From The Wall Street Journal:
Baltimore Mayor Fires Police Commissioner Anthony Batts
Move comes amid steep increase in homicides, critical report from union on riot response
By Scott Calvert | Updated July 8, 2015 7:24 p.m. ET
BALTIMORE—Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake abruptly fired Police Commissioner Anthony Batts on Wednesday amid a steep increase in homicides and hours after the city’s police union sharply criticized the department’s response to rioting in April.
Ms. Rawlings-Blake announced the decision minutes before Mr. Batts was due to hold a news conference about an independent review that began Wednesday of the police response to the unrest. The mayor named Kevin Davis, who has been Mr. Batts’s deputy since January, as interim commissioner.
At a news conference, Ms. Rawlings-Blake praised Mr. Batts for helping to modernize the department, putting more police on the street during crime spikes and improving transparency. “But as we have seen in recent weeks, too many continue to die on our streets, including three just last night and one lost earlier today. Families are tired of feeling this pain, and so am I,” she said.
She said the recent focus on Mr. Batts’s leadership had distracted the department from the fight against crime. “So we need a change. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interests of the people of Baltimore,” she said. . . .
“It’s about time,” said Edward Reisinger, vice president of the City Council, who earlier Wednesday called for Mr. Batts to be replaced. “We have to focus on the shootings, the homicides in the city of Baltimore.”
As of Wednesday, police said there had been 155 homicides this year, a 48% increase from the comparable period last year. May’s 42 homicides were the most in a month in 25 years. Nonfatal shootings were up 86%, with 303 so far this year.
Mr. Batts, who was appointed in 2012, has been at the center of a storm since April, when 25-year-old Freddie Gray died of injuries sustained in police custody. Officials said Mr. Gray, who was black, died of severe spinal injuries. Six officers have been charged in the case. All have pleaded not guilty.
Hours after Mr. Gray’s funeral on April 27, a small protest mushroomed into widespread rioting. Nearly 400 businesses were damaged or destroyed, the National Guard was called in and a curfew was imposed for five days.
More at the link.
So, in a city which has been run by Democrats for decades, a black Mayor has fired a black Police Commissioner, because more black men are shooting other black men in the streets, after the black Mayor said, concerning the rioting after career criminal Freddie Gray died from injuries while in police custody, “We also gave those who wish to destroy space to do that as well.” The police were put on notice by the quick filing of criminal charges against the six officers who were involved in Mr Gray’s arrest that the city would not back them against a culture of violence.
Was Commissioner Batts a good police chief? I don’t know, and don’t particularly care. But the problem isn’t that the police are somehow allowing more murders in Baltimore; the police don’t prevent crime, but deal with its aftermath. The problem is the culture prevalent in the black community in the Charm City. We have to ask why black men are shooting other black men at such ridiculously high rates, in Baltimore, in Philadelphia, in Camden, and in Chicago. But, of course, to ask that question is raaaaacist, and the left won’t ever ask it, won’t even hint at it, because they depend upon charges of racism for political heft.
Yet, no problem was ever solved by not taking a clear look at it; if the left foreclose any questions about the responsibility of the black community for murders of its people, by its people, then those killings will continue and continue and continue.
Let me be plain here: the only solutions to the problems in our urban black communities must come from within those communities; they cannot be imposed from outside. If black teenaged boys continue to drop out of school at rates greatly in excess of whites, the black community will continue to be saddled with lower average incomes, and the black community will continue to be plagued by higher joblessness, and the (mostly) white elites cannot do one damned thing to stop those dropouts. That needs to come from the mothers and fathers of those boys considering dropping out of school. If urban black teenaged males keep joining gangs, an action which puts them at high risk of crime, of violence, and of going to jail, it is because joining a gang is too highly rewarded within the community in terms of prestige and sex, and white outsiders can’t do one single thing to change that.
I didn’t have much hope for Barack Obama becoming a good President, but I did think that there was one area in which he could have had a huge, positive impact: I had hoped that his example, of doing well in school, of going to college and then law school, would be an inspiration to young black males, would be showing them that doing those things wasn’t somehow “acting white,” but was the road to success. Sadly, it just hasn’t worked out that way.
Instead, we have the Twitter hashtag
#blacklivesmatter , but it really ought to be #BlackLivesDontMatter, because, unless a black person is killed by a white man, nobody seems to care.
