Rachel Maddow may have gotten it right!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 23, 2013

A fascinatingly naked challenge in the Tarheel State: In the past few years, the analysts have had quite a few complaints about Rachel Maddow’s work.

We can’t really say they’re wrong, especially when they complain about the mugging, the clowning, the all too frequent thumb on the scale and the constant pretense, widely swallowed by viewers, that Maddow loves to correct her mistakes, which she plainly doesn’t.

We often fight back against the analysts, noting that Maddow covers some important topics, like voting rights out in the states and state restrictions on abortion rights. In the end, the analysts usually win, but we do put up a good fight.

That said, we strongly recommend last night’s program about newly restrictive voting procedures in North Carolina. No, we haven’t fact-checked the program, and you know our motto with Maddow:

“Trust but verify. After that, check again!”

Last night, Maddow was live and direct from the Tarheel State, speaking with local figures who seemed reliable. In our view, the best part of the program came when she walked the lonesome highway Appalachian State students may now have to walk if they intend to vote.

Maddow was accompanied on her 50-mile hike by Mollie Clawson, president of the Appalachian State College Democrats. We thought we saw Machu Picchu in the background at one point, though we weren’t entirely sure.

To watch this segment, just click here. But you can pretty much get the gist just by reading the transcript. Assuming this isn’t some sort of a con, this attempt to make voting very hard for college students seems remarkably naked:
MADDOW (8/22/13): Voting is supposed to be easy, so more people can exercise their right to do it. So where did the local board of elections decide to reroute all those thousands of voters in Boone, North Carolina, to do their voting?

They rerouted them down this long road that doesn’t have a sidewalk, which is nowhere near a bus stop. But which does exist in vague proximity to a bus route which uses the smallest buses they have in the local transit system. It’s called the gold line. Check it out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAWSON: The bus will pick up from the library circle every 30 minutes, and it’s about halfway down the route. So from the route to the library circle, and from the library circle, is about 15 minutes each. If there’s too many people on the bus and they can’t accommodate the students, they’ll leave the students behind. And you know, depending on my school schedule, depending on when I can catch the bus, it can make it really difficult for me even to get on the bus, you know, let alone other students as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Good luck getting a seat. You want to see the bus schedule for the route that takes you to the voting place? Ta-da! It’s down there in the corner. Welcome to the small print part of step one of the new, dangerous, million-step process we have newly instituted for you to exercise the right that used to be really easy. Let me emphasize, though, even if you do get on that bus, the bus stop closest to the new mega-precinct for 9,000-something people is not at the mega-precinct exactly. Oh, whoops, there it is! That’s it, bye! Hey, stop the bus!

So, wear some sturdy shoes, intrepid voters. You’re going to need them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAWSON: Got to be careful. This right here, this median or shoulder, actually, I’m sorry, is the sidewalk. There is no other place to walk, so it’s either this median, or this shoulder or the tall grass. This is not a sidewalk at all. You see here we actually have to step on the road. And my shoes I’m wearing would not work with this at all.

It’s really not in good condition. It puts me very close to the road. And it’s pretty much just not a good place to walk at all. I can currently put my feet forward and that’s it. And it’s getting smaller as we go.

Yes, this is Agricultural Conference Center right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

CLAWSON: And do note that, if you look, how small the parking lot is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Yes, parking. Be advised the Ag Center where you’ll have to vote, you 9000-plus voters, your new voting locale has roughly 30 parking spaces. And because it’s going to be the only place in Boone to vote, about 20 of those 30 parking places will be taken up by the election workers. So maybe be ready to hover for a while I guess while you’re missing class and/or work?
We recommend that you watch the whole program. Assuming no major con is involved, we’re looking at a remarkably naked attempt to roll back voter turn-out among groups which tend to vote for Democrats—in this case, students at Appalachian State.

Did Maddow get it right last night? Others have noted the restrictive new rules enacted by North Carolina’s new Republican majorities. If the new procedures are really this absurd, they create an intriguing challenge for progressives in general, but especially for Maddow, who works the voter restriction beat.

How do progressives make average people see that this shouldn’t be the way the society functions? Maddow is technically bright, but she’s also culturally tribal. Outreach to regular people isn’t likely to be her strong suit.

How do progressives convince regular people that this isn’t the way the society should function? Last night, Maddow put an unusually naked attempt at vote suppression on display.

She’ll have no trouble convincing the tribe that these are very bad procedures. How do progressives meet the challenge of talking to regular people, including the people we love to denounce, often quite dumbly, as being so much like the Klan?

87 comments:

  1. Here's an argument FWIW attempting to justify the state's action.

    Rightly or wrongly, NC just changed its law so that students living on campus cannot use their campus address for voting. Of course, they can still vote at their home address or by absentee ballot.

    Since the students living on campus won't be allowed to vote there, there's less need for a polling place on campus.

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    1. I guess you'd think it was an no big deal if New Jersey, on a state's rights platform, decided students should vote at casino's since the chances of their getting a job after graduation are no more than a crap shoot.

      Then it would be OK for the students as Fairly Dickensian University where you used to teach to trundle from Hackensack to Atlantic City to vote at Trump's place.

      FWIW last election I spent the day as a judge in a precinct in the main hall of a community college campus. You know who could vote there? Anybody registered in the whole damn county of 750,000 + people.

      rick

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    2. David? Once again, you have no idea what this story is about, and you aren't even going to bother to find out.

      You have once more made a complete ass out of yourself by ass/u/ming without even bothering to watch the story.

      No, it is not about North Carolina changing residency requirements for students to vote.

      It is about North Carolina election boards systematically closing on-campus polling locations that have been in place for years, and doing their utmost to make even early voting as hard as they can in college towns.

      You should also know that North Carolina can't change residency requirements for students without changing them for everyone else in the state. You should know that, but you don't.

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    3. AnonymousAugust 23, 2013 at 5:29 PM -- this article indicates that there will be an appeal to the state's decision to bar the use of dorms as residences for purposes of voting. However, they sure did make that decision.

