Fungus among us.

This summer hasn’t been dry like the last one. In fact, as we’ve all been complaining about lately, sometimes the humidity has been suffocating. Since I’m walking a dog again, I’m paying more attention to the lawns and hedgerows around the neighborhood. And this is what I’m seeing:

fungi

Toadstools. Everywhere. One of my Facebook friends uploaded a photo of something that looked like an inflamed penis with extra-awful gonorrhea — bright red, oozing something brown at the top. “All over the lawn,” she notes. Lovely.

Fortunately, the dog has no interest in them. But I’m seeing all sorts of varieties. I know very little about mushrooms, fungi and the rest of it. I know they’re not morels, though.

Want some more pictures? Here’s something shipped along by a friend, who found it in his mother’s belongings:

barbieri

You northeast Indiana journos will recognize the unmistakable, but un-bylined, prose style of the late Jim Barbieri. He could always get excited by a good fire.

I was out in the world today, hanging with a couple of former G-men for a story. We came across one of the Detroit Blight Authority projects. Man, these people aren’t screwing around:

blight

They cleared a sizable block, a truly cursed one, plagued not only with empty, burned-out houses but also an ad hoc dump. The authority cleared the houses, cleared the trash, cleared much of the brush and trees. The plan is to grade it all when it’s done, then plant with a special grass/wildflower mix that doesn’t grow over a foot high. You get a sense of how much they’ve taken down by the pile of wood chips behind it. It’s not a total scalp job; there are still plenty of trees left. But there will be fewer places to hide for drug-using, trick-turning and other malfeasance. The sound of that industrial chipper was something to hear. The proprietor of a drug house nearby certainly seemed impressed by it.

And with that, I’m tapped. Slept badly, but up extra early to at least get a workout in. Which I did, but I’m paying with gritty eyes at 10 p.m. Some bloggage:

Remember crack babies? A long-term study on them just ended. Guess what it found? Ahem:

The team has kept tabs on 110 of the 224 children originally in the study. Of the 110, two are dead – one shot in a bar and another in a drive-by shooting – three are in prison, six graduated from college, and six more are on track to graduate. There have been 60 children born to the 110 participants.

The years of tracking kids have led Hurt to a conclusion she didn’t see coming.

“Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine,” Hurt said at her May lecture.

I am shocked, shocked to learn the state of Indiana lies to its residents. But not really:

But an honest analysis gets in the way of politics, particularly when we are talking about an ambitious Republican governor like Mike Pence.

One can only hope that, at some point, the public at large will begin to ‘get’ the games and lies opponents of healthcare reform have been playing ever since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. When you have a situation like what we are seeing in Indiana, it becomes difficult to understand how anyone could avoid acknowledging that the disingenuous behavior of the anti-Obamacare forces truly knows no bounds.

Taking my gritty eyes to bed.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |
 

49 responses to “Fungus among us.”

  1. Brandon said on July 23, 2013 at 3:24 am

    From James Howard Kunstler’s piece “Requiem for Detroit” (to which I linked in comments at the previous post):

    It’s fitting that Detroit is the first great American city to officially bite the dust, because it produced the means of America’s suicidal destruction: the automobile. Of course you could argue that the motorcar was an inevitable product of the industrial era …— but the choices we made about what to do with the automobile is another matter. What we chose was to let our great cities go to hell and move outside them in a car-dependent utopia tricked out as a simulacrum of “country living.” The entire experiment of suburbia can, of course, be construed as historically inevitable, too, but is also destined to be abandoned — and sooner than most Americans realize. …

    What happened to Detroit will come to all the other great American metroplexes in time, but perhaps not in the same way. So-called urban experts like Ed Glaeser at Harvard (The Triumph of the City), and other exalted idiots just don’t get it. These cities attained a scale of operation that just can’t be sustained beyond the twilight of cheap fossil fuels. They will all contract massively — some of them, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas will disappear altogether. The lucky ones will reconstitute themselves at much smaller scale around their old harbors or riverfronts. The ones burdened with too many grandiose mega-structures (New York, Chicago) will choke to death on the liabilities they represent. The reason for this can be found in the basic equations around the cost and supply of energy resources and the consequent impairments of capital formation. …

    Other idiots want to dedicate the ruins of Detroit, and places like it, to “urban farming.” This represents yet another layer of misunderstanding of how the world works. Detroit and most other cities occupy important geographical sites (in this case a river between two Great lakes). Some kind of urban human settlement will continue to occupy that site in the future. It will just be smaller, less complex, and almost certainly less hideous than the disgraceful tangle of freeways, casinos, 7-Eleven shops, and rotting bungalows that remains on-the-ground there now. Farming is what happens outside the urban settlement (though gardening is another matter). There’s plenty of room in the rest of Michigan for farming.

    By the way, the vast donut of prosperous suburbs around the ruins of Detroit are not long for this world either. Their wealth will prove to be just as transitory as the wealth embodied by those bygone inner mansion neighborhoods of the pre-1900 Detroit, and the detritus will be harder to clean up there because it is spread so far and wide. That particular lesson remains to be learned all over the rest of the USA, but with crude oil at $108-a-barrel this morning, a smack upside America’s thick-boned head is probably not far from landing.

    2965 chars

  2. ROGirl said on July 23, 2013 at 4:52 am

    When you have a situation like what we are seeing in Indiana, it becomes difficult to understand how anyone could avoid acknowledging that the disingenuous behavior of the anti-Obamacare forces truly knows no bounds.

    Substitute the words “Indiana” and “anti-Obamacare forces” for “your state here” and “anti-abortion forces” or “anti-food stamp forces” or “anti-public school funding forces,” etc.

    400 chars

  3. coozledad said on July 23, 2013 at 5:54 am

    We’ve got a lot more mushrooms, too. You don’t usually see puffballs or oyster mushrooms until the fall, but the rain and relatively cool June temps brought them out. I even found an orange clump of brain fungus at the base of a tree.

    I vaguely remember reading in a mycology textbook that you can eat tremella mesenterica if you’re starving to death, but otherwise, don’t.

    383 chars

  4. Suzanne said on July 23, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Indiana. Yes, we are still waiting for the legions of businesses we’ve been promised will cross the borders from failing states to take up shop in this utopia. (Sound of crickets). Oh, wait. When you have articles like this one in Forbes, maybe the rest of the country has a clue. Or is Forbes yet another one of those far left mainstream media outlets that lie to people, but we Hoosiers know better than to believe that!

    425 chars

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 23, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Kunstler is heading down Paul Ehrlich territory, i.e. “The Population Bomb,” a read that was gripping in the early 70’s, and instructive today.

    OTOH, you may finish this sentence with darn near anything and be correct: “Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than . . .” It is a fact, and a fact which is the great vulnerability of conservatism, but also hazardous to progressivism in that it tempts one to then speak as if the spending of government funds in whatever manner will bless the poor. The last ten years has been interesting in homelessness efforts, as “direct housing” is being used as a primary model in more and more places, and shows unmistakable positive net effects, even as its failures are more garish and hence become more volatile politically in endangering ongoing funding. “Just give homeless people a decent place to live” is a model which should not be surprising to see work, but it works remarkably well for families (any cluster with at least one adult having dependent children), pretty well for single adult individuals whether addicted or not, poorly for single adults with severe mental illness, and dreadfully for solo residents with severe mental health issues in combination with addiction.

    But the political answer to this set of findings is to put a large pile of conditions on all housing assistance. Which then we, the entities and agencies providing housing aid, game like crazy so we can help the people in front of us, and keep our budgets afloat lest we get shut down and all the housing aid leave our neighborhood or municipality, and said gaming creates more unusual unintended outcomes. Which leads to federal and state tweaking of the pile of guidelines. Arrrgghh.

    1757 chars

  6. coozledad said on July 23, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Suzanne: There’s an assload of women and queers just itchin’ to come to North Carolina so they can participate in the outdoor drama version of The Lottery.

    Actually, living down here has convinced me statehood is a failed idea, and everything needs to be federalized. There’s simply not enough talent or intelligence out in the woods.

    344 chars

  7. beb said on July 23, 2013 at 8:01 am

    WTF? Detroit as a Blight Authority? Now there’s a Sisyphean task (or should I call it Herculean. I mean geeze, you can’t clear one block without uncovering 2 or 3 more than need scraping.

    Personally I’d seed that cleared fields with something like clover and harvest it 3–4 times a year for methane-digestion. Recoup some of the open real estate into energy. I wonder what they do with the gas, water and sewerage lines in those areas? Just leave them in place or root them up so they won’t leak into the environment.

    Republicans view the Affordable Care Act the same way they view Social Security, as a program as massively beneficial to Americans that it will skew politics Democrat-ward for generations to come. Thus they attempts to kill it, slow-walk implementation and outright lie about it.