I have said, only half jokingly, that the only way that the government could end segregation is through the use of assigned housing.1 Well, it looks like the Obama Administration is taking steps in that direction. From The Wall Street Journal:
New HUD Rules Take Aim at Segregated Housing
Government can withhold money from communities that fail to address historical segregation
By Laura Kusisto | July 8, 2015 11:49 a.m. ET
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday unveiled a rule designed to bolster requirements that communities receiving federal dollars seek to break down historical patterns of segregation.
The rule is a response to criticisms that federal enforcement of so-called fair housing laws has been opaque and difficult for smaller communities to follow, but critics say it amounts to forcing communities to integrate against their will.
Under the new rule HUD will provide communities with data that must be used to analyze historical patterns of segregation. Communities now will be required to submit this analysis to HUD, set goals for reducing segregation and track the results.
“Unfortunately, too many Americans find their dreams limited by where they come from, and a ZIP code should never determine a child’s future,” said HUD Secretary Julian Castro in a statement. “This important step will give local leaders the tools they need to provide all Americans with access to safe, affordable housing in communities that are rich with opportunity.”
There’s more at the original.
My mother worked at a mortgage company for many years, and she told me, more than once, about the various laws concerning non-discrimination: people could not be asked about their race, marital status, and a whole host of other things when applying for a mortgage. Such discrimination has been against the law for decades, but we still have largely segregated housing patterns. Realtors are also prohibited, by law, from engaging in practices which try to steer clients to, or from, particular neighborhoods on the basis of race.
Why? Well, a big part of the reason is that people get to choose where they want to live, constrained only by their ability to pay for it.2 And the ability to pay for housing in a particular neighborhood is going to have a self-segregating impact, because white Americans, on average, are wealthier and earn more than black Americans.
But that’s hardly all of it: there are plenty of black Americans who earn very good livings, and could choose to live in very affluent neighborhoods, yet choose not to buy houses in affluent, primarily white neighborhoods. Why they take their decisions is, of course, up to them individually.Well, President Obama, whose personal home is in an affluent, integrated neighborhood in Chicago.3 is upset about that, and is now trying to use the power of the federal government to force greater integration in housing patterns.
This is a huge overreach by government, and one which could pose devastating economic problems for Americans. Blacks simply earn less, on average, and have poorer credit histories. To force integration in areas which are almost all white, due to higher housing prices, means forcing the construction of lower-cost housing in those neighborhoods, and that would bring down the value of all of the homes in such neighborhoods. The President’s initiative, if carried to its logical conclusion, would force a lot of people who bought expensive homes underwater on their home values, leading to yet another housing bust.4
But the bigger problem, to me, is the attitude that the government has the right and the power to meddle with people’s housing choices. We have noted previously that the Democrats believe in freedom of choice on exactly one thing. People choose their houses, so far as they are able, based on any number of things, many of which are personal preference, and on availability, and Mr Obama really doesn’t like the results of people’s free choices . . . so he will push the government to try and change them. January 20, 2017 cannot come soon enough.
- The Wall Street Journal: Group Challeneges New York City on Housing Allocations
- The Wall Street Journal: Underwater Homeowners Concentrate in Minority Neighbhorhoods
- The Wall Street Journal: White House Stays Course on Homeownership Push
- The Lonely Conservative: If You Like Your Suburb Can You Keep Your Suburb?
- The First Street Journal: Mortgages and the lower income earners
- I was unable to find it through site searches here, so it may have been in a comment on another site. ↩
- That includes being able to get to and from work, of course. ↩
- One site refers to Hyde Park as “the most racially integrated neighborhood in the nation’s most racially segregated city.” ↩
- Your Editor believes that housing is very much overpriced in a lot of areas, but it’s the market, and not my opinions, which set those prices. From a purely economic viewpoint, a house is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it. ↩
. . . so let them lay in it! From The Wall Street Journal:
Greece Requests Three-Year Bailout in First Step Toward Meeting Creditors’ Demand
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras demands a “fair compromise” with the country’s creditors
By Gabriele Steinhauser and Tom Fairless | Updated July 8, 2015 7:29 a.m. ET
BRUSSELS—Greece formally requested a three-year bailout from the eurozone’s rescue fund Wednesday and pledged to start implementing some of the overhauls demanded by creditors by early next week, according to a copy of the request seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Crucially for Greece’s creditors, the letter says the government would start implementing some measures, including on taxation and pensions, by the beginning of next week, though it doesn’t go into details.