      Gilbert argues that Elizabeth City State University students who live in campus dorms have not established residency for the purpose of voting. He contends a dorm room occupied for only part of the year is a temporary residence, and the county elections board, controlled by Republicans, agreed in a 2-1 vote on Aug. 13 to bar King from the city ballot. The chairman was expected to sign the order on Monday, opening a 48-hour window for appeal to the state Board of Elections.

      Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/19/3120626/county-elections-boards-in-nc.html#storylink=cpy

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    4. D in C, Republicans all over the country where they are in control, with naked cynicism, are changing the laws for no other purpose than discouraging groups that lean democraticaly, from voting. Are you ok with that?

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    5. AC / MAAugust 23, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      It depends on which law changes you're referring to. I can't agree with the NC logic that a college dorm can't qualify as someone's residence.

      OTOH I have no problem with requiring picture IDs. There is a certain amount of voting fraud. And, picture IDs are widely required for many other purposes. The argument against picture IDs is weak and racist IMHO. It amounts to claiming that black people are too dumb and too lazy to get free picture ID cards.

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    6. DC/ Cal

      Seriously, the concern isn't voter fraud, it's a gimmick to limit Democratic votes. You're rationalizing.

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    7. AC/MA, correct me if I am wrong, but there is quite a body of case history behind the question of where college students can register to vote, is there not?

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    8. When I was in college, I would never have thought of voting in the college town, especially not for local elections. Students in the dorms have no real connection to the town but I suppose they can be organized and thats a problem. I certainly would not want them voting in school board/budget elections but whats to stop them if dorms are legal residenes?

      I voted absentee ballot based on my home address on Long Island, not the little town in upstate New York where I went to college. Everyone I know did the same, including students in college today. It seems appropriate rather than students throwing a monkey wrench into local elections.

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    9. That's a good decision for you. It was also a good decision for my daughter who goes to school in Kansas, but wanted to vote in the McCaskill/Aiken race.

      But what if a student is more interested in the politics of where he/she spends nine months to 12 months out of the year? Would you concede that is at least possible?

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  2. Those analysts are cute and endearing. But it's hard to feel sorry for them about the mugging.

    If only they had remembered all those suspicious and menacing behaviors out there they could have availed themselves of their second amendment rights and been protected like George Zimmerman, whether they were following someone to vote, or merely walking back to their car. They could have been doing either. We just don't know.

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  3. Well, well, well, it seems that even Somerby admits that Maddow can do some very important work.

    Just for the record, she's been on the voting rights story for years, and this week, she's been on North Carolina like a pit bull on a bone.

    She began Monday with a very important report about the efforts to suppress the vote in Boone and other college towns in North Carolina, about the effort to deny city council candidacy to an Elizabeth State student who met residency requirements on the books because he didn't meet residency requirements that existed only in the election board's head, and about the growing Moral Mondays movement backlash against all this.

    So what did you have to say about that report? You focused on the first two-minute lead-in about a goofball GOP candidate for mayor of Winston-Salem to advance a favorite and pleasing Somerby tale: "There go those pseudo-liberals, throwing around the R-word again," a word, I might add, Maddow never used.

    But hey, apparently Somerby Readers Get Results! Here you are, kicking and screaming, admitting that yes, this is a very important story. Of course, not without the wiggly, "Assuming this isn’t some sort of a con,"

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    1. Why can't those lazy college kids just hitch a ride to the polls with a tow truck operator.

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    2. Because if the tow truck operator gets frustrated and uses the n-word, Bob and his Tribe will call the student racist for being offended by it.

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    3. Bogus, Anon5:06. No suggested that voter suppression wasn't a story. The argument was that the Knox story was not a logical preface to it.

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    4. That was your argument, Cecelia.

      Bob's was, "There they to with the R-word" He never breathed a word about the rest of the story.

      And you know what? Do this date, neither have you, despite your claim that you watched it.

      It was one hell of a story about an extremely important issue, and all you and Bob ever saw of it was the first two minutes.



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    5. What do you think it means to say the Knox bit was not a logical prelude to a voter disenfranchisement story?

      If you'd have followed me you'd know that I thought it was an opportunity for her to link a lone wolf racist to the local GOP.

      It was a highly selective story that was told for just that purpose.

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    6. I did indeed watch the linked segment of Maddow.

      Delete
    7. But all you can talk about, then and now, is the two-minute Knox lead-in.

      Even Somerby has finally backed off that narrative-serving angle.

      Delete
    8. I mentioned it because an Anon illogically stated that a blog on Knox equaled apathy on the issue of disenfranchisement.

      You're still doing that, and continuing it doesn't make you any more correct or any less illogical.

      Delete
    9. Wrong, Cecelia. I accused Bob of advancing a narrative by focusing only on the first two minutes of a very important 15-minute segment and cherry-picking out of that only what would advance his narrative about "pseudo-liberals" and the "R-word."

      And even that two minutes weren't exactly what Bob told us it was.

      As far as that being "apathy," I don't know. Hard to read minds and come up with motivations. All I know was that the first 2 minutes were far more important then to Somerby that the 13 minutes that followed.

      At least, until now.

      Delete
    10. What you did, Anon8:19am is to argue that since Somerby's topic was only about Maddow's lead-in to the voter disenfranchising story, this means he is comparatively apathetic to that issue.

      That is a non sequitur.

      Delete
    11. Well, let's play the CeciliMc game. Since I never used the word "apathetic" you are totally, utterly, completely wrong.

      I did wonder why Somerby -- or you even to this point -- didn't seem to be much interested in the rest of Maddow's report once he cherry-picked the part that he thought (mistakenly) would advance his very pleasing (to him and his own Tribe) and oft-repeated tale of pseudo-liberals throwing around the R-word whenever race is discussed on TDH.

      Now if I were more like Somerby, I would look at today's post and crow: "Sombery Combox Gets Results!"

      But I won't even do that. All I will state is the obvious. After continuing to watch what Maddow is reporting, even he finally has to admit, however grudgingly, that she "may" be onto something extremely important and well worth digging into.



