Something to remember when prosecutors in the Zimmerman case talk about a 17-year-old as a child

This figure is from my book Freedomnomics.  17 year olds commit the seventh highest percent of all murders by year of age.  Of course, not only you won't hear this in the media, we keep on being shown pictures of Trayvon Martin from when he was 12 years old.  For example, here is a piece from the Associated Press on Friday (click to make larger).  A blowup of the picture is available here.
Here is something from Fox News:

A partial list of outrageous rulings by Florida judge Debra Nelson that made it difficult for Zimmerman to defend himself

Greta Van Sustern and her guests react to the judge's unbelievable behavior in trying to force Zimmerman to decide whether he will testify before the end of this defense case.  The discussion in that segment also points out how the judge purposely controlled the calendar to keep the defense from being able to give its closing arguments on the same day as the state's, which is something that the defense strongly wanted.  Also from Investors' Business Daily:
Suppressing exculpatory evidence recovered from the (double-password-protected) cell phone of Trayvon Martin that reveal deleted texts of the 17-year-old bragging about street-fighting with friends and relatives and photos showing him brandishing guns, gangsta-style. This evidence supports Zimmerman's claim he feared Martin and shot in self-defense.
• Disallowing Martin's criminal background, including arrests by Miami-Dade school district police for drugs, theft, graffiti and other delinquent behavior. (Martin, in fact, had been suspended from school the week he jumped Zimmerman inside his gated townhouse complex, after police found stolen jewelry and burglary tools inside his backpack.)
• Excluding any testimony from audio experts who could definitively ID Zimmerman's voice screaming for help on 911 calls as Martin bashed his head against a concrete sidewalk.
• Allowing, conversely, the last-minute request of plainly desperate prosecutors to have jurors consider an alternative lesser charge of manslaughter to try to secure some kind of conviction, any kind of punishment, in the complete absence of a sound murder case.
• Never sanctioning the prosecution despite Zimmerman's lawyers justifiably filing no fewer than six formal complaints against the state for withholding exculpatory and other evidence from them in violation of discovery rules.
• Yet repeatedly overruling — at times even reprimanding — Zimmerman's lawyers when they objected to the underhanded tactics of the prosecution.
• And even, in one of the most bizarre interventions by a judge many court watchers have ever observed in a criminal case, directly grilling defendant Zimmerman not once, but three times about his intentions to personally testify — while scolding his lawyers not to counsel him in what seemed to many to be an attempt by the court to bully him into taking the stand. . . .



Newest Fox News piece: "Trayvon Martin's testimony wouldn't have changed anything in Zimmerman trial"

My Fox News piece starts this way:
In the days since 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a common claim has been: "we will never know what happened between Zimmerman and Martin since the only person who knows the truth and is still alive is  Zimmerman."  
But this statement is not accurate.  The closing arguments in Zimmerman's case start today.  And the truth is, we know a lot about what happened on that fateful night. Trayvon Martin's testimony, could he have spoken, wouldn't changed anything. 
For those who have watched the trial, ask yourself: is there even one piece of convincing evidence that Zimmerman did not act to defend himself from a threat of “imminent death or great bodily harm”? 
There is a reason that the local District Attorney refused to bring the case against Zimmerman and an outside District Attorney had to be brought in to handle it. And that the chief of police was also removed from his job because he refused to charge Zimmerman with a crime. Also consider that the lead detective on the case told the jury he believed Zimmerman's version of the events that happened. . . .

UPDATE: There are several other points that I should have raised in this piece.  One is that there was no history of Zimmerman using physical force against anyone else -- if there was, the prosecution would have brought it up 50 times.  Unfortunately, Martin's history of violence could not be brought up.  At the time Martin was in Sanford, he was there because he had gotten into a fight with others at school.  There were multiple examples of Martin getting into fights with others.  

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Russians have new way to stop spying: typewriters

Well, let's hope that the Russians still remember how to use filing systems!  It is hard to believe that they would use this for very much information.  The easier solution would seem to be make sure that the computers were connected to the internet or possibly even outside electrical sources.  Even then they can give off electrical signals, but you can use them in shielded rooms.  From CNET:

So the Kremlin has started ordering typewriters. Lots of them. Indeed, the Telegraph, relying on sources at Russia's Federal Guard Service, says that about $15,000 is being spent to purchase new electronic typewriters.
What seems evident from the Russian government's procurement Web site is that some money had gone toward ribbons for Triumph Adler TWEN 180 typewriters.
You might think this is mere tantalizing frippery, designed to get other nations to drop their guards against Russia.
However, Russia's Izvestia newspaper claims a Federal Guard Service source revealed: "After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposés by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents." . . .


