, but Officer Powell had by coincidence flunked a baton text against a stationary target (a rubber tire) at the beginning of his shift that night, and Rodney King was not stationary. I quote veteran officers as saying that Powell should not have been sent out into the field after he failed the test.

There is also no doubt that the verdicts of the Ventura County jury in Simi Valley were widely seen as an act of racial injustice, in large part because there were no blacks on the jury. I fault not the jurors but the judges who defied their own precedents and moved the trial out of diverse Los Angeles into mostly white Ventura County, where there were few blacks in the jury pool. Also, the prosecution in Simi Valley was put at a definite disadvantage by the prior editing of the videotape on television. When the full videotape was played during the trial, it reinforced the perception of conservative jurors that the media had not told the full story of Rodney King.

Posted by orrinj at 8:31 AM

Next: Broncho (World Cafe, 6/11/12)

The Oklahoma City band Broncho crafts sing-along anthems that combine punk and garage-rock. You could make all the likely comparisons to punk bands of the '70s -- Ramones, Iggy Pop and The Stooges -- or even bring up the new-school garage-rock undertones of The Strokes and The Strange Boys. But that would sell the band short. If anything, it combines the best elements of both genres: raw guitar chords and energy, plus DIY sentiment, but with hi-fi production.

Posted by orrinj at 8:25 AM


Adviser suggests Romney's position in line with Obama's on addressing fate of younger immigrants (MAGGIE HABERMAN, 6/16/12, Politico)

The Obama campaign last night blasted out this quote from Tara Wall, a recently-hired adviser on the Mitt Romney campaign, talking on CNN about the presumptive GOP nominee's take on President Obama's pre-emptive move over Sen. Marco Rubio on the DREAM Act, and wherein the difference lies:

"Within the party, there are plenty of opinions about this and I think there's plenty of time to talk about how we address this. There's no easy solution and I think he said that all along. He has also said that he's open to hearing other solutions like the DREAM Act. I think the more he's heard from others, including Marco Rubio, the more he's opened to broadening the idea of what we need to do with the folks, the young people, who are here through no fault of their own. If nothing else, we also see today, his opinion is the same, essentially in some degree, to President Obama's. The difference is: what do we do as a long-term strategy?"

...only about the timing of the universal amnesty.
Posted by orrinj at 8:13 AM


Ryan's budget chase could shape his political path (BRIAN BAKST, 6/16/12, Associated Press)

There are plenty of reasons for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to choose Rep. Paul Ryan as a running mate.
The whip-smart Wisconsin congressman is from a battleground state. He's the GOP's leading voice on the nation's budget and is the rare member of the Republican establishment who's loved by the tea party.

"If that bridge ever came, I would consider crossing it," Ryan told The Associated Press in an interview this month. He added: "I really don't have tremendous political ambition. I have policy ambition." [...]

Heavy with both factories and farms, Ryan's district in southern Wisconsin is typically carried by Democratic presidential candidates. His opponents note that part of his success lies in the overtures he makes across the aisle, from party-bucking votes against weakening prevailing wage laws to simpler gestures, like his recent attendance at a wake for the father of a local Democratic stalwart.

Prone to speaking in bar graphs as he warns of "a gathering storm" of debt that will challenge America's way of life, Ryan has also mastered the ability to hang a smile on ideas that generations of politicians have found treacherous.

He casts his push to scale back food stamps and other welfare assistance as empowerment for the downtrodden now lulled into complacency. Opening Medicare to more private competition, he argues, is about preventing an all-out program collapse that would devastate future retirees.

"He's a master politician," said former Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Jim Wineke. "I don't have a mean thought in my body about Paul. I just fundamentally disagree with his policies. He puts on a good face for some pretty awful policies."

The global economic crisis and the rise of the tea party, with its focused attention on government spending and debt, have made Ryan's budget plans something of a GOP litmus test. In March, Romney was quick to praise Ryan's latest proposal to slice trillions from the federal budget. Ryan reciprocated soon after with an endorsement of Romney's White House bid.

Picking Ryan as his running mate would be read as a full embrace of his budget ideas. 

A President Romney would be better served having Mr. Ryan in the House to guide the budget plan through.
Posted by orrinj at 7:55 AM


Europe Is Unraveling, While U.S. and Canada Grow Closer (Joann Muller, 6/15/12, Forbes)

The new bridge spanning the Detroit River between the Motor City and Windsor, Ont., will create 10,000 construction jobs and help bolster the economies of both countries. But because Michigan is too broke to pay for its share of the project, the Canadian government will foot the entire $3.5 billion cost -- including all the land, customs plazas and new highways on both sides of the border.