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  4. Is the local board of elections in a non-dem enclave?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, with a GOP governor elected.

      You'd know that if you had been following the story.

      Delete
    2. I'm talking about the city of Boone in the county of Watauga.

      I take it that it is a college town that is not a Dem enclave.

      Delete
  5. For those wondering how all the county boards in NC could be GOP controlled, all the boards are appointed by the state board of elections which, thanks to the fact we have a Republican governor is Republican controlled. It then appoints local boards (3 member) with 2 gop members and 1 dem member.

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    1. Thanks for that info, Anon6:49.

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    2. Yes, thanks, Anon. I knew that because I have been paying attention to this story from Missouri because it is so damned important to all of us. Or should be.

      But apparently for others . . .

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    3. You've already just been proved wrong over your presumption that Somerby wasn't interested in voter disenfranchisement because he thinks evoking Knox was an r-word opportunity.

      Stop while you're just ten feet behind.

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    4. Oh, I forgot! Way back last Tuesday, he really, really DID talk about the entire Maddow report and not the first two minutes!

      And here he is on Friday, after Maddow has spent the entire week on this story, grudgingly admitting that she "may" be right and is onto something!

      Boy, oh boy! That sure proves me "wrong" and you "right."


      Delete
  6. So, the "analysts" have been tough on Maddow, and our fearless leader Bob has fought back against those analysts? That must have been the same day that Bob agreed that it was bad to assume someone walking in the rain, talking on a cell phone was an evil threat, and needed to be stalked and taken out.

    I missed those posts.

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    1. Actually, he argued that Zimmerman stated under oath that Martin was looking into windows and such... and so what happened wasn't as cut and dried as you suggest.

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    2. CeceliaMc,

      Really? Where did Bob make that argument? Zimmerman never stated anything under oath.

      Delete
    3. Zimmerman was deposed. A defendant is generally under oath then.

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    4. Actually, Zimmerman made a sworn statement.

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    5. CeceliaMc,

      Please give me a pointer to the transcript of Zimmerman's deposition. I may have to stand corrected, but I don't think defendants in criminal cases are deposed. Zimmerman didn't testify at either his bond hearing or at his trial, so I don't know when he would have made a sworn statement.

      But I could be wrong. When was Zimmerman under oath?

      Delete
    6. Defendants can certainly deposed. I had assumed that he was, but it looks like he made a sworn statement.

      Delete
    7. CeceliaMc

      I'm a lawyer. Defendants (or plaintiffs or witnesses) can be deposed in civil cases under the rules of civil procedure. There are no rules under the rules of criminal procedure by which defendants can be deposed under oath or otherwise.

      Delete
    8. CeceliaMc,

      OK, so there was no deposition, right? Can you point me to this "sworn statement" that Zimmerman supposedly made?

      'Cause I don't think there's one of those either.

      Delete
    9. Interesting, AC/MA, because everything I've read says that a defendant can be deposed as long as he agrees to it.

      He can't be compelled to incriminate himself, and can plead the fifth.

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcrmp/rule_15

      Delete
    10. http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/01/justice/zimmerman-trial-updates

      [Updated at 12:26 p.m.]
      Zimmerman's signed his sworn written statement.


      Delete
    11. CeceliaMc,

      After you provided the evidence I requested for your claim, It may seem churlish of me to give you a failing grade, but alas, I must. You have relied on CNN, and also, alas, they have misled you. Here's the evidence we want:

      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/06/22/us/21george-zimmerman-transcript.html?_r=0

      This is a copy of Z's written statement, and there's a box on every page with lines for two signatures. Under the first, is printed "Signature of person making statement." Z's signature appears on the first line. Below the second line is printed "Law Enforcement Officer or Notary." There's a scrawl on that line, presumably the interrogating officer, and above his signature is printed "Sworn to and subscribed before me" with a line for the date. What that last means is "The person identified by the first signature is reliably known to be by the name he signed, and he signed it in my presence." In other words, the cop or the notary is attesting that the signatory is who he claims and that he made the statement. It does not mean that the person making the statement signed the statement under oath. THat kind of statement is called an affidavit, and it contains a separate formula at its top. Something like "Before me, the undersigned notary public, this day, personally, appeared George Zimmerman to me known, who being duly sworn according to law, deposes the following:" Emphasis mine. Nothing like that appears in Zimmerman's signed statement.

      Such sworn statements in trials are called "testimonial," in that they are out-of-court stand-ins for trial testimony. They must be solemnly affirmed (e.g, by oath), and bear directly on the actions of the defendant. All out-of-court statements made by the defendant are automatically considered non-testimonial, and essentially are treated as hearsay. The bottom line is that George Zimmerman never made a statement under oath, no matter what CNN says.

      For extra credit, I'll leave it for you to figure out why defendants' statements are non-testimonial, and how Zimmerman's (unsworn) statement made it into evidence.

      Delete
    12. CeceliaMc,

      Rule 15 is about deposing witnesses, not defendants. Be careful quoting the FRCP for state trials. The "F" stands for "Federal." All states have their own rules, although I believe they hew fairly closely to the feds'.

      Delete
    13. deadrat, I know the difference between making a sworn statement and being under oath.

      That's why after saying that I thought he had been deposed, at 9:08pm, I stated, "Actually, Zimmerman made a sworn statement."

      I assumed that you knew the difference, especially when you later stated that you didn't think he had made a sworn statement EITHER.

      Sorry, for that lapse in my judgment, and I'm glad you found a more informative reference. I don't take you as being churlish at all.

      Go in peace.

      Delete
    14. By the way, I didn't see where CNN said that Zimmerman made a statement under oath, so I'm not sure what you mean there.

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    15. I don't recall Bob ever arguing that Zimmerman stated "under oath" anything about "looking into windows". And it's funny but Zimmerman never mentioned anything about Martin "looking into windows" to the dispatcher during his phone call.

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    16. Somerby didn't argue that, I was wrong. I thought Zimmerman had been deposed.