The letter is a first step toward fulfilling a demand by international creditors, who have given Athens until Sunday to come up with tougher measures they would impose in return for desperately needed financing that could keep the country from bankruptcy and even worse economic turmoil.
The resistance by the government in Athens to implement economic-policy overhauls and budget cuts has held up a deal between the two sides for months, and raised the specter of an imminent Greek exit from the eurozone.
More at the original.
But let’s be clear here: Greece is asking to borrow more money, while also asking to not have to pay back all of the money the country currently owes. Just how stupid would any lender have to be to extend Greece three more years of credit?
The First Street Journal has been saying for years now that it was a bad idea to keep lending Greece money, that the country would inevitably default, and that more loans were simply throwing good money after bad. If Greece was going to default, and probably have to leave the eurozone, wouldn’t it have been better to have let it happen in 2012? By now, it would be over and done with, Greece would have stabilized at wherever they are going to stabilize, and the more productive Europeans wouldn’t have wasted €244 billion.
Of the biggest euro zone members, Germany’s exposure for the two bailouts totals €57.23 billion,France’s is €42.98 billion, Italy’s is €37.76 billion and Spain’s €25.1 billion. That is in addition to their contributions to the IMF loans, commensurate with their respective quotas in the global lender.
So, how does Chancellor Angela Merkel go to her voters and explain how she pissed away €57.23 billion of her taxpayers’ money?
Anyone with any common sense at all could have seen what this site foresaw! Apparently common sense is in short supply on the other side of the Atlantic.
Related Reading from The Wall Street Journal:
- European Stocks Steady Ahead of Next Greek Deadline
- Tsipras Rides a Wave at Home, but to Where?
- Short Answer: What Would Grexit Look Like?
- Q&A: What’s Next for Greece, and for Europe?
- Merkel’s German Critics Say Bailout Doomed From Start
- Obama Urges Compromise on Emergency Financing
- Germany’s Power Polarizes Europe
- Countdown to a Greek Showdown
We have noted previously that the left believe in freedom of choice on exactly one thing. Now comes Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), telling us that the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion does not extend to individuals:
Transcript of relevant passage:
Of course, the First Amendment takes no distinctions at all concerning individuals or institutions when it comes to freedom of religion, or speech, or of the press:
Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs. But I don’t think it extends far beyond that. We’ve seen the set of arguments play out in issues such as access to contraception. Should it be the individual pharmacist whose religious beliefs guides whether a prescription is filled, or in this context, they’re talking about expanding this far beyond our churches and synagogues to businesses and individuals across this country. I think there are clear limits that have been set in other contexts and we ought to abide by those in this new context across America.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment, now incorporated to cover state action as well, simply says that Congress shall make no laws on the prohibited topics. And how the learned Senator1 managed to not understand that the Constitution protects the free exercise of religion is a mystery to me.
But, as you might already have guessed, Miss Baldwin is the first openly homosexual senator in our history, and thus her views on subjects pertaining to homosexuality are wholly biased. The First Street Journal does not care what Miss Baldwin does in her bedroom, as long as it involves only consenting adults. But we do care, very much, about the freedoms and liberties of all American citizens, and thus we are very much opposed to a Democratic Party which seems Hell-bent on restricting our freedoms and liberties.
- Miss Baldwin was graduated from Smith College, and earned a JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School, a degree which ought clearly to be rescinded. ↩
. . . but only when a black person is killed by a white guy. If a black person is killed by another black person, well, it’s just barely news. From William Teach at The Pirate’s Cove:
Good News: Only 9 Killed, 47 Wounded In Chicago During This Year’s July 4th Weekend!
By William Teach July 6, 2015 – 7:00 am
Welcome to Liberal World, where this is almost cause for celebration
Chicago was yet again riddled with a flurry of shootings this Fourth of July weekend, with at least 47 wounded and nine killed, according to multiple media reports.
The numbers were down from last year’s holiday weekend after police increased their presence by nearly a third — 2014 saw over 80 shootings with 16 fatalities. Police also seized over 80 illegal guns over the holiday, averaging around one per hour, DNA Info reported.
Some 3,400 illegal guns have been confiscated so far this year, according to the city’s police department.
