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Susan Estrich - Problem is young black men are way too likely to be criminals & we are afraid

Crenshaw was one of the hot spots 21 years ago when Los Angeles exploded after the acquittal of the white police officers who had been captured on tape beating Rodney King. For years, the broad thoroughfare was lined with empty buildings. But things have been changing in one of the last African-American neighborhoods in the city. Back in 2006, an African-American investor led a major renovation of the "mall." It now includes a Wal-Mart where area residents both shop and work.

So why riot and loot your neighborhood retailer?

That is, of course, precisely what happened this past Sunday night, when the Los Angeles Police Department, suited out for "riots" and "mass arrests," broke up not so much a riot but a crowd of looters protesting the acquittal of George Zimmerman?

I ask again: Why does damaging a store that serves the African-American community, in a mall whose primary investor is African-American, whose very purpose was to provide both retail and employment opportunities in the African-American community, why does doing that in Los Angeles serve the cause of social justice for African-Americans?

I can understand the frustration many feel with the Florida verdict. As a law professor, I can explain to you why it is understandable and even entirely predictable that the jury would have "reasonable" doubt about who started a fight when only one of the participants is alive to tell his story (albeit without taking the stand and facing cross-examination). I can try to convince you that it is not the job of the criminal justice system to solve the social ills of our society, real and deep though they are, and that when jurors try to do that, they often do more harm than good. Even if you disagree, why destroy a store that serves the very community that is understandably feeling injured?

I have no doubt that something went very wrong the night Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman. An unarmed kid should not be killed on the way home from buying candy. He should not be killed even if he was obnoxious and aggressive; and he certainly should not be killed because the man who pulled the trigger was afraid of other young men in hoodies, even if that fear was — at least judged statistically — painfully rational.
I heard some commentators trying to explain how it was that race had nothing to do with the verdict. Maybe they believe that. I'm certainly not accusing any of the jurors of acquitting Zimmerman because he is white and Martin was black. I have to assume, and I think we all should, that they did their best to look only at the evidence presented to them, without regard to race, and analyze whether the elements of self-defense had been met.

But let's be serious: Would George Zimmerman have had the same reaction to a white kid in a Lacoste golf shirt? Would any of us?

The problem isn't George Zimmerman and it certainly isn't the Crenshaw Wal-mart.

It's that young black men are way too likely to be criminals. Not because they are young and black. We are talking about a correlation, not a causal connection.

The African-American attorney general appointed by the African-American president can give all the speeches in the world criticizing state self-defense laws, but the real problem with those laws is that they become the avenues through which our tragic fears are translated.

Rev. Jesse Jackson admitted more than a decade ago to feeling relieved when he turned to find that the footsteps behind him were not those of young black men. Tragic relief.

If this administration wants to do something to get race out of the criminal justice system, then they are going to have to start at pre-school, and do it. Break the correlation between being young and male and black and in trouble with the law. Break that, and you don't need to loot the local Wal-Mart's. Don't break it, and the looting will confirm — and not undermine — a tragic verdict.

(Susan Estrich is a professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California Law Center. A best-selling author, lawyer and politician, as well as a teacher, she first gained national prominence as national campaign manager for Dukakis for President in 1988.)

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 09:45

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Michelle Malkin - Zimmerman acquittal not tied to Stank Your Ground

Welcome to the Obama administration's cringe-inducing non sequitur of the week. On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder continued stoking the fires of racial resentment over a Florida jury's acquittal of George Zimmerman. In an address to NAACP leaders, who are demanding federal intervention, Holder attacked Stand Your Ground self-defense laws.

All together now: Squirrel!

"Separate and apart from the (Trayvon Martin) case that has drawn the nation's attention, it's time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods," Holder opined. He then baselessly claimed that such laws are creating "more violence than they prevent" and used his platform to promote citizens' "duty to retreat."

So, what exactly do Stand Your Ground laws have to do with Zimmerman and Martin? Absolutely nothing, of course. Outside your own home, common principles of self-defense dictate that unless you have reasonable fear of deadly force or harm, you must flee if possible rather than use deadly force. But a "duty to retreat" rests on the ability to retreat. And "duty to retreat" was irrelevant in Zimmerman's case because — pinned to the ground with Martin on top of him, bashing his head on the concrete — he was unable to retreat.

This didn't stop the NAACP crowd from cheering their heads off when Holder tossed out his red meat. Holder's racial-grievance-mongering agenda has also been bolstered by media propaganda outlets, who've been dutifully bashing Stand Your Ground regardless of the facts.