The kicker? Even though it won't put up a cent of taxpayer money, Michigan can use $550 million of Canada's outlay to qualify for U.S. federal matching funds on $1.1 billion worth of highway projects across the state. "There isn't a down side," said a smiling Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who has made the bridge one of his signature projects. Canada will get to collect all the tolls until Michigan's debt is paid back.

It's an unusually generous commitment on the part of the Canadians, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper made clear Friday there is no more important project to secure the future growth of Canada, which is highly dependent on trade with the U.S. "This is a great act of confidence in the future of  the North American economy at a critical time," said Harper, who just returned from a meeting in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Posted by orrinj at 7:30 AM


Looking for a fun vacation? Why fly when you can drive?  (PAULA CONWAY AND J.P. HOORNSTRA, 6/16/12, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock is one of those perfect places where you can safely bike along country roads, sample freshly-churned ice cream, cheese and peanut butter along the way, and take a swim in a lazy river before falling asleep under a 400-year-old hemlock tree. This is quintessential charming Americana.

Activities: Lunch at the Simon Pearce restaurant overlooking the Quechee Falls and Quechee covered bridge.Tour the glass-blowing mill and shop.Visit The Billings Farm & Museum, a restored 1890 farmhouse with programs on caring for livestock, including the Junior Farm Vet for a Day (offered only on June 27, July 18, and August 8 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.), where kids ages 10 - 15 learn the basic care of large farm animals with hands-on instruction. Take a pastry class at King Arthur Flour.See the upper valley of Vermont and New Hampshire in a Vermont Balloon ride.Travel the back roads with Bike Vermont.

Stay: The Woodstock Inn & Resort rests majestically beyond a white picket fence with beautiful panoramas from any room. Guests love to plop into one of the oversized chairs in front of the 6-foot fieldstone hearth, enjoy the Cabot cheddar fondue at The Red Rooster restaurant on property or take in a round of golf on the 18-hole masterpiece golf course.

: from $190/night. The King Arthur Flour Package, where guests indulge their fantasy of becoming a top pastry chef, includes one-night accommodation for two (two night min. on weekends), country breakfast, a three- or four-hour baking class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center in Norwich, 20 minutes from The Inn. From $397, based on double occupancy, excluding taxes and resort fee. July 6 - 8, August 3 - 5, September 7 - 9 October 12 - 14.

Contact: woodstockinn.com or call 802-457-1100.

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Posted by orrinj at 7:14 AM


Market Bear Gets (a Little) Bullish (Paul Vigna, 6/14/12, WSJ)

[I]t caused a mini-sensation within financial circles this week when Mr. Rosenberg--the former economist at Merrill Lynch & Co. who's now at Canadian money-management firm Gluskin Sheff--wrote a morning commentary titled "Parting of the Clouds?" [...]

Mr. Rosenberg says his newfound optimism was crystallized by the votes last week in Wisconsin and California. He sees those representing a sea change in the way state and local governments are addressing their fiscal problems, and expects that attitude will sweep across statehouses and eventually filter up to the national level.

He said that those political events were an eye-opener, but the thoughts have been coalescing for some time. A few weeks ago, he published a note listing 10 "silver-linings" amid the dark clouds.

All of this leads him to believe the next 15 years or so won't be like the past 12 or so. Anybody who tries to project the future based on the immediate past is making a mistake of "gargantuan" proportions, he says. "I think we may look back at the events of last week as a real inflection point," he says.

One of the reasons a feared wave of municipal defaults never materialized, he says, is that pundits underestimated the resolve of mayors and governors to clean up their finances. It's that mindset he expects will eventually work its way to Washington.

Posted by orrinj at 7:00 AM


Ahmadinejad to retire from politicsIranian president says he will finish his term in 2013 and return to academia (ILAN BEN ZION June 16, 2012, Times of Israel)

The Iranian president may not serve more than two consecutive terms, but may run for office again after an absence of one four-year term. Despite this, Ahmadinejad said "Eight years is enough," in an interview with Allgemeine Zeitung that will be published on Sunday.

He's done enough damage.
Posted by orrinj at 6:54 AM


Confirmed: Obama Mailed It In Yesterday (Guy Benson, 6/15/12, Townhall.com)

On Twitter, I mused that the RNC was licking its chops to assemble a video demonstrating just how lazy and non-groundbreaking The Great Reframing really was.  They didn't disappoint.  Devastating: