What is time? While we’re at it, what is justice?


The tale of the (Zimmerman) tape: Dennis Oberbye (no relation) went off the deep end this week, metaphysically and metaphorically speaking.

Once in a while, Science Times lets Overbye do this:
OVERBYE (7/2/13): Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist and philosopher-king of quantum theory, once said that a great truth is a statement whose opposite is also a great truth. This pretty much captured the spirit of those elusive rules that govern the subatomic world, where light can be a wave—no, a particle—well, actually, whatever you need it to be for your particular experiment.

It also seems to me to sum up much of the history of science and philosophy, in which the learned consensus keeps swinging between the yin-and-yang theories of existence: free will and fate, change and eternity, atomicity and continuity.

These bipolar themes have been on my mind lately. This spring the theoretical physicist Lee Smolin published a new book, “Time Reborn,” reopening a debate supposedly settled by Einstein and his acolytes a century ago: whether time is real or an illusion.
According to Oberbye, Smolin reopened a debate about whether time is an illusion. That said, do you have any idea what that question means?

Theoretically, Overbye ought to explain it. By the end of his discussion, we’ll say that he pretty much hasn’t.

Such articles tend to serve an entertainment function. In truth, the reader has no earthly idea what the writer is talking about. Nor is it entirely clear that the writer knows.

That said, people find it fun to pretend to discuss such topics. In the past week, it has been fun to talk on cable about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.

Do the various people discussing this case know what they’re talking about? Some of the pundits are legal professionals. They know much more about courtroom practice that most viewers do.

But some of the people are rubes like us. Given the stakes involved in this case, we’ve been struck by the number of people who are willing to discuss its nuances despite th3e clear indication that they don’t have any real idea what they’re talking about.

Please understand—such people will often know which scripts are favored on their particular channel. But sometimes, we get the impression that this is all they know.

We’ve spent chunks of the past two days transcribing the panel discussion on Monday evening’s All In program. Chris Hayes assembled a three-member panel, one of whom was a criminal defense attorney and a “legal analyst.”

The legal expert seemed to display genuine knowledge at various points. We’d have to say that Hayes himself, and his other two guests, may have been winging it a bit.

The discussion covered two segments, totaling twelve minutes. In many ways, this was the most intriguing discussion of this case we’ve watched in the past two weeks.

We may post our thoughts about this discussion as early as tomorrow. Tomorrow, though, is a holiday—the Fourth of July, which is being observed on July 4 this year.

You might want to watch this twelve-minute discussion. Do these people know what they’re talking about? Or are they handing you a script, driven along by the new showmanship Hayes admits he is crafting?

Given the stakes involved in this case, we’ve been surprised by a great deal of what we’ve seen on cable. We’ve been amazed by Marcia Clark and by both Lisa Blooms.

If you care about the evolution of our new liberal media, we think the Hayes panel is well worth watching. To watch the first segment, just click here.

For segment two, click this.

Yes, you heard that correctly: Yes, you heard that correctly! At one point in the first segment, Professor Dyson complains that Zimmerman “switches to a Hitchcockian Vertigo” in a discussion with the police, which means that he “switched genres.”

We're not saying he didn't do that. All in all, we're just saying!


  1. Well, at least he got the Director of the Movie right.

  2. That was extremely disturbing, particularly the part where Chris Hayes states that even if George Zimmerman's story about what happened is true, that he may not have been justified morally in defending himself. If not under those circumstances, then when?

    1. When, and only when, his attacker is white.

  3. The propaganda machine has been pumping crap at you for a long time.
    Glad to see someone with enough intellectual honesty on the Left to stop swallowing it.

  4. Would the Zimmerman haters' minds be changed if Martin were found with items stolen from one of the homes in the area and it was determined he had just left that home minutes before, when Zimmy first spotted him?

    One wonders, given how frequently they emphasize "unarmed" and "doing nothing wrong" as if those are relevant factors.

    It doesn't make a lick of difference legally or ethically that there is no evidence Martin committed or was about to commit a crime that night. Zimmerman did nothing wrong.

  5. George Zimmerman gave up any claim of self defense the second he got out of his truck and started walking because that could have caused Trayvon Martin to feel threatened.