    804 chars

  8. alex said on July 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

    As usual, Indiana is a national laughingstock and the local media, which mostly missed the story that led to our shame and abasement, aren’t reporting it as coherently as the Forbes piece if they are reporting it at all. Nothing this morning in Fort Wayne’s newspaper of record, and the buried little item yesterday was the sort of equivocal drivel that would let people make up their own minds about who’s really telling the truth based on their own prejudices. I’m sure that there are otherwise intelligent, educated people walking around exclaiming “72 percent! We’ve got to get that fucking socialist out of the White House before we have to start taking out a mortgage on a gallon of milk!”

    I wish these people would see their governor for the embarrassment he is and send his ass packing. I’ve always maintained that he’s Michele Bachmann but without the big hair and big mouth. (And I’ll bet he looks kinda hot when Marcus Bachmann dresses him up in a French maid’s outfit.)

    984 chars

  9. Deborah said on July 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Kunstler makes me tired. I mean he has a lot to say about some things, but then he ventures off into areas he knows nothing (or little) about and he continues to pontificate. He seems to know a lot about peak oil for one thing and I love his critiques of architecture and suburbs. I take with a grain of salt, what he has to say about cities, some of it seems right on and some of it is bull (IMHO).

    399 chars

  10. brian stouder said on July 23, 2013 at 9:30 am

    1. Jeff – point taken, in the last thread, regarding intemperate remarks. I apologize to you and everyone else, including the poster I was responding to. It did not advance the argument, and was unnecessary.

    2. Generations of my lovely wife’s extended family used to raise hogs, and they have a classic story about a major terrible fire in a hog building six or seven decades ago. The aftermath was a huge mess, and a very unpleasant cleanup, which all the folks participated in. And when they took a break and went into Pam’s grandma’s house for dinner, do you know what the main course was? Yup – pork roast! The dinner went very largely uneaten.

    651 chars

  11. Maggie Jochild said on July 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Interesting analysis of media coverage re Detroit’s bankruptcy from the wonderful Michael Shaw: http://www.bagnewsnotes.com/2013/07/slamming-detroit-a-euro-thing/

    163 chars

  12. Julie Robinson said on July 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

    We get those phallic fungi in our yard all the time. They are BIG.

    Alex, I completely agree with everything you wrote but I do want to point out that yesterday’s story in the JG was on the front page, which doesn’t qualify as buried in my book.

    I’d be interested in people’s reaction to this story about Detroit from someone who grew up there: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/detroits-demise-decades-in-the-making/2013/07/19/0b1d8dc6-f068-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_story.html

    485 chars

  13. Judybusy said on July 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Jeff TMMO, do the folks with severe MI and CD issues also receive housing support and care via nurses and case managers? That would be key to helping them maintain their housing. We have several models of that here in MN–ranging from scattered site to adult foster care to an assisted living model. For the HIV/AIDS population, many of whom have those co-occuring disorders (and the population for which I have the best data) providing housing *plus* services has been very successful in several ways: for the individual, decreasing costs (fewer nursing home days, ED visits and hospital days) and decreasing the spread of the disease (people who are more stable are less likely to engage in riskier behavior.) This has been verified with formal evaluation–not just anecdotally–in other cities as well.

    The NYT had an article last year about developmental effects on kids exposed to cocaine in utero. Surprisingly, they found very few. Alcohol is much more damaging to the developing brain. As is poverty, as already noted.

    1029 chars

  14. Heather said on July 23, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I only have potted plants on my balcony, but I noticed a toadstool in the lavender the other day. Decided I didn’t need to water it quite so much.

    146 chars

  15. Jeff said on July 23, 2013 at 11:49 am

    Supportive housing is key, Judy, and funding is slowwwwwwly heading in that direction. Direct housing has been a revelation, but it’s not a panacea.

    148 chars

  16. Ann said on July 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    It sounds like Judybusy and I do similar work. Not only does “housing plus” work to keep people in care, it also has the effect of driving down HIV transmission rates in the whole community. A real win, if only people can look far enough down the road to see the wisdom of funding it.

    But really I’m here to offer the above-mentioned phallic mushroom photo. Family Phallaceae,species, I believe, mutinus caninsus. If you detect a reference to canine anatomy in that name, I do not believe you are wrong. http://www.flickr.com/photos/yooperann/9333674261/

    564 chars

  17. coozledad said on July 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Ann: Ha! Looks like my bull’s pecker. Since we took his balls, every time he mounts the cows they turn around and sniff his works, saying “Something just ain’t right, daddy.”

    174 chars

  18. alex said on July 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Julie, I didn’t see the hard copy version of yesterday’s paper; I assumed by the article’s brevity and shallowness that it wasn’t featured prominently. Mea culpa.

