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Lead Homicide Investigator in Trayvon Case ‘Unconvinced’ by Zimmerman’s Story

Investigator recommended manslaughter charges
US News • Views: 22,908

The Sanford Police Department has been leaking like a sieve, but oddly enough they didn’t leak this story — it comes via ABC News: Trayvon Martin Investigator Wanted to Charge George Zimmerman With Manslaughter.

The lead homicide investigator in the shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin recommended that neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter the night of the shooting, multiple sources told ABC News.

But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.

Police brought Zimmerman into the station for questioning for a few hours on the night of the shooting, said Zimmerman’s attorney, despite his request for medical attention first. Ultimately they had to accept Zimmerman’s claim of self defense. He was never charged with a crime.

Serino filed an affidavit on Feb. 26, the night that Martin was shot and killed by Zimmerman, that stated he was unconvinced Zimmerman’s version of events.

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233 comments

1 William Barnett-Lewis  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:44:29am

Nice to know there’s at least one competent cop down there.

2 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:44:36am

The state attorney’s office managed to ascertain the sum total of all possible collectable evidence within a matter of hours. Now that’s impressive efficiency.

Bet those lazy damned Feds won’t be able to come close to that kind of bureaucratic speed! State’s rights!!!1

/

3 Mostly sane, most of the time.  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:45:58am

This investigation is screwed over now.

The more media attention a case gets, the worse the case gets.

4 darthstar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:47:33am

It’s about fucking time someone in Florida demonstrated a shred of decency and the ability to think for himself. Let’s hope this one voice is enough to escalate this to a trial and we can move the fuck on.

5 Iwouldprefernotto  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:48:12am

No matter what Zimmerman says, he’s alive an Trayvon is dead.

6 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:48:17am

And, so we see the extent of how badly SYG has screwed things up in Florida, that even when you have a dead body, a smoking gun, and a killer all in one spot, you can’t make a case. This would be a prosecutor’s wet dream in any other scenario.

7 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:49:24am

Manslaughter’s what I’ve been predicting all along.

8 Sol Berdinowitz  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:50:57am

The local police seemed totally convinced by Zimmermann’s story and did not seem to make any effort to verify it to any degree. Their complacency, along with the wording of the law, is going to make it hard to get a conviction.

9 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:52:59am

re: #8 Second Amendment Renegation

The local police seemed totally convinced by Zimmermann’s story and did not seem to make any effort to verify it to any degree. Their complacency, along with the wording of the law, is going to make it hard to get a conviction.

The cop on the scene, who was in hot water less than 2 years ago for another failure to arrest when the victim was black, claims he was convinced. The guy whose job it was to actually look at the evidence on hand and make a determination was not. I’d say it fairly nicely kills the mantra from Zimmerman’s defenders that “The cops believed him!”

10 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 11:58:38am

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

11 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:00:03pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

Not really. That piece of shit law enables this kind of tragedy. Zimmerman felt “threatened” and shot a young man dead.

12 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:01:24pm

re: #11 mattand

All of the above has happened before SYG. Like I posted earlier. As soon as you do not apply the law when it’s the white man standing.

13 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:03:06pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

re: #11 mattand

Not really. That piece of shit law enables this kind of tragedy. Zimmerman felt “threatened” and shot a young man dead.

Pretty much. It reads as racism on the surface, but under the surface, it reads like frustration with the law. Considering how many other cases we’ve heard about in just the last week alone that involved similar circumstances, of a person with a gun provoking a confrontation and then claiming “self-defense” afters shooting, my guess is that the police departments have adopted an unwritten policy that such cases are to be treated as such unless prosecutors think there’s enough to at least try before a grand jury.

14 The Force Ghost of a Flea  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:03:22pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

Could be racism, could be a department not wanting to stick its neck out and open themselves to paying Zimmerman’s bills if their case didn’t succeed.

15 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:04:05pm

re: #12 Daniel Ballard

As soon as you do not apply the law when it’s the white man standing.

Honestly, I’m not quite parsing that sentence. Could you explain?

16 Charles Johnson  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:06:00pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

The former police chief of Miami does not agree with you: Florida’s Disastrous Self-Defense Law.

THE very public controversy surrounding the killing on Feb. 26 of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, by a crime watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, was predictable.

In fact, I, along with other Florida chiefs of police, said so in a letter to the Legislature in 2005 when we opposed the passage of a law that not only enshrined the doctrine of “your home is your castle” but took this doctrine into the public square and added a new concept called “stand your ground.”

Use-of-force issues arose often during my 41-year policing career. In fact, officer-involved shootings were the No. 1 problem when I became Miami’s police chief in January 2003. But after we put in place new policies and training, officers went 20 months without discharging a single bullet at a person, while arrests increased over 30 percent.

Trying to control shootings by members of a well-trained and disciplined police department is a daunting enough task. Laws like “stand your ground” give citizens unfettered power and discretion with no accountability. It is a recipe for disaster.

17 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:06:25pm

re: #13 Targetpractice

The Miami Herald has another tragic mis read.
[Link: www.miamiherald.com…]

The crime victim ran down the robber and stabbed him. On what fracking planet is a pursuit with a weapon self defense? Nothing in SVG has language for that. Racism, inept prosecutors, inept judges.

This bunch clearly could not get it right even without SYG.

18 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:06:49pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

I don’t think you’re right, because I think part of the reason they were instructed to drop this was because of the difficulty of getting a conviction with SYG on the books.


And anyway, that doesn’t mean that SYG’s flaws should be overlooked, even if it doesn’t play a part here.

19 Talking Point Detective  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:07:06pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

I still don’t get how you say that, although you keep saying it. SYG seems to be the basis of why Zimmerman was not prosecuted.

The reporter in that link makes the assertion that SYG isn’t applicable to shield an aggressor, and speaks to the question of “reasonable” claim of self-defense. However, the law does not, it appears, provide objective metrics for making those determinations (aggressor and reasonable).

This is why law enforcement officials were largely lined up in opposition to this law.

This is an NRA law - designed by those who think there is some moral outrage in an expectation that someone would use lethal force as a last resort after a “reasonable” effort to retreat from a threat.

This outcome is a direct extension of the law, and the motivations of those who wrote the law, e.g., to overturn a “last resort” expectation, were clear.

20 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:07:29pm

Its almost as if when the police don’t properly investigate a crime, fail to gather evidence, and tell witnesses what they saw instead of taking their statements, it becomes harder to prosecute.

Who would have thunk it?

21 Talking Point Detective  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:07:30pm

re: #11 mattand

Not really. That piece of shit law enables this kind of tragedy. Zimmerman felt “threatened” and shot a young man dead.

exactly.

22 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:07:42pm

re: #17 Daniel Ballard

You’re misreading it. He ran him down, and then said that the guy turned around and tried to stab him, so he stabbed him right back. The language of SYG allows that, since he was at a place he was allowed to be at the time of the ‘attack’ and wasn’t committing a crime.

23 lawhawk  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:08:51pm

re: #8 Second Amendment Renegation

Seems that it was the prosecutors who thought that there wasn’t a case to be made - not the lead police investigator who urged that charges be filed.

And it still comes down to the timeline - and even if Zimmerman is brought up on charges (manslaughter being more likely), he’s free to offer up any defense his defense lawyers think might spring him.

It’s all cold comfort for Martin’s family who can only grieve for the loss of their family member.

And it sucks that the FL prosecutors are more than willing to let vigilantes get off scot free without the justice system taking a look - they weren’t even willing to convene a grand jury to see if there’s sufficient evidence to bring charges in the first place. They simply concluded that there wasn’t, even as the facts suggested something quite different.

24 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:08:53pm

re: #16 Charles Johnson

And Timoney is a guy who was, shall we say, less than worried about protestors’ civil rights when he ran Philly’s police dept. during the 2000 GOP Convention.

25 The Force Ghost of a Flea  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:10:07pm

re: #17 Daniel Ballard

The Miami Herald has another tragic mis read.
[Link: www.miamiherald.com…]

The crime victim ran down the robber and stabbed him. On what fracking planet is a pursuit with a weapon self defense? Nothing in SVG has language for that. Racism, inept prosecutors, inept judges.

This bunch clearly could not get it right even without SYG.

If a law is consistently “mis-read” then it begs some questions.

Also, rather like the Constitution, the law is a living document. There’s no crystalline “what is intended” separate from the dialectic of the law in application.

26 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:11:11pm

re: #16 Charles Johnson

The former police chief of Miami does not agree with you: Florida’s Disastrous Self-Defense Law.

It’s becoming a scapegoat. Not that it should stand as is. But Sanford could easily have blown this without SYG on the books. Change or repeal SYG, and you still have a severe problem with the police is Sanford IMO. I’d love to ask him or a Judge how pursuit is defense. That’s what gets me.

[Link: www.miamiherald.com…]

27 Charles Johnson  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:11:21pm

Another thoughtful tweet from the always delightful Dan Riehl:

28 lawhawk  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:11:21pm

re: #16 Charles Johnson

Cops have far more restrictions on the use of force, and use of deadly force than under the current law in FL. And that’s despite the fact that cops are more heavily trained in the use of firearms than anyone who can get a license to own a firearm.

Yet, civilians are given more deference for their actions even if presented with situations that can result in deadly shooting incidents. That’s at a time when a cop shooting someone who is unarmed that can result in all kinds of criminal and civil repercussions.

There’s something wrong with that picture.

29 Talking Point Detective  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:11:33pm

re: #25 The Ghost of a Flea

If a law is consistently “mis-read” then it begs some questions.

Also, rather like the Constitution, the law is a living document. There’s no crystalline “what is intended” separate from the dialectic of the law in application.

