International Cat Speculators Since 2006

Legal Insurrection reminds us that it’s been 5 years since the George Zimmerman verdict.

They helpfully include a list of “myth buster” posts they did at the time. It’s dismaying and depressing how so many of these myths are still prevalent.

Zimmerman Trial Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman disobey police orders to stay in car? A: No. 

Zimmerman Trial Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman “Chase Down” a Fleeing Martin? A: No.

Zimmerman Trial Myth Busters: Did Zimmerman really “racially profile” Martin? A: No.

Zimmerman Prosp. Juror E7: “no conclusions,” but posted on pro-Trayvon, anti-Zimmerman site containing threat against Zimmerman

ZIMMERMAN TRIAL BLOCKBUSTER — TRANSCRIPT — Eyewitness Good: Black guy in black hoodie on top punching down Mixed Martial Arts style

Evidentiary Flashback: Investigator Serino Tells FBI He Was Pressured to Bring Charges

Investigator Chris Serino Demoted to Patrolman by Superiors

Implosion: Police Testify Trayvon’s Father Originally Denied Son Was Screaming

Breaking – Jury will not get to see Trayvon fighting texts

Mid-Day 4 — West’s Cross-Examination of Rachel Jeantel

The Zimmerman Files: Aggregated day-by-day live coverage & analysis

Lies About Zimmerman Trial Just Keep Coming

Of course, I summarised their coverage at the time, by creating an index of the witnesses and how Andrew Branca reported them.

Then there is, Patterico’s analysis of Zimmerman’s 911 calls and how the media tried to make these evidence of wrongdoing and the fact that Zimmerman’s then wife was actually prosecuted for perjury because she said “I don’t know how much money is in the paypal account I don’t control”. It’s astonishing how widespread the lies and dishonesty surrounding this case were – and still are. Why on earth would you prosecute someone for “lying to the court” like that? It’s astonishingly unjustified and totally vindictive, especially compared to the way the prosecution

  • “forgot” to hand over evidence
  • when discovered, fought requests for evidence to the appeal courts
  • created a black-and-white photo of Zimmerman’s injuries,
  • continually implied that the law required not just actual harm, but serious harm before self defense applies
  • tried to use emotional reactions to undermine forensic experts

I note my final paragraph on the latter post.

Indeed, at this point one is left wondering how the lawyers involved can continue this charade. Do they honestly think that this level of dishonesty won’t get them kicked out of the legal profession?

How naive of me.

In the last 5 years I’ve argued a few people on this case on Twitter. Two incidents stand out:

  1. Someone tried to tell me a “witness 26” testified to some blatant racism on Zimmerman’s part. There was no such witness, and of course all the witnesses were named. Assuming these were witnesses interviewed as part of the investigation, their testimony must have been utterly useless, as several witnesses that did make it into the trial were laughably un-credible.
  2. Someone tried to tell me that the forensic expert used by the defense, the late Dr Vincent Di Maio, had somehow been outed as a fraud. In reality, he was one one the foremost forensic experts in the world, near the end of his career.

What’s really sad is how this entire thing ruined Zimmerman. I keep getting told how he’s been arrested so many times now, has associated with people who are clearly racist.

My reply is always the same: if you have 2 death threats per minute, after being cleared in one of the most one-sided trials ever, how is that going to affect your life? If you get told by everyone that you’re a racist, who are you going to end up gravitating to?

Zimmerman and the people around him had their lives turned upside down, by people who didn’t care about the truth.

Well, I care. I hope that’s something.


Elon Musk does not appreciate criticism it seems.

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, the CEO of several high-profile American companies, broadcast to his 22 million social media followers on Sunday an unfounded and disparaging claim about an expert caver who criticized a miniature submarine he made.

Musk attacked Vernon Unsworth, who helped in the rescue mission that saved 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooding Thai cave.

He called Unsworth, a British caver, who lives in Thailand, a “pedo” or pedophile in a now-deleted tweet. The unfounded claim came after Unsworth called Musk’s miniature sub a “PR stunt.”

When I saw Musk launch a car(!!!!) into orbit atop his Falcon Heavy, I was blown away. We seemed to be entering a new era of space travel – maybe soon we will see regular manned flights to the moon.

But for all his impressive achievements, Musk has a lot of projects which aren’t quite so impressive. And his reaction here is going to make a lot of people take a second look at his achievements.

