Akil Alleyne The problem is that not getting themselves or their kids vaccinated might make OTHER people sick, not just themselves. That's a horse of a different color, isn't it? If a number of those "losers" take other, innocent people "the way of the polio virus" along with them?
Akil Alleyne I don't buy #1...even if you could "teleport" atoms or subatomic particles or whatever, is it really possible to break down the incredibly complex bodily structures of actual life forms into such small particles and then reassemble them exactly as they were before in a different location? Aside from the risk of reassembling them wrongly (one body part--or tiny part of a body part--in the wrong place and the whole body might cease to function), wouldn't breaking down the particles destroy the body in the first place?
Akil Alleyne Ms. Yoffe didn't "ignore" the fact that rapists are generally known to their victims; she noted that they often prey on drunk female acquaintances . Nor did she blame women for men's behavior; she wrote, "Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice." The fact that many women are raped while sober doesn't change the fact that many are raped while drunk, and might not have been targeted if sober. Yoffe's point is a practical one: there are steps that women can and should take to stay safe, instead of counting on all men to act right. Is it "victim-blaming" to tell a burglary victim that he should have locked his house?
Akil Alleyne Since when is the AR-15 "the military's standard"? That's news to me. My understanding is that the standard-issue military rifle issued to infantrymen is some variant of the M-16, which--unlike the AR-15--is a fully automatic rifle that sprays multiple rounds when the trigger is held down. (Such weapons have already been illegal in the U.S. since the 1930s.)
Akil Alleyne Now, why didn't I think of that?? That's a great idea, Roy. Mind you, I suspect that non-military punishments of Assad might prove as fruitless as military ones, but they'd hardly be any MORE fruitless than the prospect of bombing Syria. I like your thinking...
Akil Alleyne I'm not sure about that. I suspect, rather, that he's doing this partly because he knows how bad it looks (in the eyes of many, at least) that this strike will lack Security Council endorsement and British participation. Congressional approval will shield him somewhat from charges of going it completely alone. Plus he knows that since the strike is *supposed* to be limited--and will probably be ineffectual--there's no real hurry. What's more, I suspect he may have felt genuinely burnt by all the criticism of him for intervening in Libya without any congressional authorization at all. That move turned him into just the kind of president he said he wouldn't be (http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/CandidateQA/ObamaQA/).
Akil Alleyne Yes, it does remain to be seen what will happen next. This situation may actually be unprecedented in that the President is seeking congressional authorization for military strikes in an atmosphere of popular war-weariness, a situation in which there's actually a strong likelihood that Congress will say no. In 1964, 1983, 1991, 2001 and 2002, Congress was mostly favorably disposed to authorize the interventions in Vietnam, Lebanon, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, respectively. Now, however, Congress might very well tell the President to go fly a kite, for the first time in a long time (if not ever). Of course, there's still a strong possibility that you're right, and Congress won't have the balls. Time will tell.
Akil Alleyne I've mic'd this article because it makes a very sound and legitimate point: that the casus belli for intervention in Syria is far less weak than the case for invading Iraq was. However, I still oppose this intervention. I highly doubt that the damage from the strike would prevent Assad from using any more chemical weapons. This is partly because striking his weapons stockpiles risks actually releasing the nerve gas. What's more, Assad is already fighting for his survival against the rebels; limited air strikes probably won't convince him to behave himself much better. Only regime change is likely to bring Assad to heel...and that's one respect in which intervening in Syria WILL probably turn out the way invading Iraq did.
Akil Alleyne Don't you think it's important to consider the fact that Russia would be sure to veto any UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of military force against Syria? Whether these military interventions are justified or not, the U.S. shouldn't care what the UN has to say. Security Council members--or at least some of them, particularly Russia and China--will always stymie any effort to give the UN's seal of approval to any Western campaign that those countries think threatens their material interests--human rights be damned. It's absurd for international law to require Security Council authorization in order to wage non-defensive wars, because that authorization will only ever be granted based on pure, crass realpolitik.
Akil Alleyne If Cobb plans to use government power to kick out minorities, etc., then the constitutional laws of the land can and should be brought to bear to stop him. If his enclave consists exclusively of privately purchased, built and owned property, however, it should be left alone to exist in maximum isolation. I'm content to let these characters cloister themselves away from sane society, as long as they're not coercively forcing their noxious lifestyle on anyone who wants none of it.