    As for Kunstler, those who make such lofty prognostications can never be taken too seriously, although they might make good talk-show hosts on Fox.

    Regarding Barbieri, he once cornered my dad at an art exhibit opening about thirty years ago and chatted him up about a business matter involving my dad’s then place of employment. My dad had been quoted at length in the major local papers and he was livid that the reporters were coming to him with a preconceived narrative and were just looking for anything they could find to support it, facts be damned. The long-winded Barbieri turned what began as a story about the art event into a major piece about said business matter. Upon learning of it, my dad was quite impressed; Barbieri got the facts correctly, got the quotes correctly and demonstrated an understanding of business that far surpassed that of the reporters from the much bigger newspapers.

    I interviewed with Barbieri for a job fresh out of college, but knew in a heartbeat that it wouldn’t be a good fit. In showing me around, he took great pride in the gallery of framed photos in which he appeared with all sorts of right-wing luminaries. He also gave me a hard time about the fact that I wasn’t yet married at age 24. And he wanted me to live in Bluffton, probably so that he could monitor my every move outside of work, that is if I were to have any life outside of work, because he lived and breathed that newspaper 24/7 and hardly ever left the building. Though in his fifties, he was a hunched-over little guy who looked as if he could have been in his eighties, probably owing to poor diet and sleep and postural habits. He would have been a nightmare boss from hell, I’m pretty sure, although I bet I would have learned a lot of value. I’m sure he must have sensed that I wasn’t what he was looking for either.

    2008 chars

  19. Prospero said on July 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Charlotte@4: It’s admirable how often Forbes bucks the Canon of GOPer Shibboleths and Accepted Wisdom. And yes, the comments on these stories fill with Forbes is librul MSM, what do you expect. I expect those commenters are the same idiots that complain about the obvious liberal bias in the ChiTrib, the Seattle Times and the fracking LAT, for God’s sake. This sort of idealogical myopia beggars belief.

    GOPers have been lying about the majority of Americans favoring repeal of Obamacare from the getgo. Mainly, they seized on the opposition from mindless, all-or-nothing liberals that were so pissed off when the government option went away (it was born extremely late in the legislative process anyway, but nobody was acknowledging that inconvenient fact), with the “because, Obama” nutjobs: A transparently bogus conflation. Read ’em and weep, dumbasses:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2013/07/23/the-morning-plum-republicans-are-deluding-themselves-time-is-on-obamacares-side/?hpid=z2

    Entertainment news to brighten Nancy’s day.

    Nielsen Ratings service says the average age of Fox viewers exceeds 85. They stop identifying exact age at that level. Not a comment on age and political beliefs (Hell, I just made 62), I’m just sayin’, hey Roger Ailes, You disgusting Tub O’ Guts, heading for the great beyond.

    That is one nasty looking shroom. Back in the day, after a heavy rain in Athens, armies of amature mycologists would invade the endless acres of cow pastures at UGA in search of shrooms. I’ve hadd some good ones, with neither butter nor garlic involved.

    1769 chars

  20. Prospero said on July 23, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Mention of that reporter reminds me of the guy with the coolest name in tha annals of jazz: Gato Barbieri, the Argentine saxman responsible for the amazing Last Tango theme (easily the best thing about the movie:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uQNkFmgyzI

    Well, aside from Maria Schneider. But it’s an amazing piece of music. I always thought The Simpsons should do a Lisa-Centric episode in which she wants to play Last Tango in a school concert. Perfectly in character, and Ned Flanders could have an enlightening moment of tolerance.

    When I awoke this morning, I knew I wanted to employ the term beggars belief today. Actually, I awoke from a very strange dream about bow-hunting for deer, something i’ve never done nor wanted to do. If I hunted, I’d use a bow, not a rifle, but still odd thing for me to dream about. How can that dream have anything to do with processing data from yesterday, or however the use of dreams is defined these days? Of course, I also have a recurring dream about Beefeaters marching around our old backyard in Birmingham, and I rigorously eschew gin and royals, since the former gives me hives and the latter is a useless anachronism.

    I believe supportive housing is a brilliant bit of public policy thinking. Unfortunately, the Teabanger budgeteers are busy at the moment shutting down programs that feed the disadvantaged, the young, the old, and the infirm, to leave money to give to Con-Agra, Archer, Daniels Midland, Monsanto, DuPont etc.

    Anybody know the origin of “fungus among us”? I guess military (Ernie Pyle?), the fertile mind of Walt Kelley, maybe Groucho. I know it was the name of an album by Incubus, but those guys weren’t clever enough to have originated it.