Finally, an attempt at reining zero tolerance insanity in schools

I have seen evidence that this zero tolerance is designed to terrify students and cause them to be terrified of guns. It also makes no sense safety wise to lump in a picture of a soldier with a gun and someone threatening people with a real gun.  I would go farther than this law, but at least it is a start.
A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would block funding to schools that prohibit children from playing with imaginary guns.
Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, says the Student Protection Act aims to stop the enforcement of policies that "punish innocent children" by cutting funds to schools that abuse "zero tolerance" weapons policies.
"Something must be done to restore sanity to the schoolroom," Stockman said Tuesday in a statement. "The Student Protection Act would end the practice of using federal taxpayer dollars to subsidize schools that enforce these policies that abuse and harm young children."
In March, second-grader Josh Welch was suspended from a Maryland elementary school after unknowingly biting a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. . . .


Ex-Sanford police chief slams Zimmerman investigation as politically driven, fired for not charging Zimmerman

This interview is pretty explosive.  The former police chief alleges that he was fired because he wouldn't charge Zimmerman.  Apparently, he was told not to worry whether Zimmerman was guilty, not to worry about whether charges would have to be dropped at a later date.  From CNN:
When Sanford police arrived on the scene on February 26, 2012, after Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, they conducted a "sound" investigation, and the evidence provided no probable cause to arrest Zimmerman at the scene, he said.  
It had nothing to do with Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law, he said; from an investigative standpoint, it was purely a matter of self-defense. . . .  
It was a matter of protocol, Lee said. Arresting Zimmerman based on the evidence at hand would have been a violation of Zimmerman's Fourth Amendment rights, he said. Thus, the Sanford police presented a "capias request" to the state's attorney, asking that the prosecutor determine whether it was a "justifiable homicide," issue a warrant for arrest or present the case to a grand jury.  
"The police department needed to do a job, and there was some influence -- outside influence and inside influence -- that forced a change in the course of the normal criminal justice process," Lee said. "With all the influence and the protests and petitions for an arrest, you still have to uphold you oath."  
"That investigation was taken away from us. We weren't able to complete it," he said.
One example involved the 911 tapes, in which neighbors implored dispatchers to send police as a voice in the background screamed for help.  
The Sanford police intended to release the tapes once the probe was over, Lee said, because you can't publicize evidence amid an investigation.  
Instead, the mayor told him on March 16 the tapes had been released to Martin's family and the public. The family was asked to help identify voices, Lee said, but if police were in charge of the investigation, they wouldn't have presented evidence to a group. . . .
There is a reference by CNN to the lead detective recommending manslaughter, but CNN leaves out the fact that the detective later said that he believed Zimmerman's version of events.  It seems pretty obvious that if this investigation wasn't taken away from the Sanford police department, Zimmerman would never have been charged in the case.

Here is the money quote:
"I'm happy that at the end of the day I can walk away with my integrity." Ex-Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee.



Obama administration spends several thousand dollars helping organize anti-Zimmerman protests

What possible justification can the government give for using taxpayer dollars to help organize Al Sharpton rallies in a criminal case?  Even worse, the money is being used to push a political agenda that divides the country based on race.  From the Daily Caller:
A division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was deployed to Sanford, Florida in 2012 to provide assistance for anti-George Zimmerman protests, including a rally headlined by activist Al Sharpton, according to newly released documents. 
The Community Relations Service (CRS), a unit of DOJ, reported expenses related to its deployment in Sanford to help manage protests between March and April 2012,according to documents obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch. 
CRS spent $674.14 between March 25-27 related to having been “deployed to Sanford, FL, to work marches, demonstrations, and rallies related to the shooting and death of an African-American teen by a neighborhood watch captain.” CRS spent another $1,142.84 for the same purpose between March 25-28. 
CRS spent $892.55 “to provide support for protest deployment in Florida” between March 30-April 1, and $751.60 “to provide technical assistance to the City of Sanford, event organizers, and law enforcement agencies for the march and rally on March 31.” . . .


