Gaining (and losing) credibility

The Kimmel show’s very credible presentation of Michele Bachmann’s understanding of the Revolutionary War.

Gawker reports that a British investigative web site has just published the full transcript of a secretly recorded meeting between media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the staff of The Sun, a U.K. tabloid owned by News Corp., in which Murdoch admitted that he was aware for decades that journalists from his newspapers had been bribing both police and public officials.

The Solar Impulse is set to complete it’s crossing of the United States today. As of this writing they are passing Atlantic City, heading toward their landing at New York in just a few hours. You can watch it live here.

In 2011, the EPA had issued a blockbuster draft report saying that the controversial practice of fracking was to blame for the pollution of an aquifer deep below the town of Pavillion, Wy. – the first time such a claim had been based on a scientific analysis. When the agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into fracking-related water contamination last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.

Harassment at conventions seems to have reached a watershed moment: when Elise Matthesen was harassed at WisCon by a fairly prominent professional editor, she reported it to his employer and to the con, and they listened. There’s more on Mattesen’s experiences at John Scalzi’s blog.

Researchers have discovered that low doses of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms, speed the extinction of the conditioned fear response in mice. The results could pave the way for psilocybin to be explored as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other related conditions in humans.

The Zimmerman Trial

How far does Zimmerman & Co. have to go to completely blow away their credibility, and why can’t George Zimmerman’s family or legal team tell the truth? Let’s review the established facts:

  • The night Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin he told police that he had a clean record when in fact, he had been charged in 2005 with resisting arrest during an altercation with a state alcohol officer.
  • When Zimmerman was booked into the Seminole County Jail, he told the booking officer that he had never been in a pretrial-diversion program before, but he had. After his resisting arrest Zimmerman wound up in a pretrial-diversion program, a scaled-down version of probation offered to nonviolent first-time offenders.
  • When Zimmerman offered an apology to Trayvon’s family during an April 20 bond hearing, Zimmerman said he didn’t realize Trayvon was so young. But in his call to police moments before he shot Martin he described Trayvon, who was 17, as in his “late teens.”
  • George Zimmerman’s wife, Shellie, was arrested and released on $1000 bail after she committed perjury during a June 1 2012 bond hearing where she told prosecutors and a judge that she had no knowledge of how much donation money was collected from her husband’s support website. Zimmerman had collected close to $135,000 in donations to his website and not only did she lie about the money, but prosecutors found that she transferred $74,000 out of George’s account four days before telling a courtroom she had no knowledge of any money.
  • The Zimmerman defense team apologized for “incorrectly characterizing” and “misstated the nature” of one of three videos it entered into evidence at a pre-trial hearing in May of 2012. Lead attorney Mark O’Mara initially said the video showed two close friends of Martin’s assaulting a homeless man. Days later the defense team admitted that the video was actually footage of “two homeless guys fighting each other over a bike”.
  • Prosecutors played for jurors a televised interview Zimmerman did with Sean Hannity last year. In it, Zimmerman responded to questions about Florida’s Stand Your Ground law by saying he’d never heard of it until after the shooting. It turns out that was a lie, too: not only did he know the law, he scored high marks in the class, according to the professor who taught the criminal litigation class.

Just how far can you go in Florida and expect to be given a pass when a victim finally confronts the “creepy-ass cracker” that’s been stalking them with a loaded gun through a neighborhood they have every right to be in? ‘Stand Your Ground’ should never be a defense when you murder someone who’s standing their rightful ground.

All other factors aside, there should be consequences for Zimmerman, wannabe cop and neighborhood vigilante, for provoking a confrontation that ended with him shooting an unarmed teenager.

Here’s a final note from the “when in doubt, shoot the black kid” demographic: “We don’t take kindly to alleged Skittle rustlers in these parts!”.

I’ve got to go bleach my eyeballs now.


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