    Attack of the mushroom people. Mushrooms and people share a common ancestor.

    1881 chars

  21. adrianne said on July 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Nance once pitched a story on Jim Barbieri to the Columbia Journalism Review, describing him as “Willian Allen White’s addled copy boy.” They didn’t accept the pitch, to their detriment.

    I still have in my Fort Wayne files what I consider the masterpiece of all Jim Barbieri front pages, concerning a barn fire.

    It read, in part, “Wind-whipped superblaze destroys barn.” The fire is described as a “rural holocaust” in the story, and the firefighters were likened to “pygmies battling King Kong” as they attempted to snuff the blaze. It’s priceless!

    555 chars

  22. brian stouder said on July 23, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    adrianne, if you click Nancy’s link, it will take you to that very article…and it IS superb!

    In was underwhelmed by San Diego’s daily paper, as their mayor spirals toward the drain…but the paper is a beacon of media enlightenment compared to the local tv news stations!

    276 chars

  23. brian stouder said on July 23, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    (and if you click Nancy’s link, don’t fail to read the comments, which includes a restrained dressing-down of our propietress from Barbieri’s daughter)

    151 chars

  24. Prospero said on July 23, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    It read, in part, “Wind-whipped superblaze destroys barn.” The fire is described as a “rural holocaust” in the story, and the firefighters were likened to “pygmies battling King Kong” as they attempted to snuff the blaze. It’s priceless!

    So, Sharknado was really this Barbieri guy’s idea.

    We’re heading out on a friend’s antique (1930s, with newer Rolls engines) ChrisCraft cabin cruiser up the Intracoastal to Charleston later this PM, so we’re having early dinner: homemade ravioli with shrimp, chorizo and three cheeses in the pasta, And puttanesca sauce made from farmer’s market heirlooms flavored with Burger’s Smokehose pepper bacon steaks. Salad is mixed greens from the farmer’s market with homemade Vidalia dressing and cucumbers. Moderately expensive Barolo (Barolo stands up to the spicy sauce). We’re going to see this theatrical adaptation of C.S, Lewis:

    http://screwtapeonstage.com/charleston-sc

    and go see music at Awendaw:

    http://www.awendawsc.org/

    That SD mayor is one very strange man, as Alan Dershowitz supposedly said to Claus von Bulow.

    1098 chars

  25. Julie Robinson said on July 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    My old job was at a radio reading service for the sight impaired, where we read newspapers and magazines over a sub channel radio frequency. Our typical volunteer was a retired English teacher, and the sentence structure of those stories just drove them crazy. They wanted to fix it and do a rewrite before going on the air, and we had to repeatedly explain that they were to read it just as written, no matter how personally painful it was to them.

    Alex, I didn’t think about that story being buried on the web site. But it was pretty short and shallow. Mea culpa back for being such a nitpicker.

    601 chars

  26. brian stouder said on July 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    an interesting “stand your ground” article, which is just contrary enough to have the ring of truth…

    http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/21/3513024/marc-caputo-even-without-stand.html

    188 chars

  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 23, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Yeah, I agree that Zimmerman would have been acquitted regardless. What I’m not so clear on is what actually constitutes a “Stand Your Ground” law, and what it is I’m supposed to be against. My lay perception is that the SYG laws loosen the definition of when deadly force can be applied without legal sanction (doesn’t necessarily protect you from civil suits, FL or anywhere else), so you can fire or strike without concern for the proverbial “overzealous” prosecutor. I recall hearing from cops throughout my youth and young adulthood saying grimly “if you shoot someone breaking into your house, make sure to drag them through the window over halfway before you call us, and you can trust us and the coroner to say that the blood spatter pattern leapt back from the burglar’s body” and variations of the same. In the 60s & 70s (and on most of the “Law and Order” iterations) there was a fair amount of law enforcement angst over the court’s support of your right to defend your own property, spurred in part by the GOP push for a Law-and-order platform that many here at NN.C call bare-nekkid’ racism, and I’m on the fence on that one, but it’s surely in the mix.