For example, the Hyperloop. Thunderf00t has several videos on the technology, and it turns out to be an incredibly bad idea. And of course, while his Tesla cars are great, his production problems don’t seem to be going away any time soon.

Maybe more engineering, and less ego is in order.



Hey, looks like the blog is still here. Didn’t even need remember my password.

Maybe I’ll start posting again.

I’ve had a rest and a break for a few years. Things that have happened while I’ve been gone:

  1. WordPress changed it’s interface a bit.
  2. National won an election on election night but lost in the negotiation… along with most of NZ by the looks
  3. People started talking about “safe spaces”, and “trigger warnings” have gone from being something you only saw on the most ridiculous feminist blogs to being fairly common (on University campuses anyway) to something mocked and derided.
  4. The number of “genders” has ballooned, and no one is actually prepared to say how many there might be.
  5. I attended a course on writing better. It didn’t take much.
  6. Trump decided to run for president and was elected.
  7. Hillary didn’t become president
  8. The world went crazy, we seem to be in the middle of the biggest mass-hysteria event in history, by several orders of magnitude.
  9. I became less partisan… sort of.
  10. Gateway Pundit, a blog I used as a source until I realised the guy didn’t care one whit about the truth, became rather large.
  11. A lot of the people I used to follow on twitter joined me in not liking Trump, then split into two camps – “better than Hillary” and “go away”. Like literally – two have blocked me in the last couple of days
  12. Jordan Peterson, and misrepresenting him, became a thing
  13. I did a big overseas trip to… not telling, but it was totally epic.
  14. Scott Adams become the best person in the world at predicting and explaining the actions of the US president, something no one else seems to grasp
  15. I became a big you-tube user. Not all politics either – everything from engineering and science to history and audio-books. Also, this guy. I mean, it was one of those phone apps which I threw into a big of stuff I never used… and then suddenly it became one of my most-used apps.
  16. I’ve followed hogewash pretty much, and the lawsuits that have happened there. Some interesting stuff, and at times you have to despair about the courts.
  17. I’ve commented from time-to-time on Kiwiblog. It’s not what it used to be, but I still find some good insights there now and then.

Well, we’ll see what happens from here.

A few years ago, I did a compilation of many NZ bloggers’ position on the political spectrum here. It’s been a while, so I think I should start out by updating it.

That survey used a odd-ball quiz, so this time, make sure you use Political Compass test.
Flick a comment on this post, and/or email me.

Looks like I’ve moved towards the center in the last 9 years.

Your Political Compass

Economic Left/Right: 3.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: 2.41

personalised chart


Here’s a few examples I’ve seen over the last few days of behaviour I simply don’t get.

Firstly, there’s this response (one example, there are thousands of others) to one obscure, self-appointed pastor of a house church telling a single gay man to go away and commit suicide:


One person who claims membership acts out? Kill the lot of them and steal their money (quick, before they use it to help the poor or something)!

Oh, there are a few more examples, and some good comments on the accountability of pastors to their denomination over at Glenn Peoples’ blog.

I imagine this conversation:

Non-Christian: I’m really upset at this abusive email, it’s not cChristian

Christian: I agree, and I don’t know any Christians who don’t.

Non-Christian: Oh, so I’m actually agreeing with the church here. Huh, ok. Well I guess we all agree then. Hm, maybe this is some sort of media beat-up? Hey, isn’t this guy trying to sell a book?

Christian: Yes, that does seem to be in the article.

Non-Christian: Oh, but what about Brian Tamaki? Did you hear he scattered money all over the place for some reason?

Christian: Yes. He’s a proponent of the prosperity gospel. It’s rejected by pretty much everyone too. Except of course those who use it to make money.

Non-Christian: Oh. I had no idea. So all these people condemning him are also agreeing with the mainstream Christian position.

Christian: Yes, and the funniest thing is that they’re claiming the moral high ground over christians because of it.

Anyway, moving on…

I saw the name Giovanni Tiso on Whale Oil, and decided to google it. Turns out he’s the writer beind a blog who hates Whale, because you know, Whale’s mean. Karl du Fresne weighs in:

One is that he implies she’s a sociopath. Tiso quotes a line from her column – “They are both advancing a political cause” (a reference to Hager and Cameron Slater) – and then adds: “And if you think that, you’re a sociopath”. I’ve read this several times and don’t see how it can be construed as meaning anything other than that Clifton is a sociopath, which my dictionary defines as “someone affected by any of various personality disorders characterised by asocial or antisocial behaviour”.