Particularly when law enforcement lined up to predict the “mis-readings.”

30 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:12:39pm

re: #27 Charles Johnson

Another thoughtful tweet from the always delightful Dan Riehl:

Whats next? “I’m not touching you! Does this bug you? Does this bug you?”

The man is a fucking idiot.

31 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:12:50pm

re: #27 Charles Johnson

Something’s wrong with that guy.

32 darthstar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:13:16pm

re: #27 Charles Johnson

Another thoughtful tweet from the always delightful Dan Riehl:

Riehl’s got a bigger man-crush on you than Breitbart had.

33 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:13:48pm

re: #25 The Ghost of a Flea

See #26. Pursuit is defense?!

34 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:14:00pm

re: #31 Shvaughn

Something’s wrong with that guy.

Seems like case of small cox to me.

35 Talking Point Detective  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:14:04pm

re: #24 mattand

And Timoney is a guy who was, shall we say, less than worried about protestors’ civil rights when he ran Philly’s police dept. during the 2000 GOP Convention.

I love the notion of someone accusing TImoney as a limp-wristed, race-baiting, lib who’s trying to exploit the death of a teen to enhance Obama’s chances.

Of course, if you follow right-wing logic, that’s the conclusion you’d have to draw.

36 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:14:15pm

re: #26 Daniel Ballard

It’s becoming a scapegoat.

I don’t think so. There’s plenty of blame attatching to other things, like someone with a gun doing a ‘neighborhood watch’ thing while armed, his pursuit of Trayvon, the profiling he appears to have done. SYG is one of the elements that’s being called into question.

Not that it should stand as is. But Sanford could easily have blown this without SYG on the books.

Maybe. But you have to consider that the failure to get prosecutions under SYG is probably one of the reasons the prosecutor dropped this. The prosecutor has to consider if he can get a conviction with the laws on the books.

I’d love to ask him or a Judge how pursuit is defense. That’s what gets me.

They’ve already answered this: it’s because the language of the law is about the moment of the attack, and doesn’t take something like pursuit into account.

37 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:14:22pm

re: #32 darthstar

Riehl’s got a bigger man-crush on you than Breitbart had.

A CHALLENGER APPEARS!

38 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:14:35pm

re: #26 Daniel Ballard

It’s becoming a scapegoat. Not that it should stand as is. But Sanford could easily have blown this without SYG on the books. Change or repeal SYG, and you still have a severe problem with the police is Sanford IMO. I’d love to ask him or a Judge how pursuit is defense. That’s what gets me.

[Link: www.miamiherald.com…]

True enough, but with SYG there, they would not have been able to just throw up their hands and say “We couldn’t do anything!” A failure to properly prosecute the case and charge Zimmerman would have allowed Martin’s family to not only bring a civil suit against Zimmerman without worry that losing it could cost them, but one against the city as well. As it stands, it’s very likely that not only will Zimmerman suffer no legal consequences from this, but neither will the city if the FBI and DoJ fail to bring charges.

39 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:16:17pm

re: #26 Daniel Ballard

It’s becoming a scapegoat.

It’s not a scapegoat. It’s a poorly conceived law that allows you to commit consequence-free murder under the right circumstance; i.e., the only witnesses are you and the guy you just killed for accidentally bumping into you.

40 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:16:23pm

re: #27 Charles Johnson

Another thoughtful tweet from the always delightful Dan Riehl:

Ha. He can get pissed off all he wants. Looking through this morning his name is appearing on many blogs.

Most recent at Mediaite.

You also get a mention there.

41 Sol Berdinowitz  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:17:03pm

re: #20 Kragar

Its almost as if when the police don’t properly investigate a crime, fail to gather evidence, and tell witnesses what they saw instead of taking their statements, it becomes harder to prosecute.

Who would have thunk it?

Especially when the law encourages the shooter not to leave any living witnesses who might contradict his version of events…

42 Charles Johnson  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:17:49pm

re: #26 Daniel Ballard

It’s becoming a scapegoat.

No, it’s finally getting the scrutiny it should have had before being passed. These NRA-sponsored laws are completely insane, unnecessary, and reactionary, and if any good comes out of the Trayvon Martin case, it will be their repeal.

43 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:18:22pm

OT but this is likely the reason what’s his face from CNN zoomed out of the SCOTUS today:

Long way to go however since this is going all the way ‘till June.

44 The Force Ghost of a Flea  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:18:25pm

re: #33 Daniel Ballard

See #26. Pursuit is defense?!

You’re overglossing the section of the law that allows an aggressor to justify use of fatal force.

The argument can go: pursuit is aggression, but then the aggressor felt themselves threatened or tried to back out of aggression, and had to shoot to defend themselves.

45 Talking Point Detective  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:18:44pm

re: #26 Daniel Ballard

It’s becoming a scapegoat. Not that it should stand as is. But Sanford could easily have blown this without SYG on the books. Change or repeal SYG, and you still have a severe problem with the police is Sanford IMO. I’d love to ask him or a Judge how pursuit is defense. That’s what gets me.

[Link: www.miamiherald.com…]

This ignores the specific intent of SYG. SYG is a deliberate attempt to dismantle a requirement that someone only use lethal force as a last resort after “reasonable” attempts to retreat.

The law, specifically, sets up this kind of situation. Which is why it was opposed by law enforcement officials.

SYG and this incident are not, in the least, coincidental.

46 Sol Berdinowitz  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:18:53pm

re: #42 Charles Johnson

No, it’s finally getting the scrutiny it should have had before being passed. These NRA-sponsored laws are completely insane, unnecessary, and reactionary, and if any good comes out of the Trayvon Martin case, it will be their repeal.

I somehow doubt that they will be repealed, I think the best possible scenario is that they will not be adopted by other states as quickly or unquestioningly.

47 William Barnett-Lewis  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:19:14pm

re: #10 Daniel Ballard

More and more it looks like racism is the big issue. SYG? Becoming more tangential the more we learn.

It would seem to me that it was, quite simply, racism behind the implementation of SYG and making it such that prosecutors could not do their job. The whole SYG concept reeks as badly as the anti-“saturday night special” laws designed to only disarm the poor & minorities.

48 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:19:54pm

re: #42 Charles Johnson

No, it’s finally getting the scrutiny it should have had before being passed. These NRA-sponsored laws are completely insane, unnecessary, and reactionary, and if any good comes out of the Trayvon Martin case, it will be their repeal.

And all it took was a kid getting murdered while buying candy while black to do it.

49 TedStriker  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:20:12pm

re: #27 Charles Johnson

Another thoughtful tweet from the always delightful Dan Riehl:

[Embedded content]

Dan Riehl: Douchebag with a penchant for grade-school playground taunts.

50 Sionainn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:21:14pm

re: #27 Charles Johnson

Another thoughtful tweet from the always delightful Dan Riehl:

How old is that dude?

51 blueraven  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:22:15pm

re: #6 Targetpractice

And, so we see the extent of how badly SYG has screwed things up in Florida, that even when you have a dead body, a smoking gun, and a killer all in one spot, you can’t make a case. This would be a prosecutor’s wet dream in any other scenario.

It allows the police officers to serve as prosecutor, judge and jury.
This is not a good thing.

52 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:22:50pm

I’m constantly amazed at how much GOP politicians can say with the Oil industry’s dick in their mouth.

Sen. Rand Paul: When Big Oil Screws Americans At The Gas Pump, ‘You Should Want To Encourage Them’

Paul argued Big Oil deserves even more favors from government, because they’re doing such a good job extracting wealth from American families:

Instead of punishing them, you should want to encourage them. I would think you would want to say to the oil companies, “What obstacles are there to you making more money?” And hiring more people. Instead they say, “No, we must punish them. We must tax them more to make things fair.” This whole thing about fairness is so misguided and gotten out of hand.

“We as a society need to glorify those who make a profit,” Paul concluded.

The companies goal is to make money, not make jobs. If they’re able to make money because of the breaks they’ve been getting without hiring new people, what incentive do they have?

53 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:22:53pm

re: #33 Daniel Ballard

You’ve got to understand, man, that one of the large factors of SYG will be to make ordinary people much more afraid of people they see carrying weapons. You’re right in that it’s not a paradigm shift— the old self-defense laws were also open to abuse, as any law is, and someone could shoot someone and claim self-defense under them, but there was a higher burden, and it would be easier to disprove their story.

54 Sol Berdinowitz  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:23:20pm

re: #51 blueraven

re: #51 blueraven

A perfectly logical progression when the vigilante is acting as the policeman…

55 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:24:43pm

re: #36 Obdicut

At this point we can see qualified opinions vary. A lot.
Given that stretch of “self defense includes pursuit” I would not trust them to get jaywalking right.

56 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:25:25pm

re: #35 Talking Point Detective

I love the notion of someone accusing TImoney as a limp-wristed, race-baiting, lib who’s trying to exploit the death of a teen to enhance Obama’s chances.

Of course, if you follow right-wing logic, that’s the conclusion you’d have to draw.

It’ll happen. That’s something I could see Limbaugh or Malkin spewing.

57 Achilles Tang  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:26:26pm

I wish I could say different, but my level of respect for Supreme Court Justices is on a steep down slope:

Justice Antonin Scalia said there is no basis for allowing the federal government to impose such a mandate in the guise of regulating commerce. If “forced purchases” are permitted, “the question is whether there are any limits” on Congress’s power.

Insurance is not a “product” in any normal free market sense.

It sounds like they will turn down the individual mandate, at the request of the GOP which invented the principle. So everyone better be prepared to pay more for all the individualists out there who expect their freedoms to be subsidized.

58 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:27:12pm

re: #55 Daniel Ballard

At this point we can see qualified opinions vary. A lot.