      What Zimmerman said in his police narrative was this:

      "We were instructed by the SPD to call the non-emergency line if we saw anything suspicious & 911 if we saw a crime in progress. Tonight, I was on my way to the grocery store when I saw a male approximately 5’11″ to 6’2″ casually walking in the rain, looking into homes. I pulled my vehicle over and called SPD non-emergency phone "

      http://gzlegalcase.com/documents/statements/written_statement_0226.pdf

      The point was that Somerby had argued the matter was not as cut-and-dried as this:

      AnonymousAugust 23, 2013 at 7:07 PM
      "So, the "analysts" have been tough on Maddow, and our fearless leader Bob has fought back against those analysts? That must have been the same day that Bob agreed that it was bad to assume someone walking in the rain, talking on a cell phone was an evil threat, and needed to be stalked and taken out.

      I missed those posts."

      Somerby did NOT argue that Zimmerman claimed this under oath. My bad.


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    17. CeceliaMc,

      There is no difference between a sworn statement and a statement made under oath. They are both terms for a statement made under the penalty of perjury. There are different types of such statements -- affidavits (recitation of events), depositions (answers to inquiries), applications to effect various governmental actions and so on.

      Zimmerman provided the police with a written statement but not one he swore to. Notwithstanding anything that CNN reported

      Clear now?

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    18. Cecelia,

      Somerby claims that Zimmerman did not call the police because Martin was black or because he was wearing a hoodie. He argues this because Zimmerman doesn't immediately state these facts to the dispatcher when he called.

      Let us pause for a second to consider how that phone call would have sounded.

      "Sanford Police Department"

      "Hello, there's a black kid walking down the street. Send a car right away"

      Not very likely. What we do know is Zimmerman did call the police. How Bob could possibly know the myriad of factors that went through Zimmerman's deluded mind and caused him to call the police is difficult to understand.

      "Did Zimmerman find Martin suspicious because he was wearing a hoodie? Everything is possible, of course, but there is no evidence of that in this case. In real time, as he spoke with the Sanford police, Zimmerman described behavior by Martin which he found suspicious, even menacing. He only mentioned the hoodie when the police dispatcher asked him what Martin was wearing."TDH


      In real time, as Zimmerman spoke with the Sanford police, Zimmerman never mentioned "looking into windows". Because it is very unlikely that Martin was "looking into windows". How do we know this? Because in real time, Martin was walking home talking to a friend on his cell phone. Within the space of a few seconds, Zimmerman states that now Martin is coming to "check me out". How did Martin go so quickly from "looking into windows" to passing Zimmerman sitting in his car? What Martin was actually doing was walking past going in the direction of the house he was staying.

      No, what he stated to the dispatcher, that Martin was "just walking around, looking about", suddenly undergoes a metamorphosis into Martin was "looking into windows" This change occurred shortly after he had committed homicide.


      "Like everyone else, we have no way of knowing what Martin was actually doing that night, if anything, when Zimmerman first observed him."TDH

      Well, we do know for a fact what he was doing. He was walking back to his house talking to a girl friend on his cell phone. So Bob is just full of shit.

      "We don’t know why Zimmerman phoned the police."TDH

      But Bob seems pretty certain that Martin's race and attire that night had nothing to do with it. Because Bob is a mind reader.

      Delete
    19. deadrat, I have confused things by saying "statement under oath" rather than deposition. I thought you were suggesting that I didn't know a sworn statement from a deposition.

      No matter my clumsiness here, bottom line is that I was wrong that Somerby had argued that.

      As for Zimmerman's statement, I'd like to verify that for myself. Right now I have to get ten raggedy fingernails fixed.

      I'll get back with you.

      Delete
    20. CeceliaMc,

      I think you've confused Zimmerman's written statement to the police with a statement under oath, but perhaps you're confused about something else.

      Is that some sort of code or are you really getting a manicure?

      Delete
    21. mm,

      TDH is usually fairly careful about distinguishing what he knows from what he doesn't. What Bob is pretty certain about is that there's no evidence that Martin's race and attire prompted Zimmerman to call 911. This is a far cry from being certain that race and attire played no part.

      You might want to be just as careful. Yes, we know that Martin was walking home and talking to a friend on his cell phone. Beyond that, we have only his phone buddy's hearsay testimony for what else he might have been doing. As TDH says, "if anything."

      Delete
    22. deadrat

      Z did emphasize two points over all else, and those were that TM was not in a hurry and walking in the rain...He made it clear that anyone walking out of doors in the rain was suspicious. That was all he had, and was also why he could not tell the dispatcher that TM was talking on a cell phone, which would have given a good reason to be outside. I live in a city in Florida much larger than Sanford, and I have to go outside to get a good cell signal. And, have you looked at the phone call log? TM and his phone companion were disconnected and had to immediately re-call a number of times, including while Z described what TM was doing. Yet Z would not tell the dispatcher that fact, which would have explained what was happening, just as Z would not explain himself to TM when asked. Z instigated the event but dumbaxxes like yourself let him off.

      Delete
    23. CeceliaMc,

      I can't tell from the transcript of the 911 call what emphasis Zimmerman gives his observations. I submit you can't either, although you've got an entire narrative ready. Zimmerman doesn't mention anyone else but Martin who's walking in the rain, but it's clear he thinks Martin is casing houses. He mentions nothing about Martin's walk, whether hurried or ambling. When Martin starts to run, Zimmerman reports that.

      Jeantel, Zimmerman's phone buddy, reports that he was using a bluetooth headset, so it's no surprise that Zimmerman couldn't tell that Martin was talking on his cell phone. This despite the lack of decent wireless service where you live, and the elaborate narrative you've spun about what Zimmerman wouldn't tell the dispatcher.

      We have no reliable evidence about what happened immediately after the two came face to face. I don' t know whether Zimmerman wouldn't explain himself or whether he was too surprised to come up with an explanation that would have defused things. You don't know either, although you think you do.

      It seems reasonable to assume that Zimmerman's surveillance of Martin prompted the latter to approach the former, but there's nothing illegal or necessarily threatening about following someone in a public place. There's no reliable evidence about who threw the first punch or about the legality of that punch.

