Till the End of the Day

A man being attacked by two other men shot and injured one of his attackers today at Eastern Florida State College in Brevard County, Fla.

California Democratic House Representative Henry Waxman announced he will be retiring.

The president of MSNBC apologized to RNC Chair Reince Preibus for stupid, offensive tweet about a cereal commercial.

Amanda Knox was found guilty of murder (again) and sentenced to 28 years of prison.

Up to 40 kids at an elementary school in Salt Lake City got their school lunches, then watched as they were thrown away because their parents owned money on their accounts.

Oh, and Mark Zuckerberg made $3 billion today.

GAO finds that just because you say you have authority, it doesn’t mean you actually have it.

LOL @ George Washington University Law School.

Communists with cats.

Today in douchebaggery.


Putting a terrorist to death

Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty against  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the bombing of the Boston Marathon. This is not without precedent, and this was not unexpected. Hell, it might be the most predictable news story of the day.

There are a number of reasons to find the death penalty unjust. Some see the massive racial disparity, some see the sheer number of innocents who accidentally get murdered by their state, some see the torture possibly inflicted by unverified drug cocktails, some straight-up do not believe the State, as such, has the right to murder.

On the other hand, there is the Hammurabi/Old Testament/Kant case for equal punishment for equal crimes: a conviction that is indeed plenty popular and not without merit.

Truth is, though, I think the death penalty is wrong for one simple reason: It’s final. I find it contrary to the spirit of the U.S. Constitution, even if the Supreme Court, and even the Founders disagree. Hell, it wouldn’t be the first, second, third or fourth occurrence of the framers of the Constitution not thoroughly thinking through the consequences of their values. Yet, this very phrase is in a way self-contradictory: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….”

With due process of law comes a right to appeal. But if you’re dead, you cannot appeal. If you’re dead, you cannot be exonerated. If, for some reason, the Supreme Court once again finds the death penalty unconstitutional, your sentence cannot be commuted, because you’re dead. How is that the promised due process of law?

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a fucking criminal and should probably get as good as he committed. And the base sense of justice demands the same pain he inflicted. We all know he murdered people. We watched his traitorous plan succeed, and we watched it inevitably fall apart. But, to bring back Kant, we can’t treat him any differently than the hundreds of other murderers who face judgement for their sins, and a just criminal justice system needs to make absolute certain its convicted are truly guilty and punished justly. And that’s impossible if the state kills them.

New York Times Columnist Line of the Day

If you’re one of the three people who remembers this here blog from its hay-day, you have once in a blue moon checked out the New York Times op-ed page. You probably recognize the names of the columnists, who every day spout the most conventionally wise of the conventional wisdom. This is a feature that is dedicated to these folks, highlighting one line that is either funny, ridiculous, strange, or actually intelligent or well-written.

Sometimes it’s fun when it’s just devoid of context. Today’s is from Gail “The Collander” Collins, who in her column today “How preschool got hot,” writes:

If early childhood education were an actor, it would be Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep.

Remember, if you hit the NYTimes paywall, just open the link in your browser’s incognito or private browsing mode.

Morning Constitutional – Thursday, 30 January 2014

Good morning, patriots. Looks like Bieber now getting charged with assault. Here’s your morning constitutional:

U.S. officials believe Russia tested a new cruise missile, which is prohibited by a treaty signed in 1987 by President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev. 

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2013, way better than predicted. On the other hand jobless claims rose more than expected last week.

The Afghan government continues to receive billions of dollars in U.S. aid despite a audit report that found most of it being wasted or stolen.

Syrian authorities have “deliberately and unlawfully” razed thousands of residential buildings.

Police in Togo seize more than two tons of ivory destined for Vietnam.

The Federal Reserve will reduce the pace of its bond-buying program by another $10 billion.

Today in not-really-news: Hillary Clinton holds a gigantic lead over potential 2016 Democratic rivals in new poll, while there is no clear favorite among Republicans. Clinton’s “lead is the largest recorded in an early primary matchup in at least 30 years of Post-ABC polling.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he is slow-tracking a trade bill that was promoted by President Obama during the State of the Union address. The bill would give the president authority to negotiate trade agreements with other countries, while only allowing congress to vote on agreements without the power to amend them.