I don’t really see that, no. I see the people who promoted the bill defending it, as I’d expect, and sometimes displaying an odd bit of ignorance about it. The actual rulings on the cases match up with the opinions of the police and prosecutors who warned about this, as do the simple statistics.

Given that stretch of “self defense includes pursuit” I would not trust them to get jaywalking right.

The language of the bill does include pursuit, as long as the pursuit is legal. That is the language of the bill. You have agreed the bill needs to be rewritten, so I am not sure why you continue to defend it. If you want a SYG bill that takes into account the whole encounter, rather than just the ‘attack’, feel free to propose one, but that is not the actual law that exists, the model law crafted by ALEC and the NRA.

59 Charles Johnson  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:27:25pm

Just got followed on Twitter by Trayvon Martin’s family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump:

[Link: twitter.com…]

60 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:27:42pm

re: #59 Charles Johnson

Great lawyer name.

61 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:27:43pm

re: #53 Obdicut

You’ve got to understand, man, that one of the large factors of SYG will be to make ordinary people much more afraid of people they see carrying weapons. You’re right in that it’s not a paradigm shift— the old self-defense laws were also open to abuse, as any law is, and someone could shoot someone and claim self-defense under them, but there was a higher burden, and it would be easier to disprove their story.

Under the old laws, the lead homicide investigator may have gotten the manslaughter charges he sought, letting this all play out in court. If the case was lost, then those responsible in the department would have been disciplined or even shit-canned.

62 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:28:33pm

re: #55 Daniel Ballard

At this point we can see qualified opinions vary. A lot.
Given that stretch of “self defense includes pursuit” I would not trust them to get jaywalking right.

In the grand scheme of things, every one on earth is a threat to my existence, and could potentially harm me or steal something which I could one day consider my property (like the Western hemisphere).

I better get busy defending myself. 6.8 billion people might take a while to aggressively defend my way thru.
///

63 The Force Ghost of a Flea  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:29:26pm

re: #57 Blue Spot Vlamingii Tang

I wish I could say different, but my level of respect for Supreme Court Justices is on a steep down slope:

Insurance is not a “product” in any normal free market sense.

It sounds like they will turn down the individual mandate, at the request of the GOP which invented the principle. So everyone better be prepared to pay more for all the individualists out there who expect their freedoms to be subsidized.

Weird, non-barbed question: Would a rule against a forced purchase of an insurance product also impact mandatory car insurance?

64 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:30:25pm

re: #63 The Ghost of a Flea

Weird, non-barbed question: Would a rule against a forced purchase of an insurance product also impact mandatory car insurance?

Not if, as suspected, they rule that only applies on the federal level. States can mandate you buy whatever they choose, so long as their own constitutions don’t forbid them doing so.

65 Sol Berdinowitz  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:32:32pm

re: #52 Kragar

I’m constantly amazed at how much GOP politicians can say with the Oil industry’s dick in their mouth.

Sen. Rand Paul: When Big Oil Screws Americans At The Gas Pump, ‘You Should Want To Encourage Them’

The companies goal is to make money, not make jobs. If they’re able to make money because of the breaks they’ve been getting without hiring new people, what incentive do they have?

“What’s good for Standard Oil/Goldmann-Sachs/Bain Capital/Halliburton/Grumman-Northrop, etc., is Good for America!”

-Still an article of faith for the GOP

66 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:32:33pm

re: #64 Targetpractice

Not if, as suspected, they rule that only applies on the federal level. States can mandate you buy whatever they choose, so long as their own constitutions don’t forbid them doing so.

My religion is against car insurance.

67 Achilles Tang  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:34:34pm

re: #63 The Ghost of a Flea

Weird, non-barbed question: Would a rule against a forced purchase of an insurance product also impact mandatory car insurance?

That has been an argument, even originally made by Republican back in the Clinton days. I am sure the analogy has been brought up, although I can imagine a counter argument that nobody is forced to own a car and have the freedom to not drive themselves.

The health insurance analogy to the latter would be to say that people who don’t want insurance and don’t have money for medical bills should be expected to stay in their homes until they get better, or die.

68 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:35:11pm

re: #58 Obdicut

I don’t really see that, no. I see the people who promoted the bill defending it, as I’d expect, and sometimes displaying an odd bit of ignorance about it. The actual rulings on the cases match up with the opinions of the police and prosecutors who warned about this, as do the simple statistics.

The language of the bill does include pursuit, as long as the pursuit is legal. That is the language of the bill. You have agreed the bill needs to be rewritten, so I am not sure why you continue to defend it. If you want a SYG bill that takes into account the whole encounter, rather than just the ‘attack’, feel free to propose one, but that is not the actual law that exists, the model law crafted by ALEC and the NRA.

Not really seeing it? Well stop dismissing out of hand those who disagree with you. Like a few lawyers, a prosecutor and the authors.
These ruling reflect the racism and bad legal work. Like the one I linked in Miami. Just because the law does not exclude pursuit (or any number of other things) does not so basically alter the meaning of standing your ground or defense under decades of previous cases. You take it to the bad guy it’s not defense.

69 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:35:13pm

Barton has got to be one of most willfully ignorant cockbags alive today.

Barton: One More Bombing Run Would have Won the Vietnam War

Back in 2007, Barton delivered a message entitled “America’s Godly Heritage” right before Memorial Day where he made the case that God was pro-war, so much so that He even “gifted” certain people with the skills necessary for battle just as some people are gifted in the arts or sports.

One of those people, Barton said, was Congressman Sam Johnson whom Barton called “maybe the most godly man I have ever met.” While discussing the seven years Johnson spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Barton made an aside in which he asserted that intelligence now shows that had the US just done one more bombing run, the Viet Cong would have surrendered:

70 Mattand  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:36:26pm

re: #57 Blue Spot Vlamingii Tang

It sounds like they will turn down the individual mandate, at the request of the GOP which invented the principle.

Man, that’s it in a nutshell. Quote of the Week for me.

As for the Supreme Court: it may not be the permanent Republican Supermajority Karl Rove pines for, but the current SCOTUS will more than make up for it.

71 Lidane  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:37:38pm

re: #69 Kragar

Barton has got to be one of most willfully ignorant cockbags alive today.

Barton: One More Bombing Run Would have Won the Vietnam War

And the Texas State Board of Education relied on him as a historian. WTF.

72 dragonfire1981  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:37:59pm

Dan Riehl now ranting about Trayvon protesters reportedly ransacking a store.

73 funky chicken  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:38:19pm

re: #52 Kragar

I’m constantly amazed at how much GOP politicians can say with the Oil industry’s dick in their mouth.

Sen. Rand Paul: When Big Oil Screws Americans At The Gas Pump, ‘You Should Want To Encourage Them’

The companies goal is to make money, not make jobs. If they’re able to make money because of the breaks they’ve been getting without hiring new people, what incentive do they have?

I’m constantly amazed by voters who applaud such inanities coming from the mouths of their elected representatives. I would think “subsidize the rich” would be a losing message, but what the hell do I know?

74 goddamnedfrank  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:38:24pm

re: #61 Targetpractice

Under the old laws, the lead homicide investigator may have gotten the manslaughter charges he sought, letting this all play out in court. If the case was lost, then those responsible in the department would have been disciplined or even shit-canned.

At the very least with the probable cause clause of Florida’s SYG law removed charges could have been filed, Sergey dug it up recently:

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).
History.—s. 4, ch. 2005-27.

That section is what quashed the arrest, even though an arrest would have allowed drug testing to further gather evidence (drug testing, clothing, further physical processing) and determine possible illegality on the part of Zimmerman.

SYG has created a legal Catch-22 that favors the shooter, cannot be arrested without obtaining probable cause that might not be obtainable without an arrest. One would think that the death of an unarmed teenager would be probable cause enough, but he prosecutor was obviously worried about the financial consequences for the community spelled out in paragraph (3). It a case where CYA preemptively trumps the pursuit of justice.

75 Sol Berdinowitz  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:38:31pm

re: #69 Kragar

Barton has got to be one of most willfully ignorant cockbags alive today.

Barton: One More Bombing Run Would have Won the Vietnam War

Grant was convinced in 1864 that one more big push in Northern Virginia would cause Lee to surrender. The result was Cold Harbor: 7,000 Union casualities on one day with no visible effect on the Confederate army.

76 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:38:42pm

re: #71 Lidane

And the Texas State Board of Education relied on him as a historian. WTF.

Even the ignorance is bigger in Texas.

77 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:39:15pm

re: #68 Daniel Ballard

Not really seeing it? Well stop dismissing out of hand those who disagree with you. Like a few lawyers, a prosecutor and the authors.

I’m not. I’ve seen the example of one lawyer that you gave me, who didn’t engage with the actual language of the bill.

You keep referring to the ‘authors’ of the bill. You do know the bill was authored by ALEC and the NRA, right, not the people who submitted it in Florida?

These ruling reflect the racism and bad legal work.

Why do you feel comfortable telling me not to dismiss the opinions of others, and then simply completely dismissing the idea that the rulings could also reflect the language of the law? The language of the law defines the right to stand and retaliate as beginning at the moment of the attack. The only portion of the law that takes into account circumstance is the part that says that if the person using the lethal force ‘provoked’ the attack they aren’t covered— except if the attack on them continues. If ‘provoke’ is broadened to include pursuit of someone, that severely weakens self-defense laws.

Just because the law does not exclude pursuit (or any number of other things) does not so basically alter the meaning of standing your ground or defense under decades of previous cases.

Yes, it does. The new law changes the old system. That’s what laws do. The meaning of ‘stand your ground’ didn’t exist in Florida until this law; the case history of this law is the meaning of it. Are you referring instead to the Castle doctrine, rather than stand your ground?