The New York Times, for example, falsely claimed in an editorial preceding Holder's speech that the jury "reached its verdict after having been asked to consider Mr. Zimmerman's actions in light of the now-notorious Stand Your Ground provision in Florida's self-defense law." Rolling Stone made a similarly inflammatory claim, calling Martin a "victim of Florida's Stand Your Ground law."

All nonsense. The jury received standard instructions. Zimmerman did not invoke the Stand Your Ground provision. Zimmerman later waived his right to a pretrial immunity hearing under the Stand Your Ground procedures.

And as National Review's Sterling Beard points out, "The only time Stand Your Ground came up during the trial proper was when a prosecution witness stated that he'd taught a class Zimmerman had attended that covered Stand Your Ground."

Even the prosecution rejects the cynical attempt to tie Martin's death to Stand Your Ground.

Prosecutor John Guy couldn't have made it clearer during the trial: "This case is not about standing your ground." During their post-trial press conference, as conservative talk show host Victoria Taft first noted, a Miami Herald reporter asked the prosecution team specifically whether Stand Your Ground "affected the facts in this case and whether this case could have been won, perhaps, pre the changes in the law."
Prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda replied: "You know, self-defense has existed for a long time. And we've dealt with it in Jackson for a long time. We've tried a lot of self-defense cases; I've personally tried 10-15 self-defense cases. They're tough cases, but we accept it so ... the law really hasn't changed all that much. Stand Your Ground was a big thing, but really the law hasn't changed. We have a right to bear arms and a right to self defense."

In short, Stand Your Ground did not kill Trayvon Martin. Stand Your Ground did not sway the jury. Stand Your Ground saboteurs don't have a leg to stand on. Columnist Jacob Sullum observed drily: "You might think that, given all we now know about Zimmerman's actual defense, critics of 'stand your ground' laws would have to find a different, more apposite case to illustrate their concerns. Instead they just barrel along, citing the same phony example again and again, without regard to the facts. It does not inspire confidence in their argument."

Nope, it inspires exasperation and contempt. Once again, Eric Holder's Department of Selective and Social Justice is grasping for straws. Holder now vows to "continue to fight for removal of Stand Your Ground laws" that had nothing to do with the Zimmerman trial. He promises to ban "racial profiling" in the aftermath of a local crime incident that — according to Holder's own FBI employees — had nothing to do with race.

This is all a transparent pretext, of course, for undermining a plethora of state laws enacted by pro-Second Amendment legislatures. (Never mind that eight of 15 states that adopted Stand Your Ground legislation were helmed by Democratic governors at the time of passage.) Even more insidiously, left-wing groups have exploited the Martin case to launch broader attacks on the political speech and activities of limited-government groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, which supported Stand Your Ground.

The Obama administration's cynical campaign against Stand Your Ground laws is a racially charged weapon of mass distraction. The goal isn't public safety or community harmony. The goal is for conservative political opponents to Surrender Your Ground. Silence, as always, is complicity. Political self-defense, as with physical self-defense, begins with self-assertion.

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Pat Buchanan - Many had convicted Zimmerman in their hearts before trial even began

Trayvon Martin was an unarmed teenager walking home from a convenience store with Skittles and iced tea, when he was shot to death by a racist, profiling wannabe cop named George Zimmerman.

In the Big Media, which has relentlessly sought out the voices of those most incensed by the verdict in Sanford, Fla., that is how the Saga of Trayvon Martin is being told. And from listening to TV reports of the rage across black America, that is what is widely believed there.

But is that what happened? Well, not exactly.

Trayvon Martin was not shot while walking home.

He was shot after sucker-punching George Zimmerman, breaking his nose, knocking him down, jumping on top of him, beating him martial arts style and banging his head on a concrete walk, while Zimmerman screamed again and again, "Help me, help me."

This is what George Zimmerman said happened.

It is what the sole eyewitness to the fight, John Good, says happened. It is what Sanford police believed.

It is what the defense proved beyond a reasonable doubt. It is what that jury of six women came to believe.

Why, then, do so many in the black community believe Trayvon was profiled and murdered, when even most of the analysts on the cable news shows were saying in the last days of the trial that the prosecution had failed completely to make its case?

Answer: Many had convicted George Zimmerman in their hearts before the trial began. Here, as this writer noted a year ago, are some of the voices that had declared Zimmerman guilty of murder before a witness had been called.

