Tuesday, March 4, 2008

AI in San Diego...

Many mornings on my commute (usually around 5:00 or 5:30 am), I listen to Chip Franklin, a local talk show host on KOGO (AM 600). Mostly it's lightweight debate and discussion on the political or other issues of the day. Every week or so, though, he has a particularly fascinating segment called AI – “Arrested Intelligence”. In these segments, Chip walks around on the streets of San Diego, randomly stopping people to ask them a question. Their edited answers (chosen, of course, to be the most shocking or entertaining) end up in his segment.

And I am shocked. Repeatedly. Shocked that he can find more than one or two people who don't have a sensible answer for his ridiculously easy questions. He has dozens of them, on each and every AI segment that I've heard. My fundamental reaction to hearing one of his AI segments is to wonder whether we can prevent these ... specimens ... from contributing to the gene pool. Or maybe we could “donate” them to the radical Islamists. Sheesh!

You can listen to all the AI segments from this web site. Here are some examples of the questions he's asked:
  • Should we give citizenship to New Mexicans?
  • What is FEMA?
  • How many days are there in the 12 days of Christmas?
  • Can you spell February?
  • What do you know about Thanksgiving?
Listen to a few yourself, and leave your impression in the comments...

Orlosky Acquitted...

Joseph “Bob” Orlosky was acquitted today of murder and attempted murder charges. On several other charges, the jury reached no verdict, and the prosecutor stated his intention to retry. A roundup of all the news stories can be found here. From the San Diego Union-Tribune:
A jury acquitted a Jamul man of murder and attempted murder charges Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a man and the wounding of another in December 2006 as they fled his rural East County ranch.

However, Joseph R. “Bob” Orlosky will be retried on lesser charges the jury was unable to agree upon, including manslaughter and shooting into an occupied vehicle, said Deputy District Attorney Jeff Dusek.

I have posted on this case many times before, and this is one of those stories that has drawn many comments, some quite heated or heartfelt, especially from locals.

I still know very little about the facts of the case, as news reports have been stingy with details. People seem to be mostly drawn to one of two positions: either (a) Orlosky gunned down an innocent Crow in cold blood and should pay the price, or (b) Orlosky legitimately defended his property from thieves (or intended thieves), and Crow's death is regrettable but not criminal. The jury has decided (b).

This is one of those cases where I simply don't know how to react to the verdict. I am not privy to the same information the jury had, so I don't know if I'd agree with their verdict. Crow's family is understandably shocked by the result; his mother appears on some (highly insenstive) news video reacting in a way that I find completely understandable and forgiveable whatever the facts may be – she's lost her son to a violent and senseless death, and the jury just told her that she has no one to hold responsible. Bob Orlosky reportedly reacted very understandably as well, saying that this was a sad outcome for both sides (remember, he still has serious criminal charges standing against him). As a neighbor of Orlosky (I don't know him, but I live just a mile away from him), and as a citizen of Jamul, I'm disappointed that the jury could not make a decision on all the charges, for now we have to go through yet another cycle of justice (unless a plea bargain is reached, which may be the prosecutor's actual objective in announcing that Orlosky would be retried on the remaining charges).

Most of all, though, I'm left wishing that I knew what really happened a mile up the hill from me, on the night of December 1, 2006...

Angry White Men...

A few weeks ago, Gary Hubbell had a commentary piece in the Aspen Times that caught my attention because it captures nicely the essence of quite a few political conversations I've had with friends and co-workers. The first part of the piece defines “Angry White Men” (and I only loosely match it, though I know quite a few people who match it well). The piece concludes:
He might be a Republican and he might be a Democrat; he might be a Libertarian or a Green. He knows that his wife is more emotional than rational, and he guides the family in a rational manner.

He’s not a racist, but he is annoyed and disappointed when people of certain backgrounds exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their race. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they work hard, play by the rules and learn English.

Most important, the Angry White Man is pissed off. When his job site becomes flooded with illegal workers who don’t pay taxes and his wages drop like a stone, he gets righteously angry. When his job gets shipped overseas, and he has to speak to some incomprehensible idiot in India for tech support, he simmers. When Al Sharpton comes on TV, leading some rally for reparations for slavery or some such nonsense, he bites his tongue and he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.

He also votes, and the Angry White Man loathes Hillary Clinton. Her voice reminds him of a shovel scraping a rock. He recoils at the mere sight of her on television. Her very image disgusts him, and he cannot fathom why anyone would want her as their leader. It’s not that she is a woman. It’s that she is who she is. It’s the liberal victim groups she panders to, the “poor me” attitude that she represents, her inability to give a straight answer to an honest question, his tax dollars that she wants to give to people who refuse to do anything for themselves.

There are many millions of Angry White Men. Four million Angry White Men are members of the National Rifle Association, and all of them will vote against Hillary Clinton, just as the great majority of them voted for George Bush.

He hopes that she will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, and he will make sure that she gets beaten like a drum.
I think Mr. Hubbell is right – there are a lot of angry white men (by his definition) out there. And none of them are going to vote for Hillary...