      I'm in no position to "let him off." The jury did that. From what I can tell, the state had absolutely no evidence to support 2nd degree murder charges, and the defense had plenty of reasonable doubt to raise about the state's case for manslaughter. For the little it's worth, my opinion is that Martin's family would have a good case for wrongful death if Florida law didn't effectively preclude such a civil suit. I have said that regardless of legal responsibility, I think that anyone who chooses to walk around armed has an ethical duty to train himself to handle confrontation and surprise, a duty that Zimmerman seems to have shirked.

      There is only one "x' in dumbaxe, and I may certainly be one. But I've read the transcripts of the 911 call, I'm familiar with testimony in the trial, I know about Florida law and criminal procedure. And I'm careful to distinguish between what I know and what I don't.

      You, not so much.

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    24. deadrat, you're confusing me with Anon4:56.

      I didn't write that.

      Delete
    25. deadrat,

      I'd like to stick to the point. When Zimmerman first made the call he never mentioned anything about Martin "looking into windows". That bullshit little detail was added after Zimmerman killed the boy and now has become an article of faith for Zimmerman's defenders. Bob keeps repeating the claim that Zimmerman only called to describe behavior by Martin which he found "suspicious and menacing". But Bob never explains what was so menacing about a boy walking down the street in the rain. No one can get into Zimmerman's mind to prove that Martin's race factored into his decision to call the police. Unless Zimmerman has a history of contributing to White Supremacist web sites like his best friend Frank Taffee (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/08/frank-taaffe-george-zimmerman-racist-white-voice) you're not going to prove one way or the other what Zimmerman's feelings were. But Bob has made it very clear in article after article after article which way he leans.

      And Rachel Jeantel's testimony about her conversation with Martin is not hearsay or else it wouldn't have been allowed on direct examination. She was one of the parties involved in the conversation. One can use logic and common sense. The very fact that Martin was talking to a girl friend the entire time makes it highly improbable that he was simultaneously "casing houses".

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    26. " think you've confused Zimmerman's written statement to the police with a statement under oath, but perhaps you're confused about something else."

      I was wrong in thinking Zimmerman had been deposed and corrected myself right under the original statement.

      You say my correction was wrong because CNN was wrong about Zimmerman having signed a sworn statement.

      The only confusion here was my mentally misreading "under oath" for deposition.

      I've several times said that I was "WRONG" ( as opposed to confused) that Somerby could have mentioned Zimmerman being deposed.

      I don't what else could be said here, other than please notice that the horse is dead.

      Delete
    27. mm, TDH has made a claim about evidence, namely that there is none to indicate that the Martin's attire played any part in Zimmerman's decision to call 911. That's true. Zimmerman's report to 911 is about what he claims is suspicious behavior. Zimmerman mentions the hoodie to identify the person he's suspicious of and then only at the prompting of the dispatcher. You seem to think that TDH is endorsing the truth of what Zimmerman reported. He's not, and since he's not, he has no reason to explain what was so menacing to Zimmerman. A reasonable person at the scene might well have concluded that Zimmerman had no good reason to be suspicious of Martin.

      I don't know how to make this any clearer. Some people take it as an article of faith that an article of clothing aroused Zimmerman's suspicion. But that's not what Zimmerman said. Zimmerman's reasoning may be completely specious, and his every utterance may be completely self-serving, but that doesn't mean that we're justified in imposing our own narrative on him. TDH isn't really interested in the veracity of Zimmerman's account, but in the veracity of the reporting on that account.

      You kinda like associating Zimmerman with a white supremacist, don't you? And I'm guessing you'd like to tar Zimmerman with the same brush. TDH refuses to do that, so you've concluded that his position is clear. But there's no more evidence for TDH's leanings than there is for the hoodie as Zimmerman's motivator.

      As for Jeantel, you've confused admitted testimony, admissible testimony, and hearsay. Hearsay testimony is any statement offered to prove the truth of some matter but made without the direct knowledge of the witness. All of Jeantel's testimony about what Martin said is direct evidence of what he said, but it's hearsay when offered to support the truth of what he said. Jeantel reports that Martin asks "Why are you following me?" That's direct testimony: she's repeating words known to her. But it's hearsay as to whether the person Martin is addressing was actually following Martin: she wasn't there to see anyone follow Martin.

      Hearsay testimony is not admissible unless it falls into one of the numerous exceptions, so just because it's hearsay doesn't mean it's automatically excludable. At one point, Jeantel testified that Martin shouted "Get off me, get off me." That would probably qualify as a so-called excited utterance. The law regards spontaneous statements made in a crisis as likely truthful, so even though Jeantel wasn't there to see anyone grapple with Martin, she may offer his exclamation as proof that he was attacked.

      Lastly, just because testimony is theoretically inadmissible, that doesn't mean that the testimony will be excluded. The judge decides what evidence is admissible, but he'll only exclude evidence based on the objection of one of the parties. Zimmerman's lawyers never objected to any of Jeantel's testimony, so the judge had no occasion to rule any of her account inadmissible. That doesn't mean it wasn't hearsay. I can only guess at their strategy, but Jeantel was such a train wreck for the prosecution that she might as well have been a defense witness.

      Delete
    28. CeceliaMc, Please forgive my carelessness in attribution. And my clobbering the deceased equine. That's kind of a hobby of mine.

      On 8/23/12 @11:25 you said "… it looks like he [Zimmerman] made a sworn statement." and the next day @ 12:44A, "Zimmerman's [sic] signed his sworn written statement."

      Zimmerman never made a sworn statement.

      I apologize if that's more metaphorical animal abuse.

      Delete
    29. "mm, TDH has made a claim about evidence, namely that there is none to indicate that the Martin's attire played any part in Zimmerman's decision to call 911."

      Oh, bullshit. TDH is saying a lot more than that.

      Once again, TDH's entire argument rests on the fact that Zimmerman didn't immediately and explicitly say to the dispatcher "there's a black guy wearing a hoodie walking in the rain. send a car right away" I'm sorry, that may be true but it's, how shall I say, not a very persuasive argument.