78 Stanghazi  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:39:38pm

re: #69 Kragar

Lol at work @cockbags damn you!!

79 Lidane  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:41:02pm

re: #59 Charles Johnson

I eagerly await all of Dan Riehl’s bleating about this. Should be fun.

80 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:43:02pm

re: #74 goddamnedfrank

At the very least with the probable cause clause of Florida’s SYG law removed, Sergey dug it up recently:

That section is what quashed the arrest, even though an arrest would have allowed drug testing to further gather evidence (drug testing, clothing, further physical processing) and determine possible illegality on the part of Zimmerman.

SYG has created a legal Catch-22 that favors the shooter, cannot be arrested without obtaining probable cause that might not be obtainable without an arrest. One would think that the death of an unarmed teenager would be probable cause enough, but he prosecutor was obviously worried about the financial consequences for the community spelled out in paragraph (3). It a case where CYA preemptively trumps the pursuit of justice.

Exactly. They couldn’t legally do more than hold him for a few hours for questioning, but no more than that. I’m sure there was even pressure on the lead homicide investigator to go ahead and agree with Zimmerman’s story, just to get him out of the station and on his way before accusations that they were unlawfully detaining him.

81 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:45:56pm

re: #77 Obdicut

I’m not. I’ve seen the example of one lawyer that you gave me, who didn’t engage with the actual language of the bill.

You keep referring to the ‘authors’ of the bill. You do know the bill was authored by ALEC and the NRA, right, not the people who submitted it in Florida?

Why do you feel comfortable telling me not to dismiss the opinions of others, and then simply completely dismissing the idea that the rulings could also reflect the language of the law? The language of the law defines the right to stand and retaliate as beginning at the moment of the attack. The only portion of the law that takes into account circumstance is the part that says that if the person using the lethal force ‘provoked’ the attack they aren’t covered— except if the attack on them continues. If ‘provoke’ is broadened to include pursuit of someone, that severely weakens self-defense laws.

Yes, it does. The new law changes the old system. That’s what laws do. The meaning of ‘stand your ground’ didn’t exist in Florida until this law; the case history of this law is the meaning of it. Are you referring instead to the Castle doctrine, rather than stand your ground?

You must have overlooked Lawhawks take on my Page, and his comments later that the timeline is key.

82 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:46:24pm

re: #69 Kragar

Barton has got to be one of most willfully ignorant cockbags alive today.

Barton: One More Bombing Run Would have Won the Vietnam War

What the shit does a Viet Cong surrender have to do with a victory in Vietnam? The Viet Cong were largely broken as an effective force by the Tet offensive, which one might note did not result in the end of hostilities.

Dumbass can’t even keep his belligerents straight.

83 Talking Point Detective  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:47:24pm

re: #68 Daniel Ballard

You take it to the bad guy it’s not defense.

Yes. I’ve noticed that you keep saying that. I’ve also noticed that despite being asked, you have provided no evidence to support that claim.

The closest I’ve seen is Baxley’s claim of a stipulation of proportionality of force; however, his more specific description is “meet force with force,” without any specificity about how that equates to proportionality.

Baxley has a political reason to defend this law against warnings that were made when it was written.

He is also on record as saying that he is against a requirement that lethal force be used only as a last resort after a “reasonable” attempt to retreat. I know that I’m repeating myself, but the target of this law was that requirement. The intent, specifically, was to enlarge the use of “self-defense” as a legal recourse in exactly this type of situation.

You can keep saying that Zimmerman pursuing Martin invalidates the use of a SYG defense - but the evidence stacks up that a SYG defense was at least as operational, if not more, than any unproven assertions you make about racism or incompetence on the part of the cops involved. I don’t know that such factors weren’t involved - but you have yet to prove your case nonetheless.

84 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:48:05pm

re: #81 Daniel Ballard

You must have overlooked Lawhawks take on my Page, and his comments later that the timeline is key.

Well, yeah, I eventually stopped reading the page. And I will probably disagree on the same lines, if the actual language of the law— defining the ‘attack’ as the moment the rights are considered— is not taken into consideration.

You agree that the law needs to be changed, right?

85 wrenchwench  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:48:35pm

At least they police their comments:

A record for comments deleted?

From TREVOR BUTTERWORTH: I wonder whether this story takes the record for comments deleted by moderator: “Multiple suspensions paint complicated portrait of Trayvon Martin”

I called MiamiHerald.com’s Jeff Kleinman this afternoon and he said that “we were just talking about that on the desk.” The web staff suspects the story has set a comments-deleted record, but Kleinman said he’s going to double-check for confirmation and pass along stats later today.

86 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:49:39pm

re: #84 Obdicut

Well, yeah, I eventually stopped reading the page. And I will probably disagree on the same lines, if the actual language of the law— defining the ‘attack’ as the moment the rights are considered— is not taken into consideration.

You agree that the law needs to be changed, right?

I’m done recovering old ground with you on this. I refer you to my previous numerous posts on that. And now we see you stopped reading the page but have no hesitation to challenge it. Nice.

87 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:49:45pm

JOBS, JOBS… Oh

Republican States Cut Most Public Sector Jobs In 2011

while Republicans are trying to credit their small government ideology with bolstering the current economic recovery, a new study from The Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert found that those public sector losses have hit hardest and most often in states where Republicans took control of state legislatures during the 2010 mid-term elections. In 2011, newly-Republican states accounted for 40 percent of the public sector layoffs while cutting government jobs at rates that far outpace the national average:

The 11 states that the Republicans took over in 2010 laid off, on average, 2.5 percent of their government workforces in a single year. This is compared to the overall average of 0.5 percent for the rest of the states. […] [T]hese 11 states as a whole account for a total of 87,000 jobs lost, reflecting around 40.5 percent of the total.

88 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:50:42pm

re: #43 Gus

OT but this is likely the reason what’s his face from CNN zoomed out of the SCOTUS today:

[Embedded content]Long way to go however since this is going all the way ‘till June.

Hard to believe he wasn’t prepared to answer that question. How disappointing.

89 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:51:29pm

re: #87 Kragar

JOBS, JOBS… Oh

Republican States Cut Most Public Sector Jobs In 2011

It is well known truthiness that public sector jobs are not ‘real’ jobs. See: stimulus.

90 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:51:42pm

re: #88 jaunte

Hard to believe he wasn’t prepared to answer that question. How disappointing.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

91 watching you tiny alien kittens are  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:51:59pm

I hate to be a wet blanket here but expectations of justice in this case are pretty much a forlorn hope. Florida’s laws as currently written (stand your ground) pretty much exclude any possibility that Zimmerman can be successfully prosecuted for any crime in this case.

Even if he is someday indicted and then found guilty of manslaughter by a jury reacting to Zimmermans needless pursuit and escalation of the situation and perhaps also influenced by the public outcry over this event, the conviction will not stand an appeal.

But Sanford, Fla., Investigator Chris Serino was instructed to not press charges against Zimmerman because the state attorney’s office headed by Norman Wolfinger determined there wasn’t enough evidence to lead to a conviction, the sources told ABC News.

Which, as frustrating as it is, is an entirely correct and factual statement. Barring unequivocal new evidence coming to light that would prove Zimmerman started the alleged physical confrontation with Trayvon by throwing a punch rather than say, “trying to physically restrain him,” Zimmerman simply is not provably guilty of any crime under Florida law.

As long as he sticks to his self-defense claim and there is no reliable first hand evidence to prove otherwise there is simply no way to convict him of anything.

No it isn’t right, and no it isn’t justice, but the State Courts are tasked to uphold the laws as written by the legislature, they have to follow the law, not their sense of right and wrong or their gut. In this case the Florida legislature has stuck the courts with a badly written and poorly thought out law that in some instances can be used to literally legally justify murder.

The fact that the D.A. cannot expect a conviction in this case is not his fault, he is only stating the realistic facts of the case. The fault rests with the legislators who under pressure from the N.R.A. and other “gun rights” lobbyists radically changed the long-standing concept of self-defense from passive defense only to one that includes “offensive defense” (oxymoron anyone?).

Sigh…anyway, just wanted to say that if your building up hopes of seeing Zimmerman “Punished” for his actions your very likely going to be disappointed. Perhaps the Feds can find something to charge him with, but it will not be murder or even manslaughter those could only be prosecuted by the State, and that just is not going to happen… :(

92 LWNJ  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:52:56pm

re: #59 Charles Johnson

Just got followed on Twitter by Trayvon Martin’s family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump:

What’s the matter with him? Doesn’t he know you’re irrelevant?

93 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:53:20pm

re: #86 Daniel Ballard

I’m done recovering old ground with you on this. I refer you to my previous numerous posts on that. And now we see you stopped reading the page but have no hesitation to challenge it. Nice.

Wow. Yes, I eventually stopped reading the page, after making many, many posts there. I was unaware that that meant I could no longer reference it.

And your previous comments, none of them have really engaged with the fact that the language of the law says that the right to stand and retaliate begins when you are attacked. You have said that there is an implication otherwise, but you’re not engaging with the fact that this law changes established law. You can’t interpret a law that changed an old law based on the interpretations of that old law.

Will you really not even answer in the affirmative that you think the law needs to be changed? I really think that you’ve said that.

94 Lidane  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:53:44pm

re: #82 erik_t

Dumbass can’t even keep his belligerents straight.

History has never been David Barton’s strong suit.

95 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:53:57pm

re: #91 Tiny Alien Kitties are Watching You

That’s been the conclusion of most people here, don’t worry.

96 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:54:03pm

re: #91 Tiny Alien Kitties are Watching You

You’re preaching to the choir here.