    So I presume the SYG laws are GOP-led efforts to “protect” the use of deadly force beyond the confines of a home or building, such as on the lawn or within a common area such as we saw in Sanford. I would tend to agree with a general concern to NOT loosen the strictures on deadly force, but I’m not sure where we want to turn them back TO — back to the doorway and windowframe (and make sure to drag them in after you shoot, before you call the police), or is there some better definition to use? Keep in mind, friends, I own not, nor wish to own firearms of any sort, and wander in strange and silly neighborhoods with just my innocence and smile to protect me, but I’m also a 6’5″ white male, so I don’t pretend to tell just anyone to live the unprotected life as evening falls in our fair city. But I’d like to know the answer to “change it to what?” before I join an anti-SYG protest. It’s being put forth as a simple “repeal” agenda, and I’m not sure we’d like the cure much more than the disease . . . or do we not really care, and it’s just a stick to beat the GOP with?

    2254 chars

  28. Sherri said on July 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Pensioners may get screwed by the Detroit bankruptcy, but corporate grifting will likely go on as planned. Mike Ilitch will probably get his shiny new arena: http://thinkprogress.org/sports/2013/07/23/2344131/despite-bankruptcy-detroit-likely-to-spend-280-million-on-new-red-wings-arena/

    287 chars

  29. brian stouder said on July 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    As I understand it, SYG supplants DTR (duty to retreat), and was very specifically lobbied by the National Rifle Association.

    My problem with having no DTR, and instead a specific legal right to “stand my ground” – is that it would seem to legalize a Hoss Cartwright-style showdown in the middle of the street; at the expense of disinterested people (like me) who may have the bad luck of living on that street, or walking down that street.

    SYG is specifically not a “castle law” – wherein I can kill you if you invade my house (literally standing MY ground) – but instead a mobile, relative concept.

    I will not criticize the jury who acquitted Zimmerman the rightwing superhero (he cusses, he shoots, he kills them that needs killin’, and he rescues people from fender-benders, too!); convicting a person is no easy business.

    Those jury instructions were a steep hill for that jury – or any jury – to climb, toward a conviction.

    The defense didn’t have to spend any time or credibility specifically using that term, because it was coming in the instructions all along.

    To me, here in the cheap seats, if Super-Z didn’t have that gun, both he and Trayvon would still be alive and well; there’d have been no confrontation, no fight, and no tragedy.

    But Super Z wasn’t gonna let that ‘F’ing coon’ scurry out of his sight.

    1354 chars

  30. mark said on July 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    jefftmm-

    It’s not really all that difficult. Repeal of SYG, in most places, would mean that outside of your home, if confronted with threats of or actual violence, you are supposed to flee if it is safe to do so, before responding with lethal (and sometimes other) force. Whether your actions constitute criminal conduct will be assessed in light of that standard.

    Say you and I begin an argument at a Little League game. We call each other names and you demand I leave or you’ll “kick my ass.” I refuse. You say “I’m gonna get a tire iron from my trunk; you better be gone before I get back. I watch you go to your car, grab the tire iron and head back to me. I’ve got a loaded handgun you don’t know about.

    With SYG, I can probably stay where I am, continue the argument and even shoot you if you take a meaningful swing at my head with the tire iron. Under common law, without SYG, I probably have to head for my car once I see you grab a lethal weapon, call the cops, etc., or make some meaningful effort to remove myself from danger before I can use deadly force. If you wallop me with the tire iron as I’m fleeing, the situation changes.

    SYG rewards hotheads and big egos by assessing their conduct under a much more forgiving standard. I doubt that too many people give conscious thought to SYG in these circumstances- they act as well or as poorly as they have been taught. But SYG lets a lot more people off the hook after the fact.

    1463 chars

  31. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Brian and Mark, you’ve limned my question exactly. Is repealing SYG then returning us to a legal expectation, or “duty” to retreat up to some point before deadly force can reasonably found justified, which I think is fair for me, for instance, but I’m not sure I see it as wise or just in general, or is it a move to adjust to some interim standard? If SYG “rewards hotheads” then it needs to be pushed back — but I’m not clear what anyone (in the general discourse, I mean) wants it set back to. Otherwise we go back to the repetition of “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6,” another macho trope of my youth . . .

    625 chars

  32. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Brian, the dilemma for both parties in Sanford, as I saw it, was that Zimmerman had a reason in the broadest terms to be concerned, and Martin was in fact on his own grounds in the public area, since he was a minor new to the apartment complex but with every legal right to be in the common area. Zimmerman’s error was less racism than his assumption that if he didn’t recognize the youth, then he didn’t have a right to be there. One was defending his “castle” and the other thought he was already within his. Your language about Zimmerman is more to the point when you look at folks like I’m trying to figure out how to reach here around the church — they want an expansive reach to their patrols to keep break-ins and DOC calls further from their property, and are (IMO) wanting to go beyond their own block, let alone yard, to confront strangers and ask what they are doing: it’s going to end poorly whether armed or not, and I’m sure most of them plan to be armed. Patrolling a common area of an apartment complex — that’s different, but still prone to the same hazard, and exactly where Zimmerman failed to use good judgment, and why I strongly suspect he will lose in civil court . . . but not due to bias. He did not take into account the reasonable possibility that persons legitimately present might not be known to him.