"Blacks are under attack," railed Jesse Jackson. "Killing us is big business." Trayvon was "shot down in cold blood by a vigilante ... murdered and martyred."

"A hate crime," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said Trayvon had been "executed."

The Grio compared his killing to the lynching of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. The New Black Panther Party put Zimmerman's face on a "Wanted Dead or Alive" poster, called for 5,000 black men to run him down and said Trayvon had been "murdered in cold blood."

Spike Lee twittered Zimmerman's home address.

And President Obama? Did he calm the waters? Hardly. He signaled whose side he was on. "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," he said.

Not only did they all inflame the black community into believing a racist atrocity had occurred, others still do so, even after the weeks of testimony that raised far more than a reasonable doubt.

Moments after the verdict, Al Sharpton ranted, "This is an atrocity." He went on to explain the moral outrage that the ladies of the jury had just committed.

"What this jury has done is establish a precedent that when you are young and fit a certain profile, you can be committing no crime, just bringing some Skittles and iced tea home to your brother, and be killed."

Did the ladies of the jury really establish such a "precedent"?

The four-term mayor of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry, has now brought his healing touch to the proceedings.

The Zimmerman verdict was "awful," he said, another example of "institutionalized racism." But look to Marion to find a bright side.

"The good news is that Zimmerman will never be in peace. He won't be able to get a job. He'll have to go underground, travel incognito and never live in peace. That's the good news for me." Now a comment like that might befit a James Earl Ray. But George Zimmerman? Who turned this neighborhood watch fellow, well-liked by all in his community, into some racist monster?

The night of the verdict, Mark O'Mara gave America the answer.

George "didn't know why he was turned into a monster," O'Mara told the assembled journalists. "But quite honestly, you guys had a lot to do with it. You took a story that was fed to you, and you ran with it, and you ran right over him, and that was horrid to him."

Like his partner Don West, O'Mara exhibited moral courage in that post-verdict press conference, as did that jury of six women, who rejected the prosection's pleas to at least give them manslaughter or child abuse.

President Obama might now exhibit a little moral courage of his own, by directing his Justice Department to halt this scavenger hunt for a "hate crime." If Sanford police and the FBI could not find a hate crime, and the prosecution could not prove racial profiling or malice, what reason is there to believe any such motive ever existed?

If Barack Obama and Eric Holder capitulate to Al Sharpton's demand for "Plan B" and the NAACP's demand for a second trial of George Zimmerman for a crime of which he has been acquitted, most Americans will come to believe this is no search for justice, but a drive for racial retribution and revenge. And they will be right.

End this persecution of George Zimmerman, Mr. President.

Shut it down.

(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Froma Harrop - Curse of the full-time job

Free time is the great hunger for so many productive Americans, often trumping money. Studies show a huge desire for more self- and family-time, especially among parents. But Americans remain stuck in work schedules drawn up early last century. That doesn't make sense today, so why do we continue punching the old time clocks?
One big reason is that job benefits — above all, health coverage — typically require an eight-hour day, five days a week (or its equivalent). Note that the Affordable Care Act forces larger companies to cover only full-time workers, or pay a penalty.
Interestingly, the employer mandate was delayed due to confusion over what constitutes full-time employment. The law considers those putting in more than 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month full-time workers. But then, how do you count sick leave or temporary seasonal work? What do you do about visiting nurses, paid by the visit, not the hour? These things still need figuring out.
Last weekend, a cashier at my supermarket asked to be released at 3 p.m. so that she could go on to her next job. You can bet that this woman toils more hours than the average nine-to-fiver. You can also bet that none of her part-time jobs offers health benefits.
Lots of Americans are in her situation, which is why so many would prefer full-time positions. In June, more than 8 million part-timers tried unsuccessfully to secure full-time employment, according to the Labor Department.
Meanwhile, you hear mothers working outside the home wishing they could shorten their hours to spend more time with their children. Many report asking their employers for part-time arrangements and getting a "no."
Of course, certain jobs must be done in set shifts — police, emergency room doctors, assembly line workers. And workers must be physically together for projects demanding face-to-face collaboration. (Yahoo?)
But plenty of design, writing, computer programming and form-shuffling positions don't require many hours in an office. And very competent employees can often do their real work in four hours. They sit around another four because ... it's an eight-hour job.
So they spend afternoons bored at their desks playing video games or tooling around the Internet. They waste their time while providing no additional benefit for the employer.
If compensation were based on fulfilling the job requirements and included nothing else — not health benefits, not retirement plans — corporate bureaucracies wouldn't fret so much over time spent at the work station. People could labor for as long as they were productive, and companies would be less afraid to have two people filling one position. After all, it would cost them the same.
Old-fashioned defined-benefit pension plans are going away, replaced by arrangements in which employees save up for their own retirement. Thus, retiree benefits are playing less of a role in calculating compensation.
That leaves employer-based health coverage. It makes no more sense for companies to provide health coverage than it does for them to drop bags of groceries on each desk at the end of the day. But this is the system we're stuck with for now. Clearly, it's cheaper to insure one worker putting in eight hours than two, each doing four hours.
Obamacare does help workers wanting to start their own business or take part-time positions by ensuring affordable coverage through state health insurance exchanges. Too bad, though, that the health care reforms didn't just expand Medicare to everyone, paying for it with taxes.
That would have taken the burden of insuring workers off employers' backs. And bosses would more readily negotiate hours with their workers. Perhaps that will happen. Someday.
(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Roy Sanborn - June Lakes Region Waterfront Sales Report