97 Lidane  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:55:10pm

re: #91 Tiny Alien Kitties are Watching You

Pretty much. Once the cops thoroughly fucked up the initial investigation, it was all over.

Zimmerman is going to get away with shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. It’s a complete miscarriage of justice.

98 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:55:15pm

re: #81 Daniel Ballard

You must have overlooked Lawhawks take on my Page, and his comments later that the timeline is key.

I just returned to your page, and I don’t see any comment by Lawhawk there.

99 goddamnedfrank  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:56:40pm

re: #86 Daniel Ballard

I’m done recovering old ground with you on this. I refer you to my previous numerous posts on that. And now we see you stopped reading the page but have no hesitation to challenge it. Nice.

What’s your response to section 776.032 I discussed in #74?

P.S. I don’t see Lawhawks comments anywhere on your page. Were they left on another main page where you also happened to be discussing the issue?

100 Our Precious Bodily Fluids  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:57:58pm

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

Fearing that certain words and topics can make students feel unpleasant, officials are requesting 50 or so words be removed from city-issued tests.

The word “dinosaur” made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like, WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond reported. “Halloween” is targeted because it suggests paganism; a “birthday” might not be happy to all because it isn’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I

101 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:58:45pm

re: #67 Blue Spot Vlamingii Tang

That has been an argument, even originally made by Republican back in the Clinton days. I am sure the analogy has been brought up, although I can imagine a counter argument that nobody is forced to own a car and have the freedom to not drive themselves.

The health insurance analogy to the latter would be to say that people who don’t want insurance and don’t have money for medical bills should be expected to stay in their homes until they get better, or die.

Which is, of course, the Republican Health Care Plan.

102 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 12:59:55pm

re: #101 Shvaughn

Which is, of course, the Republican Health Care Plan.

“Die in the gutter quietly, so you don’t upset the rich folk.”

103 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:00:51pm

re: #100 Pope Ron Polyp XXXVII

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

I

Test is too threatening a word, it implies failure. They need to come up with a new term for it like “Foo Foo Fiddle Faddle.”

104 LWNJ  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:01:40pm

re: #100 Pope Ron Polyp XXXVII

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

I

Speechless.

105 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:01:51pm

re: #100 Pope Ron Polyp XXXVII

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

May I also suggest: logic, rational, evidence, data.

All very hateful and offensive words.

106 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:04:27pm

Actually the word-thing makes some kind of sense to me. I can see why, when constructing a test that has nothing to do with Christmas, they’d want to avoid having questions that specifically relate to Christmas.

107 goddamnedfrank  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:04:50pm

re: #98 Obdicut

I just returned to your page, and I don’t see any comment by Lawhawk there.

I found Lawhawk’s comment here, on another page.

Problem is that none of this addresses Section 776.032 and the financial stick it wields against the prosecutors and police for making an arrest that’s determined later to be without “probable cause that the force used was unlawful.”

108 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:06:18pm

re: #107 goddamnedfrank

And it entirely depends on what you think ‘precipitates’ means. Does simply following someone and confronting them count? If so, that conclusion would massively weaken self-defense claims in general. Doesn’t seem wise to me.

109 goddamnedfrank  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:11:36pm

re: #108 Obdicut

And it entirely depends on what you think ‘precipitates’ means. Does simply following someone and confronting them count? If so, that conclusion would massively weaken self-defense claims in general. Doesn’t seem wise to me.

Not to mention that if everything in Zimmerman’s claim is true, big if but whatever, he turned around and was retreating before contact was initiated by Martin. The problem is that the law raises the overall burden of proof for an arrest to the levels usually required for conviction, and that just constitutes a horrible hamstringing of homicide detectives. Looking at the big picture, the entirety of the law and how it’s been applied in specific instances, I don’t understand how anyone can believe it’s not fundamentally flawed.

110 abolitionist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:11:44pm

re: #100 Pope Ron Polyp XXXVII

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

I

And mention of clothing might be a no-no, because it’s a no-no to nudists/sun-worshipers.

111 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:13:09pm

re: #109 goddamnedfrank

The catch-22 aspect of it is almost darkly funny.

112 Targetpractice  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:13:12pm

re: #109 goddamnedfrank

Not to mention that if everything in Zimmerman’s claim is true, big if but whatever, he turned around and was retreating before contact was initiated by Martin. The problem is that the law raises the overall burden of proof for an arrest to the levels usually required for conviction, and that just constitutes a horrible hamstringing of homicide detectives. Looking at the big picture, the entirety of the law and how it’s been applied in specific instances, I don’t understand how anyone can believe it’s not fundamentally flawed.

Exactly. You have to pretty much convict a person on the spot of a crime before you can even begin the process of bringing them to trial. And that often requires evidence that, due to SYG, can’t be secured without a judge’s say-so.

113 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:13:48pm

re: #100 Pope Ron Polyp XXXVII

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

I

That’s bizarre. Sounds like the kids’ education is being shortchanged because someone doesn’t want to deal with complaints.

114 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:15:53pm

re: #113 jaunte

That’s bizarre. Sounds like the kids’ education is being shortchanged because someone doesn’t want to deal with complaints.

How do you get “education being shortchanged” from that?

To me it looks like a reasonable set of practices for making tests that don’t require extraneous knowledge and work with one of the most multicultural school systems in the world.

115 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:16:16pm

re: #100 Pope Ron Polyp XXXVII

Surely this is a joke. April Fool’s Day is still a few days away. Pity, as this would have made a good one:

NYC Dept. of Education Wants 50 Forbidden Words Banned From Tests

I

WTF?

116 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:18:05pm

re: #114 Shvaughn

If you read the whole list, it sounds like a lot of makework for teachers to avoid mentioning anything that’s on the list.

117 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:18:25pm

Dinosaurs!

118 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:18:31pm

Here’s the list:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Celebrities
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Crime
Death and disease
Divorce
Evolution
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Halloween
Homelessness
Homes with swimming pools
Hunting
Junk food
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Nuclear weapons
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Parapsychology
Politics
Pornography
Poverty
Rap Music
Religion
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Rock-and-Roll music
Running away
Sex
Slavery
Terrorism
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
Violence
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

120 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:19:00pm

re: #114 Shvaughn

How do you get “education being shortchanged” from that?

To me it looks like a reasonable set of practices for making tests that don’t require extraneous knowledge and work with one of the most multicultural school systems in the world.

The word ‘disease’ is banned, for shit’s sakes. It’s hard to have intelligent conversation when the mode of conversation is intentionally handicapped to prevent discussion of unpleasant topics. At risk of self-Godwin, I wish to point to 1984.

121 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:19:58pm

re: #117 jaunte

Dinosaurs!

“See Spot? See Spot run?”


“MY MOM IS BLIND AND MY DOG DIED, YOU HEARTLESS BITCH!”

122 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:22:07pm

“Hoodie” is not on the list.

123 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:22:26pm

re: #122 Decatur Deb

We’re gonna need a bigger list.

124 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:23:19pm

re: #120 erik_t

The word ‘disease’ is banned, for shit’s sakes. It’s hard to have intelligent conversation when the mode of conversation is intentionally handicapped to prevent discussion of unpleasant topics. At risk of self-Godwin, I wish to point to 1984.

But these guidelines aren’t for questions about, say, disease. They’re guidelines for questions where the reference to disease is incidental to the question.

I think, due to the sensationalist reporting of the issue, you’re probably getting the wrong idea about what the list involves.

125 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:23:34pm

re: #118 Gus

Here’s the list:

I think we found the ultimate RidicuList.

//

126 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:23:59pm

“Napalm”, “kittens”, and “cookout” are OK.

127 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:24:20pm

Define “Junk food”

128 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:24:22pm

re: #116 jaunte

If you read the whole list, it sounds like a lot of makework for teachers to avoid mentioning anything that’s on the list.

Teachers aren’t making these tests and teachers aren’t limited in what they can talk about in class.

You may need to reread the article if you’ve got the impression that this is about limits on teachers.

129 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:25:43pm

re: #124 Shvaughn

But these guidelines aren’t for questions about, say, disease. They’re guidelines for questions where the reference to disease is incidental to the question.

I think, due to the sensationalist reporting of the issue, you’re probably getting the wrong idea about what the list involves.

I’m pretty sure I know what the intent here is. They’re trying not to offend any overtly-delicate soul. Everything is designed around the lowest level of offensiveness in many organizations. And yes it’s just for standardized tests. I don’t agree with any of this at all. Children need to learn the realities of life and not sheltered from everything.

130 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:26:12pm

re: #128 Shvaughn

Teachers aren’t making these tests and teachers aren’t limited in what they can talk about in class.

You may need to reread the article if you’ve got the impression that this is about limits on teachers.

Given, but as we speak dozens of NY 6th-graders are in the boy’s room stalls with the list and magic markers.

131 jaunte  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:27:00pm

re: #128 Shvaughn

That’s true, the testmakers will have to be the careful writers of standardized questions. It still seems like a pointless limitation, a solution seeking a problem.

132 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:27:04pm

Weapons!

“A bomber leaves its air base at 12:00 PM. The bomber travels an average of…”

OMG! WHA! They’re talking about a USAF bomber! Mommy!

133 wrenchwench  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:27:40pm

re: #129 Gus

I’m pretty sure I know what the intent here is. They’re trying not to offend any overtly-delicate soul. Everything is designed around the lowest level of offensiveness in many organizations. And yes it’s just for standardized tests. I don’t agree with any of this at all. Children need to learn the realities of life and not sheltered from everything.

Besides, they go home and watch TV and find out there are rich people who celebrate birthdays. Could come as a shock.

134 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:28:10pm

re: #133 wrenchwench

Besides, they go home and watch TV and find out there are rich people who celebrate birthdays. Could come as a shock.