    1332 chars

  33. mark said on July 23, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Well, in my view, difficult facts make for bad laws, and that is what has happened with SYG. Pre-SYG, whether your conduct was criminal was based upon the totality of the circumstances, and standing and waiting for a deadly altercation, for which you happen to be well-armed, doesn’t nicely fit the definition of self-defense.

    But “we” don’t like it when some good guy takes out a nasty thug and an overly zealous prosecutor pursues charges. (Headline: “Iraqi war vet to face charges in death of serial rapist.” So we overreact and get SYG. It oves the margin of error in favor of the guy left standing.

    I think, in most instances, SYG rewards overly aggressive behavior that should be charged with some misconduct. Absence of a prior record, good standing in the community, etc can all be reflected in the punishment. And “good guy” defendants will have ample opportunity to show their actions were reasonable under the circumstances, or consistent with self-defense, without the specific dictates of SYG.

    1017 chars

  34. ROGirl said on July 23, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Another headline from a British publication about the newly hatched royal.

    C:\Users\admin\Pictures\hasbaby.gif

    113 chars

  35. ROGirl said on July 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I thought there would be a link.

    32 chars

  36. ROGirl said on July 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Here is a link that works.

    http://jimromenesko.com/2013/07/23/private-eye-deserves-a-prize/hasbaby/

    102 chars

  37. Mark P said on July 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I believe that if the roles had been reversed and an armed black man had followed a young white man, got out of his car and confronted him, and then shot him, the black man would be in jail right now. But that’s just my old white guy racism at work.

    249 chars

  38. MichaelG said on July 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I disagree, Brian. I think there was racism involved with Zimmerman’s decision to continue his stalking of Martin. If he had seen an unfamiliar white kid walking down the street he would have thought nothing of it and there would have been no incident. Instead he saw an unfamiliar black kid and we all know what the result was.

    331 chars

  39. alex said on July 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I agree that Zimmerman would have been acquitted regardless.

    So do I. It’s obvious that the prosecution wasn’t interested in prosecuting or they would have given jurors an option to convict for manslaughter or a lower degree of murder. And some of the jurors have said that they didn’t like the outcome but didn’t feel they had a choice.

    If you look at the raw facts, Zimmerman pursued and then killed an unarmed person even after being told by police to quit pursuing him. Whatever sort of scuffle ensued, no matter what injuries Zimmerman may have sustained, Zimmerman’s actions were the proximate cause and it’s an unfair outcome that he gets to go free, even if it’s “technically the right one” given what the jury was instructed to do.

    There’s been a lot of hubbub about the fact that SYG wasn’t raised as a defense at trial, but it was raised de facto if considering it was part of the jury instructions. And there’s where it’s bad law, because viewed within that narrow frame, jurors are required to consider only whether the shooter felt threatened, not whether the shooter provoked and escalated the situation that resulted in the shooter feeling threatened. If you’re such a dumb ass that you harass someone into decking you, then you deserve to take your lumps — and any ensuing murder rap.

    1321 chars

  40. Sherri said on July 23, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I really can’t think of any excuse for Zimmerman to be carrying a gun. The fact that he was carrying a gun escalated a nothing situation into a fatal situation, and the very fact of a SYG laws contribute to that happening again.

    Jeff(tmmo), what your church members need is training in approaching strangers without confrontation, and in de-escalating situations, not CCW permits and SYG laws. Carrying a weapon and confronting a stranger is just as likely to get them killed as to find them being judged by SYG laws.

    521 chars

  41. Brandon said on July 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    9.Deborah said on July 23, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Kunstler makes me tired. I mean he has a lot to say about some things, but then he ventures off into areas he knows nothing (or little) about and he continues to pontificate. He seems to know a lot about peak oil for one thing and I love his critiques of architecture and suburbs. I take with a grain of salt, what he has to say about cities, some of it seems right on and some of it is bull (IMHO).

    Deborah, thank you for your comment. What exactly does he say about cities that you think is bull?