Americans don’t have a clue what’s in Obamacare, don’t like it anyway.

Companies aren’t going to raise wages because low wages are why companies are so profitable.

Congress eyeing legislation to ban taxpayer funding of presidential political conventions.

The “women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men” trope doesn’t tell the whole story.

Google is selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. It had bought Motorola for $12.5 billion in 2011.

Penguins in Argentina at risk from climate change.

“A double-barreled comparison of ancient Neanderthal DNA with hundreds of modern-day genomes suggests that many of us have Neanderthal skin and hair traits — but other parts of the Neanderthal genome appear to have been bred out of us along the way.”

Really cool multimedia material on the Beatles invasion 50 years ago.

Finally, casino announces that it is snake-free.

Till the End of the Day

The farm bill passed the House, 251-166. Jonathan Bernstein on how this shows that politics isn’t dead—yet.

Must-read profile of another solider who was a guest at the State of the Union address last night.

Republican Representative Michael Grimm from New York, who physically threatened reporter Michael Scotto after the State of the Union address last night, has similar episodes in his past, and in one instance pulled a gun out during an altercation in a nightclub. Grimm has apologized to Scotto.

According to PPP, Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn holds small leads over all her potential Republican rivals.

In Oklahoma, Republican State House Speaker T.W. Shannon today officially announced his campaign for the Senate.

Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions doesn’t want marijuana legalized because “Lady Gaga says she’s addicted to it and it is not harmless.

Mexico’s axolotl ‘water monster’ may be extinct in the wild.

Why the South fell apart in the snow.

Missing for 122 years, the first Porsche was found in a warehouse.

Josh Barro thinks In-N-Out Burger is overrated.

A final short thought on the State of the Union address

Yes, I’ve called the State of the Union address long, boring and pointless. And it is.

But how is it that the most important presentation before the most powerful and important institution in the country is basically a 16th-century Puritan sermon? Hell, even churches—those bastions of technological innovation—in the 21st century use music to accompany to enhance the experience and use screens to present images to make the material a little easier to understand. But the president walks up an aisle, stands at a lectern, and simply talks for a while, thanks God, and then we’re on our way to Country Kitchen.

People talk often about making the government work more like business, and while I’m very, very skeptical about the whole idea, this could be one function that could only be made better by aping corporate America. While I watched the cabinet secretaries enter the chamber last night, I had thought: why not parcel out the address among the secretaries, with the president giving the keynote and announcing the big pitch? Sec. Kerry reports on the state of diplomatic relations, Sec. Sebelius updates us on the state of the ACA, etc. Then the president comes to the stage to share just a few thoughts and concluding the presentation.

Also, if you look at corporate presentations, they’re always accompanied by visuals. Sometimes they’re even complementary and useful. You never see the CEO of a major corporation present in some opulent chamber, however. So, it probably would be good time to overhaul the scenery as well. Set up some dark backdrops and large screens. Imagine if Sec. Sebelius could show a chart on the downward trajectory of healthcare costs, or enrollment numbers. Sec. Perez could visually compare our minimum wage to the rest of the world’s, or highlight the widening gap between the wealthy and the not-wealthy.

Of course, everybody who would ever work in the White House communications office would never forgo the visual of the president standing before Congress, and definitely wouldn’t let the president be overshadowed by cabinet secretaries, so this not-really-a-dream probably will never happen. Then again, almost nobody can use PowerPoint well, so we’re probably better off this way.

Richard Sherman answers stupid question with great answer

This is a real question Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was asked by a reporter:

All of you football guys going into the strip clubs, and throwing… raining down on these strippers. I think that’s a bad example for our young ladies. How can we stop that? I think it’s a bad example that we’re setting for our young girls that they need to be strippers.

Forget the begging the question aspect, and just ruminate on how stupid the question is. Anyways, here’s how Sherman answers:

I’ve never gone to a strip club and thrown money, so I couldn’t tell you. I guess, uh, trying to understand that there are other avenues and other ways you can make money, that women can do anything they want in this world. You can go out there and be a CEO of a company, you can go out there and like I said, same can be said for kids in the inner city, that the ceiling is limitless and don’t limit yourself to those possibilities and those circumstances.

Yeah, this guy is a total thug.