BMW!

Boo!

135 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:28:25pm

re: #129 Gus

I’m pretty sure I know what the intent here is. They’re trying not to offend any overtly-delicate soul. Everything is designed around the lowest level of offensiveness in many organizations. And yes it’s just for standardized tests. I don’t agree with any of this at all. Children need to learn the realities of life and not sheltered from everything.

So you’d be okay with this question designed to test someone’s math skills:

“Suzie’s mother died of cancer when she Susie was 6 and her mother was 21. Assuming that Suzie and her mother had the same birthday, how old was Suzie’s mom when she gave birth to Suzie?”

136 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:29:11pm

re: #135 Shvaughn

So you’d be okay with this question designed to test someone’s math skills:

“Suzie’s mother died of cancer when she Susie was 6 and her mother was 21. Assuming that Suzie and her mother had the same birthday, how old was Suzie’s mom when she gave birth to Suzie?”

I’m offended at the prospect that some people live on farms but others don’t, so strawmen are now banned.

Please repost accordingly.

137 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:29:12pm

re: #135 Shvaughn

So you’d be okay with this question designed to test someone’s math skills:

“Suzie’s mother died of cancer when she Susie was 6 and her mother was 21. Assuming that Suzie and her mother had the same birthday, how old was Suzie’s mom when she gave birth to Suzie?”

Of course there should be limitations. But not an outright list. They have pornography on that list. The argument is that it’s too far reaching and needs to be cut down.

138 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:30:12pm

These are NYC kids. Some number of them have a favorite recipe for rat. And the rats in their apartments have a favorite recipe for them.

139 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:30:30pm

re: #136 erik_t

I’m offended at the prospect that some people live on farms but others don’t, so strawmen are now banned.

Please repost accordingly.

Actually, that’s exactly why questions on disease are banned. It’s not a strawman.

140 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:30:43pm

Evolution! Dinosaurs!

Seriously?

141 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:30:55pm

re: #137 Gus

Of course there should be limitations. But not an outright list. They have pornography on that list. The argument is that it’s too far reaching and needs to be cut down.

Which things do you think should remain on the list and which things do you think should go?

142 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:32:27pm

re: #140 Gus

Evolution! Dinosaurs!

Seriously?

If the question isn’t about evolution or dinosaurs, then I don’t see why it’s necessarily a good thing to throw those in there. There are lots of test questions you can ask without talking about evolution.

143 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:32:43pm

re: #141 Shvaughn

Which things do you think should remain on the list and which things do you think should go?

Think positives. Not what shouldn’t be in a standardized test but what should be in standardized test. Right now this reads like a paranoid PC list to avoid any future controversies. It’s just a CYA to help a bunch of bureaucrats from getting crap from the helicopter parents.

144 wrenchwench  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:33:48pm

re: #141 Shvaughn

Which things do you think should remain on the list and which things do you think should go?

Pornography, abuse, and in-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge can stay.

145 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:34:07pm

re: #142 Shvaughn

If the question isn’t about evolution or dinosaurs, then I don’t see why it’s necessarily a good thing to throw those in there. There are lots of test questions you can ask without talking about evolution.

Not gonna buy into this procedure. This kind of stuff is what makes liberals and progressives look stupid.

146 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:36:59pm

re: #143 Gus

Think positives. Not what shouldn’t be in a standardized test but what should be in standardized test. Right now this reads like a paranoid PC list to avoid any future controversies. It’s just a CYA to help a bunch of bureaucrats from getting crap from the helicopter parents.

Actually this is standard procedure for test design. It’s not some sort of out-of-control Political Correctness, but rather the school district making sure that they’re comfortable with, and can stand behind, everything on their standardized tests.

re: #145 Gus

Not gonna buy into this procedure. This kind of stuff is what makes liberals and progressives look stupid.

Only when you buy into sensationalistic reporting and go along with the frames that say “OMG TEH PEECEE POLICE.”

147 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:37:15pm

Pornography, crime, drugs, alcohol… Stuff like that would be fine.

Just looked at that list again. Rock-and-Roll music? Seriously? Sorry but I come from the Frank Zappa and George Carlin school on these things. This list is ridiculous at this time.

148 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:38:11pm

re: #146 Shvaughn

Actually this is standard procedure for test design. It’s not some sort of out-of-control Political Correctness, but rather the school district making sure that they’re comfortable with, and can stand behind, everything on their standardized tests.

re: #145 Gus

Only when you buy into sensationalistic reporting and go along with the frames that say “OMG TEH PEECEE POLICE.”

Meh. It’s a Mayor Bloomberg operation. I was never impressed.

149 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:38:49pm

re: #141 Shvaughn

Which things do you think should remain on the list and which things do you think should go?

I think there should be no list. There should be well-paid adult administrators and teachers who can be trusted to get their kids prepared for the 21st century.

150 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:39:57pm

re: #147 Gus

Pornography, crime, drugs, alcohol… Stuff like that would be fine.

Just looked at that list again. Rock-and-Roll music? Seriously? Sorry but I come from the Frank Zappa and George Carlin school on these things. This list is ridiculous at this time.

So you think questions about rock-n-roll music should be on standardized tests?

151 erik_t  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:40:02pm

The article makes no mention of the topical relevance of the use of these words, but uses generally unequivocal language like ‘forbidden’. If any esteemed commentator has a different source of information, perhaps they ought to post it.

152 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:41:02pm

re: #150 Shvaughn

So you think questions about rock-n-roll music should be on standardized tests?

A rock-n-roll question could be merely using a rock-n-roll character.

153 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:41:39pm

re: #149 Decatur Deb

I think there should be no list. There should be well-paid adult administrators and teachers who can be trusted to get their kids prepared for the 21st century.

These are about standardized tests, not about well-paid administrators or teachers.

If you’re against standardized testing, well, I am in agreement with that. But given that there is a demand that schools engage in standardizing testing, I think it makes sense for them to provide the test-makers with a list of guidelines as to what they feel is acceptable content.

154 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:41:59pm

re: #150 Shvaughn

So you think questions about rock-n-roll music should be on standardized tests?

And it only has rock-n-roll and rap music. So country music is OK? Blues is OK?

155 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:42:05pm

re: #151 erik_t

The article makes no mention of the topical relevance of the use of these words, but uses generally unequivocal language like ‘forbidden’. If any esteemed commentator has a different source of information, perhaps they ought to post it.

Lemme see if newsmax is reporting on this yet.

///

156 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:43:09pm

re: #153 Shvaughn

These are about standardized tests, not about well-paid administrators or teachers.

If you’re against standardized testing, well, I am in agreement with that. But given that there is a demand that schools engage in standardizing testing, I think it makes sense for them to provide the test-makers with a list of guidelines as to what they feel is acceptable content.

The function of the list is hardly irritating. The rationale given by the official tells me this is supposed to leak into classroom culture.

157 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:43:22pm

I know. Sometimes I forget. “We’re” never wrong on things.

158 allegro  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:44:40pm

re: #149 Decatur Deb

I think there should be no list. There should be well-paid adult administrators and teachers who can be trusted to get their kids prepared for the 21st century.

This. If our teachers and administrators are deemed so incompetent as to ask a ridiculous math word question as exampled above (really? has this ever happened in the history of public schools?) then we have a much bigger problem than language. As someone else above said, this truly is a solution in search of a problem.

159 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:46:54pm

re: #151 erik_t

The article makes no mention of the topical relevance of the use of these words, but uses generally unequivocal language like ‘forbidden’. If any esteemed commentator has a different source of information, perhaps they ought to post it.

On “forbidden,” here’s a news article from WABC in New York:

The topics are spelled out to companies competing to revamp English, Math, Science and Social-Studies tests used to measure student progress. They are not banned but the DOE keeps an eye on subjects including: Religion, Dinosaurs (because of evolution), Halloween (suggest paganism), Witchcraft or sorcery, Birthdays (because Jehovah’s witnesses don’t celebrate them), and Holidays.

Another

160 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:47:07pm

“We” are hosing our kids. My daughter’s middle school in Italy required that 7th graders be tested on American Jazz (Music History from Polyphony to American Jazz). They didn’t discuss Bird without discussing drugs.

161 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:47:21pm

re: #152 Gus

A rock-n-roll question could be merely using a rock-n-roll character.

Do you think that’s appropriate for standardized tests?

162 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:48:05pm

re: #161 Shvaughn

Do you think that’s appropriate for standardized tests?

If it was would country music be a softer alternative?

163 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:50:11pm

Ah the story originated with The New York Post — it’s no surprise that most of the news coverage has taken a “OMG PEECEE” tone.

164 allegro  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:51:11pm

re: #163 Shvaughn

Ah the story originated with The New York Post — it’s no surprise that most of the news coverage has taken a “OMG PEECEE” tone.

I don’t think it had to take that “tone.” The list IS that.

165 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:52:27pm

re: #163 Shvaughn

Ah the story originated with The New York Post — it’s no surprise that most of the news coverage has taken a “OMG PEECEE” tone.

Yes. And they, basically the good guys, set themselves up for it.

166 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:53:23pm

re: #164 allegro

I don’t think it had to take that “tone.” The list IS that.

Is it the existence of such a list that’s offensive to you, or the exact details of what’s on the list?

167 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:53:58pm

re: #163 Shvaughn

Ah the story originated with The New York Post — it’s no surprise that most of the news coverage has taken a “OMG PEECEE” tone.

Thanks. I’ll wait and see what Richard Dawkins has to say about this. Rather than adhering to some argumentum ad it was posted on NY Post meme.

168 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:53:58pm

re: #165 Decatur Deb

Yes. And they, basically the good guys, set themselves up for it.