    547 chars

  42. Deborah said on July 23, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Brandon, I think this paragraph is what I think of as bull:

    What happened to Detroit will come to all the other great American metroplexes in time, but perhaps not in the same way. So-called urban experts like Ed Glaeser at Harvard (The Triumph of the City), and other exalted idiots just don’t get it. These cities attained a scale of operation that just can’t be sustained beyond the twilight of cheap fossil fuels. They will all contract massively — some of them, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas will disappear altogether. The lucky ones will reconstitute themselves at much smaller scale around their old harbors or riverfronts. The ones burdened with too many grandiose mega-structures (New York, Chicago) will choke to death on the liabilities they represent. The reason for this can be found in the basic equations around the cost and supply of energy resources and the consequent impairments of capital formation. …

    First of all he dismisses Glaeser as an idiot who “doesn’t get it”. I just don’t buy it that what happened to Detroit will happen to all the other great American metroplexes. Granted there is much about life in cities that is not sustainable, and some cities will fail, no question. Scaling back is going to be a must, and some cities are realizing this and planning for it. Too late? Maybe. A lot of people know that bigger is not better and more is not better. Dwindling energy resources are going to be a big factor in eroding cities, of course, but what isn’t going to suffer when that happens (more than it is now)? Kunstler throws out a lot of absolutes that I don’t think are necessarily absolutes.

    1644 chars

  43. Sherri said on July 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Kunstler seems to be blaming Detroit for a whole host of policy choices through the years that made suburban sprawl possible and attractive, but I’m pretty sure that the automobile isn’t directly responsible for water policy in the West. After reading Daniel Yergin’s The Quest, I’m a little leery about Peak Oil claims; higher prices make new extraction techniques more attractive. I’m more concerned about climate change than Peak Oil. I suspect that the changes needed to address the former will take care of the latter.

    523 chars

  44. Jolene said on July 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    It’s obvious that the prosecution wasn’t interested in prosecuting or they would have given jurors an option to convict for manslaughter or a lower degree of murder.

    Alex, the jury did have that option. They could have found Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter, but they didn’t.

    289 chars

  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 23, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Sherri, my “leverage” problem is that they aren’t church members I’m struggling with. We’re the largest building/institution in the intersection of these four neighborhoods, and I want to offer to be a host for community organizations, but the whole block watch thing . . . oyyy.

    279 chars

  46. Sherri said on July 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    From the most recent New Yorker:

    Then there’s the thorny reality that not all self-defense is created equal. A study by the Urban Institute shows that just one per cent of cases in which a black person shoots a white person is ruled justifiable. When the races are reversed, in states without Stand Your Ground laws, that number climbs to 9.5 per cent; in states with such laws, it reaches almost seventeen per cent.

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2013/07/29/130729taco_talk_cobb

    501 chars

  47. Dexter said on July 23, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    The Royals’ baby is important because of the huge following the Royals command, especially in Great Britain. It’s just a human interest story, and it’s tradition, that’s all.
    I know, people in my family cannot understand why I go nuts during World Series time, or why all of a sudden during the first week of May all I can talk about are horses, never any other time, or why I get so fired up one day in May for the Indianapolis 500. I haven’t mentioned the Stanley Cup playoffs or Le Tour de France.
    All can easily be called frivolous and silly, but I like those events, and some English folks love their royals. Let them have them, I guess. If you think the baby story got folks fired up, wait until you see Jesus come back!…or the pope get stuck in another motorcade, crushed by a sea of humanity. It’s all in the cards. So they say.

    852 chars

  48. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 24, 2013 at 12:01 am

    If I pull the trigger,
    something will happen.
    The trigger gives me
    such a sense of control
    but the pulling of it
    sets more in motion
    than I can see
    further than I can follow
    faster than I can believe.
    If I pull the trigger,
    something will happen.
    Something I can’t control
    once the hammer falls
    and the projectile flies.
    Events and reactions
    on down the line, a straight line
    occur beyond my own desire.
    If I pull the trigger,
    my control explodes,
    my fear remains,
    and a severe slash
    rips in front of me so far
    that it swings back around
    to here, cuts me from behind,
    if I pull the trigger.
    That’s what will happen.

    640 chars

  49. Jwfromnj said on July 25, 2013 at 2:16 am

    I knew it was classic Barbieri from the lede. He loved fires. They have a protege there now who I’m convinced sets the fires too. And how do the Blufftucky cops never solve the Pretzels fire, or even more disturbing the Sherri Herr murder.
    I’m back in NJ and making a new life finally, but I wanted the nN.c crew to know I’m ok and now am legitimately JW from NJ! Missed you all, even Prospero.

    396 chars

Leave a reply, join the conversation.

Name (required)

Mail (will not be published) (required)

Website