On the bright side, Leftist Gun Grabbers want to take legally owned guns away from law abiding citizens, who need them to protect themselves and their families, heck, sometimes other citizens, from the violence rampant in Liberal cities. Let’s not forget that there is a 1 in 111 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Chicago, 9 attacks per 1,000 residents, almost 3 times the national average. And this isn’t even including the assault and rape rates, which have not been reported for 2013 yet. And the crime rate did also drop after concealed carry was implemented in Chicago.
In Baltimore, two were shot and one killed Sunday. There were multiple shootings and stabbings, several fatal, since July began. But, hey, at least there were no roving gangs of youths causing rampant violence, which had become a pattern. And it was slightly better than the Memorial Day weekend. Not by much, though.
There’s more at the original. The New York Times noted that Chicago already has “some of the strictest (gun control laws) in the country,” but, surprisingly enough, those gun control laws don’t seem to work as crime reduction laws. I wonder: could it be that criminals don’t obey the laws they find inconvenient? It’s not like the definition of criminal, as a noun, is someone who commits crimes, right?
(Chicago Police Superintendent Garry) McCarthy said this year at least 12 people have already been arrested on their second gun possession charge and then released.“We need some help here, folks. We have to fix this broken system.”
Of course, part of the problem might be that, when the police actually have the criminals in custody, they get released anyway.
a repeat felon who has been deported five times to Mexico, according to immigration officials.
It would have been six, a federal law enforcement source told CNN, except authorities in San Francisco wanted him on a drug-related warrant.
So U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which had Lopez-Sanchez in its custody in March after his release from federal prison, turned him over to San Francisco deputies. ICE said they requested an immigration detainer, asking that the agency be notified before Lopez-Sanchez was released.
But San Francisco is a city that doesn’t honor such requests and the sheriff’s department released him. Freya Horne, chief legal counsel to the San Francisco County Sheriff, told CNN that he was let go because there was no legal cause to detain the suspect.
Emphasis mine. And now Mr Lopez-Sanchez has murdered a young woman, Kate Steinle, apparently at random. San Francisco is a “sanctuary city,” one in which local officials refuse, as a matter of city policy, not to turn illegal aliens over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Even though Mr Lopez-Sanchez had five previous felony convictions, the geniuses who run the city still just turned him loose.
Let me be explicit here: the makers, and enforcers, of San Francisco’s “sanctuary city” policy have Kate Steinle’s blood on their hands. They knew that Mr Lopez-Sanchez was a bad guy, a several-time convicted felon, and they turned him loose anyway.
This is what you get when you don’t enforce the law.
It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Anne Heche in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: it’s time for more training! Click any picture to enlarge.
Rather than try to write something to head up this week’s blogroll post, I’ll just let Lee Greenwood say something for me:
- Donald Douglas on American Power: What Did Abraham Lincoln Really Think of Thomas Jefferson? An interesting article, but Messrs Jefferson and Lincoln were from eras as different as ours is from President Lincoln’s.
- Aleister on Le*gal In*sur*rec*tion: Loot For Liberals Week at College Insurrection
I’m always hearing that Democrats care about higher education and the middle class. And yet…
- Patterico on Patterico’s Pontifications: Greece Plans Cyprus-Style Raid on Bank Deposits
- Darleen Click on Protein Wisdom: YOU WILL BE MADE TO CARE: Oregon couple ordered to shut up about same-sex wedding cakes
- William Teach on The Pirate’s Cove: NY Times: Obamacare Looking For Big Rate Increases For 2016
StaceyStacy McCain on The Other McCain: What ‘Education’ Teaches
- John Hitchcock on Truth Before Dishonor: ‘This is grotesque’: Why is TSA spox posting photos of passengers’ luggage contents?
- Perry on Bridging the Gap: nothing new since December 13th.
- Jennifer Davis on The Victory Girls: VIDEO: “Amazing Grace” From Condoleezza Rice and Jenny Oaks Baker Serves Up Americana For The 4th of July
- Hube on the Colossus of Rhodey: My Prediction: Guns Are Next
OK, that’s not true: no one wonders that at all; we all know that the editors believe that their rights should be unrestricted and absolute. It’s only other people’s rights which ought to be subject to government regulation!
A Sensible Question for Gun Owners
By The Editorial Board | July 3, 2015
California has some of the nation’s strongest gun safety laws, but one that requires citizens to supply a “good cause” for why they should be granted a license to carry concealed weapons in public is under challenge.