Akil Alleyne "Big businesses should only have so much control over the health and well-being of our country"--what? That has nothing to do with the court's ruling one way or the other. Like you write, the court struck down the ban because it violaetd "the state's principal of separation of powers," not because it would have made life harder for the food and beverage industries. The idea is that the same ban could be imposed by the [elected] city council, but not by unelected bureaucrats in administrative agencies like the Board of Health. And anyone who thinks that only "big businesses" were opposed to the big gulp ban is woefully misinformed.
Akil Alleyne In all fairness, Zimmerman was acquitted at least partly because he claimed Trayvon attacked him, and the forensic evidence actually tended to support that claim. It makes no sense to judge the verdict in the Zimmerman case without taking that into account. That said, your overall point is quite right. Regardless of the verdict in that or any other particular case, the general phenomenon of disparate treatment based on race--especially in the justice system--is a reality in this country and needs to be addressed. How best to address it is where the real debate lies.
Akil Alleyne Apparently that's just one theory among many. I've also read that it was originally a term that wealthy Southern slaveowners used to refer to poor Southern whites (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_(pejorative)#Etymology). That's the way Margaret Mitchell and her character Scarlett O'Hara used the word in the novel "Gone With the Wind," for example.
Akil Alleyne Criticizing Huma Abedin's loyalty to her husband doesn't "deny women's autonomy." Unless there's some coercive penalty attached, criticism doesn't stop people from doing what they want to do . I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with wondering aloud why Human's sticking by Weiner. Since she's doing so very publicly--helping him campaign, etc.--she's opening herself up to public scrutiny. She has the right to choose to stay with him, but it's legitimate for the rest of us to question the wisdom of that choice. Personal freedom shields a person's choices from other people's coercion, not from their commentary. And I suspect that a man in Huma's position would get the same questions. He'd certainly deserve them!
Akil Alleyne Stand Your Ground is not the guilty party here. If Zimmerman was pinned to the ground when he shot Trayvon, then he couldn't have retreated anyway, which makes SYG moot. The fact that SYG was mentioned in the jury instructions doesn't mean that it motivated the verdict. Even if it did, that would be the jurors' error, not a flaw in the law (i.e. the jury misapplied it). And while the police initially declined to charge Z partly because of SYG, that was only because they thought the evidence supported his self-defense claim. If anything is "allowing vigilantism" here, it is the misapplication of SYG by the police and courts, not the law itself. We can address that problem without abolishing SYG totally and reviving the legal duty to retreat.
Akil Alleyne The situation you've identified here doesn't make sense, but that failing isn't intrinsic to Stand Your Ground laws. There's no reason why states like Florida can't correct the above by problem by attaching more stringent training and education conditions to gun permits while leaving SYG laws intact. That seems like the soundest option to me.
Akil Alleyne This article's claim that it is "widely argued" that SYG was "at play" in the Zimmerman case linked not to any scholarly legal analysis of the case, but to one lone PolicyMic article--and one that defended SYG, at that. This is not the kind of citation methodology that I would expect of a PhD. Like I've said elsewhere (http://www.policymic.com/articles/54553/why-we-still-need-stand-your-ground-laws/712385), courts need to get tougher in making sure that defendants' belief that they're in danger of death/bodily harm be objectively reasonable. If courts are failing to do so in cases involving shootings of blacks by whites, that's the fault of prejudiced prosecutors, judges and juries, not of SGY laws in and of themselves.
Akil Alleyne Good article. I support SYG laws in principle; I don't think a person who's unjustly and violently attacked should be legally required to cut and run before fighting back. However, some people seem to think (wrongly) that SYG gives them "license to kill." Lawmakers should better educate the public about what SYG actually does, and courts need to get tougher in applying the legal requirement that a defendant's subjective belief that he/she was in danger of death or severe bodily harm be OBJECTIVELY REASONABLE. The former approach might deter a lot of trigger-happy wannabe cowboys out there from opening fire at all. The latter approach should ensure that those who do pull the trigger needlessly don't get away with it in court.
Akil Alleyne Decent article overall, but please note that 38% is not a majority. It's a plurality. It would also be a good idea to make clear why these outcomes were "unfortunate." Unsupported assertions...SMH
Akil Alleyne Far too many people have judged George Zimmerman guilty based on inconclusive evidence. People with no firsthand knowledge of that evidence, or of either Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin, are convinced that the former followed the latter with the intent of killing him; that Trayvon was the one screaming for help; that if Trayvon did lunge at Zimmerman, he did so in self defense (which assumes that Zimmerman physically attacked him first, which we don't know). People are blaming this tragedy on the Stand Your Ground law, even though Zimmerman didn't cite that law and if he really was pinned to the ground on his back by Trayvon, he couldn't have retreated anyway. Stop pretending to know exactly what happened that night, folks. You don't.