      "Sanford Police Department"

      "Hello, there's a black kid walking down the street. Send a car right away"

      That didn't happen, therefore, there's no evidence that Zimmerman considered Martin's race or attire? Right? That's Bob's entire argument.

      Bob is also affirmatively characterizing Zimmerman's description of Martin as "menacing". That's Bob's words. That's not the medias' words. Now Bob has a duty to explain what was so "menacing" about what Martin was doing that prompted Zimmerman to call in the first place. You would have to be willfully blind not to recognize that the fact that Zimmerman was a black male wearing a hoodie did not factor into Zimmerman's suspicions. I don't know why you're arguing about this. The defense made a point of putting testimony in front of the jury about prior crimes in the neighborhood by black males.

      "Jeantel reports that Martin asks "Why are you following me?" "That's direct testimony: she's repeating words known to her. But it's hearsay as to whether the person Martin is addressing was actually following Martin: she wasn't there to see anyone follow Martin"

      Thank you, Captain Obvious.

      And its also pretty strong evidence against Zimmerman, who claimed Martin said, "you got a fucking problem, Homie?" ..."Well you got one now" POW!!! TO THE NOSE








      Delete
    30. deadrat,

      By the way, I'm not associating Zimmerman with a White Supremacist. Taffee is his best friend. Zimmerman did that all by himself.

      Delete
    31. mm, TDH says no more than that there's no evidence that the hoodie played a part in Zimmerman's suspicions. There can't be any such evidence apart from Zimmerman. You accept both of those statements, but somehow you think that TDH "is saying a lot more than that."

      But you're the one who's saying a lot more. Not TDH, whose argument is that the media has endorsed some narrative about the hoodie. And it is narrative because, as you admit, there's no evidence for it. That's different from saying that it's impossible that Martin's race and attire are the only things that aroused Zimmerman's suspicion. You want to make this about Zimmerman's veracity and the plausibility of his explanations. But that's not what TDH wants to talk about, and it's pointless to impute views to him because of what he hasn't discussed.

      I don't think that TDH claims that Zimmerman was reporting Martin's menacing behavior as the reason for his 911 call. It's pretty clear that before Zimmerman says that Martin has spotted him, he just thinks that Martin is acting strangely. After Martin spots Zimmerman, Zimmerman says Martin is staring at him, is approaching him hands in pockets, and he doesn't know what the "deal" is. And he wants to know when the cops will get there. I think it's a fair assumption that Zimmerman felt menaced. This is separate from whether those feeling were justified.

      You say "You would have to be willfully blind not to recognize that the fact that Zimmerman [sic] was a black male wearing a hoodie did not factor into Zimmerman's suspicions." Now that's what's called a Freudian slip. Clearly, you meant to identify Martin as the black male wearing a hood, not Zimmerman. Now suppose I were to say, "You would have to be willfully blind not to recognize that mm identifies, at least subconsciously, that black men in hoodies are aggressors because he reveals his true feelings in his erroneous substitution of the killer's name for the victim's."

      (continued at next comment)

      Delete
    32. (continued from previous comment)

      Does that give you some insight as to the conclusory nature of your statements? Do you understand yet that the fact that your inferences are unevidenced does not necessarily make them wrong? As long as you think TDH is defending the credibility of Zimmerman's claims, you're gonna keep missing the point of the blog.

      If you don't want the obvious explained to you, then don't make obviously wrong statements like "Jeantel's testimony .. is not hearsay or else it wouldn't have been allowed on direct examination." Otherwise pedants ilke me will lecture you on your evident ignorance. Like this: the admissibility of hearsay is independent of whiter its elicited on direct examination or on cross.

      Or like this: The entire defense strategy was to undermine the state's case, which relied on showing the unreasonableness of Zimmerman's actions and the racial animus behind them. Thus the rebuttal evidence that suspicion of young black men wouldn't be automatically unreasonable in this case. Now it's certainly possible that had Zimmerman taken the stand he might have said, "Yes, the fact that the kid I was following was black and wearing a hoodie made me suspicious. We've had a lot of problems with black kids in hoodies breaking into homes." But Zimmerman didn't take the stand, and I don't know why you're arguing that the previous quote is Zimmerman's. As plausible as you think it is, the quote is not Zimmerman's but mine.

      I'd have to agree that Jeantel's testimony is strong corroborative evidence that Zimmerman was following Martin. Unfortunately, that's not illegal, and whether Zimmerman followed Martin is immaterial to the legality of Zimmerman's use of lethal force. I'd also have to agree that Jeantel's testimony would have been a challenge to Zimmerman's credibility if her testimony hadn't been such a disaster for the prosecution in other respects.

      Delete
    33. "I'd also have to agree that Jeantel's testimony would have been a challenge to Zimmerman's credibility if her testimony hadn't been such a disaster for the prosecution in other respects."


      deadrat,
      If anybody had been paying attention to this trial, they would have noticed that Jeantel's testimony destroyed Zimmerman's credibility.
      Eh, Homie?

      Delete
    34. mm,

      If you had been paying attention to the trail, you would have noticed that Jeantel had her own credibility problems.

      Delete
    35. deadrat,

      Her credibility "problems" pale in comparison to the man on trial for murder completely fabricating dialogue of his victim.

      Delete
    36. deadrat: "I don't think that TDH claims that Zimmerman was reporting Martin's menacing behavior as the reason for his 911 call."

      OK, here is what TDH just wrote the other day.

      "Did Zimmerman find Martin suspicious because he was wearing a hoodie? Everything is possible, of course, but there is no evidence of that in this case. In real time, as he spoke with the Sanford police, Zimmerman described behavior by Martin which he found suspicious, even menacing. He only mentioned the hoodie when the police dispatcher asked him what Martin was wearing."TDH

      The question was, what prompted Zimmerman to call the police in the first place. And according to Bob, Zimmerman simply described "behavior" which was suspicious, "even menacing".