But hang on. What happened when I took a poke at Tiso in this blog, using a similar rhetorical device against him? (I said he shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a minder, and suggested someone should adjust his medication.) He howled that I was being cruel – “vile” was his exact word – because he had a daughter with an intellectual disability, which he claimed (wrongly) I was aware of. Then he had the gall to whimper about people being unpleasant and indulging in ad hominem arguments.  Well, hello.

Let’s get this straight then: it’s okay for Tiso to call a respected columnist a sociopath because he doesn’t like her take on the Dirty Politics affair, but it’s mean and horrid to suggest that he might be a bit doolally himself. That’s taking unfair advantage.

Thing is with Whale is, he’s not ashamed to be a drag-it-out-and-knock-it-down sort of guy. He knows what it is, and he knows that people disapprove (seriously, what’s with the people who think he doesn’t know that?). It’s the people who claim to be appalled at such behaviour, but can’t maintain their own standards that get to me.

Another thing that I don’t get is the people who are just outraged when people don’t lie down and agree to everything they say. Here’s an example today via Instapundit:

Assertions of injustice by young men are infuriating to some. Caroline Heldman, an associate professor of politics at Occidental College and co-founder of End Rape on Campus, said of the men who are turning to the courts, “These lawsuits are an incredible display of entitlement, the same entitlement that drove them to rape.”

Note, this is in the context of people who’ve been found by colleges to have raped, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

The article the quote is from is (as he says) very long, but well worth your time. There’s some seriously messed up stuff going on in US colleges. Like the guy who’s room-mate face-booked that he was sick of the noise, but the final report said the room-mate was asleep at the time.

Speaking of messed up colleges, check out these pretty flowers:

Columbia University has allowed law school students who feel they suffered trauma from two high-profile grand jury decisions to postpone taking their final exams, the school’s interim dean Robert Scott wrote in a message to students this weekend.

“The law school has a policy and set of procedures for students who experience trauma during exam period,” reads Scott’s message, according to the blog PowerLine.

“In accordance with these procedures and policy, students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled,” Scott continued, citing a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown in August as well as a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for using a chokehold which killed 43-year-old Eric Garner in July.

While people may disagree with the decision, if you consider something that distant to you that upsetting, how on earth do you hope to be a competent lawyer? How are you going to cope when you lose in court?

Finally, check out this face:


Apparently, that’s the fact a senior Democratic party official makes when the conservative she’s been slandering suddenly walks in the door and mildly asks for her to correct the record!

Me, I’d not have lied in the first place but hey, I’m pedantic like that. Seriously, I have a bad tendency to tell long stories about how exactly something happened rather than tell a much shorter, but less accurate version. But regardless of whether you’re like me or not, saying someone is a convicted felon when they’re not isn’t cool.

A good summary of Little

Saw this on Kiwiblog just now.

Too be fair, I think we under-estimate Andrew Little at our peril.

Sure, he’s a charisma free zone. And he can’t win his own electorate. And I don’t want a Prime Minister who’s a dour grump.

But he’s got a lot more backbone and determination than his last 3 predecessors. Goff is a conniving back-stabber who wasn’t trusted by his caucus. Shearer is a mumbler who didn’t have enough experience in the House to be leader. And Cunliffe is an out-and-out fantasist and egotist.

Little won’t be talked into holding up dead fish in the house. And he doesn’t have a big swelled head that will turn people off. He’s not smarmy.

What I expect he will do is smack heads together at Labour HQ, strong-arm the dead wood into leaving, and put some structure and consistency into areas like policy.

The writer goes on to suggest that he won’t be able to unite the factions. That, I disagree with. Little has made a solid start, and that’s going to attract support and unity. No one in Labour wants a repeat of the last two elections, and I strongly suspect that a few egos will be kept under control while the party gets back into power.

This wee lad isn’t yet 5 but he’s spent “months” in pain.

A Christchurch dentist’s last-minute change of heart has spared a preschooler six months of “excruciating” tooth pain.

Zander Loper, 4, had been waking up at night screaming in pain …

He was facing a six-month wait for two fillings at Christchurch Hospital, where the procedure could be done with an anaesthetist.

However, after inquiries from Fairfax Media, he was admitted for treatment at Halswell Dental Centre.

“It’s so hard to see your child in pain,” Zander’s mother Ingrid Loper said.

“Why should you have to wait that long to get a simple procedure done?”