Google App showing homes with guns gets smashed with negative reviews

This App (available here) makes as much sense as when the New York Journal News published the names of gun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties.  The primary effect of this makes those who don't have guns an easier target for criminals.  It is a safety issue.  The simplest way of putting this is asking whether the makers of this App would be willing to mark their homes as gun-free zones.  I have done a lot of debates with gun control advocates over the years and I have never met someone who has been willing to put up a sign in front of their home indicating that their home is a gun-free zone.



Black lawmakers push Obama for more gun control

From The Hill newspaper:
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus urged President Obama to take action on gun control legislation Tuesday at their first meeting with the president in more than two years.Obama “reaffirmed his commitment” to the issue during the White House meeting, one administration official said. 
The president told the lawmakers that he will focus on gun violence, and acknowledged the problem wasn't just about tragic events like the one in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six educators were killed by a lone gunman in December. . . .


Mexico has "world's fattest" people, US second fattest

This article claims that the obesity is due to poverty, but has the percentage of the population that is obese increased over time?  No.  Just like increased poverty can't explain the increased obesity in the US over time.  From the New York Post:

The United States no longer holds the title of the world’s most populous, obese nation; that designation has been passed on to Mexico.
According to a new report from the United Nations, nearly 70 percent of Mexican adults are overweight, and childhood obesity in the country has tripled within the past decade, Medical Daily reported. One-third of Mexican teenagers are also obese, and experts believe that four out of every five obese children will remain overweight for the rest of their lives.
Overall, 32.8 percent of Mexican adults are considered obese, compared to 31.8 percent of adults in the United States. Nearly 70,000 deaths in Mexico each year are caused by weight-related diabetes, and more than 400,000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed annually. . . .
One researcher also believes the increase can be attributed to more Mexicans moving from rural to urban areas, where food prices are much higher and sedentary lifestyles are easier.
Ugh?  Higher food prices cause obesity?



All 50 states now have concealed handgun laws on their books.  It will be up to six months to set up a system to start accepting applications, and it is obvious that the state police will drag this out as long as possible.  Six months before they start accepting applications and probably months after that, so it won't be until next spring that people will be able to start carrying in Illinois.  
Spokeswoman Monique Bond said police expect 300,000 applications in the first year.
This guess is simply wrong.  With the high training requirement and the high fee for getting a permit, I would predict that there will be fewer than 100,000 permits and possibly much less than that.  It is hard to be very accurate on this because no other state has as long of a training requirement.  

From the Associated Press:
Both chambers of the Legislature voted to override changes Gov. Pat Quinn made to the bill they approved more than a month ago. Even some critics of the law argued it was better to approve something rather than risk the courts allowing virtually unregulated concealed weapons in Chicago, which has endured severe gun violence in recent months. 
The Senate voted 41-17 in favor of the override Tuesday afternoon after the House voted 77-31, margins that met the three-fifths threshold needed to set aside the amendatory veto. Quinn had used his veto authority to suggest changes such as prohibiting guns in restaurants that serve alcohol and limiting gun-toting citizens to one firearm at a time. . . . 
The law as approved by the Legislature permits anyone with a Firearm Owner's Identification card who has passed a background check and undergone gun-safety training of 16 hours — longest of any state — to obtain a concealed-carry permit for $150. 
The Illinois State Police would have six months to set up a system to start accepting applications. Spokeswoman Monique Bond said police expect 300,000 applications in the first year. . . .

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Jim Carrey apologizes 3 1/2 months after calling gun owners names

Jim Carrey created some ruckus in March when he mocked the late Charlton Heston.  The real irony is that Carrey joined the ranks of gun control advocates who depends on guns for protection.  While always appreciated, the fact that it took him about 3.5 months to apologize for his personal attacks gives some pause about how sincere it is.  From Fox News:
The comedic actor sent out a series of tweets on Sunday apologizing for comments he's made in the past about gun owners.  
"[Assault] rifle fans, I do not agree [with] u, nor do I fear u but I do love u and I'm sorry [that] in my outrage I called you names.That was wrong," he wrote. "[By the way] I don't need a crisis [manager], just a conscience. Calling [people] names is inappropriate but my position on assault weapons hasn't changed."
Adam Carolla has this discussion about Carrey's apology.