    1. AnonymousJuly 3, 2013 at 9:16 PM seems to say that it was reasonable for Travon Martin to feel threatened, because Zimmerman was walking. I don't agree. If Travon Martin had shot Z to death, would he have had a valid claim of self-defense, simply because Z was walking. I don't think so.

      Furthermore, Rachel Jeantel's testimony of how Martin reacted to being followed by Z doesn't indicate that Martin felt threatened. And, Martin's action of verbally accosting Z is inconsistent with feeling threatened. If he felt threatened, he could have returned to his residence after Z lost sight of him.

    2. Tried to tell you Anonymous, the dummies can't see those invisible [sarcasm] tags...

  6. If Zimmerman took the stand and said "I thought he was suspicious because he was black, I followed him, and then I walked up to him and said you are an asshole punk," and the jury believed Martin then slugged him, threw him to the ground, and beat him causing him to reasonably fear bodily injury or death, they would be required to acquit.

    You might not like the fact that you aren't legally permitted to punch someone in response to offensive words but whoever taught Trayvon Martin he was is most responsible for his death.

  7. The late, great Undercover Black Man on Michael Eric Dyson's chicanery.


  8. The one man on the program says "It's a perfect storm of all that is bad." which could be said of the program itself.

  9. Hopefully the combination of stupidity + racism on the part of Trayvon's champions doesn't lead to a conviction. That would be yet another travesty of justice for Mr. Zimmerman, in addition to the two he has suffered, being forced by Martin to kill a person, and then facing charges for defending himself.

  10. How much time did Martin have to avoid Zimmerman?

    2:09 minutes into the call GZ leaves his car after telling dispatcher "he's running."

    18 seconds later, at 2:27 minutes, GZ whispers his frustration about punks like Martin, and says "OK" when told he isn't needed to follow Martin after saying TM is headed toward back entrance.

    2:40 GZ states "he ran"

    GZ chats on the phone with the dispatcher from that point on (never catching sight of Martin before the end of the call at 4:05 minutes)

    3:41 GZ says "1150...crap I don't want to give it out I don't know where this kid is" after dispatcher asked for his home address

    4:00 after discussion of addresses and where to meet GZ, phone call ends

    TM's father's condo was 80 yards from GZ's car, where he "ran" from.

    The average speed for a 12 year old to run the 100 yard dash is 12 seconds.

    TM had 1:56 seconds to reach his father's place but obviously made no attempt to do so because he was filled with ill will, malice, spite, and hatred for the "cracker" he wanted to teach a lesson to.

    1. And so the BS from Z hero worshippers continues. You tell us that Martin was mandated to lead a stalker to his lodging and the lone 12 year old there, but that somehow your heroic armed vigilante Z was astute in his cowardice that someone might overhear him give his own address.

      And you tell us the fact that Z said "OK" about not following Martin was to his credit and supersedes the fact that he actually did continue after Martin, then concocted a lie to cover it up.

      And you (or an exact facsimile) tells us we should sympathize with Z for being forced by the person he needlessly killed to kill a person.

      Grow up. Learn to think. You are at pre-school level.

    2. Because believing someone is not guilty of murder is the same as worshipping them.

    3. Zimmerman came up with his cover story about "looking for an address" at lightning speed. He's just that brilliant.

      Zimmerman isn't required to earn his right to self defense by being courageous enough not to whisper his address.

      Whether Zimmerman is a hero or not depends on what Martin was up to that night. We don't know the significance of the piece of awning or burglary tool found near the site of Martin's attack on Zimmerman.

      Martin had more than enough time to make it home in the rain before Zimmerman ever stepped out of his car but he wanted a closer look.

  11. But you have to admit that that scene in Vertigo where the guy says "you got me" is pretty unforgettable!

  12. Bottom line -- no matter how "dissed" you feel, don't decide to beat the living shit out of a man who has no means of escape while he's screaming for help, and your chances of being shot will dramatically decrease.

  13. Second bottom line -- if you want to avoid being charged with 2nd degree murder for successfully defending yourself against an attack by a black male, make sure your last name is not, and I cannot stress this enough, NOT something like "Zimmerman."