How did they do that? By having a list in the first place?

169 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:55:55pm

re: #168 Shvaughn

How did they do that? By having a list in the first place?

Yes. And by being so freaking far out of touch with the culture of the children they are trying to protect. These kids ride the subway and watch The Wire.

170 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:56:10pm

re: #167 Gus

Thanks. I’ll wait and see what Richard Dawkins has to say about this. Rather than adhering to some argumentum ad it was posted on NY Post meme.

How’s it a meme to say that we should consider the source?

I’m still looking for the original list, posted anywhere. It’s hard to confirm whether the words are “banned” or not banned.

171 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:56:51pm

re: #170 Shvaughn

How’s it a meme to say that we should consider the source?

I’m still looking for the original list, posted anywhere. It’s hard to confirm whether the words are “banned” or not banned.

I’m looking.

172 allegro  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:58:04pm

re: #166 Shvaughn

Is it the existence of such a list that’s offensive to you, or the exact details of what’s on the list?

Probably a bit of both. I taught at the university level for 24 years and I saw the effects of increasing “helicopter parenting” on the kids in my classes as the years went by, especially Bio 101. Kids who had been so protected from anything upsetting, whose time had been controlled to an alarming degree, etc. simply did not have the tools to suddenly be in a position of self-sufficiency, even one as limited as a college campus. These are the kids who just go nuts with the sudden freedom, completely unprepared for having to get their own asses out of bed and into class every day.

Yeah, I do feel strongly about this and for good reason.

173 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:58:23pm

re: #169 Decatur Deb

Yes. And by being so freaking far out of touch with the culture of the children they are trying to protect. These kids ride the subway and watch The Wire.

Except that such a list as guidance for test developers is standard practice for standardized tests. No school wants, for example, a question about child abuse on a standardized test.

Having a list that you distribute to test developers is normal.

(I’ve worked in test development — not standardized tests for kids, though — but it’s not unusual at all to have guidelines like this.)

174 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 1:59:46pm

re: #172 allegro

Probably a bit of both. I taught at the university level for 24 years and I saw the effects of increasing “helicopter parenting” on the kids in my classes as the years went by, especially Bio 101. Kids who had been so protected from anything upsetting, whose time had been controlled to an alarming degree, etc. simply did not have the tools to suddenly be in a position of self-sufficiency, even one as limited as a college campus. These are the kids who just go nuts with the sudden freedom, completely unprepared for having to get their own asses out of bed and into class every day.

Yeah, I do feel strongly about this and for good reason.

So you’re worried that kids in New York City won’t learn about abuse, pornography, rock-n-roll music, and Christmas unless those topics are included on standardized tests?

175 allegro  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:00:25pm

re: #173 Shvaughn

Except that such a list as guidance for test developers is standard practice for standardized tests. No school wants, for example, a question about child abuse on a standardized test.

Having a list that you distribute to test developers is normal.

(I’ve worked in test development — not standardized tests for kids, though — but it’s not unusual at all to have guidelines like this.)

Who the hell puts a question about child abuse on a standardized test? Really?

176 allegro  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:00:53pm

re: #174 Shvaughn

So you’re worried that kids in New York City won’t learn about abuse, pornography, rock-n-roll music, and Christmas unless those topics are included on standardized tests?

WTF?

177 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:00:59pm

re: #173 Shvaughn

Except that such a list as guidance for test developers is standard practice for standardized tests. No school wants, for example, a question about child abuse on a standardized test.

Having a list that you distribute to test developers is normal.

(I’ve worked in test development — not standardized tests for kids, though — but it’s not unusual at all to have guidelines like this.)

Does anybody need to be told not to put child abuse on a standardized test? There are review procedures. Once again, it’s less the list than the thinking behind it. Are they going to test on the Holocaust in XXth Cent. History?

178 Kragar  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:03:54pm

re: #175 allegro

Who the hell puts a question about child abuse on a standardized test? Really?

David Barton?

179 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:04:18pm

re: #177 Decatur Deb

Does anybody need to be told not to put child abuse on a standardized test? There are review procedures. Once again, it’s less the list than the thinking behind it. Are they going to test on the Holocaust in XXth Cent. History?

Yes, they’re going to test on the Holocaust when testing 20th century history.

180 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:05:04pm

re: #179 Shvaughn

Yes, they’re going to test on the Holocaust when testing 20th century history.

Not without making someone feel bad.

181 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:07:18pm

Still looking for the original, but here’s something interesting:

[Link: harpers.org…]

From a set of guidelines provided by The Princeton Review to writers preparing practice versions of standardized tests.

Harper’s seems to classify this under “political correctness gone mad!!1!” but to be honest that’s such an easy lazy trope for journalists.

Now, you could easily write a story for a right-wing rag saying “OMG they don’t want you to learn about Harriet Tubman!!” but that’s not really what’s happening there.

182 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:07:59pm

re: #180 Decatur Deb

Not without making someone feel bad.

You’re willfully misunderstanding the guidelines for the standardized tests.

183 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:09:45pm

re: #182 Shvaughn

You’re willfully misunderstanding the guidelines for the standardized tests.

I am attacking the thinking behind the guidelines. Stuff that gives idiots on the Right an unopposed goal.

184 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:14:41pm

I think I’ve found the Request for Proposals on this page:

RFP TITLE: Periodic Assessment Program
RFP NUMBER: R0911
RFP DUE DATE & TIME: April 23, 2012 by 1:00 PM

PRE-PROPOSAL CONFERENCE March 22, 2012, at 11:30 A.M. ET, located at Borough Hall, Courtroom, 209 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, NY 11201.

The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), on behalf of the Division of Academics, Performance and Support, is seeking proposals to provide student assessments, related assessment administration, and an assessment results reporting technology platform. These formative tests, primarily in Literacy and Mathematics, are administered at least once per year for grades K-12, but grades K-2 are assessed in literacy only. This RFP seeks standards-aligned assessments, resources for assessments in Science and Social Studies and online assessment resources for classroom instruction. The RFP’s two components are as follows:
COMPONENT 1:
Assessment content (e.g., literacy, mathematics, science and social studies), which will include the following two types of assessments:
1. END-OF-COURSE DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENTS: Machine-scorable assessments that align with the PARCC equivalent in the areas of test content, design and structure.
2. TASK ASSESSMENTS: Open-ended prompts that require students to use critical thinking skills to address real-world problems.
A maximum of 23 contracts could be awarded under Component 1, but a lower number is more likely, if awarded, because individual contractors may receive multiple awards.

COMPONENT 2: A technology platform that will be used to administer the tests (i.e., select, compile and disseminate test items, score tests, report test results, etc.). This platform will allow teachers to create and save their own custom assessments. A single contract will be awarded under Component 2.

It is anticipated that services will commence in the summer of 2012.

I’m trying to see if I can get ahold of the RFP without registering as a vendor.

185 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:15:40pm

Found this:

E.2. Inappropriate Topics

Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts, but do not belong in a state test. A basal reader, for example, may contain a story about a child dealing with death; but in such an instance, the teacher has a chance to prepare students before they read the selection, and students have the opportunity to talk through their reactions. No such opportunities are available in a testing situation, so we must be more circumspect in our topic selection.

In general, avoid these topics:

Beer, liquor, or drugs
Cancer and other diseases
Catastrophes
Children dealing with serious issues
Dancing
Death
Evolution
Expensive gifts, vacations, prizes
Gambling
Halloween
Homes with swimming pools
Junk food
Magic
Monsters
Movies
New Age philosophies
Nuclear weapons
Parapsychology
Politics
Religion
Religious holidays
Sex
Slavery
Tobacco
Violence
War and bloodshed
Weapons
Witchcraft and sorcery

[Link: www.sde.idaho.gov…]

Evolution again. There’s a reason why they included evolution. This is political.

186 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:17:20pm

That’s just for reading. But apparently they’re avoiding that in some science tests. I think I smell the Texas SBOE and the text book and testing industry behind this.

187 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:17:30pm

Evolution! Ooga booga!

188 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:17:59pm

re: #185 Gus

Found this:

[Link: www.sde.idaho.gov…]

Evolution again. There’s a reason why they included evolution. This is political.

It’s important that New York City kids not encounter Halloween in a situation for which they have not been prepared.

189 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:20:55pm

re: #188 Decatur Deb

It’s important that New York City kids not encounter Halloween in a situation for which they have not been prepared.

Well I think since the NY Post mentions this:

“Some of these topics may be perfectly acceptable in other contexts but do not belong in a city- or state-wide assessment,”

Which is what I used to find the above. I’m going to assume that they’re going to use this test for a “dumbed down” version for city wide assessment tests for students.

190 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:22:39pm

Which means you won’t be able to get any assessment of knowledge of evolution city and state wide. Which could be done simply with one question.

Onward and downward!

191 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:22:39pm

re: #189 Gus

Well I think since the NY Post mentions this:

Which is what I used to find the above. I’m going to assume that they’re going to use this test for a “dumbed down” version for city wide assessment tests for students.

How do you get “dumbed down”? Do you think kids need to be tested on Halloween in order to understand if they’re learning math and reading skills?

192 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:23:03pm

re: #191 Shvaughn

How do you get “dumbed down”? Do you think kids need to be tested on Halloween in order to understand if they’re learning math and reading skills?

One word.

Evolution.

193 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:23:33pm

re: #190 Gus

Which means you won’t be able to get any assessment of knowledge of evolution city and state wide. Which could be done simply with one question.

Onward and downward!

These tests aren’t designed to measure knowledge of evolution (or science or history or whatever). They’re standardized tests for reading comprehension and math ability.