The packing of concealed weapons by citizens is all the rage in the gun rights movement, as more statehouses yield to the gun lobby on this issue, imposing fewer and fewer qualifications when they do. While California has resisted this trend, the fate of its law allowing county officials to set conditions on the issuance of gun permits was debated last month before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
For years, the sheriffs’ offices of San Diego and Yolo Counties, acting under the law, required that a “good cause” be offered by an applicant seeking to carry a concealed weapon. The sheriffs properly argued that public safety was ultimately at stake and applicants needed to cite more than their concerns about their own safety to justify a license to carry a gun in public. Typically, those getting permits were people who carried large sums of money, carried extremely valuable items or faced a threat of mortal danger.
Oh, so the safety and even life of a plebeian isn’t really that important; ’tis only the lives — and money — of the patricians which merit the ability to defend themselves from criminals.The editors continue to note that the advocates of the right o keep and bear arms have sued, challenging the “good cause” requirement as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. They won, 2 to 1 before a three-member panel of the appeals court last year, and that decision is now under review by the full 11-member panel court, a court which the editors hope will reverse the previous ruling.
Gun rights advocates point out that some California counties are more lenient and do not require a “good cause” explanation from applicants. That hardly justifies scuttling the right and duty of other communities to determine what is necessary for their citizens’ safety. Despite the gun lobby’s absolutist outcries, the right to bear arms remains a qualified one, subject to reasonable controls, particularly a “good cause” justification.
The obvious rhetorical question is: if the Bush Administration1 had believed that The New York Times didn’t really have a “good cause” to print stories about conditions at Guantanamo or the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, stories which arguably hurt the war effort,2 would the editors have agreed that they ought to have to show such “good cause” to officials of the Administration before they were allowed to publish such stories?
This is a persistent problem among the left: they are quite jealous of their rights, at least he rights they choose to exercise; even the freedom of speech and the press, which they so cherish, is something the editors would restrict when it comes to others exercising those rights, as one of their editorials concerning the Citizen’s United decision demonstrates.
But the right to keep and bear arms? Why, that’s so rural, that’s so redneck, why ought the editors to support that?
The left seem to believe that “sensible” gun control would keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, trying to score political points in the wake of the Charleston church massacre, said:
I lived in Arkansas and I represented upstate New York. I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law abiding communities,” Clinton said. “I also know that we can have common sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable while respecting responsible gun owners.
While we all know that, for Mrs Clinton, “common sense gun reforms” really means that only the police and her own armed guards could legally have firearms,3 the hard truth of the matter is that gun control legislation has never stopped criminals from getting firearms. The left seem just pathologically incapable of understanding a simple truth: criminals don’t obey the law. The very definition of criminal is someone who breaks the law! Chicago has tough gun control laws, but the thugs and hoodlums are shooting each other every day in the Windy City.4
Gun control proposals are the natural result of the liberal mindset which wants to blame the tool, the inanimate object, for the actions of bad people, because they are unwilling to take a hard, realistic look at the real problem: the bad people. To do that would challenge the most basic assumptions of the left, that it’s perfectly OK for women to have children out of wedlock, that there’s no moral or practical difference between a father and mother rearing their children together, and a single mother trying to do so, or that the black urban subculture itself leads to increased crime and violence. After all, to admit those things, to even ask questions along those lines, is racism!
The left will never have any realistic solutions, because they have closed off their minds from actually examining anything which challenges their mindset, because they are completely unwilling to look at the truth. Their “answer” to the problem of violent crime is to place restrictions on law-abiding people, and ignore the actual criminals, because they have fooled themselves into believing that they are actually doing something good, when all that they are doing is enabling the criminals to continue being criminals.
- We already know that the editors would lay down for anything the Obama Administration wanted; no sense using the current Administration as an example. ↩
- President Obama has argued that the mere existence of the detention facility at Guantanamo leads to more terrorism. ↩
- Mrs Clinton said, in 2014, concerning gun control opponents, “We cannot let a minority of people — and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people — hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.” Apparently, Mrs Clinton does not believe that people have the right even to disagree with the left. It does not surprise us that Mrs Clinton is no more of a supporter of the First Amendment than she is of the Second. ↩
- #BlackLivesMatter only when a black person is killed by someone who is white; when one black man kills another black man, well, that’s not even newsworthy anymore. ↩