      This is pure sophistry, ok. Bob has spent an inordinate amount of time and written article upon article attacking and ridiculing and mocking anybody who used logic and reason to reach a conclusion that Bob doesn't like. You can't even hint that you think maybe Martin's appearance played a part in having this ass of a vigilante end up killing Martin or else Bob will jump on the attack. Bullshit.

      And once again, IN REAL TIME Zimmerman never mentioned to the dispatcher that Martin was "looking into windows".

      Delete
    37. oh, and one more thing deadrat.

      Thank you so much for your psychoanalysis. I hope you won't be sending me a bill for that turd.

      Delete
    38. deadrat: "Martin is staring at him, is approaching him hands in pockets, and he doesn't know what the "deal" is. And he wants to know when the cops will get there. I think it's a fair assumption that Zimmerman felt menaced. This is separate from whether those feeling were justified."

      Well, that would be a wrong assumption, according to Zimmerman's own words.



      Singleton: When he, when he comes up to your car you’re telling them, right? That he’s…
      Zimmerman: Yes
      Singleton: He’s reaching in his waistband?
      Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
      Singleton: So what do you think there’s a possibility that he has?
      Zimmerman: Well, the guy 3 weeks, 2 weeks prior, did the same thing when he saw me, like put his hand in his jacket and watched me walk by and then he lit a cigarette. So I thought that he was just trying to, um, look tough or intimidate….
      Singleton: So, you didn’t think he had a weapon?
      Zimmerman: No, no. I didn’t….
      Singleton: You thought he was just trying to bluff you.
      Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.
      Serino: Hey, did that scare you? The bluff?
      Zimmerman: No.

      Delete
    39. mm,

      You want to engage TDH on the reasonability of your logic, but TDH just wants to warn that if your conclusions follow from reasonable logic and logical reasonability based on facts not in evidence, then you'd best eschew the conclusions. And nothing is harder to know for sure than the mental processes of others.

      Let's take two examples. Did Zimmerman intend to shoot Martin, even if he never explicitly voiced that intention. I think we're on fairly safe ground in saying yes. Logic, reason, and the law all demand that self-defense be an intentional act to counter a recognizable fear. Especially so when the response, like shooting a gun, is learned and not reflexive, like jerking your hand away from a hot surface.

      Did Zimmerman intent to kill Martin? Now we're on shakier ground. Cops and soldiers are taught to shoot to kill when they shoot at all. But a frightened amateur, rolling around in the dark, surprised to find himself in a fistfight? That probably requires more than we can know about Zimmerman's mental processes.

      TDH doesn't disagree with you that appearance might have played a part in the killing. But to get to that conclusion requires narrative, call it the Vigilante Ass Narrative.

      I was sure you wouldn't like my psychoanalysis. This in spite of the fact that there's plenty of evidence for unconscious motivation and reasonable explanations for what Freud called the psychopathologies of everyday life. But you rejected my explanation as shit because it was narrative not based on any specific information on the state of your mind.

      And you were quite right to do so, so no charge. But thanks for making my point for me.

      Delete
    40. mm,

      All right. Fair enough. To be exact, Zimmerman reports possibly menacing behavior -- someone staring him down, advancing with his hand in a pocket, etc. -- but later safely in the police station denies that he was frightened. All a bluff, he says. But then why bother to mention such an obvious act to the dispatcher? At the time, though, he really wanted to know when the police were gonna get there.

      Your argument puts you in the uncomfortable position of picking and choosing what of Zimmerman's story you believe. When he reports behavior, he' s lying about his true feelings because he's really concerned with race and attire. But when he says he wasn't frightened, then he's completely credible. Whatever supports the Vigilante Ass Narrative, eh?

      Delete
    41. deadrat,

      I don't really give a shit. I don't believe a word that Zimmerman said about the homicide he committed that can't be verified by other means. He didn't really know what he was saying to Serino et al. Other places in that interview he uses fear as his excuse.

      Singleton: Um, I still, I still don’t understand, when he walked up to your car, why didn’t you say anything to him?
      Zimmerman: I guess fear. I didn’t want to confront him. He seemed…
      Singleton: You were afraid of him?
      Zimmerman: Yes, ma’am.

      You see? The same exact moment that they asked him about previously and he gives a totally opposite answer.

      The point is, this occurred after he had made the call. You can't explain his call to the police by citing possible "menacing" behavior that hadn't occurred yet.

      Yes, he did ask the dispatcher how long before the police would get there. Why? Was it fear or was it something else?

      Zimmerman: These assholes always get away.

      Zimmerman's entire story falls apart when you realize Martin didn't approach him or "jump out of the bushes" or whatever and say, "you got a fucking problem, homie?" followed by, "well you got one now" thereby turning Martin into a crazed aggressor. When he told that story, he didn't yet realize that there was a witness to what Martin actually said.

      Anyway, what the fuck difference does it make? Why is it so important to Bob if anybody argues that Martin's race and what Martin was wearing that night might have influenced Zimmerman? Zimmerman wasn't charged with racism or slandering the hoodie industry.

      Zimmerman did in fact call the police and did in fact pursue Martin. A lot of people, myself included, believe Martin would still be alive if he wasn't black. Big deal. Why does this get Bob's nose so out of joint? It's really weird.

      Oh, but you see, NO EVIDENCE!!! Zimmerman never stated explicitly that he was suspicious because Martin was black. A completely unrealistic standard set by TDH. So anyone who thinks that or holds that opinion is subject to Bob's scorn and ridicule. Bullshit.

      Delete
    42. mm,

      I agree with you about Zimmerman's story. Even without the inconsistencies, everything he said is self-serving. After all, if he'd have gotten his story wrong, he could have ended up in jail for a long time.

      I don't think TDH necessarily contemns those who hold different beliefs or those who reach reasonable conclusions from the evidence. TDH derides those who insist that their beliefs and conclusions are based on facts they can't know. There is no reliable evidence for some of the critical events that happened on that night. That often happens when the shooter kills the only rebuttal witness.

      It's not that your conclusions are irrational or even that they're wrong. But they're necessarily extrapolations based on narrative. And of the shakiest kind -- the stories told about what another person was thinking in disputed circumstances and in contradiction to that person's claims.