194 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:24:37pm

re: #191 Shvaughn

How do you get “dumbed down”? Do you think kids need to be tested on Halloween in order to understand if they’re learning math and reading skills?

re: #192 Gus

One word.

Evolution.

And Halloween. That’s a hard-core fundie bugaboo. The churches almost killed trick-or-treat in our town.

195 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:25:01pm

re: #192 Gus

One word.

Evolution.

What question would you ask about evolution in a standardized test?

196 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:25:40pm

re: #194 Decatur Deb

re: #192 Gus

And Halloween. That’s a hard-core fundie bugaboo. The churches almost killed trick-or-treat in our town.

What question about Halloween would you ask in a standardized test?

197 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:26:31pm

re: #193 Shvaughn

These tests aren’t designed to measure knowledge of evolution (or science or history or whatever). They’re standardized tests for reading comprehension and math ability.

From your post above:

…assessment content (e.g., literacy, mathematics science and social studies)…

198 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:29:04pm

re: #197 Gus

From your post above:

…assessment content (e.g., literacy, mathematics science and social studies)…

Based on the curruciulum they’re following. Not just random questions about evolution thrown in there. Note that the restriction is not just on “pro-evolution” questions either — questions that implied evolution was false would be thrown out too.

I think you’re deliberately misunderstanding how this list is meant to be used.

199 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:30:38pm

Which of these cultural antecedents did the European immigrants contribute to the American Halloween holiday?

Walpurgisnacht

Samain

Ognisanti

All of the Above


(It’s a long time since I had to make up a multiple-choice question.)

200 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:32:26pm

re: #199 Decatur Deb

Which of these cultural antecedents did the European immigrants contribute to the American Halloween holiday?

Walpurgisnacht

Samain

Ognisanti

All of the Above

(It’s a long time since I had to make up a multiple-choice question.)

If that’s part of the curriculum, it’s fair game. But if it’s just a random knowledge question then no.

This kind of list doesn’t ban curriculum-based questions about Halloween. Do you not understand that?

201 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:32:53pm

I’m still trying to get a copy of R0911. I’ve got an email request in.

202 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:33:49pm

re: #200 Shvaughn

If that’s part of the curriculum, it’s fair game. But if it’s just a random knowledge question then no.

This kind of list doesn’t ban curriculum-based questions about Halloween. Do you not understand that?

Social sciences—roots of American popular culture. As presented in the article it would make it impossible to ask that question.

203 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:34:45pm

re: #201 Shvaughn

I’m still trying to get a copy of R0911. I’ve got an email request in.

OK. I’ll stop babbling until then.

204 kirkspencer  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:35:46pm

I ran across an interesting fact today, one which I’d seen but not noticed before.

The Zimmerman-Martin fight happened in someone’s back yard.

From the official report we get the report of officer Timothy Smith, first officer on scene:

I was advised by dispatch that the report of shots fired was possibly coming from 1231 Twin trees Ln. I was then advised, after receiving multiple calls, that there was a subject laying in the grass in between the residences of 1231 Twin Trees Ln. and 2821 Retreat View Cir. I responded to 2321 Retreat View Cir and exited my marked Sanford police vehicle and began to canvas the area. As I walked in between the buildings I observed a white male, wearing a red jacket and blue jeans. I also observed a black male, wearing a gray hooded sweat shirt, laying face down in the grass.

I did a google map check of the address. The units are multi-residence buildings. No grass in front, just in the separation and behind. The two addresses in the report are back to back, with the yards separated by a sidewalk. The addresses are also roughly mid-block for both streets.

Zimmerman’s story means he’s claiming he parked partway down one of the two streets, got out, crossed to the other street, and walked toward one or the other end to find a street sign.

And while that portion may not be a lie, the implication he was presenting with that statement is a lie. He was not near his vehicle when jumped.

205 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:36:13pm

re: #202 Decatur Deb

Social sciences—roots of American popular culture. As presented in the article it would make it impossible to ask that question.

Article’s presentation is suspect.

206 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:37:55pm

re: #203 Gus

OK. I’ll stop babbling until then.

It’s after 5:30 in New York City, so I may have to wait until tomorrow for an answer. If I do, I will post a Page about what I receive.

207 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:38:06pm

re: #205 Shvaughn

Article’s presentation is suspect.

Yeah. Probably is.

208 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:38:56pm

re: #206 Shvaughn

It’s after 5:30 in New York City, so I may have to wait until tomorrow for an answer. If I do, I will post a Page about what I receive.

OK. Sounds like a plan.

209 Gus  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:39:22pm

BBL

210 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:39:57pm

re: #205 Shvaughn

Article’s presentation is suspect.

Got to leave in a minute. In my ideal liberal school there would be no forbidden words or concepts. Not 7, not 50, none. It eats at the very idea of free, well-guided, learning.

211 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:40:34pm

The NY Post’s article says this:

Dinosaurs, for example, call to mind evolution, which might upset fundamentalists; birthdays aren’t celebrated by Jehovah’s Witnesses; and Halloween suggests paganism.

Even “dancing’’ is taboo, because some sects object. But the city did make an exception for ballet.

Read more: [Link: www.nypost.com…]

I’d be curious to see whether these interpretations are in the original document or are the Post’s ideas.

The list cited above by Gus doesn’t include a reason for why Halloween is banned.

212 kirkspencer  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:40:38pm

re: #196 Shvaughn

What question about Halloween would you ask in a standardized test?

What question about Christmas would you ask in a standardized test?

In other words, why is Halloween the only holiday disallowed?

213 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:41:26pm

re: #210 Decatur Deb

Got to leave in a minute. In my ideal liberal school there would be no forbidden words or concepts. Not 7, not 50, none. It eats at the very idea of free, well-guided, learning.

There aren’t bans on words or concepts in a school, just in standardized tests.

214 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:42:01pm

re: #212 kirkspencer

What question about Christmas would you ask in a standardized test?

In other words, why is Halloween the only holiday disallowed?

Read the list, Christmas is on the list too.

215 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:42:30pm

re: #213 Shvaughn

There aren’t bans on words or concepts in a school, just in standardized tests.

Give them time.

216 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:49:08pm

re: #215 Decatur Deb

Give them time.

Yay for slippery slope arguments!

217 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:50:47pm

re: #216 Shvaughn

Yay for slippery slope arguments!

Do you think it’s not happening? We’re half way back to another Scopes trial.

218 kirkspencer  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:51:24pm

re: #214 Shvaughn

Read the list, Christmas is on the list too.

Ah. I had stopped at Gus’s #185 post, missed the #118 post.

219 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:53:46pm

re: #217 Decatur Deb

Do you think it’s not happening? We’re half way back to another Scopes trial.

I don’t think the NYC standardized tests are contributing to that in any way.

220 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:54:33pm

re: #219 Shvaughn

I don’t think the NYC standardized tests are contributing to that in any way.

I live in Alabama.

221 allegro  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:54:52pm

re: #219 Shvaughn

I don’t think the NYC standardized tests are contributing to that in any way.

I have yet to see any legitimate purpose for the list at all.

222 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:56:25pm

re: #221 allegro

I have yet to see any legitimate purpose for the list at all.

So you don’t see why questions that require knowledge of a specific sport shouldn’t be on standardized assessment tests?

223 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:59:54pm

re: #222 Shvaughn

So you don’t see why questions that require knowledge of a specific sport shouldn’t be on standardized assessment tests?

That can be managed by simple rules and reviews on cultural neutrality. Read the list, and you will see that it is not “words”, but words and concepts. Jai-lai and evolution are not equatable.

224 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 2:59:57pm

Gus, the list you posted doesn’t seem to be the same as the list referenced by the NY Post:

The city asks test companies to exclude “creatures from outer space,” celebrities and excessive TV and video-game use — items that are OK elsewhere.

Read more: [Link: www.nypost.com…]

225 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:01:14pm

re: #223 Decatur Deb

That can be managed by simple rules and reviews on cultural neutrality. Read the list, and you will see that it is not “words”, but words and concepts. Jai-lai and evolution are not equatable.

I’m still at a loss to know what you would ask about evolution apart from a curriculum that covers evolution.

226 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:03:07pm

re: #225 Shvaughn

I’m still at a loss to know what you would ask about evolution apart from a curriculum that covers evolution.

History of science, Lamarkianism, and Bio, of course.

227 wrenchwench  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:03:16pm

re: #204 kirkspencer

Painful irony alert:

Retreat View Cir.

228 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:06:28pm

re: #226 Decatur Deb

History of science, Lamarkianism, and Bio, of course.

That would be a curriculum that covers evolution, yes.

229 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:07:39pm

re: #228 Shvaughn

That would be a curriculum that covers evolution, yes.

Could you discuss/test on stellar evolution in physics?

230 Shvaughn  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:09:01pm

re: #229 Decatur Deb

Could you discuss/test on stellar evolution in physics?

If it’s in the curriculum for the kids you’re testing, why not?

231 Decatur Deb  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 3:12:01pm

re: #230 Shvaughn

If it’s in the curriculum for the kids you’re testing, why not?

Then I fail to see what the list is trying to accomplish. Open the discussion again when we have a background that’s not filtered through the Murdoch press.

Got a dog to make happy. BBL.

232 Political Atheist  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 5:13:37pm

re: #98 Obdicut

I just returned to your page, and I don’t see any comment by Lawhawk there.

No he made a comment back to me in a thread after I pointed out the page to him with a link. I’ll dig up the link in a minute or two.

233 Obdicut  Tue, Mar 27, 2012 5:14:34pm

re: #232 Daniel Ballard

I already responded to it. It doesn’t go to the point of my objection.


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 Frank says:

Let's not be too tough on our own ignorance. It's the thing that makes America great.