In the month of June there were 10 sales on Lake Winnipesaukee at an average price of $1,364,018. Last June we had a whopping 17 sales, although at a lower average price of $940,500. There were four sales last month over $1 million and two exceeded the $3 million mark. For the first six months of 2012 there have been a total of 45 waterfront sales at an average of $998,618 producing a total sales volume of $44.5 million. That compares to 63 sales for the first half of 2012 at an average of $909,625 and 41 sales in 2011 at an average of $1.17 million. So while sales on the big lake are down at least some high dollar properties are moving with 13 of the 45 sales this year over the $1 million mark.
The least expensive property that sold last month on Winnipesaukee was at 133 Powers Road in Meredith. This is a year round, 1956 vintage cottage that has 2,080-square-feet of space, three bedrooms, two full baths, a classic knotty pine interior, beamed ceilings, screened porch, and a two car garage. It sits on a total of 3.8 acres that includes a separate waterfront lot with 25-feet of frontage with a sandy bottom and a 55-foot permanent dock that will hold four boats. I suspect that someone immediately saw the value in this property because it took only 24 days to find a buyer. It was offered at $519,000 and sold for $436,055 after some negotiating. The property is assessed for $460,000. I'm kind of expecting you might see some new construction here...
About mid-way up the pricing spectrum is a property at 110 Minge Cove in Alton that also has a new owner. This contemporary home was built in 1978 and has 3,074-square-feet of living space, three (plus) bedrooms, including the first floor master, three baths, and an open concept living/dining/eat-in kitchen area with views of the quiet cove. There is a screened porch and decks for summer entertaining. The .64-acre lot has 100-feet of frontage and deepwater docking. Attached and detached one car garages provide plenty of storage for the toys. This property was originally offered at $899,000 in April of 2009 and has been on the market every year since...actually for a total of 869 days. Makes me tired just thinking about it! This year it came on the market at $675,900 and sold for $650,000 which was just under the assessed value of $663,700.
The largest sale honors go to a spectacular property on Roberts Road in Alton which undoubtedly was purchased for the land rather than the structures. The property consists of seven cottages built in the thirties on an 11.3-acre lot with 615-feet of frontage, two beautiful sugar sand beaches, and long range sunset views. This is a perfect setting for a family compound or private estate. The property was listed at $4.2 million and sold for $3.057 million after 315 days on the market. It is assessed for $3.426 million.
There was only one sale on Winnisquam in June bringing the total to just five so far this year compared to seven for the first half of 2012. There are some happy new homeowners at 47 Dutile Shore Road in Belmont just in time for the summer season. This home is a very high quality 3,162-square-foot contemporary with five bedrooms and three and a half baths. It has a fabulous great room with stone fireplace, cathedral ceilings, and a wall of windows that frames the lake view. Cherry floors extend into a bright, well appointed kitchen featuring beautiful cabinetry, granite countertops, a breakfast island, and gas stove. The second floor master suite has its own private porch overlooking the water and there is a large family room in the lower level walkout. The home sits on a .22-acre lot which is beautifully landscaped and has 75-feet of frontage, a 30-foot dock, and a gentle sandy entry for the young ones. This property was originally listed at $699,000, was reduced to $674,000, and sold for $625,000 after 303 days on the market.
There were no sales on Squam Lake in June, but there is bound to be more activity on this and all the other lakes as the summer season progresses! After all, there are a lot of people out there that dream of having their own piece of our Lakes Region paradise...
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 7/10/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 268

 
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