      As human beings, we all loves us some storytellin'. We can't help ourselves. TDH doesn't want us to stop believing our stories. That's too difficult. He wants us to realize where they're grounded in fact, and when they have no visible means of support. Judging by the commentary on his site that's at best only marginally less difficult.

      Delete
  7. Holy Jesus,

    Stay away from this dismal outpost for a few weeks and what does one find? Incredible as it may seem, the main text has gotten even sillier and more self-absorbed than the last time you swore off this retirement-age idiocy -- between the analysts and rodeo clowns, one would never guess important things are going on in the world -- but the comments have become a veritable feast of dialectic, which is apparently invading the main text as well. Just Dig that clever talk about the analysts, and virtuous Bob, arguing back!

    I guess we all owe ours thanks to Al: even the inane bears fruit in the internet age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's his blog, this is his thing. It's notlikehe's getting paid for this. I assume noone is holding a gun to your head making you read it.

      What subjects do you want him to write about? (What's going on in NC isn't an important subject?)

      Delete
  8. I hope that the Gang of Five conservative Supreme Court justices will look back on their legacy with the appropriate level of shame for their mendacity, absence of precedent, lack of logic and distortions of reality in their "legal' decisions. None of them believe in a god of some type, because they think their actions will have no consequence, sins or prosecutions attached to their corrupt and inhumane legal opinions. Since December 12, 1999 a dark cloud of dishonesty and arrogance settled over the court and is responsible for the garbage legal decisions the court has defecated upon the American people since that time. A complicit and traitorous news media has done nothing to expose the charlatans who presume they deserve their seat on the court without any evidence what-so-ever to support their presumptions. North Carolina, the explosion of 501(c)3s and fact free legislation insult the intelligence of the American people with blatant disregard for democratic principles and a void where a respectful humane perception of people should exist. The Gang of Five should be ashamed of their work on the courts, but instead arrogantly laugh behind the backs of citizens, because they succeeded in pulling another improbable legal decision over on the American people.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hope that the Gang of Five conservative Supreme Court justices will look back on their legacy with the appropriate level of shame for their mendacity, absence of precedent, lack of logic and distortions of reality in their "legal' decisions. None of them believe in a god of some type, because they think their actions will have no consequence, sins or prosecutions attached to their corrupt and inhumane legal opinions. Since December 12, 1999 a dark cloud of dishonesty and arrogance settled over the court and is responsible for the garbage legal decisions the court has defecated upon the American people since that time. A complicit and traitorous news media has done nothing to expose the charlatans who presume they deserve their seat on the court without any evidence what-so-ever to support their presumptions. North Carolina, the explosion of 501(c)3s and fact free legislation insult the intelligence of the American people with blatant disregard for democratic principles and a void where a respectful humane perception of people should exist. The Gang of Five should be ashamed of their work on the courts, but instead arrogantly laugh behind the backs of citizens, because they succeeded in pulling another improbable legal decision over on the American people.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What's the matter with Arizona?
    Their new law is more restrictive to voters than NCs & SCs, but the MSM ignores it.
    (Reverend Al did mention it this past week.)
    The GOP-controlled legislature and Governor Jan Brewer has signed a new law requiring registered parties to collect a percentage of signatures from all the registered voters in the entire district, instead of a percentage of those registered in that party.

    This means no more Libertarian or Green Party candidates on the ballot.
    Their reasoning?

    Libertarian candidates pull votes from Republicans, and the legislature lost two GOP seats to Democrats in the last election.

    At least, that's what the sponsor of the bill said when he proposed it.
    The law, HB2305, also makes it almost impossible for citizens to put it on a referendum at the next election.

    It also unregisters Early Vote by Mail voters if they don't vote in a primary and the following general election.

    And that's not all.
    http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bastard/2013/07/arizonas_voter_suppression_law.php

    Catch 22: "They have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be careful who I would assign Libertarian or Green votes to. Learned this in the 2000 election.

      Sure, SOME might go one way and the other go the other, given no other choice. But I suspect those numbers are negligible.

      "Third Party" adherents, from my experience, tend to be so invested in the "Pox on both their houses" mantra that given no other choice, they'd sit out the election. So there would be, really, no gain to either of the two big parties.



      Delete
    2. Anon,
      You may be right, but the rationale is, why let anybody but Republicans or Democrats appear on the ballot when we can make sure they don't?

      Why take a chance when we have the the power to prevent democratic elections altogether?

      Delete
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  12. When I first read this post and then watched the Maddow video, I thought, "Holy crap, this is really bad. How can they do something like this?"

    Then, for sh*ts and giggles, I pulled up google maps and typed in "agricultural conference center boone nc" and pulled it up on the map. Then I asked google for directions from ASU's campus to the ag center. Turns out, the ag center is only 1/3 of a mile from campus.

    I'm assuming I can trust the map since it has no vested interest in this issue one way or the other.

    So when I watch the video and they talk about 15 minute bus rides and then walking on top of that, I think I'll have to say that I smell a rat. A very big, stinky rat.

    College students walk a lot. They walk to the dining hall three times a day. They walk to this side of campus for class, then they walk to the other side of campus for another class. So now we're expected to believe they can't walk 1/3 of a mile to vote? That's just a little bit longer than walking around a standard high school track one time.

    Here is the map:

    http://goo.gl/maps/MdXyH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same poster here. I just looked at the route on street view and it turns out there is a sidewalk for almost the entire route. The last part doesn't have a sidewalk, but there is a gravel parking lot they can walk on.

      Delete
    2. I live here. We walked the route. It is exactly .82 mile from the Ag Center. You cannot walk the sidewalked area along King Street and come in at the front of the building. You cannot go through the front to access the back, the left side can't be blocked because it is an emergency ambulance center, and the right side has small, narrow, steep rickety steps tht you can risk if you have to, but it won't be easy. Your choice is to either ride the bus, drive (there are 28 parking spaces) or walk Poplar Grove. About half that walk has no sidewalk.

      Delete
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