About a week ago, Zander was in “excruciating pain” and had to be admitted at the hospital for a night, Loper said.

The doctor prescribed ibuprofen and antibiotics three times a day and codeine for when the pain became unbearable.

“I’m not happy about giving my kid that amount of medication every day,” she said.

When Loper complained to the hospital dentist, she was told there were worse cases on the list, such as “kids with teeth falling out and children having to be on pain relief constantly”.

Halswell Dental Centre treated Zander earlier this year. They gave him a liquid sedative to extract one of his teeth.

Manager Andrea Campbell said Zander had spat out some of the liquid. He was still sedated enough for the procedure to go ahead but had been agitated.

Sounds all very well, but the real problem is that the kid is… well, a brat.

When he needed a filling, the dental centre tried to do an X-ray but he would not sit still.

The dentist said he would need an anaesthetist and referred Zander to the hospital.

The quality of parenting in this country is appalling, and getting worse at an alarming rate. It’s tempting to blame this on the anti-smacking law, but that only exacerbated an already bad situation.

In this case, we have a child that won’t sit still for the 3 minutes needed for a simple x-ray, leading to fairly serious consequences. A child should be able to sit still for considerably longer than that. It appears that the parent in this situation is more interested in decrying the behaviour of the adults involved – which is curious, because I’ll bet that anyone who could study through a dentist’s degree could sit still considerably longer than 3 minutes when they were 4 years old.

Can’t get much more ridiculous than this.

Politifact, the heavily left-leaning political fact-checking oufit, has truly outdone itself.  The organization crowned President Obama as the 2013 recipient of its annual “lie of the year” designation for his tireless efforts to mislead Americans about being able to keep their existing healthcare plans under Obamacare.  While richly deserved, the decision came as a bit of a surprise because Politifact had rated that exact claim as “half true” in 2012, and straight-up “true” in 2008 (apparently promises about non-existent bills can be deemed accurate).  When Republicans leveled accurate criticisms against Obamacare, they were slapped down by America’s most partisan alleged arbiter of “facts:”

The problem with predicting doom is, sooner or later people are going to notice the lack of doom.

One reason the rhetoric has become so overheated is that the climate-change activists increasingly lack a scientific basis for their most exaggerated claims. As physicist Gordon Fulks of the Cascade Policy Institute puts it: “CO2 is said to be responsible for global warming that is not occurring, for accelerated sea-level rise that is not occurring, for net glacial and sea-ice melt that is not occurring . . . and for increasing extreme weather that is not occurring.” He points out that there has been no net new global-warming increase since 1997 even though the human contribution to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by 25 percent since then. This throws into doubt all the climate models that have been predicting massive climate dislocation.

It’s probable that man has warmed the planet some. It might even be that we’ve completely ruined the planet.

But even if we have, any plan to fix it has to be realistic. And that’s where the science ends and the politics starts – you’ve got to find something that fixes the problem without creating bigger problems in other spheres (e.g. doesn’t plunge the world into war or poverty).

And for all the work that’s gone into the science, the politics is total crap. Because all the guys you see in these rallies are not scientists, they’re political activists. They’ll line up and sign a petition to stop supporting oil companies, then they’ll jump in their car and drive home – while the leaders hop in their private planes instead.

… and Wikipedia is refusing to publish it.

Which brings us to l’affaire de Tyson. Neil Tyson, a prominent popularizer of science (he even has his own television show) was recently found to have repeatedly fabricated multiple quotes over several years. The fabrications were not a one-off thing. They were deliberate and calculated, crafted with one goal in mind: to elevate Tyson, and by extension his audience, at the expense of know-nothing, knuckle-dragging nutjobs who hate science. Tyson targeted journalists, members of Congress, even former President George W. Bush. And what was their crime? They were guilty of rejecting science, according to Tyson.

There’s only one problem. None of the straw man quotes that Tyson uses to tear them down are real. The quote about the numerically illiterate newspaper headline? Fabricated. The quote about a member of Congress who said he had changed his views 360 degrees? It doesn’t exist. That time a U.S. president said “Our God is the God who named the stars” as a way of dividing Judeo-Christian beliefs from Islamic beliefs? It never happened.

I didn’t realise before that Tyson is a friend of Richard Dawkins. I guess that makes more sense then.

But seriously, how stupid do you have to be to make up a quote in this day and age? I mean, he was trying to make George W look stupid, since when did you need to fabricate a quote to do that?

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