New Smart Phone App tells users what places are dangerous gun-free zones

If you are concerned about what places prevent victims from being able to defend themselves, this App might be for you.  Surely a lot of concealed carry permit holders are inconvenienced by going to a store and finding that once they get there they can't go inside.  This type of App might say people some inconvenience because they can check what places are safe before they go there.  A link to the App is available here.  If enough people use this App, it might also help me more quickly identify that another mass shooting occurred at a gun-free zone.

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Former President George H.W. Bush meets with Gabrielle Giffords about gun control

Presumably George H.W. Bush met with Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband Mark Kelly because he thinks that they are pushing the right issue (I have tried to explain why that isn't the case here).  Bush's meeting them sure helps get them publicity when they are on their seven state tour.   That is too bad because despite the obvious appeal of the regulations, they are actually counter productive.  From The Hill newspaper:
. . . Giffords spokeswoman Pia Carusone told ABC they had lunch at Bush’s home in Kennebunkport, Maine.  
Giffords and Kelly are in the midst of a seven-state bus tour to push lawmakers to enact tougher background checks on firearm purchases. The tour is targeting states home to senators who voted against a bipartisan background check bill in April She also is meeting with families of victims of the mass shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School. 
Giffords last met with former President Bush and his wife Barbara Bush in Houston where she was recovering from the serious injuries she suffered after she was shot in the head during a constituent event in Tucson, Ariz. two years ago. Those injuries forced her to step down from Congress. 
Giffords has become a vocal advocate for tougher gun control laws, forming the PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, which she hopes will be a counterweight to the National Rifle Association. . . .



If Obama can keep making up health care law as he goes, why was it even necessary to pass the law to begin with?

Just last week, the Obama administration announced that they were going to ignore for one year a requirement that employers with 50 or more full-time workers provide health coverage.  It is nice that you can pick an choose different parts of law and rewrite it as you go along.  Now the Obama administration has decided not to verify consumers' claims about income and health insurance status for 2014.  It is nice to know that this isn't the first time that the government as relied "the honor system" for enforcing laws.  One wonders how the CBO would have figured out the costs of the law if they conceived that cheating on the system wouldn't be investigated.  From the Washington Post:
The Obama administration announced Friday that it would significantly scale back the health law’s requirements that new insurance marketplaces verify consumers’ income and health insurance status. 
Instead, the federal government will rely more heavily on consumers’ self-reported information until 2015, when it plans to have stronger verification systems in place. . . . 
The verification systems are meant to determine who qualifies for new benefits under the Affordable Care Act. The law includes tax subsidies to purchase health insurance for Americans who earn less than 400 percent of the poverty line, about $45,000 for an individual.Those earning less than 133 percent of the poverty line — about $15,000 — will qualify for Medicaid coverage in the District and 23 states that have decided to expand the program. 
The federal government also needs to know who receives health insurance coverage from an employer. Consumers who receive affordable health insurance from their company under a policy that costs less than 9.5 percent of their income do not qualify for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. . . . 
The federal government will, however, conduct an audit for the states where it is managing the new insurance Web portal. . . . 
It is not unprecedented for the government to use the honor system in situations in which it collects data on millions of individuals . . .


At least 30 people killed in school attack in Nigeria

It isn't clear whether anyone was shot to death here, but this attack by Islamic militants simply because these children were receiving an education other than reading from the Koran is horrific.  From the Associated Press:
Islamic militants attacked a boarding school before dawn Saturday, dousing a dormitory in fuel and lighting it ablaze as students slept, survivors said. At least 30 people were killed in the deadliest attack yet on schools in Nigeria's embattled northeast.
Authorities blamed the violence on Boko Haram, a radical group whose name means "Western education is sacrilege." The militants have been behind a series of recent attacks on schools in the region, including one in which gunmen opened fire on children taking exams in a classroom.
"We were sleeping when we heard gunshots. When I woke up, someone was pointing a gun at me," Musa Hassan, 15, told The Associated Press of the assault on Government Secondary School in Mamudo village in Yobe state.
He put his arm up in defense, and sustained a gunshot that blew off all four fingers on his right hand, the one he uses to write. His life was spared when the militants moved on after shooting him.
Hassan recalled how the gunmen came armed with jerry cans of fuel that they used to torch the school's administrative block and one of the dormitories.
"They burned the children alive," he said, the horror showing in his wide eyes. . . .

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